This all started with a question from a community member and I thought to myself that it deserved some respect versus a simple giggle and moving along. My initial thought was to disregard it because I felt like this was common knowledge that podcasting is growing. The confusion was more of a "Why is this question being asked?". I couldn't fathom why someone would spend the energy to ask it in the first place. You probably felt the same when reading this post title, almost disregarding it as trolling. I am not though.
First things first here. We need to establish why this is being asked. Sometimes a question that is posed to the reading audience has several factors that can't be seen. I am going to list several thoughts about why this is possible:
I could go on with reasons that people might think things aren't going so well, but this is not the case! More people have microphones and are laying down topics each minute around the globe. In july 2013, Apple had announced 1 billion podcast subscribers. That is just iTunes. People like me don't use Apple so we were not even counted in that statistic!
- Unlike YouTube, there is not 1 central point to host audio. There are several main players, but that still fragments the niche.
- Perhaps this person lives in a country that podcasting is not prominent, or internet is not sprawling.
- This person is only on Android where podcasting has not been propped up by Google, unlike Apple's iTunes.
- This individual could be only exposed to mediocre podcasts.
- The app market doesn't do enough to represent the growing amounts of audio.
- There is too much confusion between all the podcast communities that some readers think things aren't going well.
Which leads me to the bigger point. Podcasting is fragment, and this is probably an understatement. Most creators choose between several services and ultimately the first step is to be accepted in iTunes. Some don't even care about that. With Soundcloud being a prominent solution to audio files, you also have other minor players like Libsyn, and Blubrry hosting a large segment of files. Some creators are just opting for local hosting and send their RSS feeds to where they need to go. It all boils down to where the listener is and file size.
Wait, file size?! What does that have to do with anything? Well, let's look at the power that YouTube has over video. Everyone has heard about Vimeo and Daily Motion, but they still aren't YouTube. Video is expense to host. That is why creators flock to YouTube, besides the ad revenue. Audio is small, cheap, and simple to throw up on a Wordpress install and install the Blubrry plugin and roll on. With such an easy entry point that podcasting has all around, you just have to make sure you don't suck on the microphone and everything is great!
The short answer is that audio is going nowhere and will continue to grow at an aggressive pace. The long answer covers file size, distribution, easy sharing, easy hosting, and more. Make no mistake though, podcasting will never take over video. Video is something we love to much to cast it aside for a quick mp3 file. So, if you are wondering if we will see podcasting go away anytime soon, have no worries...we will all be listening for quite a long time.
Listen to the 5 minute segment below:
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