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August 26, 2004
Broadcatching on the iPod Platform
For months now I have been touting the possibilities of RSS and BitTorrent, aka broadcatching, especially in regard to the distribution of video. However, audio is also an important distribution medium and there is plenty of opportunity to replace radio with broadcatching as well as television.
Adam Curry has been leading the way in broadcatching audio, providing a daily 15-20 minute audio program, Source Code, on what he (borrowing the term from Steve Gillmor) calls the iPod Platform.
Making MP3s available is easy. What is hard right now is getting those MP3s effortlessly onto other platforms, such as the iPod. Imagine being able to plug your iPod into its cradle at night and pick it up in the morning full of all sorts of audio goodness, or finding the latest news already downloaded into your car for the commute to work. That is part of the idea behind Curry's iPodder.
One of the companies that is taking advantage of the RSS method of distribution for audio is IT Conversations and recently they hosted an interview with famed innovator Dan Bricklin (Dan Bricklin - Memory Lane). Over on his blog, Bricklin talks about his interview and the great potential of this new media form (Interview by Halley on ITConversations and thoughts on online stored audio):
With this form of content there is no time slot to fill or miss as there is with traditional radio/TV broadcast. Word of mouth, blogs, and search engines can help build up an "audience" for a particular "episode" after the fact without needing to worry about how many people are tuned in at a particular time. A narrow-interest piece (in hindsight) only costs the production expenses and not wasted distribution since storage is cheap and bandwidth is mainly spent on popular pieces. Something less popular doesn't preclude something else that may be more popular in the same "time slot". A "hit" can last a long time. Digital music players (especially those with large storage capacities) make it easy to carry and save content for whenever you have time to listen, even days or weeks later. Being stored, you can pause the playback, repeat, listen in small chunks of time, etc. Because it can be done when mobile, listening to content that isn't really worth devoting scarce, sit-down, quality time (such as my interview) can be mixed with other activities compatible with listening, such as traveling, exercising, or doing household chores. Being available online, you can recommend a particular piece to others after listening.
Excellent thoughts - read the whole thing.
In any case, I should note that I've become so enamored of this new media format that I've decided to start my own show, generously hosted by IT Conversations. More on the first episode in another post.
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