Podcasting, unlike other media forms, almost never has

charges for services, and the vast majority of feed

producers distribute free podcasts. This puts at odds

with, say, online radio stations, news sites that offer

media to subscribers, or the online music industry

general. Even though podcasting has very direct

correlations with industries like news and music that

have strong business models, podcasting differs.

Podcasting does not really have a business model, and

hardly anyone is podcasting in order to profit from it.

There are some businesses and news sites that podcast,

but they do it as a way to supplement their companies

and to gain technological geek credibility, not to make

money. This is an odd thing, but explainable in light of

what podcasting is.

The free podcast problem is not difficult, and

podcasting differs in several key ways from other media

areas. First, podcasting involves the physical transfer of

a file from the host to the users computer. An online

radio station does not do this; all that they provide to

their listeners is a streaming sound file that cannot be

saved without difficulty and work. If someone did

manage to do so, the station would have strong grounds

for suing them since they were never given the rights to

keep and store the files. By podcasting the complete file

to the users computer, express permission is granted the

user to copy and use as they wish. Second, the podcasts

are, for the most part, made by individuals who have

low costs involved in creating and distributing the files,

as opposed to a news broadcast or song by a music

company. These individuals have little reason to charge

for their work since there is little cost to them to do so.

Because the files are distributed in a way allows their

copying and does not control the media, and since

podcasting is a very low cost media outlet, feed

producers have little reason or ability to charge for their


Joshua Shoemaker


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