In our continued efforts to support songwriters everywhere, we’ve been able to connect with some really interesting people. This time, our efforts crossed paths with a songwriter, producer and savvy Web 2.0 professional named Dean Whitbread. In this article we’ll share with you a little bit about Dean’s background, and talk about an area where he is blazing trails in songwriting – for podcasts.
Dean comes from a musical background steeped in the sounds of jazz – his father was a jazz trumpet player in the hip late 1950s London circuit. Dean had early formal musical training but didn’t enjoy the classical music he was learning. Switching from private lessons to school, he studied trombone, guitar and choral singing, meanwhile practicing Elton John hits on his church’s organ when he thought nobody was listening. He picked up his first review aged 11 for an original piano composition, and resumed formal piano and theory lessons again between the ages of sixteen and eighteen during exam time. It wasn’t until he went to art school that his music developed into serious songwriting, making recordings using the equipment he found there.
“I found abstract ways of creating sound in art school. When I began, I was multi-tracking using digital delays and tape, but with the computer technology of the Fairlight, any songwriter could take a sampled sound and make it into music,” says Dean Whitbread. “But it was expensive, for rock stars and Pierre Boulez only. Then AKAI and Casio came out with much less expensive models, and the price of samplers suddenly dropped from 20k to 2k. Cheap technology helped drive innovation in music.”
From his days experimenting with new technology in art school, it’s easy to see how Dean has naturally drifted toward Web 2.0 technology. Dean is one of the founders of the UK Podcaster’s Association located at: http://ukpodcasters.org.uk/ Just two months after the formation of UK Podcaster’s Association, Dean was involved in the campaign to prevent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a UN Mandated Organization) from enforcing TV regulations on internet media.
“If the treaty had gone through, it would have meant that meant if someone rebroadcast your online content on their TV station, they owned it,” says Dean.
As soon as the UK Podcaster’s Association was formed, it attracted a number of members and the Association is still going strong today. Dean has been able to stretch across borders and connect with other groups. Dean was quick to point out that presently, there is still no official “U.S. Podcaster’s Association.”
In addition to his work at the UK Podcaster’s Association, Dean Whitbread has spoken at several PodCamp conventions and has been able to leverage his musical experiences effectively through Talkingvoices.com, a business that specializes in offering legal music for podcasts. Talkingvoices.com offers a customized experience for professional podcasters and businesses, by helping match sound with brand. If a sound doesn’t fit, this company will provide uniquely-written songs that endear a podcaster or a brand to their listeners.
Writing songs specifically for podcasts is an exciting development in music. One of the podcast that Dean recommended was called the “Contrast Podcast.” This music-filled podcast has a special focus on today’s songwriter, and offers podcast episodes where “musicians introduce their own songs.”
At the end of the interview, Dean spoke passionately about supporting songwriters and music lovers everywhere. He told us how musicians and songwriters can embrace the internet to encourage fans to come to live shows, and spoke about the value of interactive engagement with audiences.
Musicnotes.com would like to extend its sincere thanks to Dean for taking the time out of his extraordinarily busy schedule to speak with us. We wish Dean the best with his musical career, and admire his passion for music and technology. As Dean expressed to us, “Music is a fantastic experience that hasn’t lost its value, it’s changing.”
We hope you are inspired by this article to experiment with your own music. For more about Dean’s songwriting and music-filled life, visit his blog located at: http://funk.co.uk/music/.