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What is a podcast: history of a revolutionary format – Doxee

Spotify has published “#2020WRAPPED,” the annual year-end list that ranks the things users listened to most around the world. In a year where the consumption of streaming audio content has increased exponentially as a result of the pandemic, there is one fact that jumps out at once: in 2020, many more people listened to a podcast for the first time compared to the previous year.  

“Podcast” is one of those buzzwords that have been circulating on the web for years now but around which there is still some confusion. What are podcasts? What contributes to making them an object of entertainment that is particularly appreciated by audiences all over the world? What are the main characteristics of podcasts? And what are the most successful Italian podcasts? 

In this post, we will try to provide an answer to some of these questions. We’ll also tell the story of a revolutionary format, and to do so, we’ll start from the beginning, from the moment the “podcast” format appeared for the first time, even though it wasn’t yet called that and many of its distinctive features already existed. 

Podcasts defined: origins and how they evolve 

To explain what podcasts are, let’s look at some definitions. 

According to Treccani, a podcast is any “digitized audio or video piece, diffused through the telematic network using the Rss data coding protocol.”  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” Ipsos Digital Audio provided this definition: “unedited audio content, available via the internet that can be both streamed and archived and listened to offline. In other words, editorial content that is natively digital and created for listening, not the transposition into audio of content created for other platforms.” 

The term “podcast” is one that is destined to be easily memorized and quickly enter common usage. It is made up of the nouns pod (pod, container), also present in Apple’s iPod and cast, from broadcast, (diffusion, transmission).  

 The birth of the podcast is attributed to Ben Hammersley, a journalist from “The Guardian,” who in a 2004 article,” Why online radio is booming,” wondered about the nature of a certain type of audio content that had quickly acquired “visibility” (and newsworthiness) and identified the ingredients of its success in: 

  • the spread of MP3 players (such as Apple’s iPod);
  • the availability of low-cost audio production software;
  • the habit of weblogging .

 The name “podcast” won over other alternatives such

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