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Apple meets with content makers to discuss future of podcasts

by Killian Bell | May 8, 2016May 8, 2016 12:00 pm PST

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Apple has been holding talks with podcast creators to discuss the future of the medium and the concerns they have with the way in which the Cupertino company currently supports it. Many are said to be unhappy with the way things are right now.

Podcasts have come a long, long way since Steve Jobs first gave them his backing in 2005. More than 46 million Americans listened to podcasts every month in 2015, and that figure is expected to rise to 57 million in 2016.

But despite them being more popular than ever, some believe Apple is no longer interested in pushing the medium and the technologies around it forward.

“Interviews with over two dozen podcasters and people inside Apple reveal a variety of complaints,” reports The New York Times. “The problems, they say, could even open up an opportunity for a competitor.”

One of the biggest complaints is over the lack of data. To make money from podcasts, hosts need more information about their listeners so they can tailor ads and sponsorships to their interests — and while Apple is in a position to provide this, it doesn’t.

Podcasters are also said to be unhappy that they have to woo “a single Apple employee” to get their podcast promoted, and that sharing on social media is difficult. Some also want to make their shows available with a paid subscription only.

Now, Apple is listening to these complaints.

“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,” adds the report.

“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.”

However, while Apple is at least listening now, the company has made no promises to improve the service it provides to podcast creators. Many are still wondering what — if anything — will happen next for podcasts.

The Times believes Apple has two choices: to put more support into an industry that’s growing rapidly and make it better, or ignore it completely at the risk of “losing its claim over a medium that owes its very name to the company.”

It certainly doesn’t seem like Apple wants to take the second route. “We have more people than ever focused on podcasting, including engineers, editors and programmers,” insisted Cue. “Podcasts hold a special place with us at Apple.”

Even though Apple makes no money from podcasts, then, it would seem it has no intention of allowing the medium to evolve without it. What it will do to address the complaints of content creators remains to be seen, but we can’t wait to find out.


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...

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