Hive and Podcasting 2.0 update notifications

Podcasting is one of the very few remnants of the original Internet creator stack that has remained decentralised and independent of the large tech oligarchy. That is until now.

And I'm working on putting Hive right at the heart of one of the major technical challenges of Podcasting as the independent Podcasting 2.0 movement frees itself from any reliance on centralised infrustructure such as Apple.

Podcasting 2.0 and the Hive global notification system.jpg

Something Big Happened Last Week

Apple announced they would be working on ways to stop people listening to Podcasts. So did Spotify. They all think the future is in paywalling content. Good luck with that. Dave Jones of @podcastindex pointed this out right at the start of their latest podcast! So much effort put in to stopping people listening.

But while they did that, Apple also changed one of the most fundamental parts of how today's podcasting infrastructure works.

Podnews explained it very well in their (essential) newsletter:

How Apple used to update podcasts on your iPhone:


How they do it now, post iOS 14.5:


What you'll notice is the very last pictogram. Apple Podcast app on millions of iPhones now gets all of its information from the Apple Database instead of referencing the RSS feeds each podcaster maintains.

The practical upshot is that if your show is not in the Apple Database (or is removed because they don't like you) your show will go dark.

Podcasting 2.0 and Notifications

This was exactly what @adamcurry and @davejonespod foresaw when they started building the @podcastindex infrastructure last year. I've written and spoken about this before. Podcasting 2.0 and PodcastIndex put in place the database to replace reliance on Apple's directory which (because it was free to use) has become the de facto standard. Almost all independent apps use it because running your own directory of more than 2 million podcast feeds is hard. PodcastIndex is financed on a Value for Value model.

Whilst I'm still working on a Hive version of the value for value system which is up and running on the Lightning Network now, I'm taking a break from that to introduce the open source and varried background Podcasting 2.0 developers to Hive for one specific need.

At present there is no good way for Podcast Hosts to send out alerts when a specific show they host is changed by the podcaster. There is a system called Websub and while it sort of works, it isn't completely fit for purpose.

The Hive Solution

Last night, in a weekly dev call I presented my method for solving the signaling issue using Hive. It's as simple as Podcast hosts posting custom_json notifications to the Hive blockchain (the same sort of notifications which Splinterlands sends out by the tens of thousands) and any app or service interested in keeping up with newly changed podcasts just has to run a trivial little program that listens to the Hive blockchain.

This was a hit and I'm going to work now on putting a proof of concept together and getting one of the medium sized Podcast hosts to run it. At the other side, PodcastIndex will watch for the updates and we will see if this dramatically reduces the amount of "polling" or checks which PodcastIndex has to make to keep up to date.

That helps PodcastIndex, and the Podcasting Host save a ton of bandwidth and means any apps that start to use this can update within seconds of a show going live instead of sometimes hours.

If this is as popular as I think it could be, I may well have to put a Hive DHF proposal together so I can pay some proper devs to replace my rather rudimentary coding.

But right now, this could be an important part of the infrastructure that keeps Podcasting out of the jaws of big tech.

I gave the Dev presentation on Saturday night and you can find that in this video on 3speak.

brianoflondon hive footer.png