Rethinking podcasting

Apple is might be lowering its 30 percent fee on iOS’s in-app subscriptions. This would be a pretty minor thing for Apple, and a pretty major thing for media and developers.

Everyone from New York Times to Spotify to a one-man content producer who offers subscriptions would see more revenue. And then there are podcasters, an entire community of content producers that have no particularly simple way to charge for what they’re offering.

I’ve struggled to stay interested in podcasts. There will be times when I’m super keyed in to one like Welcome to Nightvale, but then I’ll fall off and forget about it for months—or forever.

I’ve also considered doing a few different kinds of podcasts in the past. But it’s too much work, too much slogging, for little chance of payoff in terms of audience or revenue.

I’ve been surprised that podcasting hasn’t developed in a more useful way. If the Podcasts app on my iPhone, for instance, push notified me when a new episode of a favorite show was released, that would probably keep me listening for longer.

And if Apple enabled podcasters to charge a monthly subscription for their shows, that would probably get me thinking seriously about the sort of content that’s valuable to a community, and valuable enough to charge for.

Until then I’ll continue to struggle with Podcasts, which are still little more than open source playlists.