E.W. Scripps Buys Podcast Company Stitcher ➝

John Gruber, on the news that Midroll will be operating Stitcher:

The end goal here is lock-in, and so I think it’s worth fighting right from the start, even at the expense of a few thousand additional listeners for my show. Maybe they’ll never become dominant. Maybe even if they do, they won’t do anything to promote lock-in. But now is the only time to resist the possibility that they’ll grow dominant and abuse their position. It’s too late once it happens.

The best we can hope is that Midroll treats Stitcher users like Neilson households — a small sample size that can be used to represent all podcast listeners. Anyone with an antenna can watch whatever shows they like without restriction, but only the Nielson households’ contribute to a show’s rating.

Of course, this isn’t something I would advocate for. I would much rather advertisers simply trust that their message is getting across and everyone helps maintain podcasting as an open platform. But unfortunately, Midroll and Stitcher are likely going to be leveraged to lock popular podcasts and listeners into a single client app. The best way for us to prevent this future is for listeners to switch to a better app and for producers to pull their podcasts from Stitcher.