Quality is not the chain restraining podcasts from killing radio.
Podcast listeners know the experience of listening to podcasts are better than listening to radio. Let me provide some examples:
- Want to hear the mentality of the world’s top computer generated trading companies? Top Traders Unplugged is way better than listening to traditional financial radio.
- Want to hear detailed habits of the world’s top performers? The Tim Ferriss Show doesn’t even have a radio equivalent.
- Are you a woman seeking to grow a million dollar business? Ali Brown is the best.
- Are you seeking spiritual guidance? Mas Sajady helps millions with conversations and free meditations.
- Want to learn about emotional intelligence? Mark Shapiro is your man.
We can listen whenever we want and the advertisements are vetted by the producer or non-existent.
It’s just so much better.
So why isn’t podcasting the #1 audio format in the world?
The reason is that it’s challenging to listen to podcasts.
It’s not super challenging, but compared to radio, it’s challenging.
Radio is winning because:
- There is no need to curate – Radio stations curate what we hear so we don’t have to think about it.
- Simple interface – Radios are simple. Click the button on and select between 88.7 – 105.9
- It is an established medium – Radio is older than you. It is really important because of that.
The biggest thing holding back podcasts right now is that they are hard to listen to.
iTunes isn’t great
iTunes is the #1 place to download podcasts.
iTunes is a pain.
Let me explain.
Problems with iTunes:
- To do anything, you have to login to the iTunes store – This has stopped me from setting people up to listen to podcasts over and over again.
- iTunes password recovery is hard
- The podcast app is confusing (have I downloaded this show or not? Why do I have 50 episodes of this show and I don’t have the show I want?)
- The curation is up to you – They don’t help you find the right shows for what you want now
These problems aren’t insurmountable. They are simply a mild annoyance for tech people.
I find it hard to help my 50+ year old friends listen to podcasts. They don’t have their iTunes passwords so to download a podcast, we have to set up iTunes. We can’t just say, listen to this show. We have to say, download this app, verify email, search for the show, download the show and play the show.
If podcasting is to grow to market dominance, ease of consumption is the next big breakthrough.
Will Google Play Podcast Player Solve the Problem?
The short answer is no. They have been slow to launch, their plans seem real and podcasters are leaking information.
It’s easy to submit your podcast feed to Google play. I don’t know why we do this when we can’t listen to podcasts with their app.
As of now, the jury is out.
How Google Play Can Win
If Google can create a radio like listening experience, they will win.
If Google can suggest shows that people really want to listen to, they will win.
If Google can help podcasters gain more listeners, they will win.
But for now, iTunes is still the big guy in town.