Podcasts surge, but producers fear Apple isn’t listening

“These days, many amateur podcasters are going professional. Major media organizations, searching for answers and bright spots in a fast-changing and confusing digital world, are releasing new shows every week,” John Herrman reports for The New York Times. “Advertisers are starting to follow them, and so are millions of dollars of venture capital.”

“It is, in other words, an industry now, one that Apple essentially gave life to and still dominates. Yet at this moment of triumph for podcasting, concerns are growing in the community about how much Apple actually cares,” Herrman reports. “Late last month, Apple brought seven leading podcast professionals to the company’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., to air their case to a room full of employees, according to two people who were there. The people would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements. The company made no promises, the people said, but several pressing issues for podcasters were discussed in frank terms.”

“After the presentations concluded, Eddy Cue, the executive at Apple who oversees software and services, arrived for a closed session with the company’s employees, according to the attendees,” Herrman reports. “The question for podcasters — and for Apple — is about what comes next. Apple has at least two obvious choices: to rush to accommodate an industry that is quickly outgrowing its origins, or to let podcasting be, at the risk of losing its claim over a medium that owes its very name to the company.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As with apps, music, and books, discovery is, as always, the crux of the issue.

tvOS 9.2 features Apple TV’s new Podcasts app, folders, app switcher UI, and more – January 12, 2016
Apple’s iOS devices continue to dominate Android in podcasting with 82% of listeners – July 20, 2015
CNET reviews Apple’s Podcasts app: All kinds of suck; the worst app Apple ever made – January 4, 2013


  1. I love a good podcast and subscribe in iTunes and transfer to an SD card to play in my 2015 Forester (I hate the fact though iTunes will shut down a subscription f you don’t actually listen to them in iTunes – dumb, Apple needs to consider how this stuff is consumed on other playback mediums and stop making subscription or listening assumptions.). Podcast discovery process though is still abysmal separating the wheat from the chaff.

    1. Y’all need to chill. Apple can’t possibly do EVERYTHING that EVERYONE wants at any given time.

      Just sit back and relax with a southron iced tea.

      I mean, it’s not like AAPL is just sitting on bunch of cash and not doing anything at all, ya know?

    2. Highly recommended (all free):

      The History of the World in 100 Objects
      Why Zebras don’t get ulcers
      Nature podcast
      Naked Scientist podcast
      Science Magazine podcast

      1. Thanks! Ditto on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast and it’s emphasis on show biz of yore, it’s history and old movies. That is if you can get past Gottfried’s grating voice & laff, Cesar Romero rumors and juvenile humor. He does some pretty good impressions though. And his co-host Frank Santopadre keeps Gilbert in check, mostly.

    1. To you that is. I went through my no-podcast period too and now I’m back so never say never. As always it’s a case of finding content I/you want to listen to. I find the car an ideal listening environment for podcasts.

  2. It is frustrating the way that the Podcasts app almost syncs with iTunes, but not quite. The lack of star ratings in Podcasts. Having to keep telling iTunes that yes, I do want you to keep downloading this podcast. The Podcast app often crashes.

        1. I meant to control the podcast playback from your iPhone on the Watch as you can with music. Currently you have to use your iPhone or a 3rd party app on your Apple Watch. As far as listening to podcasts or music stored locally on the Watch, bluetooth headphones. I use them with my iPhone anyway.

  3. Apple’s complete indifference to Podcast support — most particularly their terrifyingly incompetent ever-changing iOS apps — deeply worry me. After the last disastrous update to their iPad Podcasts app, I gave up on them and switched to the 3rd-party Overcast app, which I’m happy enough with. I’d like to think that Steve wouldn’t have allowed things to get to this point, but who knows…

  4. As with Apple’s lousy search engine on their own website, it can be an uncoordinated adventure in incoherence trying to find some things via iTunes. I’ve never understood this problem, seeing as Apple is the inventor and owner of FileMaker, the genius database creation and use system on both Mac and PC. Also, their ‘genius’ system for finding similar styles of music we might like, relative to what we already own, is NOT so genius. Sheesh.

    Result: I end up having to find new things via other means, outside of iTunes. Of course the same goes with the similarly discombobulated Mac App Store application.

    It’s a broken record here at MDN. Is Apple listening, indeed!

    One happy story: I’m very pleased that the folks who make the ‘Welcome To Night Vale’ podcast are making some cash and are so successful that they’re branching into a new crossover podcast. I’m not sure Apple had much to do with their success, apart from providing access to their podcasts.

  5. Apple has become too big to handle all these issues. Personally, I wish that there would be an easy way to pay for individual ad-free podcast episodes or monthly/yearly subscriptions. There are so many amazing podcasts out there that I’d gladly support buy paying for their content in a hassle-free way. Also, Apple’s podcast app is total shit, and urgently needs an update (preferably by someone who actually uses podcasts). The fact that one still can’t make bookmarks, add tags or notes on the fly when listening to a podcast, is a testament to Apple’s lack of interest in the medium.

  6. I finally found a time/place for enjoying podcasts, while swimming! They’re just about the right length and keep laps from being boring. Made possible with my “dryPod.”

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