Are Podcasters Selling Out?

On a long enough timeline, anything that is ever dubbed “underground” will eventually succumb to the far less cool tag “sellout.” It happened to Grunge, it happened to The Stones, and it even happened to Tarantino. It only makes sense that podcasting would be next:

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. announced Monday it will launch a daily four-hour show featuring podcasts, or amateur programming of digital audio files distributed over the Internet.

The program will be produced and hosted by Adam Curry beginning May 13. Curry is a former MTV personality and co-developer of the technology, which makes it easy for Net users to download podcasts to portable music players.

Curry will produce the show from his home in a suburb of London. It will be carried on a Sirius talk channel and “feature highlights and insights from the world of podcasting and showcase new talent and artists from around the world, including new music,” Sirius said in a written statement.

Podcasters are abuzz about which shows will be picked for lucrative contracts with Sirius and other outlets that will likely jump onto the podcasting bandwagon. What these people don’t realize is that any content delivered over the radio, as opposed to RSS feeds on the internet to an iPod, is little more than, well, a radio broadcast. And radio broadcasts, even satellite radio broadcasts, just aren’t as cool. Radio DJs haven’t existed within the realm of hip since the early 1980s, when they too sold out and let record companies strong-arm stations into believing what was good music. Thus, the dismal state of radio today.

It’s like when blogging became wildly popular last year. Even CNN started a blog, and within days people realized a blog on CNN is just, well, an online CNN article. The attempt to even jump on the commercialization of podcasts is unhip by most standards, unless you own one of the outlets that will profit from making podcasts available to those with not quite enough technical know-how to work an RSS feeder and want to feel like they’re listening to an actual podcast.

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