Debunking Podcast Madness

So, iTunes 4.9 is out, and roughly 50% of my newspipe input mentions it in one form or another. With MP3 ego trips being hyped as a new, "inspiring", "self-empowering" and "revolutionary" form of "mainstream" media, I guess it's time to declare Western civilization (or at least vast swathes of its more technically-minded cognoscenti) as hopelessly confused as it was back when radio was going mainstream.

"Fishing the ether" by turning a dial on a crystal set has been replaced by hunting and pecking across tastefully striped listings, but most of the boundless enthusiasm I am able to distill from the mercurial pulse of my RSS intake is pretty much about the same thing: the possibilities of a new, unknown, form of dispersing media.

Mind The Spittle

A new form of dispersing media which, incidentally, seems to have some trouble with my corporate firewall - either that or there are far too many people who apreciate hanging on every word uttered by bespectacled geeks' reedy voices as they stutter through the description of their latest bit of gadgetry.

Or perhaps they're dissecting a newfangled technique to achieve GTD nirvana using a chopstick with numbered notches, their sentences punctuated by the occasional hiss of static as they forget, time and again, that you're not supposed to actually touch the mike, or breathe that close to it without taking a hit from their inhalers.

Considering that 99.999% of podcasts are pretty much a waste of time, I'm not exactly enthusiastic about the media. Or the fact that Apple has just added an amazing amount of infrastructure to podcasting, which turned it into a recording industry clone overnight (complete with rankings, meaningless "Top 40" lists and a swarming mass of online groupies).

Sweet 15

What does interest me is that this is a very safe way for Apple to test the waters in self-published audio content, further paving the way for a direct, zero intermediaries music industry, much as I envisioned when they trotted out GarageBand. Now that is interesting, especially considering that podcasting is integrated with the iTunes Music Store and that Apple is intending to keep track of content/copyright issues (there's a handy link near the status bar for reporting your concerns).

Andy Warhol came up with the (often distorted) concept of "15 minutes of fame", and a lot of people are churning out either 15 minutes or 15 megabytes.

Very few people are catching on to the fact that it might as well be music.