Or wherever you get your podcasts

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Perhaps only I could be listening to a podcast introduction and think, as the sun is rising, “I should write a blog post about a phrase I heard.” The phrase was “Or wherever you get your podcasts”, likely a familiar refrain for those of you who have listened to a few different podcasts.

I was listening to an episode of checks his notes Stuff You Should Know. During the podcast, there were a few ads for other podcasts. At the end of each ad for a podcast, there would be a mention of how you can listen. Familiar clients like Apple Podcasts were mentioned. Then, “Or whever you get your podcasts.”

This phrase is a testament to the extent to which open standards — RSS and Atom — influence podcasting. You don’t need to go to a particular podcasting client to listen to many popular podcasts (save for Spotify, if they are still doing “exclusive” podcasts). For most shows, you can get them over RSS directly, which means you can subscribe to them in most readers. Overcast, Pocket Casts, your own niche podcast player you made.

I don’t know the history behind how we got to RSS and Atom as the primary means of distributing podcasts, but I do know one thing: I am grateful. We can listen to (most) podcasts freely, across platforms. Planet Money doesn’t care if I am using Pocket Casts, my client of choice, or Apple Podcasts. (I do though: Pocket Casts is the best.) Thank you, open standards, and to all podcasters and podcast networks who publish an open feed to keep this reality alive.

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