What are we learning?

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Hopefully, we’re learning that Spotify does not have podcasting’s best interests at heart.

Podcasting is sharing media files using protocols on the public Internet.

Today, “media files” is mp3. Tomorrow, it will be video and various undiscovered media types.

Today, “protocols” is RSS and media delivered over HTTP. Tomorrow, it might be OPML based, or some undiscovered protocol.

Today, the public Internet works by moving information between any two parties who choose to implement the protocols with good intentions.

Today, Spotify continues to try to coral the things we podcast creators are creating, into their proprietary platform. They’ve gotten far by using piles of investors’ cash, to pay the tall-head creators to stop podcasting, and instead join them on Spotify’s proprietary publishing platform.

Can we learn from Spotify’s experiments in audio? Of course! They’re doing things at a scale we individual creators cannot try. Does that excuse them from trying to steal the beauty and magic of what podcasting is? Definitely not.

I stand willing to have my opinions changed. But until every podcast creator can simply add their RSS URL to a major directory, and then their show simply appears in the Spotify player app . . . until Spotify supports podcasting . . . ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ll continue to say:

Spotify is no friend of podcasting.

What are you thoughts, @steveh?


PS: And the fact that we have to submit our show’s to directories is a technical glitch. A hold-over from the beginning of podcasting. It has a simple fix. Then the existing directories can continue doing what they do well—organize and make stuff findable within podcast applications. This is unrelated to Spotify, but is another thing I have opinions about…



If we only view Spotify as a podcasting platform, then the arguments put forth in the article @steveh linked to and your points @craigconstantine are all worthy of being on the table.

However Spotify’s main activity is becoming a middleman, and by doing so, Spotify takes a cut of everything and cheats the creators. I know, I have music on Spotify for which I’ve received many payments of $0.00. Simply listing your podcast on Spotify requires you to agree that they can make derivative works of your hard work, and if memory serves me correctly, they don’t need to license your work to do so.

So while Spotify serves its listeners and its own pockets, it doesn’t necessarily serve creators other than to get ears. And in some ways Spotify puts us at risk.

Like with most technology, the pros and cons somehow include a Faustian bargain. sigh


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Varied thoughts I think @craigconstantine

I am influenced by the negativity towards Spotify from people I respect. There are many issues around their behaviour and business models which seem damaging and not for the benefit of podcasters.

I am mindful that they are a big-player in the audio space and behave like the multi-national that they are. It also reminds me of how other large corporations like Apple and Amazon behave. They have a clear corporation agenda and sometimes it suits us and our needs better than others.

Balancing my leaning towards being very critical of Spotify, Eric Nuzum offers a perspective that I feel the need to give sufficient consideration. He is a man of experience and wisdom and strong opinions. I find him difficult sometimes but that seems like a good reason to listen to him. We shouldn’t just listen to people we agree with. We should consider what people say and form our own opinion. Mine is a work in progress.

Podcasting is a little word for the many and varied expressions of this… thing, medium, something else I can’t quite find a name for.

I guess the part most of us inhabit is the independent podcaster space. We see it as a large thing. Pod-corps (invented word) see it as small and pretty insignificant - with generous thoughts but only generous actions that benefit us or don’t damage us if it happens to fit with their bigger business needs.

I started thinking I disagreed with you Craig when you said “Spotify is no friend of podcasting”. I think I have argued my way around to agreeing with you, though I would not want to say they are an enemy of podcasting - they are focussed on themselves and we are just potential customers - though some of us will never be that, I know :wink:

Thank you for letting me think out loud - all views my own, unless I borrowed them from someone else without realising.

EDIT: and for the idea of RSS once into all Directories, I whole heartedly agree


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