Monday, May 23, 2005

So Apple's Jumped On the Podcasting Bandwagon

Actually it was more like a ginger step, but the Steve says that iTunes 4.9 will get podcasting support. I suppose it's the least they could do given that they have this buzzed-about phenomenon further building up their iPod brand even though podcasting has basically nothing to do with either Apple or the iPod.

Make that overhyped buzzed-about phenomenon. I'm going to be a party pooper here and suggest that podcasting is not getting anywhere as big as ordinary blogging. Which, by the way, is overhyped too but does seem to be a legitimate phenomenon albeit one that's not as widespread or influential as some of its practioners think it is. But back to podcasting. Why the yawn. Let me posit a few reasons:
  • It's harder to do well than written content. There are lots of technical issues as well as strictly content-related ones.
  • Power Laws are going to make it real difficult for thousands of broadcasters to find an audience. It's just much harder to "skim" through audiocasts in search of gems than it is through regular blogs. I have to be pickier.
  • It's not exactly hard to get a podcast onto your portable flash memory music thingamajig. But it does take several steps more than just turning on the freekin' radio. When we get to the point that your home computer handles this all automagically between itself and its counterpart in your car, OK. (But then will we just want on demand versions of more commercial fare for the most part?)
I have to admit that I don't like even professionally-done talk radio for the most part. OK, maybe that's a big reason that I'm pretty indifferent about podcasts. But I think there are other reasons to think they won't be the "next big thing" too, Wired covers notwithstanding.
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