One-click Podcasting

iTunes + Podcasts = Audio Delights.

The latest version of iTunes is available for free download this week, and one of the changes was the curiously quiet inclusion of some serious podcast support. The iTunes music store now offers about 3000 different podcasts as free downloads, with full archiving and subscription capabilities. Some of the highlights:

- Subscriptions and downloads are 100% automatic if you upgrade to iTunes 4.9. If you stick with an older version, you can still download the shows individually, but you have to go back and do the work for each new episode.

- A pretty slick browsing and search interface. You will probably find at least 5 new shows that you like and would never have found otherwise.

- Complete archives, including episodes of shows that date from before the start of iTunes podcast distribution. Anything new you discover on iTunes today probably has back issues already lined up for your downloading pleasure.

- Instant integration with your iPod. No playlists to set up, no sync settings to change. Unless you really want to, of course. Some people are just chronic fiddlers.

- An impressive lack of censorship. My first thought was that the selection would be somewhat sanitized, but Dawn & Drew are right there in the Top 10. Fisting goes mainstream, I guess.

- Easy tools to get your own podcast distributed by Apple. This is the real surprise - pretty much instant and free access to a megalithic global distribution network for the average mope. Power to the people, and all like that. Very nice.

You could probably spend all day just poking around for new and interesting things, and yes, there is a lot of dreck clogging up the browser lists. If you want a couple of places to start, I highly recommend the CBC Radio 3 (under the "Public Radio" section) for the world's best independent music, and the Al Franken Show for a nightly take on politics south of the 49th (look for Al in the "Top 10" list).


Posted: Thu - June 30, 2005 at 10:20 AM