If you hand over the keys, you hand over the money, control, and responsibility.
Over the weekend The New York Times published a piece, Podcasts Surge, but Producers Fear Apple Isn’t Listening.
Marco Arment, a prominent iOS developer and podcaster, responded:
And if that ill-informed New York Times article is correct in broad strokes, which is a big “if” given how much it got wrong about Apple’s role in podcasting, big podcasters want Apple to add more behavioral data and creepy tracking to the Apple Podcasts app, then share the data with them. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.
By the way, while I often get pitched on garbage podcast-listening-behavioral-data integrations, I’m never adding such tracking to Overcast. Never. The biggest reason I made a free, mass-market podcast app was so I could take stands like this.
Big podcasters also apparently want Apple to insert itself as a financial intermediary to allow payment for podcasts within Apple’s app. We’ve seen how that goes. Trust me, podcasters, you don’t want that.
It would not only add rules, restrictions, delays, and big commissions, but it would increase Apple’s dominant role in podcasts, push out diversity, give Apple far more control than before, and potentially destroy one of the web’s last open media ecosystems.
I agree with Arment. Be careful what you wish for.
You don’t hear these complaints from less popular, underdog podcasters, like me. I’ve been producing my (sometimes) Weekly Exhaust podcast for over a year with my co-host Bryan, and it’s hard work, but that’s how it goes. Anything worth doing takes hard work. It takes me having to figure out how to market and advertise my podcast to get exposure.
If I hand that responsibility over to Apple I also hand over money that could go in my pocket. I also hand over my relationship with my listeners. I don’t want to do that.