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The “Podfading Problem”

Spoiler: it's dumb

Tom Webster of Edison Research has posted an interesting riposte to the supposed problem of podfading, which is generally discussed in relation to figures showing that only a fraction of podcasts indexed in Apple Podcasts, for instance, are still publishing regularly. The exact same thing is true of television, he argues — only a small fraction of all the TV shows ever created are still putting out new weekly episodes, but we don’t consider that an indictment upon the health of the TV industry.

“Let’s retire ‘podfading,’” he writes. “It’s derogatory and unappreciative of the myriad reasons why someone might stop doing a podcast. Let’s celebrate the starters.”

Nick’s Note: I’ve always found the entire discussion around podfading to be wildly inane. Have you seen the rest of the internet, positively littered with half-realized, abandoned broken things? Have you considered the book industry, in which the overwhelming majority of books published barely break triple digits in sales? Have you considered the world of startups and businesses in general, which flows against the reality that most entrepreneurs will fail? The tsk tsk tsk-ing of podfading discourse often feels divorced from the reality of How Things Work, a dominion of paternalistic bullshit.