Friday, May 8, 2020

Dithering Podcast

John Gruber:

Dithering is a new podcast from yours truly and Ben Thompson. Three episodes per week, 15 minutes per episode. Not a minute less, not a minute more.

It’s a subscription: $5/month or $50/year.


Dithering is subscription-only but it is entirely built on plain-old wide-open RSS, and is designed to work with any and all podcast players. There is no Dithering app and never will be. […] Episodes exist only in the feed, and thus, from a listener’s perspective, only in their podcast player.

Update (2020-05-12): Ben Thompson:

That time limit is certainly a challenge (that is why we recorded 20 episodes before we launched — the entire back catalog is available to subscribers), but we really wanted to experiment with what a podcast might be. We purposely don’t have show notes or much of a web page, and we have created evocative cover art embedded in each episode’s MP3, because the canonical version of Dithering is in your podcast player. This is as pure a podcast as can be — and that means open, even if it isn’t free.


This, if you squint, looks a lot like email: create something that listeners find valuable on an ongoing basis, and deliver it into a feed they already check, i.e. their existing podcast player. That is Dithering: while you have to pay to get a feed customized to you, that feed can be put in your favorite podcast app, which means Dithering fits in with the existing open ecosystem, instead of trying to supplant it.

Update (2020-05-19): John Gruber:

We’ve had just over 5,000 sign-ups so far and not one single request for a refund. Zero! And for that $5/month price you get access to the whole back catalog of episodes going back to mid-March.


What’s really cool is that if you sign up, listen, and decide to subscribe to Dithering, you can do it right in your podcast app, from the link at the top of the episode’s show notes. It’s really very clever — and completely built on the open web.

Update (2020-05-20): Peter Kamb:

Independent/subscription podcasts need a better experience than this[…]

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

I take the lack of JSON Feed as tacit acknowledgement of its failure to gain traction.

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