Some of you will know that I’ve been practising my voice this year for some podcast adventures. Audio is one thing that smartphones do really well. I’m still not convinced by the experience of reading on a screen that blasts light into your eyes through a tiny grease-smeared piece of glass. But audio! Audio just works, with or without headphones. And the ads! The popups that blight the reading experience, sometimes even for apps you pay to receive. For some reason, the occasional advert on a podcast just sounds like normal radio. And normal radio has way more ads. So yes, I love podcasts.
Podcasts are truly democratic. There is no way, yet, to really make people pay to listen, unlike Audible and audiobooks. I have found that people don’t seem to want novels read out to them on a podcast for free, yet they will pay to download an audiobook. I don’t understand it, but my research and personal experience has shown it to be true. Perhaps I’m just ahead of the curve there.
The only problem with podcasting is that, due to the free and accessible nature of them, there are too many listening apps. But there are some clear leaders. Now that Google have understood where the market is going, they have quite a good app for Android users. Apple are the leaders and, some say, the inventors of the modern podcast ecosystem with their brilliant iOS app. But who’s this? Spotify have presumably seen a flat-line in the uptake of paid music streaming and have pushed millions into exclusive podcast deals with well-known radio hosts like Michelle Obama. The thing I love about their app is that you can listen to music and podcasts in the same place and, even more important, it works on both Android and iOS which means you can use the same app on every device, including on a smart speaker or watch.
Try as I might, I have found no better OS-agnostic player than Spotify for podcasts. And for broadcasters, all of the key platforms for hosting podcasts now have automatic links to Spotify. I started on Anchor, which is basically owned by Spotify, but I moved to Captivate.fm so that I can run my own network. I have so many things to share from my hot topics that one podcast was not enough.
So tune in, as they no longer say. I have a books podcast and a spies podcast and even a data analytics podcast which is my day job. And I put them all up for you to hear here: www.podcaster.me.uk so you have no excuse. All of them are available on all the main podcast directories.