Podcasting and iTunes: Boon and bane

Now that I've removed myself from the Worldwide Developers Conference and its accompanying distortion field, I've bent my brain a little farther to what effect iTunes 4.9's podcasting feature may have on the world of podcasts. At this early stage of the game it looks both exciting and daunting.

Exciting

I'm enthusiastic about podcasting finally coming to the masses in an easily accessible form. If you've read enough of these little scrawlings of mine, you know that I use my mother as the "computing for everyone" litmus test. If a technology comes along that mom can put to good use without her calling me six times in a single weekend, it's ready for the world. iTunes' integration of podcasting appears to be just such a technology.

I'm just as tickled that this helps maintain the iTunes Music Store's lead in online music commerce. Offering free podcasts to The Store's customers is a great way to keep them coming back. It's also yet another way to promote the sales of iPods.

And having podcasts available from the iTunes Music Store is likely to encourage those mega-media holdouts who, up to this point, haven't embraced podcasting. This gives Big Media a big kick in the pants and can only lead to richer and more professionally produced content.

Daunting

In its current incarnation, podcasting is fairly wild-and-wooly--a bit like the Internet's early days. You can find the most amazing stuff being podcast these days--some great, some awful, and most somewhere in-between. I fear that when the iTunes Music Store becomes The Place to obtain podcasts, podcasts will become far more homogeneous in order to fit Apple' standards.

Let's face it, Apple can't (and won't) offer every podcast made. In its most benign form of filtering, it could exclude podcasts that don't meet particular standards of production. And surely a podcast's content will determine whether or not it makes the cut. For example, adult material will assuredly be barred. And how likely is it that the ravings of those on the religious and political fringes will be represented (we're talking black helicopters and tin-foil hats rather than Limbaugh and Franken here)?

I'm not suggesting that it's Apple's goal to silence society's more colorful voices, only that in this kind of broad commercialization of podcasts, some of the more interesting (if occasionally offensive) elements may be left behind due simply to market forces. Sure, these souls would remain free to post their work as they do now and interested listeners could obtain that work with podcast clients, but when a resource exists that's as easy to use as the iTunes Music Store, how assured is the future of such clients?

My greatest hope is that Apple will err on the side of the wild-and-wooly--label material some may find offensive as just that, and let their customers make the final call. Should this fail to happen, I'll keep an eye out for the Great Podcast Underground and pray that it finds traction among users interested in the exotic.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Christopher Breen

Playlist (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?