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Apple takes over podcasting world – the invasion was so easy this time around

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— by Temple A. Stark

featuredpodlist.jpg In the world of podcasting June 28 marked the day of hell for independent voices out there. Apple released iTunes 4.9 and assimilated Podcasts.

“Apple takes over.” Didn’t think you’d ever hear that in your lifetime did you? But it’s just exactly what happened.

Now, if I’m going to have a new leader, Apple is one I can live with. If there are problems they are the ones most likely to listen to the peons. But it is amazing how such a new and field and endeavor can be taken over so quickly.

No, it hasn’t happened, yet. But Apple will now be able to control the direction and the force of Podcasts.

Now, why do I say that?

Here’s why.

A quick look at the iTunes Podcast directory shows a high ratio of established voices to those most have never heard about. Certainly, I didn’t even know ESPN had a podcast. But can it truly be labeled a podcast. Or is it just an audio clip? Air America, CBC, NASA, ABC News, BBC News feature heavily alongside other approved “lesser” podcasts. I know I sound like I’m one of those “It’s popular now so I hate it” guys. But, no, it’s not that.

I’m writing this listening to Howard Johnson “Something That Happened” podcasts (www.somethingthathappened.com). Short, small stories of his life, of visiting his mother in a nursing home; of impromptu interviews with curious (in both senses of the word) gentlemen.

I have taken to writing while listening to such shows as Feast of Fools, Relish Radio, Dumpster Bust and Mondo Irlando. Along with The Metal Show, Area 51 and two new addiction with the pod-audio journalist Barry Campbell aka Greenwich Village Idiot, and The Animation Podcast. And many others I have not yet listed on the site.

I don’t know if any of those above will get a hearing. They should. At first blush, however, looking at the iTunes set up – and what’s presented on the Podcast section front page of the music store – none of them will. If you already know of a podcast you can search for it and find it. But how does that attract new listeners?

iTunes has a set list – a stable – of podcasts. It will grow but the questions i have are, will there be limits on content. Will the gay community be well represented. In proportion I think it is an amazingly high percentage of the podcast world. Why? Because there aren’t a lot of radio / audio outlets for straight talk about gays. Same with serial swearers and other groups that have been denied a seat at the table of “easy-on-the-ears” American culture.

Will more unique voices come to the fore of the American mainstream (and beyond)? Yes. Will they even be able to say, “I podcast for a living?” Undoubtedly and that’s a great thing.

But the grassroots “I’m popular” rally that started with podcastalley.com ranking has just taken a significant turn. For the even worse.

Because there’s one word that currently strikes terror in my heart for the weighty potential it portents to portray. That word, under the Top 100 podcasts listed on iTunes, is “Free.” (Also I’m not sure what Top 100″ means right now. I assume it means most subscribed and downloaded.)

The potential then is that it will not be free at some point in the future. Again, if those men and women and in-betweens could share the cash it would be great. But I believe almost all of them will be squeezed out by these “established” voices, where before all were equally important and treated as so.

For once, Apple is the voice of the establishment.

This was first posted on the blog at my Podcast Directory site, BlastYourPodcast.com

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.
  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog Michael

    Well, I’m just dipping my toes into podcasts. I have two feeds I’ve added: coverville, which is on iTunes and Tartanpodcast which is not. When I submitted tartanpodcast, it was already in the queue.

    Search for Queer gets a Queer Eye feed, search for Gay get GayPornTalk and Gay Sexcapades and a few others. Search for Porn gets a few, as well, categorized as “health”.

    What surprises me is how popular Al Franken seems to be. Perhaps the far right is underrepresented?

    There are things missing. I can’t find any feeds of creole music or irish music. It’ll be interesting to see how it fills out in the next few weeks.

  • http://sungoddess.journalspace.com sungoddess

    I am a huge fan of Apple’s technology, but I must say their business practices of late seem quite questionably regarding fair play. I am glad to see thetechnology moving forward, the things I love about the Internet seem to be dribbling away under the burden to make money and poke out the eye of other players. I suppose this is the way business is, but at the same time, we the users are the one’s that foot the bill for these games. All the same, I’m glad to see podcasting begin to make inroads, and one can only hope that Apple allows it’s customers and fans to continue to revel in it’s successes of late, without feeling we’re following the devil with some of their more savage turns.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    This is not very relevant for me – and millions of others. I’m not a pod-person, having opted for a Dell DJ, as others have . Thus this does nothing for me. What would be ground-breaking would be if Apple opened up their service to other players.

    I’m very satisfied with Windows Media Player – it makes autosync very easy, allows me to manage multiple media types, incl. video, and does not restrict mp3 burns, etc.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog Michael

    Podcasts are both well and poorly named. They don’t require an iPod, just podcast retreiving software. iTunes has always had that, now it has much better podcast managing software.

    As an aside: I’m not a big fan of WMA/G. It seems to generate large files that aren’t of very good quality. That’s just my ears, and I’m not a fan of 128bps MP3, either.

    What I can’t stand about WMx formats is that the data file can require the player to connect to the internet without explicitly asking my permission, including opening up a browser. If someone puts a poison WMV file up that connects to a spyware downloading site, you can’t stop WMP from opening your browser and getting you hosed.

    But if you’re not concerned about that, then this is just another feature differentiator between WMP and iTunes. Look for it in WMP soon.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan The Man

    It was a good idea to centralize podcasts. It was so hard to find random ones that were good and hopefully this helps.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    The various podcast directories were hard????

    And looking at the Apple selection – nothing there is random.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan The Man

    That may be true, but it’s nice to have a more centralized place. But maybe I’ve just been really lazy with podcasts.