Podcasting is back. You might be thinking: Did it ever leave? Yes, it did. A true podcast is based on an open protocol (RSS) that any player can use to subscribe to any show. The creator of the standard, Adam Curry (The Podfather) is back with Podcasting 2.0, which returns podcasts to their open nature built on protocols with new tricks and features (Value4Value, etc.) to take the industry to the next level while returning to its open nature. Read on to learn about Podcasting 2.0, Podcast Index, Satoshi streaming and the future of RSS-based audio.
I’ve been listening to podcasts since before it was ever integrated into iTunes. I used an app called iPodder X to sideload MP3 files to iTunes to sync to my iPod. When Apple launched the iTunes Podcast Library, it became the default library in the future. Apple’s podcast directory had an API, so it became the standard for third-party apps as they hit the market in the coming years.
Apple did a good job of keeping a hands-off approach to the market and letting third-party apps innovate where they could. Back was an open protocol (RSS) that allowed anyone to subscribe to any show in any app. Good times, however, did not last. Over time, other companies became involved and certain shows were closed to specific platforms / apps. Spotify signed exclusive partnerships, as did Amazon, Apple and others. The open nature was still there a bit, but show for show it was about to go away. Adam Curry was not happy with where the industry was headed. To combat the closed nature of podcasts, he developed the Podcast Index to preserve, protect, and expand the open, independent podcasting ecosystem.
An Open Directory is behind Podcasting 2.0
Fans of podcasting got lucky that Apple kept an open folder for years. It was only directory. Today we have a directory from Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, etc. Podcast Index is an open directory with a promise to stay open as it is crowdfunded. I would love to see Apple adopt it in the future as their default library and promote the independence of podcasts as a technology. Podcasting is based on the RSS protocol just as email apps are based on open IMAP / SMTP standard. We need Apple to commit to protecting the open ecosystem by changing the Podcat index. I would love to see any business transition to Podcast Index.
When Dave Jones and I started this open source project with an open source policy and mission transparency, we removed over a decade of accumulated creative energy from app developers, hosting companies and podcasters. Podcastindex.org offers a rich API on which 58 apps and services today are based. Thanks to our value4value model, all participants in the ecosystem are in the value stream. This is a big departure from the traditional app store sale. The passion is rooted in collective success that rewards each individual with actual value that users determine. Not measly crumbs from big tech.
Paying creators for their content has always been something I have been passionate about, but it has been challenging. Apple has a premium option, but it locks you into Apple Podcasts. Spotify has connections to third-party subscription systems, but again, it locks you into that platform. Patreon and other services have open RSS subscription options, but it also adds a layer of complexity. Podcasting 2.0 is groundbreaking for a direct-to-creator opportunity where podcasts (and their guests) can receive payment over the Bitcoin Lightning network. Before you comment on Bitcoin, its energy consumption, etc. – this article is not the time for that discussion. The Bitcoin Lightning Network allows (layer 2 on top of the base layer the Bitcoin network) lightning fast payments at almost no cost.
You can use an app like Strike or Cash App to load $ 10 into your Lightning Wallet on an app like Fountain and then “boost” your favorite apps with 100 satoshis (1 bitcoin is 100,000,000 satoshis when split) or even stream 1 satoshi per minute to your favorite program. As of this writing, $ 1 equals 4,868 satoshis. Fountain has recently been pioneering a way for users to get Satoshis streamed to their Lightning Wallet for their time and listen to ads.
You might be thinking, “Why can’t you do this over Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, etc.?” There are two reasons. The first is that it is not possible to send anyone $ 0.05 as a thank you for their podcast episode due to transaction fees. Bitcoin Lightning Network also brings finally settlement almost immediately. Over the Visa rails, it takes six weeks before you can be guaranteed not to get a refund. By using Value4Value, listeners and creators have a direct path to revenue generation. The second reason is Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, etc. assume that everyone in the world has access to a credit card and / or a bank account. The reality is that they do not. Billions of people around the world do not have access to a stable banking ecosystem or the Visa network. Podcasting 2.0’s Value4Value system brings a way to monetize your passion, no matter where you are in the world and whether you have access to a bank. All you need is a Lightning Wallet and you can trade.
What’s Next for Podcasting 2.0?
An entire ecosystem is emerging around Podcasting 2.0. Here is a quick video about WordPress plugin that uses Podcast 2.0
The team behind Podcasting 2.0 builds live audio protocols over RSS, enhanced tags, and more. Instead of relying on individual apps to define features, the Podcasting 2.0 API sets the standard at the protocol level. There are a wealth of apps, hosts and podcasts that support Podcasting 2.0, so check out the full list. One of my favorite aspects is how podcasts can set up an automatic division between hosts, guests and others without having to use a third-party service. Payments can be made directly to each Host / Guest Lightning Wallet.
I’ve been a fan of podcasts long before Apple supported it. I love the medium, and I want it to survive in an open nature, and I think the Podcast Index is the direction Apple should move to support and encourage the rest of the industry to join. In the meantime, check out Fountain for a great implementation of Podcast 2.0 and start encouraging your favorite podcasts and Podcast apps to set up Value4Value. Today, there are a total of 58 apps and services that use the Podcasting 2.0 standard.
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