A New Podcast Client

Dave Winer is looking at starting a new podcast client and I wish him the best of luck but as a friend I need to warn him its not going to be easy.

Back in early 2005 there was an arms race between iPodderX (which I co-wrote with August and later with Sean for the Windows version) and iPodder Lemon (now Juice) It was an arms race because we were racing to create better features than the other application, to give users what they wanted, to give podcasters what they wanted and to add value in our commercial client over their free open source one.

When Apple released iTunes that supported podcatching (I was there at the event) my heart first sank but after looking through the features my spirt had lifted. Both clients were more feature rich and provided so much more... Apple got so much wrong from what we could gather based on over a year of development and talking with users (podcasters and listeners). We were wrong! not sure if it was that we had too many feature, we were not user friendly enough or the fact it was built into iTunes but our sales dropped like a rock and I noticed new downloads for iPodder Lemon(Juice) also fell.

We changed directions and tried to be a feed reader as well, but people were moving to bloglines or staying with NetNewsWire or some other RSS reader to even try us... plus they all offered some level of podcatching built in as well. We lost our market. More importantly the sails got knocked out of the innovation that was happening on a weekly basis in the space. Two big innovations that were already in iPodderX and iPodder Lemon that iTunes has yet to support is OPML as a subscription format (which is what dave wants to do) and Bittorrent or some other P2P method of distribution.

During FanExpo I asked a panel of video podcasters about which technology helped them do what they do now and rise in fame and 'fortune'; Podcasting/RSS or YouTube. They all said YouTube. Maybe what the world needs is not another podcatching client but rather a YouTube for audio...

Dave is going to have a hard time building community momentum on this, I'll help in anyway I can but I know its going to be an uphill climb.