Woman Behind the Monitor (and the Mic): Anji Bee “The Sexiest Voice in Podcasting” Anji Bee of the Chillcast talks about the show and her double life as both podcaster and musician. T: How did the Chillcast get its start?
A: I guess you could say The Chillcast got its start with college radio DJ’ing. After 3 years of doing various shows and working in management at a college radio station, I was pretty well hooked. Then I discovered Internet radio, and started creating both live and prerecorded Internet radio content – including interviews with indie bands like Hungry Lucy and Sunburn in Cyprus. Eventually podcasts were invented, and I put 2 and 2 together. Podcasting was better than radio because listeners could tune in whenever was most convenient for them – which seemed really revolutionary! My first podcast was actually Chillin’ with Lovespirals, which Ryan and I launched to help promote our 2nd album, Free & Easy. Shortly after, I started getting permissions from indie band friends to create a weekly music show podcast – because you have to understand that at this time the podsafe music movement was barely getting started! Adam Curry had just begun his Podsafe Music Network — which is actually how he and I met and became friends, when Lovespirals joined the site. Adam played us on the Daily Source Code, and then we started talking back and forth on his podcast about Creative Commons vs BMI and all those kinds of things. To make a long story a bit shorter, I put together a few fledgling episodes of The Chillcast, hosting them on the Internet Archive site and C.C. Chapman, who was really active with PodShow at the time, pitched the show to Adam and PodShow management, and I was signed as one of the first group of podcasters to the new PodShow Podcast Network.
T: What have you learned from operating on both sides of the broadcasting world, as a podcaster and as a musician?
A: Good question. Podcasting is a great way to communicate with your fans, to give them a sense of who you are as a person, as well as to inform them of your latest projects. You can really build a sense of brethrenship, not only with your fans, but fellow indie musicians and fellow podcasters. Podcasts are more intimate than a newsletter, less time consuming than a forum, and both more immediate and long lasting than a personal appearance. I’m surprised more bands aren’t doing podcasts, actually.
T: With over a half million downloads of the Chillcast, what is the top tip you would give aspiring podcasters in terms of building such an impressive listenership?
A: Consistency. Being consistent with the quality, content, and output of your show is really important. Listeners want to know they can rely on you to provide whatever experience it is you’re providing on a regular schedule. If done well, your show becomes a part of your subscriber’s life that they look forward to, and you don’t want to let them down!
T: Chillin’ with the Lovespirals was one of the earliest band podcasts, what was the impetus behind such inspiration and foresight?
A: Well I mentioned this briefly in your earlier question, but the idea was to share information about the new album we were releasing, and what better way to promote an album than with the music itself? We had shared audio interviews we’d done with radio stations in mp3 format on music sites for years, so I knew people liked to listen to us talk about our music and band experiences. We have all the recording gear here at our disposal, so it just seemed logical to produce our own audio content and make it available via our site. We had fun doing it, too. At that time, iTunes was just launching their podcast directory, so getting listed on that was a real thrill.
T: Why should a band be PodSafe?
A: Podcasts are a very low cost promotional tool. Unlike radio, it’s very easy to break into the podcasting world. There are still relatively few bands vying for attention on podcasts. If your music is good, you’re bound to get noticed. And podcast subscribers are truly interested in music. These are the cutting edge people who have sought out an alternative form of entertainment; they’re serious. If they like something they hear on a show, they actually go out and buy it. I get email and comments all the time about buying music from my shows — in fact, I got one this week from a guy who was sad that Sun Dula Amen wasn’t on iTunes yet, because he wanted to buy it! And of course, I know for a fact that I sell my own CDs from podcasts, I see the proof from orders on the Lovespirals Webstore.
T: You’ve said, “an indie band can make more money selling less CDs without a big label” so where should the revenue be coming from?
A: Everyone’s experience is going to be different, but in the case of Lovespirals, we have personally been able to make more money selling less CDs having released our music on our own label. When you consider that standard royalties paid per CD are between $1 and $2, I mean, come on — you’re going to need to sell an awful lot of copies to make any appreciable amount of money! And even then, you’re only paid quarterly, so it will take a long time to see anything come in. When you sell your CDs yourself, especially directly from your own website or at live shows, then whatever money is made is all yours, right away. And then there’s the money made from digital sales and licensing. Its a lot of work to do on your own, I won’t deny that, and most people probably aren’t willing to take on the additional responsiblity, but we did and it seems to be working for us.
T: What’s next for The Chillcast and Lovespirals?
A: Lovespirals are continuing to promote our new album, Long Way From Home. We have a remix EP off of the first single, “Motherless Child,” being released digitally, and we have a remix contest lined up for the second single, “This Truth,” with Peace Love Productions. In all likelihood we’ll do a digital release with the winners of that contest in early 2008. The Chillcast just launched a Video Edition, which is a new weekly feature for the feed. The first episode included a video by Karmacoda, and the second includes Beth Hirsch. As for the regularly scheduled audio show, I’ve got a great little chillout Christmas episode, and a really amazing extended DJ mix for New Years coming up.
For music from Lovespirals go to www.Lovespirals.com
To check out what’s playing on the Chillcast go to AnjiBee.com