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Insider January 13, 2023 — Who’s afraid of the iPod?

Plus, YouTube is making some adjustments to its bullshit policy on swearing.

Thanks to Jake for stepping in yesterday while I was feeling under the weather. Today, we’ve got some goodies on Apple and YouTube’s terms of use (I promise it is more fun than it sounds!). Plus, the first industry moves of 2023.

Another viral iPod app was pulled from Apple’s App Store

The iPod may be dead, but that won’t stop people from trying to revive it. Last month, an iOS app called Retro Pod started blowing up. People on TikTok loved its ability to replicate the iPod’s “tactile, bumpy, vibratey feels” that have been lost in the era of music streaming. As I reported for The Verge today, it amassed 443,000 downloads and peaked at number 11 among music apps before it was removed from the App Store earlier this week.

Between Nano hairclips and demos of defunct Minis, there is clearly a demand for reviving the iPod. But based on Apple’s App Store rules, developers are not allowed to create apps that emulate Apple products (even, apparently, ones that have gone out of production). Apple would not confirm to The Verge whether it had removed the app for violating those rules, but it is hard to imagine there was any other reason. Plus, it wouldn’t be the first time it cracked down on iPod revival apps.

Until the company loosens its vice grip on its dormant IP, a true iPhone-to-iPod app is not likely to stand — unless, of course, Apple decides to release such an app itself. It seems like a missed opportunity for them to ignore the demand. It is an easy way to engage not only Apple Music subscribers but podcast listeners as well.

YouTube is revisiting its policy on cursing

YouTube’s recent rules on swearing have rankled some creators. The policy, first introduced in November, states that videos containing swear words in the first 15 seconds may be subject to limited ads or complete monetization. My Verge colleagues Mitchell Clark and Jess Weatherbed reported today that YouTube plans to revisit the policy.

“In recent weeks we’ve heard from many creators regarding this update,” YouTube spokesperson Michael Aciman told The Verge. “That feedback is important to us and we are in the process of making some adjustments to this policy to address their concerns. We will follow up shortly with our creator community as soon as we have more to share.”

Although it may be relatively easy to not swear in the first 15 seconds (for many people, not me!), one of the main sticking points is that this applies retroactively to all videos on the platform. That means if you published a video before the rule was in place that has a curse word in the first 15 seconds, it can now be demonetized. For some creators, that is a lot of arduous cleanup to do.

This could be a particularly big problem for sweary podcasters who focus on evergreen content (true crime, comedy, etc.). Episodes from three years ago could be as monetizable as more recent episodes — unless, of course, they are suddenly in violation of platform policy. Even if the back catalog issue is resolved after YouTube’s revisions, swearing is something podcasters will need to keep in mind moving forward as YouTube becomes an ever-larger part of the podcasting ecosystem.

Moves

First industry moves of the year, here we go:

  • Paul Riismandel has joined Signal Hill Insights as chief insights officer. He comes from SiriusXM, where he was the senior director of insights since 2019. 
  • Carly Frankel has joined William Morris Endeavor as an agent focusing on podcasting. She was previously a senior development executive at Wondery. 
  • The New York Times just hired a bunch of new people to its audio team. Lexie Diao, coming from The Washington Post, is the new senior editor of The Daily. The Daily has also added three new producers, including Mary Wilson from Slate, Alex Stern from CNN Audio, and Shannon Lin from the Los Angeles Times. Lynn Levy joins NYT as a supervising editor for the shows team, having previously worked at Gimlet. NPR producer Ian Stewart will work on a new show for the audio app. And finally(!), musician Diane Wong is NYT’s new associate sound designer and composer.

That’s all for now! We’ll be back next week with some Hot Pod Summit updates.