Why is RSS great? A pitch by the Open Standards Project

From the beginning, podcasting used the open RSS system for distribution. RSS enables any audio app to present podcasts in any kind of directory system. It’s an open, unowned protocol.

But when the most popular podcast in the U.S. (The Joe Rogan Experience, according to Edison Research) is purchased by one of the most popular listening apps in the world (Spotify), the door slams shut on RSS. It is Spotify-only listening to that podcast.

Exclusivity is bad for podcasting, says Justin Jackson, Co-founder of Transistor.fm, in an advocacy article published at the Podcast Standards Project website. (READ HERE) “Podcasting is better when it’s open,” he writes, and itemizes some advantages to podcasters:

  • They can monetize however they’d like. For example, they’re not beholden to a platform’s ad networks. They can choose Value4Value, Patreon, or sell their own ads.
  • Podcasters can also decide where their show is distributed. Most folks submit to Spotify, Apple, Google, and Amazon, but some choose to avoid platforms that don’t align with their values.
  • Podcasters can remove themselves from a directory if they no longer agree with that platform.
  • If a platform removes a show from its directory, listeners can still access it via the RSS feed.
  • Podcasters can host their audio files and RSS feeds wherever they want (they’re not dependent on a single provider). If they want to move from one hosting company to another, importing their feed and forwarding the old feed to the new one is as simple as importing their feed.

Better for listeners too, he notes, because podcasts are available in the listening app of choice.

The Podcast Standards Project is similar to the Web Standards Project established in 1998, which pushed back against proprietary internet browser features launched by Netscape and Microsoft. It’s an open project, “calling upon all of the rebellious and wild children of podcasting for support.” (WEBSITE)

Brad Hill