Spreaker: Artist Marketing Tool Or Waste Of Time?
(UPDATED) Spreaker is a free and straightforward online radio and podcast service with resources like video tutorials to make it easy to use. Set up a show, upload media files and record audio directly into a mic. You specify the sequencing and Spreaker mixes it together on their end. Sounds like a simple and effective tool that artists and others can use to communicate with their fans; or is it?
The limit to the free version is one hour of audio stored on Spreaker's servers and 30 minutes for each episode though uploaded podcasts have no time limits and thus open up the possibilities. Those limits are easy to max out if you really get into the service so that would push you to the Premium version with 60 hours of uploads and 3 hour episodes at $19.90 a month. However, if you're doing everything over the mic, like a freestyle session with your pals, that could get you around the stored media limits if you're happy with the results.
Other limits are probably more important to artists pushing their music. According to the Terms of Service you can only upload music which you have the right to upload, so this isn't one of those radio services that handles broadcast fees. However, they do have a bank of Creative Commons-licensed music to use in your show so you could also upload your own music under such licensing if you're so inclined.
On a sidenote, it did surprise me that, given such restrictions, one of Spreaker's recent staff picks was a show featuring music from groups like The Beatles, who don't have a history of making such music readily available online.
Another key limitation is that you are not supposed to use the service to create podcasts which you download and distribute yourself. You're only supposed to distribute music via their streaming music player which cannot be used on commercial sites, i.e. any site with ads or other revenue generating possibilities, though you can use it on social network spaces like Facebook accounts which are not in and of themselves revenue generating accounts. This limitation obviously nixes distribution of your music on most major and many minor music blogs. That's a big limitation for musicians trying to spread the reach of their music.
So is the site useful for indie musicians trying to promote themselves online? Probably only if you get Spreaker to include your Creative Commons-licensed music in their audio bank for show creators to use in their broadcasts. Given the fact that they don't seem to be getting major traffic, one has to decide if getting in on the ground floor makes sense or if it would be better to spend one's always limited time on other promotional pursuits.
Can you share creative ways that artists might use Spreaker to communicate with fans?