I don’t like where podcasting is going:
In recent months, Audible, the audiobook service owned by Amazon.com Inc., has been meeting with talent agencies and producers to discuss acquiring potential new podcast projects—or, in the terminology that Audible prefers, “Audible Originals.” Audible is offering anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars per show, according to people familiar with the matter, more than every competitor except Spotify Technology SA.
Recently, as part of an effort to reframe its popular music app as a home for all types of audio, Spotify has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire podcasting studios and to sign exclusive distribution deals with major stars like comedian Joe Rogan. Spotify’s share of U.S. podcast listening still pales in comparison to Apple’s, but the Swedish company is the leading podcast distributor in many international territories where the iPhone is less popular. Spotify’s investment in podcasting is putting pressure on its competitors, including Amazon, to broaden the types of audio programming that they offer customers.
I use the Audible app every day, but this stuff is just going to segment the podcasting audience into content ghettos. I have no desire to have to use different apps to get different podcasts, that would be a pain in the ass, to say the least.
Apple’s podcast app is nothing to rave about, but it has met my needs. All of my podcasts were there, and it complemented my Kindle and Audible apps nicely. When I wanted a podcast, I opened the Apple app, when I wanted a book or audiobook, I opened one of the other two apps.
I had a feeling that things were going to go this way when Joe Rogan made his move to Spotify. I’m a casual listener of his podcast, I usually just like the JRE Clips stuff that shows up on YouTube. The clips are short, and topic focused, so I don’t have to sit through a full 3 hour show. Thankfully, the clips are still going to be on YouTube after the show moves to Spotify, and perhaps he’ll put them on Apple’s podcast app too.
All of this is too bad. Podcasting used to be open and accessible to everybody. Now podcasts are going to become radio shows, available only on certain services and requiring particular apps. Some will also no doubt be behind subscription paywalls too at some point.
Oh well, podcasting was fun while it lasted.