Premium Podcasting And The Death Of Audible Wordcast

Got this in the email yesterday

Dear Audible Wordcast customer,

Regretfully, as of September 1, 2007, the Audible Wordcast service will no longer be available for public use. In the coming 90 days, we’ll provide you with details regarding the process of shutting down or moving your podcasts to another provider.

Thank you for your business, we genuinely appreciate your patience during this process and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


Glenn Rogers, COO
Audible Inc.

Like Michael Geoghegan, I express little surprise in this announcement. I do, however, argue with his comment that it’s because it’s hard to sell what you can give away for free. Just try telling that to Iger’s Disney who just announced the sale of 23.7 million television shows that many others “can get for free.”

Yes, I know, 23.7 million television shows is just a drop in the Disney bucket – but it’s a drop I wouldn’t mind.

Simply said, Audible’s tech was great – they just live in a world where authors accept a tiny percentage of sales as commission. When your choice is paying pennies on the dollar (and a whole lot of dollars at that) to the Harry Potter gal or paying a Podcaster what he thinks he’s worth, well, … you get the idea. Personally, I’d make the same choice (but invest my money in anything but a company who can’t seem to enter this next stage of publishing).

Premium/Paid content has a real future and those who poo poo it are narrowing down their options for revenue. I’m taking my first batch of beta testers through our Premium Podcasting service (by the way, I’m taking no more testers this round – but you are still free to donate to Make A Wish). They aren’t just in this “for the tech” – this is a real part of their business model and I think we’re going to see some very cool things from them.

I still dig Audible and appreciate what they did for portable spoken word media. I owe a major hat tip to what I learned from them and it’s sad to see them leave but … I’m not surprised and not worried.

I wonder if I’ll ever see a check for the one thing I did sell at Wordcast.

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