Awesome Stuff: Podcast Apps

from the check-it-out dept

As you hopefully know by now, we recently launched the Techdirt podcast, and while I recently did an awesome stuff post on podcasts to listen to, I’ve been heard from a few people who don’t yet listen to podcasts, and aren’t quite sure how to use them. So this week, I thought I’d share a few podcast listening tools for smartphones.

  • First up, Pocket Casts from ShiftJelly, because this is the app I use, and I love it. By far the most intuitive podcast listening app that I’ve tried. The interface is clear and simple to use (with a little learning curve up front) — and, most important to me, it has the ability to speed up podcasts up to 3x speed (and they mean it, unlike some other apps that basically lie, because Apple used to lie). I also like it because I use multiple playlists with different filters — so I have a “timely” playlist of podcasts I want to listen to as soon as they’re available, and a much longer list of other podcasts that I work my way through as convenient. I’m stupidly completist, though, in feeling the need to at least listen to some of basically every podcast I download. That’s why the 3x speed helps. Pocket Casts also syncs your account, so you can use multiple devices, or switch from device to device with ease.
  • Soundcloud’s mobile app. We’re happily hosting our podcast on Soundcloud, and I know some people have just been using the Soundcloud app to subscribe and listen to our podcast. It’s a nicely designed app that also gives you the ability to record via the app and directly upload it to your own Soundcloud account. Also, since Soundcloud is so popular with musicians and DJs and such, there’s lots of good music to check out.
  • It seems like Stitcher really stands out these days as one of the most popular podcast/radio listening apps out there. It’s the one that I most commonly hear people say they use. You can also listen to radio programs via Stitcher as as well. I used it for a few months and it was nice, but personally I like Pocket Casts a bit more. Stitcher seemed more focused on streaming live over downloading first, but it does let you do either one. Stitcher was recently acquired by Deezer (a Spotify-like service that has a big following outside the US). It’s not clear how the two services will integrate, but you could see how it might make Stitcher have even more variety going forward.

I’m curious what other podcasting apps people use. In the past I’ve also used AstroPlayer (worked great, but had a terrible and confusing user interface), and some friends have recommended DoggCatcher (which is Android only). On the iPhone side, I know Marco Arment recently launched Overcast (which is a great name for a podcasting app) and he tends to do really good work, so I’m assuming — without testing it, since I don’t have an iPhone — that it’s a good one. It certainly advertises some neat features, including “smart speed” to cut out silence to speed stuff up without having to speed up the voices, and “voice boost” to normalize volumes (which sounds really handy). What do you use to listen to podcasts?

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Podcast Apps”

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Lyle (profile) says:

Stitcher’s Scummy Business Practices

I’m surprised to see you recomending stitcher to your readers. You are usaually the first to call out companies for anti-user business practices.

Do you know that stitcher:
Interject ads into peoples shows
Caches the content so downloads are not reported to creators
Requieres you to mention that your Podcast is available in Stitcher every time you tell people where to get it
Lowers the quality of audio files

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Stitcher’s Scummy Business Practices

I’m surprised to see you recomending stitcher to your readers. You are usaually the first to call out companies for anti-user business practices.

Wasn’t aware of any of that, actually. I just know a lot of people who use Stitcher and like it, which is why I mentioned it.

But… having now read Hardwick’s post, I think he overreacted (though I’m a big Nerdist fan).

Interject ads into peoples shows

That’s not what he described at all. They just put banner ads in their app. For a free app… that’s kind of what you’d expect, no?

Caches the content so downloads are not reported to creators

Again, that’s not quite what it says. They do report user numbers back to the podcast owners. It may be a bit of a pain for the podcast producers, because it’s no longer a single source, but again, I can see why Stitcher does that (to provide better streaming options for users).

Requieres you to mention that your Podcast is available in Stitcher every time you tell people where to get it

Is that true? Hardwick doesn’t say that. Sounds like they asked him to and he said no and they said fine.

Lowers the quality of audio files

Again, looks like they compress it for the sake of streaming, which isn’t too surprising.

B Michael (profile) says:

I listen to a lot of podcasts

I subscribe to like 40 podcasts, and I’ve used (and purchased, usually for $5) Pocket Casts, Overcast, Downcast, and Apple’s Podcast app. I personally like Pocket Casts the most because its grid layout makes going through a relatively large list of podcasts pretty quick work. It features syncing, which helps for using an iPad sometimes and an iPhone other times (and when you upgrade or reformat your device). And, it has a really handy, to me, Up Next thingy that lets you add another podcast to be played after your current podcast finishes. This feature, more than any other, is the most useful for me. I was totally shocked that Marco’s Downcast has nothing like this feature, since when he was talking about it on his own podcast, he went on and on about how useful playlists were and stuff. I thought that meant it would be easy to make playlists on the fly and playlists for continuous play, but playlists on Downcast do not work like that. I subscribe to a 2 minute classical music podcast, and if I want to listen to a bunch in a row, I have to take my phone out of my pocket and press play on another one every time, eg. IDK, I have nothing against Marco and I’m certainly not being paid by Pocket Casts. I just listen to way way too many podcasts and that’s the best app for it, to me.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

I use Podcast Addict on Android. Contains most of the great features that were mentioned about most apps. I am not sure about syncing between devices and I only fast forward at 1.6x speed so far so I am not sure about anything over 2.

It is the second app I tried for podcasts and since I only use on phone while in car so far, it has sufficed nicely.

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