Motorola will release a podcast for its ROKR iTunes phone next week - one of the first podcasts on the planet to feature legally-licensed music from big name music acts.

The company describes the inclusion of music - a major step the podcasting phenomenon - as: "Marking another step towards full legitimacy of a format frequently branded 'the new pirate radio'."
All the copyrighted music tracks used in the podcast have been licensed from the record label responsible for its original release. The company has arranged for three such transmissions.
Common touch

Recorded in New York in September 2005, the podcast features hip-hop innovator Common speaking with DJ Gilles Peterson. It features songs chosen by the pair to illustrate the conversation.
The podcasting format has exploded so fast that the copyright owners royalty-collection agencies, the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Performing Right Society (PRS), have yet to set a standard licensing agreement to license such tracks.

This delay is compounded by the agencies' current desire to set royalty rates at around 12 per cent on the retail price of such releases.

Motorola's global director of media communications Leslie Dance said: "Although it's mushroomed in the last several months, podcasting is still quite new and at the stage where there's as much uncertainty as to what direction the form is going to take as there is excitement about its potential. We feel like we're helping to shape the future of podcasting – especially as far as licensing copyrighted music is concerned.  But at the same time, and just as importantly, we're working with some groundbreaking artists to create exciting and relevant content for mobile phones."

Royalty agencies also need to get a life
The move may help encourage development of a rights-deal for podcasters - a deal music labels, artists, and the digital media companies all want to see, and which is directly encouraged by the terms of the pan-European licensing recommendations released by the European Commission this week.

"If you look at the podcast section on iTunes or sites like Audioville," said Steve Ackerman, director of radio production company Somethin' Else, "most podcasts are speech-only because of this issue and the cost involved. So this project is really breaking ground."
In addition to the Common/Peterson recording, two speech podcasts complete the Motorola series: Music journalist Robert Elms and DJ Bobby Friction take the listener on a guided walk around the venues that shaped London's music scene and DJ/actor/MC Ramon Rodriguez and journalist Tom Terrell host a tour of New York's five most important nightspots.
The MotoROKR podcasts will be available for 30 days from October 17, 2005 from Motorola and through iTunes. The page linked to here isn't expected to go live until Monday.

Macworld Conference 2005

October 27-28, 2005. At MacExpo, Olympia National Hall, London

Macworld has gathered the world's best Mac experts for this year's Conference, which focuses on two areas: Mac OS X and profesional design.

Mac OS X: David Pogue (author of many best-selling Mac books, and the technology correspondent for the New York Times) leads the Mac OS X stream, alongside Macworld's hilarious back-page columnist Andy Ihnatko.

Design Pro: Deke McClelland (author of The Photoshop Bible, and inductee of the Photoshop Hall of Fame) runs a masterclass on Adobe Photoshop and other Creative Suite applications, with digital-artist Steve Caplin and photographer Martin Evening. Quark Product Architect Dan Logan flies in from the US to show the world's first full demonstration of the ground-breaking QuarkXPress 7.0.

Discover the hidden tips and tricks utilised by the Mac's top practitioners to dramatically enhance your skills and gain the insights you need to get the most from your technology investment.

Click here for more details.