• Podcasts were originally thought of in 2005 by Apple as a way to increase content in their iPod devices and the iTunes software.
  • Steve Jobs pitched podcasts as ‘TiVo for Radio’, audio content that could be time-shifted to listen anytime.
  • Apple wanted to entice its customers by offering a huge amount of free audio content but could only manage a niche audience at that time.
  • Later in 2014, the purple podcast icon on Apple devices became the default way for people to consume audio content, leading to tremendous audience growth and the resurrection of podcasts as a medium.

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How the likes of Apple and Spotify are changing podcasting

todayonline.com

An explosion of user-generated content happened gradually, mainly due to the podcasting medium being based on an open web standard: RSS technology. Podcasts could easily be located and downloaded by the public using various online services and apps.

Another major factor was the proliferation of podcast creation tools, most importantly the Spotify-owned Anchor(a free service), which lowered the entry barrier for creators, leading to millions of new podcasts every year.

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The current vibrancy in the podcasting universe is due to ultra-niche offerings, a diversity in voices and a huge amount of creative space in the open standard.

The medium which exploded due to it having no gatekeepers incharge, is now turning into a walled garden with premium paid content, where exclusive deals, media network contracts and big money is involved.

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As Apple shifts from being a hardware company selling iPods and iPhones to a content company with Apple Music, Apple TV+ and other offerings, the podcasting space is the next battleground for the company who invented the medium. 

Music and podcast giant Spotify has changed the game and is one of the main reasons for the explosive rise of podcasts.

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Now in 2021, Apple again sets its attention on podcasts.

The recent ‘Spring Loaded’ event had the company creating the technical infrastructure for paid subscriptions and exclusive content. Creators will charge directly from the customer and pay a 30 percent revenue cut to Apple.

The mercurial rise of Spotify, which surpassed Apple in the United Kingdom, and its exclusive deals with popular podcasters(Joe Rogan show, for instance) are the main reasons for ‘absentee landlord’ Apple to return for a counter-strike.

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