iTunes 4.9 to offer support for podcasts….

Big news over at Engadget and on other sites: the next version of iTunes will support podcasting.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that:

"The new version of iTunes will let users of Apple’s music management program and integrated online music store find and download podcasts, which are homemade radio-style shows that have become a grassroots phenomenon on the Internet.

"Already millions of people are subscribing to these podcasts,” Jobs said. "I think this is going to send it into orbit.”

Jobs gave a preview of the software at D: All Things Digital, an annual technology conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal. He later said the new version of iTunes won’t be released for a "few months.”

I agree it’ll send podcasting in to "orbit" but there is also a clear opportunity for Apple: allow podcasters a way to monetize our podcasts and generate revenue for Apple. Why? I listen to podcasts every day instead of the radio or any of the hundreds of songs I’ve purchased from the iTunes music store. This is a problem if Apple wants to continue to drive revenue from the iTunes music store.

Here are some suggestions that will make this a viable business model for Apple:

  1. Publish quality guidelines for a podcast (fairly straightforward to do one in Garageband but output is NOT certain to be broadcast quality) as well as provide testing tools or ways to ensure levels are set appropriately, etc.
  2. Rather than have podcasters wrestle with signing up for a BMI or ASCAP license to have music as part of a podcast, get this out of the way for them so any piece of music in the iTunes music store is usable as part of a podcast
  3. Allow podcasters to get a piece of the action and monetize their podcasts (subscription model for all podcasts would be good…with aggregate payment based on number of downloads). Following the Amazon.com model for Associates.Amazon.com which allows accruals based on number of click-through purchases from blogs.

Pretty exciting stuff and I’m glad Apple is taking a leadership position in this new phenomena.

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About Steve Borsch

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.