The Podcast Listening Speed Argument

John Lagomarsino of The Verge says stop listening to podcasts at 1.5x or else?

As a podcast producer, the popularity of speed ramping has started affecting how I think of production. Should hosts speak more slowly to counteract it? Should I lean on a music bed to trick SmartSpeed into keeping the pace unaltered? As these features become more popular, they could hold back experimentation in audio.

This piece has already taken a massive beating from people like Marco Arment who has both a podcast and a podcast app:

Anyone dictating how people can or should consume media only ensures their own rapid irrelevance.

And also Stephen Hackett:

I’d rather people listen a little faster and consume more of our content than hear every single beat, as it comes out of Logic.

There is not a lot to say that both of these guys did not already cover so it makes sense to go read both of their pieces. But Arment’s quoted point is salient. This kind of thinking is what messed the music industry up so much. They thought that people downloading music were idiots or part of some fad, and chose not to respond in a timely manner to people’s changing listening habits.

The part where Lagomarsino talked about doing things to try and circumvent what listeners want to do is exactly the problem. To take such an elitist attitude towards things is not the way to attract and appease listeners, particularly when it’s not affecting the livelihood of the content producer.

Arment is right, listeners should listen however they want. Fast, slow, skip around, whatever. Would podcast creators actually prefer people don’t listen? Seems unlikely.