You might look at it as the arrival of podcasts as a big business. My fear about what it really means is that the golden age of podcasts is coming to an end.
Anne Steele of The Wall Street Journal (one of our great Northeastern journalism graduates, by the way) reports on the looming podcast war between Apple, Spotify and a few smaller players. It sounds like it’s going to be just like video streaming services — if you subscribe to Spotify, as I do, you won’t be able to listen to podcasts that are exclusively on Apple, and vice-versa.
Steele quotes a business analyst named Daniel Ives as saying this about Apple:
Even though they have the keys to the kingdom in terms of overall customer base and the App Store and broader content, what’s going to differentiate them is not just aggregation, it’s exclusive content.
Just what we need — another walled garden. And look, I’m glad that this will enable podcasters to make some money beyond the ad revenue they get from the likes of MailChimp and Dollar Shave. But it also represents the end of something special — just as the rise of paywalls about a dozen years ago ended the open web.