Odeo podcasting software/portal demo by Evan Williams.

Evan Williams, founder of blogger, showed off Odeo. He says the software is ready for prime time. Joked that he made up Podcasting in 1996big laugh. He showed the Audioblogger software which is Blogger’s outsourced mp3 service provider. He joked how Eric Rice made the situation even clearer by starting Audioblogbig laugh.

Evan went back and forth as to if podcasting was a big or little industry. On one hand he said there is a lot of hype, on the other hand he said Adam Curry claimed 50,000 downloads a day. He said there were 4,000 podcasts in one of the podcast directories.

He said he thought the time people spend in the cars and walking in the streets are the reason this is going to be big. He said he would rather listen to a smart person then musicis he alone?

Evan said Chris Andersen said that MTV moved from music to TV shows because people stayed around longer and the rating were better with things other then music. He says there is also only two fomats right now: talk radio and audiobooks. He thinks there are other concepts that will emerge. He added that time shifting has not come to talk radio yet (he obviously doesn’t know about Howard Stern on bit torrentjust kidding, he’s right).

Clearly the biggest issue in this is the creating of the podcast we’re dealing with that. Evan pointed out that we are not trained to record audio, but we are trained at how to write at school. He’s got that right.

Odeo has three big buttons Listen, Sync and Create. He is making a directory of shows, letting people create them, and letting people synch the feeds down to their iPod. You can play audio right on the home page.

Good, clean looking stuff. Odeo also has a top 10 and you can tag the audio. It also

You don’t have to make your podcast on Odeo to be hosted on Odeo. For example, he had the Engadget podcast on the site. They also stream the show, but if you don’t want your show hosted they will remove it.

You can add shows on Odeo to a personal queue if you don’t want to subscribe to the RSS.

They have a web-based download tool that downloads files for you and creates an Odep playlist for you. They don’t delete old files yet, or create playlists by show i’m sure they will add that.

Odeo studio, in-browser recording studio built in Flash. You hit record and it records your audio. No big deal there, although people clapped for it. The cool part was you could add notes and sounds (“elements”) to each segment. So, if you had stock audio of a footsteps or intro music you could drop that behind your talking. You can fad it in and out as well. Very simple to do and very good looking interface very slick for sure.

You basically record everything live so you don’t put the background sounds in after the showyou have to do it live! So, that makes it a lot easier but if you screw up it’s in there forever.

It doesn’t let you interview someone unless they were right in the room with you right now, but Evan, Phillip Torronne and I discussed before the panel the Skype and iChat solutions.

I asked Evan about using Flash MX communications server to record conversations. He said that they were most excited about that ability to record conversations between folks.

Evan sees hosting fees paid by bloggers are the first revenue stream and selling audio as the second revenue streamlook out Audible! He talked about how much money Audible makes and his eyes were most opened when discussed that. Clearly that is the business here.

He also talked about letting advertisers come to the site and record commercials then pay to place them on shows. Neat idea, but that’s not going to happenadvertisers are discerning and don’t want sloppy ads. He also mentioned podcast hosts reading commercials on behalf of sponsors based on copy that’s possible. Getting advertisers for highly-branded content is hard enough but getting them to sponsors a large swath of random podcasts.

Seems the business is build this to a certain point and sell it to Google, Yahoo, etc. The hosting model is not great, that’s a commodity business. The premium content is really the best play, but if you succeed at making it easy for folks to create content there might be less of a market for premium content (why pay).

He mentioned having a library of songs that you could legally pay for and play on your podcast some day.

He said an GMAIL invite style rollout shortly.

He talked about making walking tour MP3 files, or “the sound of the day.” Comedy he sees as big. He like the odd stuff, the stuff that doesn’t exist already.

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