Sunday, July 10, 2005

Thinking About The Podcast
Posted by Sam at 5:18 PM

I noticed that in the new version of iTunes, the user does not have access to to the Podcast directory unless the Itunes Music Store is turned on. Slick Apple... very slick.

Podcasting, a feature not invented by Apple but now fully adopted by them, is fueled primary by free content (don't know what Podcasting is? Click here to read all about it). Yet in order to get to that free content, the user is forced to sift through the Music Store.

Really, it's not a big deal. But, think of this: Podcasting is at no (or minimal) cost to Apple. They host a directory of Podcasts but not the Podcasts themselves. Those are hosted elsewhere, which means that the bandwidth load is not of Apple's concern or cost. Why then do we have to go to the Music Store to get to the directory? My guess is that it's a trade off. Nothing is ever free. For the user to be allowed to enjoy the convenience of Podcasting built directly into iTunes, they must at least glance at the revenue generating material. It's like listening to broadcast radio. It's not free. Those horribly annoying and grating commercials are there to pay for the content. Or rather, that content is there to bring an audience to those commercials.

Let's get a few things straight though, I love the new Podcasting features of iTunes. I use them daily, and adapted to them almost immediately. Yet I can't help but think that Apple is being a bit exploitive by integrating this free and open community in with its paid services. I am confident that Apple is the right company to push Podcasting forward. But now is not the time for them to gain financially from this open culture.

Podcasting is an interesting phenomena (maybe we'll discuss it more thoroughly later). It's really the next logical step up from blogging. What makes it so remarkable, is that it's easy to produce and the results can be incredible with a minimal effort. Any kid can sit down at their Mac (or PC) and hammer out a Podcast and distribute it freely. Like blogging, thoughts and ideas and content flow easily and abundantly. And I am in total support of this ideal. I want it to remain free and I want it to be open, but I don't want a corporation (Apple or any) to have its fingers molding this open community.

Apple is king when it comes to making complex procedures accessible to everyday users. iTunes is the perfect medium for simplifying Podcasts for use by everyone. I don't want to see the potential of Podcasting suppressed by a corporation's need to capitalize on the next big thing.

As an aside however, I'm still fully stoked by the iTunes Podcasting features. The trade off is a small one... and one that I'm willing to endure in order to use these features. We'll see where the future takes Podcasting. The potential is there people... run with it! Run like a tight t-shirt clad teenage girl being chased through the woods by a chain-saw wielding maniac wearing a mask made of human skin. Run!

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What no plug for your favorite podcasts? Where do I begin what should I be checking out?

Comment By TheDarkLordDerfla on July 11, 2005 11:58 AM

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Sam Who!?
Sam is an amazing and humble guy. Once, he rushed into a burning building, up six flights of stairs to save a kitten from certain death. He speaks eight languages, has mastered three varieties of martial arts, is a wine expert, and is a pulitzer prize winning author. Sam is an international heart-throb who prefers a quiet evening at home knitting afghans for the homeless, to the go-go, glitz and glamor of the party scene. I think the day he won the silver medal for ballroom dancing at the 98 olympics was the happiest of his life. Pretty impressive for a guy who never finished the 8th grade. - Carrie, 04
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