It used to be, but it isn’t anymore.
I’ve seen many people talk about the Joe Rogan & Spotify deal as a “gREaT sTRiDe fOR POdcAsTIng!”, but it is exactly the opposite.
Podcasting is a standard of publication. You publish a collection of audio files via a public RSS (Or Atom) feed. That feed is the “cast”. Anyone can then read that RSS feed using an application like Podcast Addict, or any other podcatcher. It podcatches the podcast.
This is why podcasting is such a symbol of freedom. Anyone can publish whatever they want to their RSS feed, and anyone can catch that feed. Nobody needs to know what you listen to, or who is downloading their podcast. Nobody can stop the creator, nobody can stop the consumer. There is no middleman. There is no youtube.com that forces you to make an account to watch certain content. There is no 3rd party of underpaid Indian contractors sitting around deciding what content is acceptable and not based on poorly defined guidelines. There is no low-level staff that can complain about what episodes their service is hosting.
It has become exactly what I described there. The JRE is now exclusive to Spotify. Spotify is hosting the content and intentionally only making it available in a format that doesn’t work with normal podcatchers. This is of course, so you have to use Spotify to listen to their exclusive podcasts. There is no public RSS feed, now that Spotify has shut down anon-podcast.scdn.co. Meaning, there is no cast. There is no podcast. It can’t be podcatched.
Using Spotify requires an account, not just to “"“prove””" you’re over 18, like with YouTube, but to listen to anything at all. Many episodes of the JRE are still missing after migrating to Spotify. Mysteriously, mostly the ones that some people at Spotify don’t like. Especially the ones featuring Alex Jones, a man who’s actual podcast was removed from Spotify.
You can’t remove a podcast from a podcatcher. That’s not how podcatchers work. However, Spotify isn’t a podcatcher. You can’t input an RSS feed into any Spotify client. The creators have to submit an application for Spotify to feature your podcast in their catalog. So whenever Spotify says anything about having podcasts, they’re lying right in front of your fucking face.
Worse than this, is that Spotify is going to heavily integrate tracking and advertising into their system. Which will be very targeted advertising. Much more targeted than the normal ad-read just being related to the podcast’s topic, as is the status quo for podcasts. This targeted advertising will be way more profitable and effective, because that’s the point of targeted and privacy invasive advertising. This means big money will be pushing long-form audio shows like the JRE to stop podcasting and start “Spot”casting (Eh? Like it? I came up with that myself. I know, give me the Nobel Prize in Literature.), so we can have even more privacy invasive and targeted ads. This will lead web audio shows in a direction far away from podcasting’s freedom, and right into the hands of a few large corporations. Again.
The future of online audio content still has the chance to remain free, or you can willingly let it slip into the control of a few corporations, and become dependent. This process has happened many times before, and it is about to happen again. This time, will you be doing anything to stop it? Or will you keep being a good little obedient and unthinking consoooomer?
As of writing this, another 71 episodes of the JRE have been removed from Spotify, in addition to the ones they never published to begin with, totalling 113 episodes. For the full list of vaporized episodes, you can go to JRE Missing. Once again, nothing is sacred when you give up control of your content to random centralized corporations. All these episodes would still be up if he was actually podcasting. Maybe the video versions would’ve been removed from YouTube, but you could still find them in you favorite podcatcher. And then Spotify would still have some incentive to keep them up to compete with YouTube and actual podcatchers. These corporations don’t deserve you. They don’t deserve Joe. Don’t use Spotify, use actual podcasting and podcatchers.