Apple: The Podcast Behemoth Awakens

For the last decade, after creating podcasts, Apple has largely been a benign presence in the industry. As of iOS 11, the giant has awakened.

In iOS 11, Apple will provide details of how listeners are engaging with episodes to podcast creators. There will be plenty of hot takes and hand wringing about this means for the podcast advertising, but there are a couple of other side-effects that I’ve been thinking about.

Two things spring to mind:

  1. How will this affect independent podcast players?
    I can imagine that the larger podcasters will now encourage people listen on Apple Podcasts so that they get better metrics, will indy apps now have to provide metrics (and build the infrastructure required) too? Marco Arment (maker of Overcast) has always been adamant about not giving stats or tracking to creators but now maybe Apple has forced his hand to give out that data?

  2. How do the walled-garden services respond to this?
    Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music have lost one of their unique features that they can offer creators: providing accurate skip and seek rates (since these companies own the whole playback stack). With reportedly low usage on these platforms (Apple Podcasts is used by 82% of listeners according to research by Clammer in 2015), what can these platforms offer creators now to promote and adopt them? Apple have been smart to neutralize the one thing these walled-garden services could offer that might eventually affect Apple’s dominance in podcasting.

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