Podcasts


'Podcasts' Articles

Apple Adds New Content Categories to its Podcasts App

Apple has started rolling out new categories in its iOS Podcasts app to help improve the browsing experience and aid content discovery. Listeners can now scroll right along a horizontal strip of podcast categories, which appear in the Browse tab under a section labeled "Browse by Category." The classifications include Arts, Business, Comedy, Education, Fiction, Government, Health & Fitness, History, Kids & Family, Leisure, Music, News, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Society & Culture, Sports, Technology, True Crime, and TV & Film. When a category is selected, users can browse through Top Shows and New Shows. Some of the category listings also break down into additional subsections. For example, the Science category includes sections like Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Mathematics. Category pages without subcategories have curated rows instead, such as Long-Running Shows in the Technology category. At this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple mentioned that its Podcasts app would be getting new top-level categories and enhanced curation. Mac users should also be able to see the new categories in iTunes when the rollout is

Apple Plans to Start Funding Original Podcasts

Apple has a plan to start funding original podcasts in order to better compete with Spotify, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple executives have been reaching out to media companies to discuss exclusive buying rights for podcasts, which would be exclusive to Apple. While Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy for its plans, the company will be pursuing "the kind of deals it didn't make before," according to Bloomberg. Apple has also been funding original content for its upcoming Apple TV+ series, which could account for its decision to also bankroll other kinds of exclusive content. Apple does not make money from its Podcasts app, but has previously expressed interest in exclusive content as a way to draw and retain customers. Apple has used such exclusives for Apple Music, its music streaming service. The news has caused Spotify's stock to fall 2 percent so far as any effort on Apple's part to delve deeper into podcasts could impact Spotify's efforts to become a major source for podcast content. Apple's Podcasts app is installed on iOS devices by default, and starting with macOS Catalina, the Podcasts app is a standalone app. Apple's decision to split Podcasts out into its own app makes more sense if the company is indeed planning to invest money into original and exclusive podcasts. Two years ago, Spotify said it was "coming after" Apple with a strong push into podcasting content, and this year, Spotify made a serious effort to become a premium podcast destination. Spotify launched several podcast-related initiatives and acquired

Apple's Podcasts Get Overhauled Web Interface With Web Playback

Apple recently redid the web interface for Podcasts, providing new podcast webpages with a streamlined design that's easier to navigate and built-in web playback. Each new page features a clear recap of each episode along with a "Play" button for playing an individual episode or all of the episodes in order directly from the web browser without the need to open up iTunes. Clicking on an episode's name opens up a full page for the episode in question, so you can see complete details about what's included in each one before deciding to listen. As 9to5Mac points out, the prior design for podcasts on the web was just a list of podcast episodes that opened up podcasts in iTunes with no web playback option available. Apple is planning on introducing a standalone Podcasts app on the Mac when macOS 10.15 launches, so this new web look may be a precursor to the future launch of the dedicated Podcasts

macOS 10.15 Expected to Feature Standalone Music and Podcasts Apps and Redesigned Books App

The next major release of macOS will feature standalone Music and Podcasts apps alongside Apple's promised TV app coming to the Mac this fall, according to 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo, who has discovered icons for the apps. Rambo says he has confirmed the plans with sources familiar with the matter. Image via 9to5Mac The report also claims that the existing Books app on Mac will be redesigned to look more like the Apple News app on Mac. Like the ‌Apple News‌, Home, Stocks, and Voice Memos apps on macOS Mojave, Rambo says the new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps will be built with Apple's so-called Marzipan developer tools, which allow for a single app to be designed to run across iPhone, iPad, and Mac with a similar codebase. Despite the standalone Music and Podcasts apps, Rambo says iTunes will stick around on the next major macOS release, as it is still used for some legacy purposes like manual syncing of older iPhones, iPads, and iPods. Apple's plans to bring UIKit-based Music, Podcasts, and possibly Books apps to the Mac were first hinted at by developer Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter last week. Apple should unveil macOS 10.15 alongside iOS 13, watchOS 6, and tvOS 13 at WWDC 2019, which kicks off on June 3 in San Jose. I am now fairly confident based on evidence I don't wish to make public at this point that Apple is planning new (likely UIKit) Music, Podcasts, perhaps even Books, apps for macOS, to join the new TV app. I expect the four to be the next wave of Marzipan apps. Grain of salt, etc— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) April 5, 2019

Spotify Focusing on Exclusives and Improved Discovery to Challenge Apple as Go-To Destination for Podcasts

In July 2017, reports surfaced that Spotify had set its sights on Apple Podcasts and was planning a strong push into the space with a vastly reimagined podcasts segment that would become the default podcast listening app for many users. Today, The Verge has detailed Spotify's ongoing plans to make the service a premium podcast destination. To start, Spotify intends to fix podcast discovery and prioritize the user experience by tweaking the algorithm that it uses for its streaming music Discover Weekly playlist. According to Spotify head of studio and video Courntey Holt, the team that built the discovery engine for music "is now working on podcasts." Spotify also plans to create new and exclusive podcasts for the service, so that users have to subscribe to watch all of the latest and most popular shows. Outside of exclusives, Spotify is also planning timed exclusives that will go to other platforms after a set window and other release schedules with "a lot of experimentation," according to Gimlet Media co-founder Alex Blumberg. Gimlet Media is a content creation company that Spotify acquired for $300 million last month, and is the home to notable big-name podcasts like Homecoming and Reply All. At the same time, Spotify also purchased Anchor, a company that offers a podcasting solution on the opposite end of the spectrum: letting users record and create their own shows that can be easily shared online. According to Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy, "We're going to place a bet on both ends of the spectrum," because at this time the company isn't sure if

Apple Music, Apple Books, Apple Podcasts, and iTunes Gain New 'Best of 2018' Sections

This week, Apple shared a new press release that highlighted the best music, movies, television shows, podcasts, and books of 2018. With the announcement, Apple has now rolled out new sections in each service that highlight these pieces of media under an all-new "Best of 2018" category. Throughout 2018 we’ve been celebrating the creativity of app developers, musicians, writers and storytellers across the Apple community. As the year draws to a close, we’re thrilled to highlight some of our favorites — and yours. https://t.co/7PWIMiEOdg— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 4, 2018 You can check out all of the new Best of 2018 collections in the Browse tabs of Apple Music and Apple Podcasts, and the Book Store tab of Apple Books. On iTunes, the section can be found by scrolling down a bit, underneath the New and Noteworthy category. Starting with Apple Music, the central Browse tab has a few new cards today that celebrate the Artist of the Year (Drake), Album of the Year (Kacey Musgraves' "Golden Hour"), Song of the Year (Cardi B's "I Like It"), and Breakthrough Artist of the Year (Juice WRLD). Apple also accumulates all of this into a centralized Best of 2018 hub that breaks down each artist and album with text by Apple Music's editors. This area also includes the new Best of 2018 Playlist, which Apple explains was created by dozens of Apple Music editors from all over the world and includes 100 of the best tracks of the year, across genres. There are also Top 100 playlists for the United States and Global, a full list of the top 100 most-streamed albums of the

Pandora Announces Personalized Podcast Curation With the 'Podcast Genome Project'

Following its acquisition by SiriusXM in September, Pandora today announced that it will begin offering specialized podcast curation under the Podcast Genome Project. Similar to its Music Genome Project, the PGP will launch in a public beta format and combine human curation with advanced machine learning to offer users specific podcast recommendations, "down to the episodic level." Pandora says that the Podcast Genome Project will evaluate content based on more than 1,500 attributes like MPAA ratings, timely topics, production style, content type, host profile, and combine this with listener signals like thumb ratings, skips, and replays. Machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, and collaborative filtering methods will also work in tandem with Pandora's in-house curation team to give each user unique podcast recommendations that evolve as their preferences change. “It might feel like podcasts are ubiquitous, but, eighty-three percent of Americans aren’t yet listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, and a majority of them report that’s because they simply don’t know where to start,” said Roger Lynch, Chief Executive Officer, Pandora. “Making podcasts - both individual episodes and series - easy to discover and simple to experience is how we plan to greatly grow podcast listening while simultaneously creating new and more sustainable ways to monetize them.” Pandora's podcast partners include PM, Gimlet, HeadGum, Libsyn, Maximum Fun, NPR, Parcast, PRX+PRI, reVolver, Slate, The New York Times, The Ramsey Network, The Ringer, WNYC Studios, and Wondery. The

Spotify Continues Strong Push Into Podcasts With Addition of BBC's Podcast Library

Spotify today announced that listeners across the globe can now tune into the BBC's podcast catalog directly within the Spotify app, including "hundreds of programs across thousands of episodes." In the announcement, the company focuses on podcast listeners in the United Kingdom, but it appears that BBC podcasts on Spotify are also appearing for users in the United States and elsewhere outside of the U.K. The BBC podcasts on Spotify include shows from iPlayer Radio and BBC Sounds, covering numerous genres, which listeners can find in the Browse tab on Spotify. Podcast categories include Comedy, News and Politics, Educational, Sport and Recreation, Lifestyle and Health, Business and Technology, and Kids and Family. The company also recommended a few podcasts for users, including "Short Cuts," which centers on themes like "fear" and "magical realism" through the presentation of poetry, short stories, documentaries, and more. There's also "Desert Island Discs," in which host Kirsty Young asks guests to list the items they would take if they were stranded on an island. Prior to BBC, Spotify in May added NPR's catalog of podcasts to its app. The streaming company has been making a stronger push into podcasts since July 2017, when a report from Bloomberg claimed that Spotify was "coming after" Apple Podcasts. The company started by commissioning original podcasts about music in early 2017, and has now shifted to partnering with existing podcast creators to bolster its catalog of shows. With the addition of these content creators, Spotify's head of podcast

Apple Removes Five of Six Infowars Podcast Series From iTunes Directory

Apple has removed the entire libraries of five Infowars podcasts from the Apple Podcasts platform, Buzzfeed News reported on Sunday. Among the podcasts removed from Apple's iTunes index are "War Room" and "The Alex Jones Show", hosted by the controversial U.S. radio host and conspiracy theory peddler. Infowars host Alex Jones A sixth show, "Real News With David Knight", was the only Infowars podcast to survive Apple's cull, although why that would be remains unclear. Apple does not host the podcasts per se but is responsible for running the directory for users of its stock Podcasts app. In explaining its decision to remove the five shows, Apple provided Buzzfeed with the following statement: "Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users," a company spokesperson said. "Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions."In terms of reach and discoverability, the removal of the shows is just the latest in a number of blows for Alex Jones' Infowars series. Last month, Facebook suspended the host's personal profile for 30 days for what it said was hate speech and bullying, while Spotify removed several episodes of Jones' shows last week for violating its hate content policy. Infowars was founded by Jones in 1999 and the host has

Apple Podcasts Tops 555,000 Different Active Shows

Apple's Podcasts service now hosts more than 18.5 million episodes across 555,000 different "active" shows, according to a report from TechCrunch. The podcast stats, which appears to have been sent directly to TechCrunch by Apple, include other data as well. Apple's hosted podcasts come in more than 100 languages, from 155 countries. The podcast total is up from 525,000 back in April, and a total of fifty billion episodes have been streamed or downloaded since Podcasts launched back in 2005 (when the service had a mere 3,000 shows). Last year, some 13.7 billion episodes were consumed, up from 10 billion in 2016. The Stuff You Should Know podcast is the most consumed, passing 500 million downloads. TechCrunch also reports that Apple will be tightening up the rules around what podcasts can access the Podcasts Analytics service it offers, mainly around things like including Cover Art on shows and adding metadata like publication date. Yesterday, Apple announced that a Podcasts app would be added to the Apple Watch with watchOS 5, expanding the universe of Apple devices which can consume

Castro Podcasts Updates With Quicker AirPlay Controls, Cleaner Layout, Apple Watch App, and More

Podcast app "Castro" updated to version 3.0 this week, introducing a collection of notable additions like a rebuilt player engine, cleaner layout, Apple Watch app, and more. Developer Supertop Software says that Castro 3 is "much faster" when users start streaming a podcast and the app's controls are more responsive thanks to a simpler layout on the player screen. Users can now star the current episode they're listening to from the player by double tapping the artwork, and in this screen there are also newly accessible AirPlay controls for streaming podcasts to other devices with fewer steps. Additionally, Supertop has rolled out an Apple Watch app for podcast playback, letting users control their podcasts and choose new episodes from their queue to play. Castro is a free app to download [Direct Link], and the app supports in-app purchases for Castro Plus at $8.99 per year or $2.99 per quarter. Castro Plus offers advanced features like mono-mix, chapter skipping and selection, trim silence and enhanced voices for an improved listening experience, and more. Many users have grown frustrated with Apple's own dedicated Podcasts app, despite an update last year that Apple said was aimed at introducing a "richer" user experience. As more and more companies begin looking into the podcast market, Apple has been making moves that should beef up its own app, including the acquisition of podcast search startup Pop Up Archive last

Apple Confirms HomePod's Supported Audio Sources in Tech Specs

Apple today updated its HomePod tech specs page with a new Audio Sources section that lists all of the ways in which the speaker can stream audio, setting the record straight on some conflicting information. • Apple Music: HomePod users can ask Siri to play any of over 45 million songs available on Apple Music. A subscription is required. • iTunes Music: HomePod users can ask Siri to play any songs, albums, or audiobooks purchased from the iTunes Store. • iCloud Music Library: HomePod users can ask Siri to play any songs uploaded to a user's iCloud Music Library, including songs imported from other sources such as CDs, with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription. • Beats 1: HomePod users can ask Siri to play Apple's official radio station. • Podcasts: HomePod users can ask Siri to play any podcast episodes from the iTunes podcast directory. • AirPlay: HomePod users can use AirPlay to play other audio from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac. AirPlay 2, coming later this year, is only required to stream audio from these sources to multiple HomePods. Earlier this week, iMore's Serenity Caldwell put together a useful breakdown with more detailed information about how the HomePod works with Apple Music, iTunes Match, iCloud Music Library, AirPlay, and more. HomePod orders began last week ahead of the speaker's official launch on February 9 in the United States, United Kingdom, and

Apple Launches New Podcast Analytics Beta for Podcasters

Apple in June promised to introduce new analytics features for podcasters, providing in-episode analytics options for tracking people listening, where in a podcast listeners stop and skip content, whether ads are skipped, and how long people generally listen for. Starting today, Apple's podcast analytics feature is rolling out in a beta capacity, reports TechCrunch. In recent years, podcasts have been growing in popularity, which is what led Apple to finally introduce dedicated analytics tools. Apple also redesigned the Podcasts app entirely in iOS 11, implementing a much improved end user experience with better linearity for podcast episodes. Apple's new podcasts analytics feature uses anonymized data to make sure user privacy is preserved while also allowing developers access to data that will improve their podcast performance. Data is available from iOS 11 and iTunes 12.7 users. Podcasters can access the new analytics options for free starting today in iTunes Connect.

Apple Acquires Podcast Search Startup 'Pop Up Archive'

Apple has acquired podcast search startup Pop Up Archive, according to Harvard University's Nieman Lab via AppleInsider. Apple more or less confirmed the report by issuing its standard statement about acquisitions: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Pop Up Archive was an Oakland-based online platform focused on building tools to transcribe, organize, and search audio files, including a podcast search engine Audiosear.ch, according to the report.Pop Up Archive was founded in 2012, and has since grown off an extended series of seed investments and grants from sources like Bloomberg Beta, 500 Startups, and the Knight Foundation, among others. The company also has a close relationship with PRX; in 2012, the two organizations partnered up to build PRX’s original web-based archive system.Both the Pop Up Archive and Audiosear.ch websites state that operations shut down on November 28, 2017, presumably around the time Apple acquired the startup. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. While no other details about the acquisition were shared, it can be assumed that Pop Up Archive's search tools could be used to improve podcast search and discovery in Apple's official Podcasts app for iPhone and

Spotify 'Coming After' Apple With Strong Push Into Podcasts

Spotify is experimenting with a new podcast initiative that's said to be aimed at gaining ground on the current leader in the field, Apple, as a way to convince Spotify users on iOS to stick around in the Spotify app, and not migrate over to Apple Podcasts. As of now, the podcast initiative is described as a "test," with Spotify launching a few original podcasts and running promotions for the shows to see how users respond (via Bloomberg). Currently, podcasts on Spotify sit within the Browse tab of the iOS app and lack any highlighted featured section on the Home screen. Spotify's new initiative seeks a way to change that and begin showcasing podcasts for users in the same way that the service curates music. Earlier this year, Spotify commissioned original podcasts focused on music, premiering first on Spotify before expanding to other services. Next, more original shows will continue the podcast test over the coming months. Spotify will fund a new batch of original podcasts in the coming months, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing the private plans. “Spotify has the potential to do a lot for podcasting,” Quah said. “They have a large user base, and all it takes is a few tweaks here and there to put podcasting in the foreground for the daily listeners.” The initiative is also expanding into advertising fields, with Spotify agreeing to promote specific podcasts within the app and on mobile transportation, in return for these podcast hosts "talking up" Spotify on social media and throughout their shows. Right

Overhauled Podcast App in iOS 11 to Bring Richer User Experience and Listener Analytics

In a Friday session at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple revealed some major updates to is native Podcasts app that will be coming in iOS 11. Some of the changes will affect podcast listeners, while others should make it easier for podcasters to learn more about their audience's listening habits. As mentioned at Apple's WWDC Keynote earlier this week, the Podcasts app is getting an overhaul in iOS 11. Along with a new interface and better title handling, changes to the way Apple's podcast feed works should make for an improved experience for the end user, as Six Colors' Jason Snell explained in a blog post on Friday: New extensions to Apple's podcast feed specification will allow podcasts to define individual seasons and explain whether an episode is a teaser, a full episode, or bonus content. These extensions will be read by the Podcast app and used to present a podcast in a richer way than the current, more linear, approach. (Since podcast feeds are just text, other podcast apps will be free to follow Apple's lead and also alter how they display podcasts based on these tags.)Thanks to the new extensions, users will be able to download full seasons, and the Podcasts app will know if a podcast is supposed to be listened to in chronological order or if the most recent downloaded episode is the most relevant to the listener. The other updates revealed on Friday are more relevant to podcasters. Notably, Apple is launching in-episode analytics, which will enable podcasters to discover how many people are listening to their episodes and where in the app

Apple Rebrands iTunes Podcasts as 'Apple Podcasts'

Apple today has rebranded iTunes Podcasts to be called "Apple Podcasts," and updated its marketing website for podcasters to learn how the new branding can help promote their shows. Apple Podcasts promo materials now include a new "Listen on Apple Podcasts" badge, while most of the pre-existing graphics standards and podcast identity guidelines remain unchanged. The rebranding also stretches to the company's Twitter account, where iTunes Podcasts has now turned into @ApplePodcasts so users can get up-to-date recommendations on the newest and best podcasts right from their Twitter feed. The functionality and look of the official Podcasts iOS app appears to have remained the same for now. It's official: iTunes Podcasts is now @ApplePodcasts. Podcasters, we've got a great new badge to help you promote your shows. 💜📻 pic.twitter.com/c9ZWVmSCsq— Steve Wilson (@StephenWilson) April 13, 2017 The new name falls in line with Apple's recent decision to place the company's name in front of the service or product in question -- like Apple Music and Apple Pencil -- and further distances itself from iTunes. During the Code Media Conference this past February, Eddy Cue admitted that Podcasts are seeing a "huge resurgence," and that Apple will "absolutely" do more with the medium in the future. Today's rebranding could be the first step in that direction for the

Apple Meets With Podcasters to Hear Wide-Ranging Community Grievances

Apple has held a special meeting with leading podcasters in an attempt to address concerns that the company is failing to adequately support the iTunes broadcast community, reports The New York Times. According to the piece published today, the meeting took place last month at the company's Cupertino headquarters, where seven top iTunes podcasters were invited to air their grievances regarding Apple's handling of the popular audio format in recent years. The podcasters expressed in "frank terms" their biggest issues to a room full of Apple employees, according to two attendees who spoke on condition of anonymity after signing nondisclosure agreements. At the top of the complaints list was a frustration among podcasters at their lack of ability to make money through subscription downloads, mainly due to insufficient access to data about their listeners – data that they argued Apple is in a unique position to provide. The program producers also took issue with iTunes' limited sharing features, which take multiple clicks to advertise content on social media. In addition, podcasters said they had been "relegated to wooing a single Apple employee" when it came to discussing issues, such as perceived inconsistencies in the way iTunes elects to promote content. After the meeting was over, SVP Eddy Cue met with Apple employees separately in a closed-door session to discuss the issues that had been raised by the podcasters, but the company did not make any promises to address their concerns, according to the sources. Apple essentially gave birth to the

Apple Introduces 'Podcasts Connect' for Managing Podcast Uploads

Earlier this month, Apple quietly introduced a new "Podcasts Connect" tool for people who upload their podcasts to iTunes. Previously, podcasters uploaded their content using the "Submit a Podcast" link in the iTunes Podcast Store, but now there's a dedicated portal for managing podcast uploads. As described by Libsyn, the Podcasts Connect portal lets users submit new podcasts and manage existing podcasts using their Apple IDs. Uploading a podcast is as simple as entering an RSS feed URL and there are new features that make it easier for podcasters to update their content. Refreshing an RSS feed via the portal will allow for quick fixes and changes to be synced to iTunes, and there are tools for hiding podcasts and deleting them from the iTunes podcast directory. The portal will also give podcasters information on the current status of their uploaded podcasts. Apple has been sending emails to customers who upload podcasts to let them know about the new Podcasts Connect tool, which is also accompanied by improved support resources for podcast providers and HTTPS support for the podcast metadata, cover art, and episode

Podcasts Entering 'Golden Age' After Experiencing Surge in Growth

The continued rise of smartphone and tablet adoption and the addition of Podcasts as a stock app on iOS 8 has resulted in significant growth for podcasts in the United States, reports Ad Age. Overall consumption of podcasts experienced 18% growth in the U.S. between Spring and Fall 2014 as Americans now listen to approximately 21.1 million hours of podcasts per day, according to Edison Research. The resurgence of podcasts arrives around a decade after the audio format became established for iPod and iTunes, and the sudden rise in popularity has some podcast makers excited. "Creatively, we are entering a new golden age," said Matthew Lieber, co-founder of the podcasting startup Gimlet Media. "In terms of the golden age of the business," he added, "we're just getting started." A direct beneficiary of the so-called "podcast renaissance" is Serial, a spin-off of This American Life that has amassed close to 72 million downloads since it started being aired last fall. Serial is based upon a Baltimore murder case in 1999, in which detectives arrest the ex-boyfriend of a high school senior that disappears after school one day. All twelve episodes are available through iTunes and on the Serial website for free. While we may be entering the "golden age" of podcasts, the report finds that brand advertisers are still spending significantly less dollars on the medium than more traditional forms of media such as broadcast television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Advertising agency ZenithOptimedia reported last year that podcast ad spending growth would remain flat through