With millions of listeners flocking to the internet for audio content, podcasting is the most popular trend since the hula hoop. You’d think there would be some robust, high-end enhancements for the systems that support well-liked online news programs, creative stories, and talk shows. The reality is that the new applications for podcasts are very similar to the original technology.
In 2000, a company called MyAudio2Go.com created an online file transfer system to download episodes of music, sports, news, and entertainment. The company went out of business a year later in the dot-com crash, but its founders started a revolution in content distribution that brings millions to the internet for downloadable media files today.
After an internet activist named Tristan Lewis suggested the use of enclosures in RSS feeds, the technology came to fruition under the deft software development skills of David Winer. Winer created the enclosures for RSS feeds, a new framework that allowed audio to transfer to media modules for end users to enjoy.
The technology wasn’t all that popular until technological expert Stephen Downes figured out how to collect multiple RSS feeds into one feed. In 2003, Downes’ Ed Radio app made the synchronized audio available in SMIL, a language similar to HTML. SMIL identifies audio content by URL, allowing for it to be stored on a server or shared.
That same year Winer developed enclosures that helped a well-known journalist to include audio with his web blog. Using the synchronization technology, Winer released multiple episodes of his colleague’s blog as an RSS feed.
Subsequently, a company called AudioFeast was the first subscription service, using software, not RSS, to allow audiences to download the content to a portable device. They went out of business because free podcasts were popping up on the internet.
By October 2004, The New York Times was disseminating news by podcasts to listeners in the United States and other countries. Apple added podcasts to iTunes in 2005. Government agencies around the world began using podcasting as a way of distributing news and policy information. It is estimated that more than 112 million people will listen to podcasts every month by 2021. People love the convenience,like Movon, an with many options that cater to their schedule.
Yet, the technology hasn’t changed that much since its inception. The word podcasting still refers to audio synchronization for automatic downloads. The wellspring of international audiences for online audio and video content has not given way to enhanced technology for creating or downloading the massive amounts of material that is available.
However, multiple platforms distribute podcasts. Content providers are leveraging distribution channels, such as Twitter and Spotify to increase their fan base. One particular podcast hit 230 million downloads over two seasons. These astounding audience numbers are causing big players, like The New York Times, and iTunes, to invest heavily in using the medium. Perhaps the media moguls will dole out the cash to innovate the technology that a few visionaries used to transform the way audiences receive online content.