iTunes mainstreams podcasting Matt 28 Jul 2005

28 comments Latest by Darrel

In One Stroke, Podcasting Hits Mainstream (NY Times) discusses the impact of podcast integration in iTunes 4.9.

[Apple] has thrived by executing the same essential formula over and over: Find an exciting new technology whose complexity and cost keep it out of the average person’s life. Streamline it, mainstream it, strip away the geeky options. Take the credit. So far, Apple has worked this kind of magic on digital video editing, wireless networking, online music selling, R.S.S. feeds (a kind of Web site subscription) and other technologies. Its latest attempt, however, will be music to an awful lot of ears. With its release of the free iTunes 4.9 software for Mac and Windows, Apple has just mainstreamed podcasting.

The article mentions that Microsoft employees are using the term “blogcast” instead of “podcast” just so they won’t have to say or type the word Pod.

Update: The “blogcast” rumor started with a recent Seattle Post-Intelligencer story but others are saying it’s bullshit.

28 comments so far (Jump to latest)

ugh 28 Jul 05

Sad. Hey Microsoft, let’s act like a 2 year old.

Jaymis 28 Jul 05

Apparently the “MS employees have to say “blogcast” thing is some kind of urban legend: http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2005/07/18/439940.aspx

And apparently nothing has been removed from MSN earth, the satellite photos are just way out of date: http://www.boingboing.net/2005/07/25/microsoft_nukes_appl.html

I agree with the Apple “Hip, Strip, Repeat” thing though.

Dave Marks 28 Jul 05

Actually I saw a video on Channel 9 where Scoble asked about that blogcast vs podcast thing, and its a whole load of rubbish!

Robert 28 Jul 05

Then why is that Major Nelson (Larry Hyrb, Xbox Live Director of Programming) insists on calling his show a “blogcast”? Seeing as how he’s Microsoft’s official “unofficlal” voice of everything Xbox, is it a coincidence that there’s not a single instance of the word “podcast” on his site? Oh, but there’s a whole page dedicated to “blogcast” gear. Does he just not know?

Rimantas 28 Jul 05

John Gruber has a good piece on this topic: http://daringfireball.net/2005/07/podcast_pocket

Alex Foley 28 Jul 05

It’s unfortunate that Odeo stands to be the biggest loser as a result of Apple main-streaming podcasting so quickly. Odeo, originally a great idea, will now not have its time to shine. Who wants to use an external website when they an do the same thing with iTunes? Apple is stomping out competition here.

Anonymous Coward 28 Jul 05

Apple is stomping out competition because Apple’s offering is better than ODEO.

Dan Boland 28 Jul 05

Stomping out Odeo seems to me to be inadvertent, or at least an unfortunate byproduct of Apple’s business strategy, which is to sell more iPods. Podcasting might not bring Apple that many more customers, but pushing it into the mainstream will help Apple maintain their visibility.

Andrew 28 Jul 05

It is really too bad about Odeo, although maybe when their podcast creation tools come online it will be more appealing.

I mean, I’m myself sort of a geek, and I just never really got around to listening to podcasts precisely because it meant additional subscription management, making sure files downloaded from feeds ended up in iTunes, etc. iTunes really did solve all that file management stuff for me.

The Odeo Synchr hasn’t seemed to work properly for me. Odeo can even bundle your subscriptions into a single feed that you can subscribe to via iTunes, but why bother at that point?

Here’s a success story for you: I’m now enjoying podcasts so much that I’ve begun taking the bus to work instead of driving to work, which adds about 45 minutes of communting and listening time into my day. Podcasts reduced my depependence on foreign oil. :-)

DL Byron 28 Jul 05

And the Pug Blog calls it a pugcast

Darrel 28 Jul 05

I think podcasting MAY actually sell more iPods. Remember when the new market for computers were all of us that already had computers but wanted another one? I now have my 10 gig iPod full and I’m thinking that it’d be really nice to have one iPod dedicated to all my music and another dedicated to podcasts.

Brad 28 Jul 05

Be sure to catch Pogue’s video on podcasting as well (there’s a link in the article), it’s brilliant. Zany as usual…his videos are always over the top…but he does a great job of imitating the pointless drek that makes up most of the podcasting-and-blogging world.

The big question that I’m struggling with is, how do people find time to listen to podcasts? Do they listen to it on the way to work (or at work) instead of listening to the radio? Do they listen to it instead of music or instead of watching TV? I like the idea of listening to podcasts, but I’d be lucky to fit one in every two months or so.

Anonymous Coward 28 Jul 05

“Stomping out Odeo seems to me to be inadvertent, or at least an unfortunate byproduct of Apple’s business strategy”

Once Apple’s offerings have stomped out enough of the little guys maybe they can start catching some of that same heat Microsoft seems to get non-stop. I always think it’s funny how Apple’s business strategies have “inadvertent, unfortunate byproducts” and Microsoft’s business strategies have “Uncaring, cut-throat, capitalist devil fangs”. Has anyone here met or worked for Steve Jobs?…I mean, seriously, the guy is a royal dick. It’s funny what a difference a little design and a good deal of trendy music makes. Microsoft, Apple, IBM, HP, Toshiba et. al…they are all the same thing. The only thing that differs is public sentiment…which represents the truth about as accurately as Wall Street speculations represent P/E ratios.

chris 28 Jul 05

Hrm…podcasting. It means I have to turn off my music, right? Sorry. Unless someone comes up with a solution to my situation (or knows a solution), I think I’m stuck being uncool.

Anthony Baker 28 Jul 05

I personally don’t think Apple is stomping out anyone. And jeez, how old is podcasting anyhow — ten minutes? There’s a lot of growth still to go. It’s very, very, very young.

Just look at how long it took RSS to start catching on to the mainstream — it’s been a few years now and we’re finally seeing Microsoft, AOL, Apple and others adopt it.

Kudos to Apple.

As to ODEO, we’ll see how it goes. One of the things that they DO offer that Apple does not is the ability to comment on feeds, see the number of subscribers, see what’s popular, tag it, etc.

While Apple’s ease-of-use is always top-notch, I’ve always thought that their Achilles heel (of a sort) has been the lack of features that allow me to see what others think about a particular song/album/item. Where are my star ratings? How many people have reviewed it? What have others said about it? We get nada.

Just look at buying something from Amazon — these are all the things that most of us look for and count on to support our purchasing decision.

With podcasting in particular, I think this sort of community feedback is critical. However much I love the technology and the idea of anyone publishing, there is a ton of bad content out there. I personally would love to know what others are listening to and saying about what’s available.

Chris 28 Jul 05

baaaaaah baaaaah…

that’s the sound of the Apple sheep.

As soon as Apple do something it’s cool and better then what anyone else does?… no… it’s just that Apple sheep say it is.

Blog/Podcasting is crap anyway.

Dan Boland 28 Jul 05

I love how people take the time to write scathing retorts to things that I and other people say on this blog, but don’t have the guts to put their name on it. And the post itself is idiotic in several respects.

Once Apple’s offerings have stomped out enough of the little guys maybe they can start catching some of that same heat Microsoft seems to get non-stop.

Do you know how many “little guys” have been created by the emergence of the iPod? I don’t need to see sales figures to know that the iPod has made money for a lot more folks than just those at Apple.

I always think it’s funny how Apple’s business strategies have “inadvertent, unfortunate byproducts” and Microsoft’s business strategies have “Uncaring, cut-throat, capitalist devil fangs”.

What? First, I don’t remember mentioning Microsoft, so I’m confused as to how that company came into the discussion. Second, you’re using my choice of words in describing one business decision and implying that this is how I feel toward all of Apple’s business decisions (using a convenient and out-of-context paraphrase in the process).

Has anyone here met or worked for Steve Jobs?…I mean, seriously, the guy is a royal dick.

Have you? So far, we don’t even know what your name is! And besides, the notion that Apple would decide to launch podcasting in order to thwart some internet startup is retarded. Like I said before, it all goes to the bottom line of selling more iPods.

Dan Boland 28 Jul 05

I now have my 10 gig iPod full and I’m thinking that it’d be really nice to have one iPod dedicated to all my music and another dedicated to podcasts.

That’s cool, Darrel, but I can’t imagine that more than a very small percentage of iPod users envision a similar setup. I just don’t see podcasting in and of itself being enough of a reason for a jump in sales, but I think having an extra “purpose” certainly doesn’t hurt.

With podcasting in particular, I think this sort of community feedback is critical. However much I love the technology and the idea of anyone publishing, there is a ton of bad content out there. I personally would love to know what others are listening to and saying about what’s available.

I totally agree. I can’t remember where on the internet I read this, but I read that Apple did just enough with podcasting support in iTunes to make it work enough to ship, almost akin to the 37s “half a product” mantra. So I would hope that some feedback mechanisms will be part of their future plans with regards to podcast support.

pwb 28 Jul 05

Count me as confused by podcasting. I can see a handful of popular radio shows surviving in this genre (e.g., Stern, Morning Eclectic, Fresh Air, etc.). But that’s about it. I don’t see amateur podcasting getting very far. Comparable to a sharp stick in the eye, imo.

andy 28 Jul 05

pwb: They said the same thing about personal publishing on the web, which of course lead to blogging. And as for blogging, they said that people would never consider it a legitimate source of news.

I think the already established radio shows will actually become less popular and original podcasts will eventually over-shadow them.

As far as Apple mainstreaming things (still trying to figure out how they mainstreamed RSS…), it seems to me that there’s a lot of, “If it’s popular it ain’t cool” ideology going on with that.

I don’t think Apple is even the source of it. Podcasting was getting quite a bit of attention from a lot of media sources well before Apple integrated it in to iTunes (which, for a considerable number of people made it more accessible). Clear Channel themselves announced they would be starting podcasts months before any announcement of iTunes integration.

Had Apple not integrated podcasting with their software, the loudest arguments would be on the other side. And, really, it’s not like they’re forcing the issue. If you like Odeo’s Synchr (I don’t, BTW… I think it was released far too early and has horrible functionality), or iPodder, or Doppler, or iPodderX, Feedstation… or any of the other clients available; use them. It won’t break a thing.

Brad 28 Jul 05

They said the same thing about personal publishing on the web, which of course lead to blogging.

I think (read hope) there will be a shakeout much as there was in desktop publishing. When desktop publishing began, millions of people with no training or skill in design suddenly were able to do graphic design on their own computers. The result was a lot of excruciatingly bad design, and eventually most people realized that design is best left to professionals. Right now the blogosphere and the podosphere are where the desktop publishing world was in the mid to late 1980s. The overwhelming majority of blogs and podcasts out there are a waste of time, but the five to ten percent that are worth paying attention to make it interesting. Most of the good ones are either done by professionals or by talented amateurs who are good enough that they could do it professionally if they chose to.

Geoff 28 Jul 05

ODEO and iTunes and great companion services for me. I listen to ODEO on my computer, knowing that wherever I am, I’ll be able to dial up my subscriptions and listen.

iTunes is great for when I actually want to sync something to my iPod.

So they have different uses and using one doesn’t mean you can’t use the other.

sloan 28 Jul 05

I think the way iTunes has helped with podcasts is the idea that you don’t have to install a new piece of software to get it. I never personally bothered with podcasts of my favorite radio shows until it was part of iTunes, but I’m not huge into it either.

In the long run, I see it becoming an alternative to pirate radio. A simple, easy, cheap way to get your voice out there. As it is now though, unskilled people are simply taking their blog and reading it out loud. That doesn’t fit the medium, and until the offerings match the delivery system, you will see popularity of podcasts dominated by radio shows. What will be interesting is how it develops in the future…

Brady Joslin 28 Jul 05

I think the way iTunes has helped with podcasts is the idea that you don’t have to install a new piece of software to get it.

Exactly. One of the reasons Apple is hitting homeruns is they sell SOLUTIONS, which greatly enhances ease-of-use for the masses.

Kevin 29 Jul 05

Why is Apple doing well? Check this out:

http://www.danpink.com/aboutwnm.php

Left brain solutions versus more marketable right brain solutions.

I think Apple has always been more right brain focused; it just took time for consumers to “catch up”. Now that they (consumers) have caught up, Apple is doing well — consumers are now looking for more than simple utility.

Tim Almond 29 Jul 05

I know that the BBC is already experimenting with Podcasting, and the guy who runs a blog about tailoring called English Cut recently did an interview which you can get as a Podcast, which I found myself listening to the whole of.

I doubt that anyone will buy an iPod because of pod casting, but it might be one of those 1% things - another iPod/iTunes benefit.

People buy things for all sorts of reasons though. Tom Peters once claimed he bought a model of car because it was the only one with a cup holder.

Darrel 29 Jul 05

baaaaaah baaaaah…

that’s the sound of the Apple sheep.

…as said by the Anti-Apple sheep…

Darrel 29 Jul 05

Count me as confused by podcasting. I can see a handful of popular radio shows surviving in this genre (e.g., Stern, Morning Eclectic, Fresh Air, etc.). But that’s about it. I don’t see amateur podcasting getting very far.

Why? That’s like at the beginning of the internet saying ‘well, I think disney.com and time.com will survive, but I don’t see amateur web sites getting very far.

It’s just another medium for more voices to reach more unique voices. The ebay effect. Connecting individuals to individuals at a much more granular level.

There’s a few IT-related podcasts I listen to semi-regularly. That will never be broadcast on NPR. There’s a local wine-tasting podcast. I doubt that will ever pick up national distribution by NBC. Yet, there are audiences out there for these things.

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