The word “podcast” is a portmanteau (mash-up) of iPod and broadcast, and the very first podcatcher (app or program that allows you to sync someone’s podcast feed with your device) was called the iPodder – so it’s easy to see why people see Apple and iTunes as having a monopoly on the podcast market. And while it’s true that iTunes is currently the most popular podcast directory on the web and its accompanying podcast apps the most popular way to tune in, more and more people are turning to alternative podcast apps and platforms to get their content.
For some, this is simply because they don’t have or want an Apple device; for others, it’s personal preference. When I started listening to podcasts a few years ago, I listened to them on YouTube – because a) I didn’t want iTunes automatically downloading large audio files to my already struggling laptop (was doing a lot of video editing at the time) and b) I had an older model Blackberry for years (my theory was that if I got an iPhone, I’d just end up playing Angry Birds all day…turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy).
If you can make your podcast available to people who aren’t using iTunes for whatever reason, you’re setting yourself up to capture whole new markets and demographics; ones that many podcasters don’t reach because they’ve just limited themselves to iTunes (and the other podcasting apps which automatically pull their content from there).
So: here’s a quick guide a few directories and apps you should check out, to help ensure your podcast is getting maximum reach and your non-iOS audience can tune in easily (always a good thing to have an app recommendation on hand when someone asks how they can tune in from Android).
Stitcher Radio isn’t just dedicated to podcasts; it’s an online radio hub which features live streaming broadcasts as well as podcasts. Most of the “big names” can be found on here (Serial, Freakonomics, The Tim Ferriss Show), and it’s the most popular platform with people who aren’t interested in either iTunes or Google Play (so right now with podcast support for Google Play being limited to the US, that means they’re pretty much ruling Android). It’s really easy to get your show on Stitcher – just sign up, and submit your RSS feed. There’s even a monetisation option available through their partner program.
Google Play is the iTunes of the Android market (that sentence kind of makes my inner university lecturer shudder with flashbacks of marking first year essays…but I’ll run with it as I honestly can’t think of a better description). Submitting to Google Play currently has a few stumbling blocks – one, you have to create a custom feed (gpm rather than rss) and two, it’s currently only supporting podcasts in the US/Canada store (as mentioned above). But, keep your eye on it – once their podcast directory goes worldwide, it’s likely to take off.
Miro is a pretty neat bit of software, full of weird and wonderful things – including podcasts. It’s basically like a BitTorrent client, media player and file converter rolled into one. If your audience includes tech nerds and geeks (like yours truly), it’s well worth submitting your podcast here – just sign up, hand over your RSS feed, and follow the prompts.
There is some talk of Miro being dead in the water after years without an update – but as it’s such a slimline, easy to use file converter and torrent client, it is still getting downloaded fairly regularly and is worth a simple RSS submit.
Look: I know that YouTube technically isn’t a podcasting platform, or even an audio platform but I think it’s worth including here for a few reasons. One: it’s the second biggest search engine on the web, and two: we already know that people are open to using this platform solely to listen to audio, as evidenced by the huge number of videos that are just songs laid over a single image. There’s a whole lot of options with regards to what kind of visuals you attach to your podcast – you can keep it simple, or get creative. Whatever you end up doing on that front, you’re likely to catch that elusive segment of the market who are open to podcasts, but haven’t really got into them.
The app which accompanies Stitcher is the most popular podcast app behind iTunes and Google Play. Because Google Play is, as stated above, only available to listeners in the US and Canada – that makes Stitcher the second most popular podcast apps worldwide. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s my go-to when people ask me how their Android-user followers can tune in.
While you run into the same US/Canada stumbling block here (you can’t upload OR listen outside of this region), this is a pretty solid option for people in that corner of the world – or whose audience is solely based there. Like Apple, Google has a lot invested in getting you to use their native app – so it’s generally a good user experience.
If long pauses and quiet/loud talkers drive you crazy, Overcast is an excellent option in the podcast apps market – it can cut said pauses without distorting the audio or playback speed, and allows you to change the volume of someone’s voice – without changing the volume of the podcast itself (if that makes any kind of sense). You can import from pretty much any podcast directory on the web, discover new podcasts, create custom playlists, it has a variety of options as far as storage goes…it’s the ideal (and free!) option for people who take their podcast listening very seriously.
Arguably one of the most popular paid podcast apps on the market, Pocket Casts‘ main appeal is its ability to sync across devices on multiple operating systems. So: if you have an Android phone and an iPad and want your podcast apps to be able to work on/sync across both – it may well be worth shelling out the four bucks. Other than that, it does pretty much everything you’d want podcast apps to do – easy to navigate, allows you to categorise your listening material, you can choose to auto-download or stream your episodes.
This Android-only app is a pretty solid option, with some neat features including variable playback speed, an auto-delete option for the storage conscious, and the ability to search a variety of databases and directories for new content. As well as using it to tune into podcasts, you can use it to manage your other online content subscriptions – including YouTube and audiobooks.
If you’re looking to branch out from iTunes and need some support to really take your podcast next level – check out our membership. You get live calls with Karly and yours truly, as well as a supportive group of fellow podcasters to help you on your journey. You can check that out here.