Woodstearadio.com: Bringing the popular group’s music to life | Vermont Arts


Right now, I’m listening to “Mississippi Delta Blues”, sung by Colin McCaffrey, from East Montpellier. I just missed “Half Creek” by Tom MacKenzie. I don’t know what happens next to the program, but I’m interested to see which of the 700 or more pieces of music that will pass through the algorithm at www.woodstearadio.com comes next.

If you are a fan of the band Woods Tea Co. or of McCaffrey, MacKenzie, Patti Casey, Pete Sutherland and other musicians from Vermont and New England, you might want to head over to this site and listen to the music.

Woodstearadio is the creation of Howard Wooden, a member of Woods Tea Co., along with Casey and Sutherland. The band is in semi-retirement, what Wooden calls a legacy band. Although they may perform half a dozen times a year until the COVID-19 pandemic puts an end to that very limited schedule, Wooden wants to keep the band’s music alive and available to fans. To do this, he spent time and a small amount of start-up money to create this music streaming site.

Operational since November with numerous adjustments, as of February the “station” now features music from 15 artists and bands and a playlist of 700 tracks and growing. Wooden says a lot of music can fill at least 48 hours of airtime without repeating a track.

The impetus to create the streaming site came from a need to keep the band’s name and music in public view. While many musicians have started streaming live over the internet over the past year, Wooden said, “Concert streaming isn’t that effective.”

Wooden hopes listeners will want to hear more music played here and will click on the download cloud icon and venture to Apple Music where tracks can be paid for and then downloaded. This would put money in the performers’ pockets, a prime motivation for the “radio station”.

While the site started with just Woods Tea’s music, it quickly grew when Wooden added the solo recordings of former band members. This includes the various albums by Casey and Sutherland as well as recordings by former member MacKenzie.

To these musicians from the Wooden site were then added musicians who were friends of Woods Tea. This includes Jon Gailmor, Rik Palieri, Banjo Dan Lindner, Patrick Fitzsimmons, and Jeremiah McLane, among others. As a result, Wooden thinks he’s established “a really interesting mix of things.”

One motivation for developing the music, Wooden said, is his desire “to promote traditional New England music.” He predicted a growth in the playlist as he adds more musicians from Vermont and others from New England and upper New York. He is in negotiations with Jay Unger and Molly Mason for their catalog of music, which he says will arrive soon.

The site is one of many tools available to musicians to promote their music. Wooden asks each musician for an album or other musical project they want to promote. He then puts the songs in the playlist and changes them about every two weeks. The playlist changes as the track order is reassigned. Listeners are not limited to listening on their computer; there is an app for iPhones and Android phones.

While not technically difficult to get started, Wooden said that initially the technology behind the music took several hours a day to master before “it became self-contained”.

In addition to playing music, Wooden includes performer news and sends the information to social media such as Facebook, to further enhance the public relations aspect of the site.

It is quite profitable to create a site like www.woodstearadio.comsaid Wood. An Internet stream can be purchased for $5 to $6 per month. “You need to get a domain name (URL)”, which may cost “a few hundred dollars in fees”.

“The way I do it is at minimal cost. I don’t want it to become a business,” Wooden said. “I’m not monetizing this at all. The links go to Apple Music where people can buy and download music and the money goes to Apple and the artist.

If you want to save on tech costs, you can use your personal computer, but Wooden suggests a dedicated computer or laptop where all the music is stored and connected to the internet.

www.woodstearadio.com is a very minor player in the world of streaming music, but has already found listeners outside of the United States. He knows there are listeners in Canada, France, Mexico, China, the UK and Brazil. There has also been a positive effect on Woods Tea Co’s bottom line. Wooden has already seen a 10% increase in album and track sales since the streaming site went live.

“It took on a life of its own to maintain the Woods Tea brand, and it became something more popular,” Wooden said.

Wooden continues to develop the site and said he would be happy to hear from Vermont musicians who play traditional or popular folk and acoustic music. “My big hope for this Internet radio site is that artists see an increase in sales,” Wooden said.


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