Yeah, I feel like there’s a positive feedback loop as filling more time with listening becomes normalized, better tech and platforms continue emerging to support it, and more good content becomes available in these formats!
One other interesting thing I’ll note on this topic — it seems in a lot of ways podcasts & audiobooks are major formats built on an evolutionary through-line from older media (radio and books, respectively) but there’s also a lot of room around them for these lines to be blurred and further audio format experimentation to take shape.
There was a piece recently in Nick Quah’s Hot Pod (great industry insider newsletter about the business of podcasting) called “The Many Forms of the Mueller Report” that got me thinking about this. He describes how after the report came out, it was adapted in various audio formats, including a “narrated adaptation” in Slate’s “Trumpcast” podcast, and at least two different versions on Audible…stretching the definition of “audiobook” as I normally think of it.
“Podcast” has become kind of a catch-all that’s more descriptive of the distribution technology than the actual content, which is enormously varied. I wouldn’t think to call an annotated version of the Mueller report an audiobook or a podcast…but since those are the buckets people are familiar with, it can kind of be both / either. I wonder how the landscape of audio forms may further fragment…
I also just heard of this book Ways of Hearing which looks very interesting. The author:
Each chapter of Ways of Hearing explores a different aspect of listening in the digital age: time, space, love, money, and power.
So, an interesting subject, but also relevant to this discussion b/c of the form — Ways of Hearing was actually originally a podcast, and the book was adapted from it and published by the MIT Press!