The Times, They Are A Changin’

June 28, 2005

Entertainment, Music, Technology

Remember when podcasting first started? We used to use tools like iPodder, iPodderX and Doppler to subscribe to (and manage) RSS feeds. We used to play the MP3 enclosures with Windows Media Player, WinAmp and/or iTunes. We used to use and Podcast Alley as a means to find (and rate) content we wanted to hear.

As of this morning, that has all changed. My podcatcher is iTunes. My player is iTunes and my directory service is iTunes. Now I used to love the power of integrating these things together myself. But I already love the simplicity of one interface performing all of these tasks.

But there are some challenges to the new model.

1. Using Podcast Alley, I knew what was popular. Every month, I got used to the unrepentant vote begging. Well, that will change. But who will determine what is popular or good? I must assume that Apple will do this by counting the number of people who have subscribed to each feed. At least, I hope they have some objective means of determining who gets placed on the “Podcasts” launch page.

2. There will be one point for people to get attention: iTunes Music Store. This is good and bad. But it is particularly bad because there will be only one significant control point for any single (external) group to focus upon. Don’t get me wrong. I hate smut. And maybe some gross shows do need to be censored (or placed in a red light district) But control freaks can now point at Apple and have them drop the hammer. This is bad – especially when space on the “favorite list” is controlled w/o stated criteria. Yeah, I’m concerned. Mostly because I see Al Franken’s Air America on Apple’s favorites page. Al, I’m sorry you couldn’t make it on Podcast Alley through legitimate voting. Too bad you became a favorite based upon someone else’s arbitrary sensibilities. BTW, where is the Rush Limbaugh podcast on this list?

Those things said, these changes are needed. Podcasting will soon become mainstream – simply because of Apple and a man named Adam. BTW, I’m not dissing Dave or any of the technologists who have made the technology viable. But podcasting success will now come from the publicists, marketing wags and pretty boys. Let’s hope we can still find a place for obscure but worthy content. I sure hope so.




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