Dan Romero

Podcasting distribution is the problem to solve

If Joe Rogan were to leave centralized web2 platforms like Spotify, YouTube, Apple Podcasts, where his content is hosted is a way less interesting issue than how his content is distributed.

Prior to going exclusive with Spotify, Rogan used the decentralized protocol that most other podcasters use, RSS. All of the centralized podcast platforms were able to list the podcast by simply subscribing to his RSS feed.

However, the podcaster <> listener relationship is not direct; the podcast clients/platforms listeners choose as their default podcast player have the ability to block access or hide content from given feed. But since there are many competing clients, listeners can easily switch to a client that gives them the freedom to subscribe to whatever podcast RSS they want. However, not being on popular platforms like Apple, Spotify and YouTube will significantly reduce total audience size.

A potential improvement for podcasters on the existing decentralized RSS podcast implementation would be a standard for clients to allow users to opt-in to an email list (or other direct messaging) when they subscribe to the show.

OPML export does exist in some apps like Overcast and Pocket Casts, but too technical for most people. The beauty of podcasts and RSS today is the technical complexity has been abstracted. Sadly, unlikely that centralized platforms will want to make OPML export easy.

This first appeared on Twitter.

First published on February 5, 2022