How Apple locks you

I came across a series of write ups and sharing them here. What is the association with healthcare – you may ask. Well, as they push through “Healthkit”, they are locking more and more users by clamping on data export (all under the name of “privacy”).

First this:

The absolute audacity of Apple Podcasts – by Matt Basta

Here’s what’s fucked: once you’ve started using Apple for hosting, you’re stuck. You’re permanently locked into using Apple, unless you want to start your podcast over. Maybe you’re tired of throwing away 60% of potential listenership, or you don’t like the UI, or the features aren’t sufficient for you. Too bad.

The first problem is that there’s no RSS feed. With an RSS feed, returning a 301 redirect allows you to change your feed URL. If you’re moving from Pinecast to Libsyn, Pinecast will happily allow you to redirect your Pinecast feed URL to your new Libsyn feed URL. Every podcast app (including Apple Podcasts) knows what this means, and updates your feed URL so that it only checks Libsyn going forward.

Ignore the technical aspect but this is more scarier:

The second problem is that you can’t get your own audio files back. Once you’ve uploaded a file to Apple, that file is no longer available to you, and the DRM prevents it from being downloaded by a tool or another hosting service. Only Apple Podcasts can access that audio, even if you’ve chosen to make that audio freely available. Hell, even choosing to download the audio in Apple Podcasts makes it available for offline listening, but doesn’t produce an MP3 or M4A file that you can move around or archive—it retains its DRM.

This is what getting “sherlocked” means. Terrible. You don’t own your data which you have produced!

A little more context:

Everything Should Have an API: I’m Done with Closed Services

Is it too much to ask for an RSS feed of listen history from my podcast apps? Every single one of them collects and stores that data but (as far as I know) don’t make that data available easily via RSS or an API. One of the apps must have this, please let me know.

Be aware of open standards and don’t lock yourself in ecosystems. I agree that Apple makes it easier for distribution at scale, but those come with caveats. They all depend on “chance” and probabilities for “subscription”. It is a wrong model of self-employment when your monthly pay checks depend on an algorithm.

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