The Podcaster that Roared

Dave Winer, who is probably just in a pouty mood since he got dropped from my Twitter list, aims his longbow at Valleywag, all because Valleywag had the gall to say that the podcasting boom is over and Apple won.

Are you kidding me?  Nobody won podcasting, because nobody outside of the blogosphere cares a whit about podcasting.  Does anyone who doesn’t do a podcast listen to them?  There are geometrically more people getting rich by playing in the NBA than there are getting anywhere close to rich by podcasting.  And Dave wonders if the VC money will bet on podcasting?  Sure, as soon as they take a few street musicians public.  Get your Shakin’ Jake Woods bonds here!

Apple won podcasting on the way to claim the bigger mobile audio prize- the same way Sherman won Kennesaw Mountain on the way to Atlanta.

The podcasting boom, such as it was, is over for me.  I tried it for a while and actually got some props for the one I did.  But the effort/reward ratio for podcasting is about as out of whack as it can be.  Fred Wilson, another of my Twitter exiles, tried it and gave it up too, for many of the same reasons.  To be worth the effort, a podcast must have a big audience.  But it’s harder by far to create a popular podcast than it is to create a popular blog.  It’s a recipe for abandonment.

But anyone who doesn’t believe that Apple, via the iPod and its conjoined twin iTunes, has won the battle for the mind of North America (name the movie that quote came from for extra credit) as far as audio to go goes is in denial.  I know a lot of people in the real world who use iTunes.  I know no one in the real world who regularly listens to podcasts.  Yes I know about the northeast and mass transit and commute times and all that.  But what percentage of those folks choose a podcast over music?

So what if Dave invented or thinks he invented podcasting.  Put all the podcasters on one end of a room and the guy who invented Webkinz on the other end.  Set Fred down in the middle and see who he goes to.  VCs are great when it comes to cheerleading- it’s the way they seed the fields.  But they get a little pickier at harvest time.  I bet more revenue has been generated from the sale of those stuffed animals in the last month than has been generated by podcasting in the last year- or maybe ever.

There will always be some popular podcasts, just like there will always be some Tim Duncans and Steve Nashes.  But it’s not the place to go looking for an easy buck.

Buying a soon to be retired Webkinz is a much better bet.

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