The Beginning of the End of Free Podcasts

Alan Jacobs believes we are on the precipice of losing one of the coolest free entertainment values out there: podcasts.

For the last couple of years I have been hearing — from Marco Arment quite regularly — that podcasts are great because they’re the last refuge of the truly independent web. Looks like that’s changing. I can’t imagine that Spotify would make this investment without requiring you to sign up for a Spotify account in order to listen to Gimlet Media podcasts. And I’m sure other big media companies will follow suit, buying up popular podcasts and podcast networks. (What’s your price, Radiotopia?) And so back into the silos, and behind the paywalls, we go. There’s nothing about podcasts that makes them intrinsically independent.

I’m not convinced he’s right, but I understand where he’s coming from. It will be interesting to see where the money flows.

February 7, 2019