Sam Brown

Podcasting AudioBlogging, What to Call it?

“Online Audio has exploded over the past year, with growth in MP3 players, audio software, and blogs. Blogs brought us RSS feeds, which brought everyone together, and with the growth in online Audio, Podcasting was born.”

The term Podcasting was first mentioned by a newspaper, The Guardian on February 12, 2004, along with Audioblogging and GuerillaMedia. I just read a post ‘Why Podcasting Should be Called Podcasting’ stating just that, as their have been so many articles lately arguing for and against the name. My 2 cents follow.

What is Podcasting

Podcasting is a method of publishing sound files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new audio files automatically. Podcasting is distinct from other types of audio content delivery because it uses the RSS 2.0 file format.

Podcasting is the method of getting the file from the RSS Feed from the website of your choice. So what is all the fuss about? The websites are blogs, about audio files the owner creates, AudioBlog seems appropriate for that. Adam Currys method of getting the file from the blogs RSS feed can be called Podcasting and it shouldn’t really matter. As with my previous post, it is all about branding.

So, Podcasting is the method of getting the file, AudioBlogging is the persons Blog or Website about the Audio file, one could then call them shows, or episodes, or.. PodCasts right?

Apple branding bias

Now of course the word Pod is very familiar to everybody, and obviously made famous with Apples iPod family. The next version of iTunes is incorporating the ability to download and listen to Podcasts, this obviously has its advantages for Apple in the name. After watching the WWDC Keynote by Steve Jobs earlier today, what will appear in the new version of iTunes will be Podcasting/Podcasts. Steve Jobs marries the two as iPod + Broadcasting.

Microsoft also announced that Longhorn (the next version of windows) will have built in Podcasting features. I highly doubt that Bill Gates is going to call this Podcasting, and I’m sure if he did, Jobs would be less than pleased. Another Apple lawsuit?

Play on Demand

The way I see it? Pod should stand for Play on Demand, I have seen and heard this being used elsewhere and I think this really captures what Podcasting is all about. Files that can be downloaded from websites that can be played anytime on your portable music player, be it an iPod or not. These shows all come in MP3 format and can be listened to on all MP3 players, not just iPods! Some made by professionals, some by amateurs, and a lot of the new Podcasts that are emerging are from the corporations that see this as a growing medium.

However, there is a large fan base for the term Podcasts, majority of them are Apple fans. But then again, there are the dedicated Windows and/or non-iPod users that just can’t seem to come to terms with the term.. Podcasting.

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.