Digital Audio World

Musings and information on podcasting, digital audio, online streaming audio and home studio recording from Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon of

Monday, July 18, 2005

It's being said that the commercial podcasters are squishing the little mom-n-pop podcasters, thanks to iTunes. Just read this story here, from Frank Barnako. While he makes a point, he's missing the point. Internet Daily: Independent podcasters losing ground simply points out that with iTunes being used as a method of distribution and publicity that didn't exist before, the commercial podcasters are taking over the top listings.

No argument there.

But when he says "Shortly after the iTunes software update was released, I calculated that 47 of its most popular podcasts were produced by what some call "independents." That number now is 31, and it's dropping," it doesn't mean that the independents are losing steam or listeners. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see an increase in listenership in at least some of the independent podcasts.

iTunes is a huge commercial promotional tool from Apple. If they're going to promote podcasts, they're going to go for the ones that make sense - the big commercial shows, even though they've been around less and are probably a lot less entertaining. All they have to do for the 'little guys' is make is easy to post your podcast there and they're done enough. Now it's up to the independent producers to use that as a tool to promote their podcasts.

iTunes makes it easy to subscribe to and manage podcasts, whether it's CNN or 'The Tim Gonzo Gordon Show.' Any good independent podcaster will use iTunes for what it is - a tool to help your listeners and potential listeners subscribe and manage their podcast subscriptions. With 3,000 - 10,000 podcasts out there (who knows how many actually show up on a regular basis), it's a crap shoot. iTunes won't make or break the little guy. It WILL bring more people to the podosphere, which means more potential listeners for independent shows - which is the way it should be.

Years ago I worked for a popular AM adult contemporary news and music radio station in Portland, Oregon. Our competition on the AM band was another news station. Being the top two dogs in a battle which saw more and more listeners going to FM was a little disheartening, since FM was all the rage, and here we were sitting on a radio frequency band that was relegated to crappy music and sports and news. I recall my program director saying, "Yes, we want to beat them in the ratings. But we don't want to beat them so badly they go away. If we do that, it's bad for the AM dial and ultimately bad for us."

So the more people that come to the podcasting world, the more it will help the little guy, even if most of the buzz and news reports go to the corporate podcasters.

Yeah, iTunes is good for the little guy.


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