What Is Podcasting 2.0 and Why Does It Matter?

The podcasting industry has grown a lot since its birth in 2004, but the core of what a podcast could be and what it could do hasn't changed much. Now, Podcasting 2.0 revolutionizes the industry with highly requested innovations that will help everyone on all sides of the RSS feeds.

What is “Podcasting 2.0”?

Podcasting was created by Adam Curry and Dave Winer. Now, Adam Curry—the only true “podfather”—and Dave Jones are leading the way to the next generation of podcasting, and I'm thrilled to be an active contributor!

Podcasting 2.0 is improving the podcast experience for listeners, podcasters, developers, and even advertisers. It's creating the next generation of podcasting by making podcasts more engaging. Podcasting 2.0 introduces new technical standards, new ways to monetize, and an independently maintained podcast catalog free from corporate and government censorship. Whether you're a listener, a podcaster, a podcast-app or podcasting-service developer, and someone who advertises in podcasts, there's something to make podcasts better for you!

RSS is a particular standard of the coding language called XML (“extensible markup language”). And the way to extend XML or RSS is by adding another namespace. You're probably a little familiar with two popular namespaces already: the “iTunes” namespace Apple created and that most podcast apps use for podcast data, and also the “content” namespace from which we get the <content:encoded> tag we use for episode notes.

So the way Podcasting 2.0 adds new features to a podcast, and for apps and services to work with those features, is with the new Podcast Namespace and its collection of tags.

The Podcast Namespace will eventually offer a complete replacement for the “iTunes” namespace, but it adds a whole lot more features!

If you want to jump straight into the technical details of Podcasting 2.0 and the new Podcast Namespace, I recommend visiting PodcastNamespace.org, created by James Cridland. Also, I highly recommend following the Podcasting 2.0 podcast to hear Adam Curry, Dave Jones, and frequent guests discuss the latest developments and ideas with Podcasting 2.0.

So instead of covering all the specific technical details here, I'll overview what I think is most important for you to know.

Podcasting 2.0 is for audiences

I think any change in podcasting and podcasts themselves should consider the audience first. Podcasting 2.0 has plenty to offer audiences to make their podcast-consumption experience more interesting, helpful, and delightful.

  1. Avoid corporate and government censorship through a free and open podcast catalog (called the Podcast Index).
  2. Engage with podcasts and their communities with new interactive features.
  3. Find podcasts easier with improved search and recommendations.
  4. Share podcasts easier, and especially the best parts of podcasts.
  5. Support podcasters financially directly through a podcast app.
  6. Get expanded access to the content through innovations like transcripts and even real-time captions.
  7. Receive new episodes faster.
  8. Catch live-streamed shows and chat with the hosts and live audience without leaving your podcast app.

Podcasting 2.0 is for podcasters

Let's get the super-geeky part out of the way. Despite my hopes and campaigning to move podcasting to the more modern format of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation, an extremely popular data format used by most developers), Podcasting is still built on RSS. So if you use a podcast-publishing tool that supports Podcasting 2.0, you'll be able to leverage a bunch of new features that many podcast apps already support!

Here are some of the benefits Podcasting 2.0 brings to you as a podcaster!

  1. Get your latest episode to your audience more quickly.
  2. Engage your audience inside their podcast app through feedback, comments, live streams, and live chats.
  3. Protect your podcast from corporate and government censorship by being in the free and open Podcast Index.
  4. Make your podcast engaging and actionable with chapters you can create separately from your media files and thus more easily integrate with your publishing workflow.
  5. More easily create snippets you and your audience can share to help grow your podcast.
  6. Monetize your podcast with modern options that are friendly to micropayments.

Podcasting 2.0 is for developers

New features and benefits are only usable if developers build support for them. This requires work on both sides of the RSS feed: your publishing tool (like your website or podcast-hosting provider) and the podcast apps your audience uses.

I've been involved in several other initiatives to try advancing podcasting, but none of them had the wide developer support and enthusiasm that Podcasting 2.0 has!

Developers make their podcast apps and podcasting services better by supporting Podcasting 2.0!

  1. Access a free, open, maintained catalog of podcasts, free from corporate and political censorship—have you noticed that everyone benefits from this?
  2. Get new episodes to your users faster without building a large scraping or updating engine.
  3. Enable monetization and support options within your app, even with the acceptable possibility of earning your own small fee.
  4. Make your app more accessible with transcripts and captions.
  5. Protect your user's privacy while also helping podcasters understand their reach.
  6. Implement fun and engaging features like live-streaming notifications, dynamic chapters, cross-app comments, and more that will keep people coming back to your app.

Podcasting 2.0 is even for advertisers

Yes, Podcasting 2.0 can even serve advertisers in podcasting, which combine to be a huge part of the financial backbone for many large podcasts and leverage a much bigger audience for podcasts.

  1. Make ad spots more actionable with interactive, timely calls to action.
  2. Get better analytics for ad impressions.
  3. Find the right podcasts for partnership opportunities.

This is the new litmus test for podcasting tools

I've previously considered IAB measurement certification a requirement for any podcast-hosting provider. I still hold that, but accurate stats matter only to podcasters and advertisers; stats probably don't matter to your audience. So now I'm adding Podcasting 2.0 to the litmus test for podcasting tools. And I don't mind making an ultimatum:

That may seem extreme, but Podcasting 2.0 has been in very active development since 2020. And some of the features are so easy to support that publishing tools really have no excuse for not integrating even the simplest features. So I would be concerned if a publishing tool is so far behind on the latest podcast standards that they haven't added any support for Podcasting 2.0, yet.

I'm thankful that the same publishing tools and services I've recommended for years are not only implementing Podcasting 2.0 features but also actively participating in the conversations and development!

How to upgrade your podcast experience with Podcasting 2.0

To take advantage of these cutting-edge features, your podcast-publishing tool needs to support these new features. I can't list all of them, but here are the top tools I recommend and that already support some Podcasting 2.0 features.

  • WordPress with PowerPressBlubrry's free PowerPress plugin already supports some Podcasting 2.0 features, and Andy Lehman's “Podcast Namespace” plugin can add even more features (like “Value4Value”). PowerPress works with any hosting provider, but Blubrry's hosting integrates the easiest, of course.
  • Buzzsprout—I've been amazed at how quickly Buzzsprout has built support for Podcasting 2.0 features in their publishing tools! Plus, Buzzsprout supports the “Podping” feature to push instant notifications of new episodes.
  • Libsyn—Although Libsyn hasn't been as fast to support Podcasting 2.0, they offer an advanced (and dangerous, if you aren't careful) field that lets you add custom tags to your RSS feed. This means dealing with XML/RSS code when Libsyn doesn't offer the easy field for the feature, but this openness makes Libsyn the easiest for adding nearly all Podcasting 2.0 features.
  • Captivate—I was on Captivate's advisory board until they were acquired, but I still highly recommend Captivate because of how well they build their features. They might not be the quickest to support Podcasting 2.0 features, but you can trust that they'll implement them really well in their fantastic interface.

(As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases through some of these links. But I recommend things I truly believe in, regardless of earnings.)

There are many more options in the updated list on the Podcast Index website.

Before you switch, check with your current provider(s)! They might already have some of the features you need or be very close to launching support. If nothing else, hearing your request for Podcasting 2.0 support can add to the voices for positive pressure on development.

And if you hear any excuse that involves Apple, Spotify, and Google, remind them that there are already hundreds of thousands of podcasts leveraging these new features, and it's the publishing tools or hosting providers that must lead the way in adding the new features to podcast RSS feeds. Then, popular podcast apps will be more eager to compete with support for the features that are already in the podcast feeds.

How to get involved in Podcasting 2.0

If you have ideas or opinions about anything around Podcasting 2.0, here are the places to learn more and get involved (and you do not need to be a programmer!):

  • PodcastIndex.org—This is the home site for Podcasting 2.0 and the open Podcast Index catalog. And where you can follow the Podcasting 2.0 podcast.
  • PodcastIndex.social—This is the Mastadon-powered social network that works similarly to Twitter. It's probably the best place to share and respond to ideas.
  • GitHub—Everything running Podcasting 2.0 is open source. You can report issues, propose code or standards, and more through the multiple GitHub repositories, especially the Podcast Namespace repository, where most of the stuff happens.

Accept no cheap imitations!

Lastly, you may hear some companies (cough, Spotify, cough) claim to be innovating podcasting with proprietary features.

Nope.

Please kindly pressure these companies to stop pushing proprietary technologies that will only harm the podcast industry and instead embrace the open podcast standards of Podcasting 2.0!

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Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

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