When I read the email, my heart stopped. Sean Gaillard’s episode of the P3 had been deleted. No warning. The explanation: copyright infringement. Spreaker, who hosts and distributes The Personal Playlist Podcast, was deleting episode #37 of 157 P3's, which have aired almost every #MusicMonday for 3 years and 9 months. It felt like a sick joke. Was it a Beatles thing? Sean, not surprisingly if you know him or his book The Pepper Effect, has an all-Beatles P3. I thought maybe it was just that and it was over. I was upset, but I could get over one deletion. I reached out to Sean immediately to send him his recording. Then, a half hour later, it was Zoe Share’s P3, #104. Today, it was an onslaught. They had deleted: Matthew Joseph’s, Jon Harper’s, Shelly Vohra and Evo Hannan's. I was in a panic.
Whether it's iTunes or Spotify who flagged the shows, Spreaker's job is to abide by those laws, so they deleted a series of shows, and it doesn't look like continuing the way I have can happen. The were a few options to keep The Personal Playlist Podcast like going live, but that just doesn’t sit right with me.
I’ve done two live P3’s as part of the VoicEd Radio-a-Thons. One was Jen Giffen’s and the other was Ted Sloane's. Jen’s was so much fun, and we were even in her house dancing to her songs and having a grand old time. Ted’s was fun, too. I love the rush of a live show and enjoy OnEdMentors each week for that and so much more. This was different. The P3 is intimate. People share their whole selves with me, and that doesn't always translate to live. I tell every guest before we record, “This is about you. I want you to walk away from this experience feeling like it was a celebration of you. If something doesn’t feel right upon reflection, I’m happy to edit it out.” People share precious details of their lives with me while unpacking their songs. I have heard beautiful stories and heartbreaking ones. I have heard about miracles, sometimes even happening while we speak, and I have heard about devastating tragedies. People have entrusted me with their sacred stories, and I can’t imagine not giving them a chance at a take two, a point of reflection, or an edit. I just don't see how this show works live.
There were options other than live. We could also just list the songs that go with the show and link a playlist in the notes. The only way to circumvent that would be to have every artist agree to have their song played. The crazy thing is, as some former guests have told me, this show actually celebrates the power of music and shares songs that introduce listeners to new artists or invite new ears into new genres, languages, and cultures. The music matters, and it's a key part of both the conversation and the listening experience. It's not that it's about the music. The show is about people, but the conduit of music is fun and beautiful and meaningful, and it makes this show something really different. I love it for all of its part and I don't want to change it. None of the options work for me, even if I'm best when I'm building outside the blocks.
My show is not that much of an influence, but it is special to me and to the many guests who have shared their lives by unpacking their 3 song playlists. From nostalgic, to identity, to pick-me-up songs, I have learned so much about so many educators, and I’ve listened to a huge range of music. Also, I have gotten to spread the idea of using the P3 in the classroom as The Personal Playlist Project. It really is such an interesting way to get to know your students and have them get to know each other and themselves. I am starting to come to terms with the silver lining that the end of the show is not the end of the P3.
Telling people was difficult. I have emailed, texted and dm’d almost every former guest to help them ensure they have downloaded their episode before it’s deleted. I have almost every P3 saved on my desktop, so please let me know if yours is already gone, and I will send it to you.I emailed all of my future guests. I was booked through the summer, and I could barely craft the email to cancel those recordings. I would rather walk away with integrity knowing that this unique show, which came from a project for my students, made an impact while it was around.
I am so grateful for the P3. If you have seen my TEDx Talk, which is about the Personal Playlist Podcast and Project, you know why I share this project with anyone interested and kept recording educator after educator on the show. I have been so lucky. That fateful day, almost 4 years ago, when I proposed the P3; it felt so right. I knew nothing about recording or editing a podcast, but I loved the idea for the format of the show. Even more, when I discovered the perfect theme song in Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke, it all came together. So much has come from the P3 and the amazing educators who I have gotten to know through the show. By recording their stories and listening to their playlists, many have become my friends. My guests have spanned areas of expertise in education and covered the globe. I know that my love of music and memoir is not over just because new episodes of The Personal Playlist Podcast will not be recorded.The ominous voice of Jim Morrison singing This is The End is silenced by the special lyric that speaks for my show. “Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand.” Music really is a way in and a way out for people.
I have two final episodes coming up that I have already recorded. I am not one to count down or announce each of them as among the last. So, I will not mark the last two P3’s as anything but shows with the two amazing guests I have left. I am just going to try to make the best of what I have while I have it. If anyone wants to listen to an episode that they haven't heard before, please download it before it’s gone. I have saved most episodes in my own personal music files, so I will be able to email anyone who’s episode has already been deleted. You can find them in order on the podcast page of my website, which will stay up for now.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to my guests for wonderful years of conversations, connections, and celebrations. Thank you to the audience members for your listening time. Thank you for sharing the episodes and caring about the educators and their work. Thank you for caring about teachers, teaching, and learning. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for the music. I did not see this coming, but I really am so glad that I got to spend this time doing something I loved so much. It was a great run, and I'm happy to end on a high note. All of your songs and stories will be in my heart, and I will remember this podcast with so much love and gratitude. The P3 may be coming to an end, but the memories will live on forever.