I’ve been seeing a trend recently where it seems like every musician has to have their own podcast.

Now many do put together a real fan podcast. Liz Phair. Great Big Sea. The Lavicious Biddies. Probably many more and they are neat podcasts for their fans.

They Might Be Giants have been putting out songs that are either unreleased or special topics for their podcast. They’ve been utilizing every form of internet promotion known to geek for quite a while now.

But the trend I’m seeing is musicians who put individual songs out as podcasts. No commentary, no new information, just a lower quality version of what is on their CD. The same thing they do (or should be doing) from their website.

Now, call me a curmudgeon, but that isn’t a podcast. If you want to give people your music, just do it. Put it on your website. Put the songs in iTunes for free if you want. But don’t fill up podcast directories and raise the signal to noise so that little startup podcasts can’t get noticed.

If you want to do a podcast, DO a podcast. Put some effort into making a connection with your fans. Say a few words before the song. Tell us something. It doesn’t take much.

If you don’t have the time or don’t know how to do a real podcast, here’s an idea. Find a podcaster you like and ask them to feature your music. Give them an interview. Sign up with the Podsafe Music Network and you will have dozens of podcasters playing your songs if you’re any good at all.

But don’t throw a track from an old album on a RSS feed and call it a “podcast.”

The worst I saw was a local musician (I won’t embarass him by name.) who was listed in iTunes. His podcasts consisted of samples of his songs. Slightly over a minute in length. How cheesey. The funny thing was I already had the CD. I was curious if he had any content in the podcast other than the song, but it was less than what I already had.

Actually, maybe I should embarass this musician. I know one other local musician who has put some songs up as stand alone podcasts, but at least they are kind of rarities and they are complete. I should name the first guy just so we’re sure I’m not complaining about the second one…

I know shameless self-promotion kind of comes with the territory, but those who pull it off with class aren’t afraid to give a little to their fans because they know the fans will respond in turn. Those who get cheap in the first place just turn off fans.