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Podcasters are feeling dissed by Apple

Producers of the popular shows complain Apple isn't providing enough listener data or staff support, according to The New York Times.


Does Apple need to improve its relationship with podcasters?

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple may have popularized podcasts, but producers of the radio-style digital shows say the company isn't doing enough to support the format.

Last month, Apple met with seven top podcast professionals who aired their grievances about how they're being treated, The New York Times reported on Saturday. Podcasters complain that they have to deal with a single Apple employee and that sharing via social media is clumsy. Further, podcasters need feedback about their subscribers to make money from advertising, and Apple reportedly isn't providing enough of it.

Podcasts have grown in popularity and are one way of drawing in users to Apple's ecosystem. Apple's iTunes serves as a sort of podcasting hub. But the company faces podcasting competition from Google, which last month added a new podcast portal to its Google Play Store, and from music-streaming service Spotify, which launched its own video and podcast feature a year ago.

Podcasters can sell advertisements to make money, but ad-related data from Apple is limited. For example, podcasters can tell how many times their podcasts have been downloaded, but they don't know how many people listened or how far into the program those people stuck around, The Times said. Podcasters also have to count on a single Apple employee to help them with promotion, the Times added, and that presents an obstacle given the huge number of podcasts available through iTunes.

Since podcasts are free, and Apple doesn't take a cut of any ad revenue or directly earn any money from them, some say the company has little incentive to spend much time or focus on them. Apple, however, counters that implication.

"We have more people than ever focused on podcasting, including engineers, editors and programmers." Eddy Cue, Apple's senior VP of Internet software and services, told the Times. "Podcasts hold a special place with us at Apple."

But podcasters would like some changes, the Times said, such as the ability to charge for podcasts, more data about who's listening and a better relationship with Apple.

An Apple spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the Times report beyond Cue's statement.