The History of the iPod Podcast

What is now called a podcast traces its orgins to the
first ipod podcasts, the creation of distributed mp3 files
that could be downloaded and played on Apple’s music
player, the iPod. When the iPod came out, and users
discovered what a wonderful thing it was for holding
music, some people had the idea of loading things that
weren’t necessarily songs. Some of the people that got
their hands on the iPod took the route of reverse
engineering the iPod and loading on different firmware,
or operating system, but others had the idea of sharing
small sound files that could be played on the iPod. The
technology for distributing the files already existed,
with RSS feeds. RSS feeds were a means of generating
machine readable files that could share information
between a server and a user. Many blogs already used
them to keep readers up to date with the latest posts, but
some hopeful podcasters had the idea of enclosing links
to sound files within the RSS feed and downloading the
file to the computer.

With the change in RSS feeds, ipod podcast took off,
and podcasting became a popular way to share files.
Users saw podcasting as a way to become radio hosts,
or dj’s, and a variety of podcasts began popping up.
Software was written to automatically check the RSS
feeds, extract the links to the podcast episodes, and
download the files. These programs became known as
podcast clients.

By this time, podcasting had moved beyond the ipod,
and they were not simply making an ipod podcast
anymore. Some people had figured out how to use even
the PlayStation Portable gaming console as a podcast
player. It was more difficult that downloading podcasts
to the ipod, since the PSP used a different format for it’s
files, but PSP podcasts began popping up. In addition,
podcasting made inroads to the wider audience of
people without iPods, who simply saw podcasting as an
extremely convenient way to receive news, music, and
entertainment over the internet.

Today, while the iPod podcast type still exists, fewer
people subscribe to podcasts as a way of gaining
portable media files they can listen to anywhere.
Although that is still an attractive part of podcasting, it
seems to be eclipsed by the ease with which podcasting
has become a content delivery system. Now, podcasting
has become tied up with the rising number of audio and
video blogs, where blogging is done not by post, but
through media files uploaded to the blog. These blogs,
and podcasting in general, take advantage of the
shrinking cost of broadband internet connections, and
the rising number of people with high speed access to
offer a picture of the internet rich with multimedia files.