Podcast industry consortium launched to accelerate open podcasting

Podcast Standards Project hits back against growing market consolidation

A new podcast industry standards group has been announced today, bringing together stakeholders and companies from across the sector to safeguard and accelerate open podcasting.

The launch of the new Podcast Standards Project was announced at Radiodays Europe in Prague today by James Cridland, editor of newsletter Podnews, and will include companies such as Acast, Buzzsprout and Transistor. Organisations can join the project on GitHub, where most of the consortium’s work will be taking place.

“What's next for podcasting in the next 12 months? I think everything revolves around keeping podcasting open. Open podcasting is the reason for podcasting’s success so far, and its success to come,” Cridland said. 

The consortium will tackle challenges such as developing more enhanced features for podcasting including adding transcripts and captions, as well as making it easier for fans to support the podcasts they listen to.

The first standard proposed by the group is ‘PSP-1: Podcast RSS Specification’, which is intended to provide a standardised baseline that both hosting providers and listening apps can build on top of for maximum cross-compatibility. 

The group has been formed as a direct response to the actions of tech platform holders such as Apple, Spotify and Amazon, which Cridland and others have accused of attempting to create “walled gardens” where users are locked into using their specific services to access podcast content. This has included the launch of multiple platform-exclusive shows, as well as on-platform subscriptions or unique features.

“There is still one country on this planet where the only radio receivers you can buy are sealed sets tuned into one frequency,” Cridland said, “and that country is North Korea. But I think things are better open, so let's keep them that way.”