The iPod Economy

From Blogarithms comes this post about the “iPod Economy”. He cites this article in Business 2.0 that states there are nearly four million iPods out there and Apple has 54% of the MP3 player market. When I was talking about all the pieces being there for an absolute explosion in podcasting, I was shooting low. 4 million of these are in use, and that’s just the Apple ones. Moreover, they continue flying off the shelves.

P2P Money Pool

From Adam Curry comes this post citing an article by Andrew Orloski talking about iPods, touching on podcasting but also calling for collecting buckets of money to distribute to music makers. I’ve written about this before and here is Orlowski saying similar things:

So here’s a modest proposal. Stop trying to prevent file sharing, and start counting it. Lobby to raise some money from somewhere. It could be a tax, it could be a fee on your phone bill, it could be a broadband tax, it could be an hifi or iPod tax. (Germany taxes CD burners) But the figures for these are very low. The United States alone could subsidize its movie and recording industries for two dollars a week per household out of general taxation. That’s everything. Permanent income for life – assuming people watch or listen to the stuff – for a rounding error.

If we compensate only a small part of what you say you’re losing – say twenty per cent of your revenues, then that’s $27 (ŽÂŽ£15.25) a year; 51 (28p) cents a week. For less than a bag of crisps per household per week, the record industry’s piracy problem will have disappeared.

Tangentially, I’m completely tired of hearing “It costs X to fill up an iPod.” That’s a bogus number, predicated on the notion that everything that goes on the iPod will be a 4 minute song for which $0.99 was paid. As we all know, there are plenty of places where you can get legal music for free, programs for free via podcasting, etc. Even if that wasn’t the case, this number is irrelevant. I have a CD shelf thing in my living room that holds about 200 jewel cases. I could talk about the fact that it takes $3000 to fill this up. Why does that matter? Does it have to be full?

Power to the Torrents

After 2 full days of the Bittorrent experiment, it all seems to be going well. There are enough people who are kind enough to continue seeding the files after downloading that the files are going out consistently, some without much of my involvement at all beyond the initial seeding. Counterintuitively, the file I have served out the most bandwidth for is the oldest of the three I am seeding, which I would have thought had the least demand of all of them. I think that is because the newer ones have more other people seeding it, so I am the sole provider or one of a smaller group seeding for the 9/16 episode. At least, I think that’s the reason. I could be wrong.

I think this experiment has huuuuge implications for podcasting. Since the dynamics of downloading of a newly posted file from a feed are exactly those most favorable for a Bittorrent (ie, a swarm of users that all want the same file in a short time with much overlap and simultaneity of those downloads), getting the tools using Bittorrent and publishing BT feeds will be a quantum leap forward for this platform. One of the best things is that it will allow people to get in the game and get popular without exceeding their bandwidth or worse – getting stuck with huge bills for the mistake of publishing files that people want.

Thanks to everyone who is playing along in this experiment. It is working well. I thank you for your time, enthusiasm and your upstream bandwidth.


I’ve been noticing something downloading audioblog posts with the user agent of “podcaster”. There is an URL in there that points to but there isn’t anything yet. I wonder what this is? I do like this as a term for what it is when you are creating things to distribute via the iPod platform (asynchronous bundles of passion, you know) – “Podcasting!” Right on.