I have two reasons for these worries.
1) The purchase of Gimlet by Spotify mentioned in the article.
2) The purchase of Stuff Media by iHeart.
The purchase of Gimlet is problematic for a couple of reasons, but the biggest is that a distribution channel now owns a large content company which could lead to content bubbling. I don't want to have different players for different shows, I want the shows to be available on all players. I believe this is already happening, "Crime town" season 2 is only available on Spotify.
The iHeart purchase might be more troubling. Have you ever noticed that no mater where you are in the US, the radio stations are extremely similar? This has a few reasons, one of which is, that station is probably owned by iHeart (formerly Clear Channel), they own over 400 radio stations are are in virtually every US market . I'm not saying iHeart is evil, but the chance that shows get more homogenous increase when large corporate players have to satisfy shareholders. I'm not sure I can take any more true crime shows.
I don't know why not. Back when they were known as Clear Channel, in the wake of 11SEP2001 they censored songs that went against the agenda of starting wars.
(Ah, I see it has been spun as mere a suggestion. Just like I'm sure the managers at each station only passed along the suggestion. There couldn't have possibly been any accompanying social pressure, especially at that time, that would have made it a tacit order).
I think podcasting is somewhat shielded from this by the fact that you really don't need an insane amount of capital to put out a good product. There definitely are podcasts that have expensive, professional studio set ups, but there are others I've listened to that are just straight up recorded on an iPhone and they can actually sound very decent. This low barrier of entry makes it easy for people to make their own weird podcast without having to water down their product and pitch it to investors. I guess with time that could change if your podcast is considered dead if its not on one of these big corporate channels. As someone who really enjoys the "homemade" feels, I hope this never happens, a podcast feeling overproduced is a big turn off IMO.
You could say the same thing about the web
What is happening with websites?
This is at the heart of the control problem. If you have one true player, it commands more control than is good for you, me and all consumers. Healthy competition is the only practical way to keep this under check.
I make sure to distribute my consumption over at least 2-3 contenders for any content be it search (google, ddg, bing), video (youtube, vimeo, dailymotion), podcasts (overcast, apple podcasts). I've begun extending this pattern over all sorts of consumption.
Sure its a hassle for me. I'm ok with it. I like to think that one extra click, one purchase, one download helps the competitors in keeping the market healthy.
The proprietary-lockin epidemic is a serious issue. I think part of the problem is open standards don't often focus on the payments problem.
If we have reasonably good competition among these platforms, we may just have some hope there.
I think more people should try to create their own podcast. I've been doing my own podcast after being a guest on a couple episodes of another tech podcast and I can't recommend it enough.
I think it should be treated like the low barrier to entry medium it is.
Current favorite podcast is the indie hackers podcast. Sometimes something you hear is more impactful then reading the equivalent.
I prefer podcasts to audio books usually as podcasts are meant for audio whereas audio books are just adapted to the medium.
Google's podcast system doesn't allow you to load in arbitrary RSS feeds. This is cause for concern if others go that way too. There will always be open podcatchers and self hosted feeds, just like there will always be web pages, but they will be harder and harder to find.
I hope I'm wrong.
I subscribe to a couple of shows which offer free versions, discoverable through Apple's directory and others, and paid "upgrades". Those paid upgrades come into the same app I use for listening to podcasts generally. I actually think things today are pretty well set up for podcasters who want to be independent but still get paid.
I write fiction on the side and am able to put my ebooks (and print books, for that matter) into a variety of stores. If a model could be started through which a podcast producer can put their podcast in multiple stores so that it's a paid show but available in Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, etc., that would be a nice model indeed.
It's doubtful that Spotify would attempt such a model.
There are some small consolidation here and there. There are a few podcasts becoming paid / subscription based business. But most podcasts will be niche , small , and free. More fun people will start their own podcasts :)
In the long run, there will be plenty of niche podcasts with dozens, maybe hundreds of listeners - not enough to make a living, but an audience is its own reward.
Most instagramers are not influencers who can monetize well. Most instagramers don’t have a large follower base, which totally makes sense.
few podcasters can make a living from producing podcasts. Most podcasters make podcasts for fun. Some use podcasts to cross promote other things (eg books, music , e-commerce...). More and more companies produce podcasts, but they just treat podcasts as an addition to their social accounts to build audience and create awareness: https://lnns.co/b0jVr85WkQn
It's likely that eventually the bar will lower and people will stop minding less integrated ads. But the advertiser pays per download (right now, see next paragraph) and doesn't pay the host to do the reading, so from the buying end it's simple and generally they work with the Podcast hosting platform who then farms it out to creators.
NPR released their Remote Audio Data spec recently and many players are working to integrate it. Essentially the ID3 tags have several time stamps marked and a call back URL. The podcast player then delivers events to that URI indicating the listener listened through that time stamp with some other metadata.
The automation and ad network-ization is already in motion.
So to answer: the same place web pages get ads.
Do you have any information on who? I've mostly heard about players announcing they won't support it, and Apple and Spotify have their own analytics systems they'd probably prefer people use.
The big thing is Apple. Apple is definitely the big boy in the pond and NPR is in talks to get it working.
The thing is, if other podcatchers continue to refuse to provide data somehow, the advertisers are going to start refusing to pay for downloads and only for impressions verifiable on Apple, Spotify, and Google's apps. The end result is the closing off into walled gardens.
We already have Stitcher and Spotify buying up podcasts and keeping them exclusive to their platforms.
It can go either way but like...it's bad if it doesn't go this way. Either you're buying podcasts per episode or trapped on Google/Apple/Spotify's horrific podcast apps.
The apps are horrific. Google compresses audio to the point you get obvious quality loss and artifacting, even to my non-audiophile ears on $20 earbuds.
Apple Podcasts is a PITA once you've subscribed to more than 10 podcasts. It's really badly set up if you subscribe to a serial audio drama and have several seasons to catch up on.
Spotify thinks podcasts are just playlists in order from newest to oldest and wow is that a barebones and impossible UX for anything but a talkshow type podcast.
EDIT: Forgot to mention, all that to say, it'll probably come from markets that fit how/when/where consumers listen: exercise, entertainment, etc.
(I strongly recommend starting with Season 1. It's the most honest and vulnerable telling of early startup life that I've ever come across.)
Normally, I find all episodes interviewing a person of my interest, then binge listen them all. These episodes may be from some pretty unknown podcasts that I don’t want to listen to other episodes .
The podcasts I listen to are intentionally hand-selected over time to be 1) informative, 2) have a decent content:fluff ratio, and 3) enjoyable. I unsubscribed from Star Talk because about 90% of it was non-scientific chatter or ads, even though it was enjoyable and informative (sometimes). If a podcast doesn't cut to the damn chase like NDT's, that's an instant unsub from me.
In particular, I find independent podcasts like Sam Harris or Dan Carlin to be FANTASTIC, and that content is free for all to download in multiple ways. So, I'm not worried in the slightest.
One of it's show is "Reply All" is hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. They used to host a podcast called "TLDR" on NPR (WNYC).
These guys are all super talented and deserve to be paid very well for the content they produce, but to say those shows and podcasters you like won't go to where there money is probably not 100%.
This. Dan Carlin is fantastic and I enjoy supporting him because of the quality. No Agenda and Congressional Dish are two more listener supported/value-for-value podcasts which do an outstanding job. No Agenda, in particular, raised the bar extremely high for production value, and they do it all live to tape! No back office. Little-to-no post production. Those guys are proof you don’t need a studio, enployees, or advertisers to make a living out of podcasting.
Edit: removed "ad-free" as a descriptor of Carlin's shows, since I recall him having Audible ads.
I stopped listening to them a while back after they had a hard right turn IIRC. Their business model was excellent though.
Toys R Us is a great example. The PEG people invested 20%, dumped the debt on the Toys R Us balance sheet, and yielded at least $200M in fees. They are also able to harvest paper losses to offset taxes.
Why would they do so? They are “turning the company around!”.
That said, as long as the vast majority of shows continue to publish their shows as god intended -- as enclosures on an simple RSS feed -- I think podcasts will stay healthy and vibrant. I will not subscribe to Spotify for a whole host of reasons, and it would take far, far more 'available only on Spotify' podcasts to ever make me reconsider that.
I've tried, and listened to some interesting ones, but in the end I'd much rather consume the same content by reading instead of listening. It's faster, it's easier to skim and skip around, you can have hyperlinks to other references, etc. Overall, text just works better for the kinds of content I'm interested in.
There's a podcast related to a product I work with that I've tried a few times. The podcast is very well done, but each one is about an hour long. I'd much rather have it as a blog post where I can skim through to find the pieces that interest me. They've gotten a little better with their episode descriptions where they tell you what topics they are talking about and when they start, but it's only a minor improvement.
Podcasts are also completely inaccessible to search engines. If I want to find the podcast where they talked about an interesting thing that I want to revisit, and it's not in the episode description, it's basically lost forever.
My counterargument to that is that in order to do any of those things you need to have your eyes engaged with the content. I can listen to podcasts (or audiobooks) while at the gym, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, or going to pick my kid from school. That means to me more than the advantages you mentioned.
One additional advantage: getting to sleep. I don't enjoy sleeping. If i have a light source near me, be it a lamp or a screen, I don't feel sleepy at all. I can't fall asleep while watching a Netflix show that I like. I have done the experiment. I can feel sleepy while reading a book, but an engaging one and a night lamp will keep me awake: I read the first Harry Potter volume in a single sleep-less night. Listening to podcasts with the lights off and my eyes closed makes me drift to sleep much more easily.
With all the screens around us, people or content, if you will, we often don't have long periods of time with the option to tune it all out. You allude to our ancestors and I think being still of mind is an important part of our being. Many people are anxious these days in that environment. My favorite part about doing extended river trips (1-3+ weeks) is tuning completely out for large stretches of time.
I guess maybe if I got back into running they'd be good for that. Can't think of when else I could possibly use them.
I listen to podcasts while doing all sorts of things now.
It does mean it takes me months to get through a longer book, but that's no big deal, and means I actually going to bed.
Yes, there's still a little rewinding to do to work out where you left off but it only takes a few seconds.
Can confirm it definitely works - I'll intentionally get too cold, then pull up the blanket to warm up and fall asleep solid in moments.
> Podcasts are also completely inaccessible to search engines.
That depends on the Podcast. Planet Money, some (all?) Gimlet Media podcasts, and 99% Invisible have online articles/transcripts of their podcasts. I've found more than a few I wanted to reference here through searching for portions I remember.
The value podcasts bring is you can consume them during times you can't read. During exercise, driving, walking to work, cleaning the house, cooking, and train/car rides (for people who get motion sick while reading in a moving vehicle). They turn tedious menial tasks into times when you're mildly entertained - that provides immense value.
They can also be used for a slightly more interesting white noise.
I usually take public transit to work, but the buses are too noisy for me to actually get anything out of a podcast. I could use noise canceling headphones, but I find those just make the bus sound weird instead of getting rid of the noise.
Additionally, I enjoy podcasts for the personalities. This varies with the podcast, as some podcasts consist of generally the same content as something like a blog post, with a generic narrator reading from a script. However, most popular podcasts are popular not just for the content, but the conversations between the personalities.
e.g. I can read Bill Simmons' sports columns (which have their own merits) and get much of the same content, but I can't laugh along with him and one of his pals or a pro athlete tossing out an impromptu joke in one of his columns: only on his podcast.
Maybe too much so, I am finding that I maybe listen to too much podcast, to the point where I spend very little time in my own head, day dreaming and having my own thoughts. But that's an entirely separate issue.
Many podcast apps have a pitch stable speedup function, that increases the playback speed. I'm currently at 2.1x, but I have a blind friend that listens to email via TTS at something like 4x. It's a skill that you can practice and ramp up over time.
> I'd much rather have it as a blog post where I can skim through to find the pieces that interest me.
Personally, podcasts are a supplement to my blog feeds, for the daily commute. There is no public transit to work that's feasible, and even if there was, I generally cannot read in car without getting motion sickness. So reading is pretty much off the table, and instead podcasts fill that slice of daily life.
This is mostly true, although nothing prevents transcripts from being made readable.
> Personally, I'm not a fan of podcasts at all.
There's something to be said for dialog and for the discovery and exploration of unexpected topics. Moreover, there's an aesthetic associated with the human voice and verbal communication that doesn't necessarily translate to text. Not everything has to have a fine-grained search index for a-la-carte consumption!
But I can't really read a book while I'm driving, or walking to work, or cooking dinner, or cleaning the kitchen, or working out, or knitting, or soldering, or doing a jigsaw puzzle, or playing video games.
I find when getting into a new framework (something like Rails or React) then it's an interesting bit of "immersion learning" to throw on the latest episode of the big associated podcast. Maybe I pick up a bit of knowledge, but just hearing people speak naturally about the framework helps me build a fuzzy roadmap in my head of the big subjects to tackle.
There are quite a few shows that are different though, either discussion or news based. Here are a couple of my favorites.
* Coding Blocks
* Complete Develop Podcast
* Six Figure Developer
* Weekly Dev Tips
Full disclosure, host of CB here :)
Google is actively working with the podcast community and encouraging podcasters to structure their data to be accessible in search: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/podcast
Also about your search engine comment, Google has basically crawled and tagged through all your images if you use google photos. They've added automated closed captioning to almost every single youtube video. I would not be shocked if they're in the process of transcribing and indexing every single podcast available on google podcasts. Once they do that, you could probably search for "orange chicken recipe" and it would skip to the 55:16 where they're talking about that very thing.
>Overall, text just works better for the kinds of content I'm interested in.
You're making such a weird argument. Podcasts are not replacements for books. Books do things that podcasts can't. Podcasts do things that books can't. Don't want to listen to podcasts or music? Don't. Read your books and be happy.
>Podcasts are also completely inaccessible to search engines.
That's a problem for search engines to solve. In principle, search engines could auto-transcribe podcasts and index that.
>If I want to find the podcast where they talked about an interesting thing that I want to revisit, and it's not in the episode description, it's basically lost forever.
Again, indexing is not something that the medium needs to solve. That's for others to figure out. Text is easy to index. Images are harder to index, audio is harder still, and video is probably the worst.
As a personal anecdote, I DO need to be fully engaged to consume audio in the same way as text or video. Your example of vacuuming is a perfect example, while trying to pay attention to the carpet I'd stop paying attention to the podcast, and i'd have to rewind, which I find tedious.
I think most ppl listen to them when they can't read like driving, working out, on the train, falling asleep ect.
Try casefile podcast if you are into truecrime. I've been travelling around the country and this podcast has kept me company well, although it did make me a little paranoid :D
I am FAR more efficient at reading content than listening to it. Not even close.
And since I am a massive music fan, I rather listen to music than listen to talk. There is so much new music to explore, who has time for podcasts?
But, for conversational topics I love podcasts. Long form interviews (1-2-3 hours) that used to be impossible now can be done.
A bot that will listen to the podcast, ML it and transcribe it into a blog post - when a term is stated verbally, it will look it up and turn it into a link. Over time we will teach the bot with verbal cues for what to lookup.
Basically a virtual Jamie from Joe Rogan's podcast "Pull up" "Google" "where is" "someone said" "lets see" "did you see" "did you read" etc can be triggers for the bot to pull up that relative content and put into the transcript...
They're mostly for conversations.
There are also audio dramas, audiobooks, documentaries, and so on, that are all tightly scripted and can work very well. Some of them may work just as well as longform text and I guess that's what GP prefers. I enjoy audio documentaries a lot though.
In my defense, i did use the weasel word "mostly" :)
>Podcasts are also completely inaccessible to search engines. If I want to find the podcast where they talked about an interesting thing that I want to revisit, and it's not in the episode description, it's basically lost forever.
this is an issue, but I think it is solved by maintaining an active subreddit or discussion forum to discuss the episodes as they are released.
Text excels at being extremely efficient for (1), but not as efficient for (2) - at least when compared to multimedia like photos, videos, audio, etc.
Podcasts offer a good balance between (1) and (2), but they are not the high-octane fuel of information that pure text can offer.
I do listen to music on the bus, but podcasts are too much of a challenge since they're competing with all the other noise around me.
For me, podcasts aren't like TV shows where I feel connected to the cast members. I'll listen only if the guest is interesting. In rare cases, I'll subscribe if the format is interesting, e.g. bad movies reviewed by comedic actors.
My hands are occupied so I can't hold anything, and it's completely brainless work so I'm free to focus.
I pop in a foreign language podcast and suddenly the time flies by.
Especially the ones with Naval
Having music or a radio always on is a concept I simply don't get.
Most listeners see Apple Podcasts as "good enough", but I find it confusing, and other applications follow the same approach with one or two "tweaks" that are not worth sacrificing features or adjusting to a new UI. I'm still optimistic that Spotify can get their act together (since they have the resources and incentive), but they haven't done anything dazzling since quietly adding a podcast section years ago.
It severely limits the capabilities of the medium, and yet no one seems to think anything is wrong. I understand this structure is a result of RSS serving as the backbone of "podcatchers", but everyone would benefit from a bit of lateral thinking.
I agree that most podcast players just lack features. They're built for "dummies": you can subscribe and click play, that's mostly it.
I'm a power-user. Podcast Addict on Android is the best player I have used, it has a ton of features and extreme customizability. Still, I am now using PocketCasts which is inferior by a wide margin, but it has sync capability, which ends up making my life a lot easier since I don't listen to podcasts on just a single device.
I think ultimately there is still space for another podcast player that is not built for dummies and offers a wide range of features on multiple platforms. Nothing like that exists, as far as I know.
This has also affected the monetization model. Most ads use promo codes for services, but those promos expire and change, rendering that content valueless. Given these limitations, it's a miracle any producers are funding serialized content that actually has a conclusion.
S-Town released all its episodes almost 2 years ago, and Pocket Casts still has it at #23.
It's really easy for open standards to be killed by big companies, and it's impossible to create a new, open standard and get adoption when big companies already own the space.
I will not listen to podcasts on Spotify, because Spotify cannot be allowed to own podcasts like Youtube owns video.
Discoverability is certainly a concern, but only because there is _so much_ good content out there. I find out about good podcasts via word of mouth much more than any directory or online source.
Quality is in the eye of the beholder. I've scoured top podcast lists and recommendations far and wide, and have found maybe 5 or 6 podcasts worth listening to for me in my whole life. I'm sure there must be others that I'd like, but they're buried in a mountain of uninteresting content.
Edit: formatting fix.
>a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet
I can see arguing that this doesn't even rule out walled-garden streams with an auto-play feature, since streaming and downloading are functionally the same (the only difference being what type of memory the data is stored in, and swap memory destroying that distinction entirely).
All the categorization stuff is totally outside of the podcasts themselves. Sure the default podcast apps suck, but lots of people have tried to do better and haven't caught on in a significant way. There are any number of alternative ways to get podcasts that I hear about all the time on the podcasts I listen to, have you tried those?
But ultimately, I don't think we want a rework of the infrastructure. It's not going to end well for podcasters or podcast listeners. User tracking, ad injection, and platform lock-in will be the priorities of the people who build the next successful podcast protocol.
It also never removes played episodes no matter what my settings.
Seriously these should be simple things.
I've never had a problem with it not deleting episodes, so I can't help you there.
I'd love to be able to use Pocket Casts or Overcast.
For Mac I suffer itunes.
For Windows, I ended up installing Blue Stacks and using Google's Podcast app. Nothing native or web-based worked well for me. Unreliable or being delivered through Windows Store which constantly crashes for me were my main issues.
For a while I used live bookmarks with Firefox, that was great but shortly after Firefox removed that feature :)
I mean, come on. Most of the interesting content is in English. This is a simple feature.
You can still find every podcast if you search by name or browse by category though. You make it sound like you can only listen to German podcasts via the stock podcasts app which is definitely not the case.
I got the "this episode is not currently available" message all the time whereas I never get anything similar from Overcast.
It often fails to transition from one podcast to the next in the playlist (ie, stops playing). Sometimes even when all involved episodes have been downloaded.
It fails to automatically delete old episodes.
It fails in multiple ways when it loses connectivity. E.g., it refuses to continue playing a very well-buffered episode if there's no connectivity. Mind you, I suspect that some of the connectivity issues may be a result of them never having tested it with 'slow' connections (2Mbps in my case). This obviously wouldn't absolve them in the least, however.
This is just off the top of my head. It's one of the worst pieces of software I have ever used. From a company with billions in cash.
That makes zero sense.
Because most don't come with an SD card reader and there are other features people want besides that. Buying a $1000 phone is all about the trade-offs one is willing to live with.
And they are prone to corruption. Never happened to me but I’ve read plenty of horror stories. Why subject myself to another data loss vector?
With the new 256gb capacity phones, it’s never a hassle when it comes to space anymore.
The "download a podcast/movie" is probably an important RITUAL for a lot of people, but I don't see actual lack of space as a key barrier.
Realistically, people listen closer to 2-3 hours a day, and even day, you can preload for a whole week using only 2GB of storage.
I'll have to take a look at that one... Is it in a book? It seems like a new reading rainbow...
Nowadays I think people mostly remember the theme song:
> Take a look, it's in a book, a Reading Rainbow!
Nowadays, I scroll through the multiple new episodes of many shows I used to enjoy to rarely find something I genuinely want to hear. Sure, you can probably dig to something like Cum Town but even then it doesn't feel fresh any more.
It's the same with binge watching TV (mentioned in the OP). Much more fun when you pirated the show, when it wasn't intended than when you're just some engagement metric. I haven't binge watched a TV show in at least three years.
Also, Google already had a podcasting app once (Google Listen?). I remember using it in like 2012.
I think we're in a golden age if you're interested in fringe politics. Otherwise, we're well past it and on the decline.
The latest feed refresh used to make me feel "Wow how will I have time to listen to all of these!" whereas now its "God do I really want to listen to any of these."
I guess previously we were all starved of interesting long form conversations (or socialist edgelords) but now we're reasonably satiated and like anything else it has to be good to hold our attention.
I still find a good econtalk pod is one of my greatest pleasures - russ & munger episodes particularly.
As a long-time independent podcast creator, it feels as though the field is becoming saturated, making it nearly impossible for a podcast to stand out without the backing of a major podcast network. It is reminiscent of the tipping point of blogs, where the quirky ecosystem of offerings mostly congealed. That change was good for advertisers and a few big content companies, but detrimental to the diversity of content.
"Stuff you should know" and "Stuff to blow your mind" do this. However, they sprinkle these in once a week and still release their normal 2 new episodes per week. It kind of makes sense for these shows since they have a massive back log and the nature of the subject matter is not really time sensitive.
Podcasts nowadays tend to have way more advertising, long digressions, long intros and credit sequences, more re-runs and crossover episodes. That hasn't happened in a vaccum - the content and production values have gotten a lot more ambitious. A lot of the heavy hitters of modern podcasting have entire staffs dedicated to production, to investigation and research... they have caught up and surpassed radio shows of old, and now are more comparable in scope to a lot of documentary TV shows. Paying for all that has required a very different model of revenue, one that I'm not nearly as interested in consuming.
...but could they even support themselves with a paid subscription model? What's frustrating is that cross-promotion is very effective at increasing subscriber count.
> When Netflix moved into streaming, they invested billions of dollars into original programming, helping usher in the “New Golden Age of Television”
The current age of TV started long before Netflix moved to original content. This is not a model anyone should want to see in podcasts. Closed wall content is bad for everyone.
> For listeners, there will be more amazing shows of all kinds. More media companies will invest in creating quality long-form audio.
I don't think this is necessarily a good thing. I listen to and enjoy some expensive, high production corporate podcasts. But I greatly prefer independent podcasts. So many corporate ones are overproduced (eg Radio Lab) or are full of ads, begging for money, cross promotions, and other non-content (eg 99% Invisible). I'm concerned that high budget shows will push out high quality indie shows and make them harder to find.
> Spotify will create more exclusive content to aggregate and retain listeners.
This is terrible for everyone except Spotify. Closed wall content is bad for everyone. Despite being a paid Spotify user I will not listen to any Spotify exclusives. If you become a Spotify exclusive you're dead to me.
You said that twice. It's not bad for subscribers. There's a good argument to be made that ad-driven content is bad for everyone. In fact there's an argument to be made that ad-driven content is ushering in the end of the world. Who was it that said "we're building dystopia to maximize clicks." If you pay for your media, you at least know what the product really is.
> There's a good argument to be made that ad-driven content is bad for everyone.
No disagreement here. I donate to independent podcasts directly. They get 100% of the money. Many of them have no ads or two versions, one that's free with ads or one that's paid with no ads. It's the best of both worlds.
I disagree with this strategy. In my opinion, pushing advertising on anyone is immoral and just because I can pay to get out of it doesn't absolve the podcaster who's still putting ads in the 'free' version.
A good podcaster doesn't push ads, full stop.
"That may change soon: Spotify bought Gimlet Media, a premium podcast studio, and Anchor, a podcast hosting platform, for $340 million earlier this month. That's a lot of money for an industry that was sized at just $314 million in 2017."
Gimlet Media's $340M price tag reflects enterprise value which bakes in future cash flows, while the industry market size of $314M is reflective of estimated revenues in 2017. Apples and oranges.
I have yet to see anyone really doing anything like that, taking your list of subscribed podcasts and using that to recommend you new ones. Seems like a trivial and extremely useful service to provide.
Google Podcasts does exactly that.
(I never could "zone out" and program while a podcast is on like some people, I need ambient/classical/electronic music to do that)
It's funny the market effect, if you're, say, John Dolan, it's vastly more time efficient to spend an hour and a half talking to your buddy and get paid for it than it is to spend many hours researching and writing a 1000 or 2000 word essay on a topic that nobody wants to pay for. It's kind of interesting the psychology here: people will pay for things which take hours out of their week, but won't pay for the thing which takes 3 minutes to read, even if the 3 minute thing contains more information. From my perspective; the denser information is more valuable!
The podcasts I listen to are all from the BBC, so they're scripted and produced for radio, rather than just being people chatting. Listen to e.g.  or  and it's all on topic (and being the BBC, ad-free).
Think of it more like the old days of broadcast radio or TV. You listened to whatever happened to be on while you were listening and if you didn't hear something. . . who cares it's just entertainment?
Most of my podcast subscriptions I listen to only rarely. It's more like a shortlist of channels that have things I might be interested in hearing.
That being said, for me, the biggest downside of podcasts is that although I'm willing to pay, there's no easy method of discoverability of high-quality, ad-free podcasts.
edit: However, I jump around in media fairly often - I often go months without listening to podcasts, so I have no interest in paying a subscription fee. I just want to pay a per-episode rate and get DRM-free audio files that I can use as I wish.
I don't know what kind of talks those are, but the podcasters I listen to spend a lot of time researching for the episodes. I'm guessing few people can just ad-lib 90 minutes of interesting stuff every week.
Just like you get radio shows that are talk radio or on a specific subject you get podcasts that are more akin to radio plays, like welcome to night Vale.
Like, which conveys the situation better, "Oh the humanity" or the audio as recorded (you can in this case ignore the video, which was recorded separately)?
I've yet to find any good History podcasts that serves good to great episodes on a regular basis either. The BBC's history podcast stood out as vaguely better. But I was always left craving for something more in-depth, like some of the better History lectures you can find on YouTube. That being said, there are a few great shows from time to time, like Slate's Slow Burn (on Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton) and Standoff (on the Ruby Ridge incident) or MSNBC's Bag Man (on Spiro Agnew).
NYT The Daily and NPR's Up First podcast can get you up to speed while doing all your daily hygiene stuff. And NPR's weekly politics roundup is good.
If you like history "Futility Closet" has a lot of good esoteric history stuff.
Reply All is eclectic and fun. Radiolab has good hard science stuff. Hidden Brain is more social sciences oriented.
Qit is designed for finding/playing shows by topic, so you can (for example) search for shows about GraphQL: https://qit.cloud/search/graphql
devpodcasts.app lets you browse shows by latest release or by tag: https://devpodcasts.app/shows
Looks like devpodcasts.app is a bit behind though, so I'll write a ticket and get that fixed up soon :)
I don’t want to listen about a new fitness test introduced in 2011 that they’ve already replaced, or how they’re asking for feedback on programming language design changes they already made half a decade ago.
Also if I get into a podcast and it only has three episodes and then forgotten about I then have to go looking for a new one immediately rather than subscribing and then always having something to listen to.
Of course, some others talk so quickly that 1x is the best you can do.