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.


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.


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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?