Podcasts and the power of aggregation

Kay Singh writes:

Spotify has built an impressive business model in a crowded market despite being a late entrant in the music streaming business. Pandora, which once was the darling of the industry, has been continually losing users to Spotify. Pandora, which rose to prominence by helping users discover new music through its recommendation algorithm, was always marred by two fundamental limitations – limited catalog and a limited number of song skips due to licensing restrictions….These acquisitions play in different parts of the podcast ecosystem but help Spotify cater to both sides of the podcast ecosystem – producers and listeners. Spotify believes it can extract value from the podcast ecosystem in a way no one has been able to do until now. An indicator of the importance of the podcast strategy to Spotify’s business can be judged by the number of mentions of the word “podcast” in its recent quarterly earnings releases.

Statista most popular music streaming services 2019

Spotify has accumulated the “aggregation power” and is changing the dynamics of the industry. I am on the fence when it comes to podcasts- however, they can be an effective medium for health dissemination. I have no idea why would anyone spend hours listening to people ramble on with their “ideas” because there is no mechanism to “learn” or bookmark (or even annotate)- unless there is a significant shift in the way podcasts can be utilised in learning. There is no feedback mechanism and it represents a “vocal minority”. I can’t find anything worthwhile.

However, my interest perked up while making a telegram channel to disseminate healthcare news about healthy lifestyles. While searching for podcasts related to it specifically, I was surprised that there is no way to federate the files. Essentially, a central server hosts the files (as mp3’s), the RSS feeds deliver the information to the “podcatcher” and it downloads the Mp3 file. It is as simple as it can get.

It took me hours to understand the mechanism of applications saving the files in emulated storages. After persistence, I was able to crack the problem to automate the process. I prefer to automate routine tasks.

The aggregation (and monopolisation) of verticals doesn’t bode well for our use case scenarios. Data should be federated and be allowed to move to any open platform.