Apple and podcasting

May 9th 2016

They can’t know exactly who you are, whether you searched for a new refrigerator yesterday, whether you listened to the ads in their podcasts, or even whether you listened to it at all after downloading it.

Big publishers think this is barbaric. I think it’s beautiful.

As a non-big publisher, this was a thought-provoking read about Apple's role in the podcasting ecosystem.

At Spec and Design Details we use http://simplecast.fm as our audio host – they provide us with basic stats like download counts, and based on IP addresses give us a basic understanding of our audience's geography. We also see a close guess about which app our shows were downloaded on (Apple's Podcast app, Pocket Casts, web browser, etc).

That's it.

There are some things we really don't care about, like knowing the search history of our individual listeners. Gross. But I admit it would be interesting to know more about listening patterns over time so that we could provide content at a better time or in a more meaningful way.

At this point it's up to listeners to initiate those suggestions to us in reviews or on Twitter. The downside is that we'll get less feedback because of the higher friction. That means, however, that the feedback we do get is incredibly valuable and can truly instigate change.

At times I find myself wanting more powerful data and tools for podcasts. Perhaps that desire is a side effect of the data-driven (see: data-obsessed) world we live in. But after reading Marco's thoughts on the potential consequences of centralizing, tracking and controlling the monetization of audio content it becomes more clear: it's just not worth it.

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