While it sometimes feels like everyone has a podcast nowadays, the truth is that most Americans still don’t listen to podcasts regularly. The Y Combinator-backed team behind The Podcast App is planning to change that.
And yes, that’s the app’s real name. Co-founder and CEO Martín Siniawski argued that most existing podcast apps were built years ago, “when it was a really different medium.” They’re designed for people who already understand what a podcast is, already know which podcasts they’re looking for and already understand what it means to subscribe.
In contrast, Siniawski said The Podcast App is designed to be “extremely fast, extremely easy and extremely reliable and stable.”
How easy? Well, the website boasts that it’s “so simple even your grandma could use it.”
“We’ve invested heavily on making sure that we can onboard people and take them step-by-step in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them,” Siniawski said.
So when you first open up the app, you’re asked to identify your interests, and then you get a list of podcast recommendations. Once you’re looking at a specific podcast, you can browse all episodes or just the “Best Of” (curated based on The Podcast App’s engagement data), then hit buttons to favorite the show and download individual episodes.
Beyond making the app easy to understand, Siniawski said he’s also focused on helping people find the right podcast for them. Creating good app-wide and podcast-specific search features helps, and so do the Best Of lists, but he said that’s just the beginning.
For one thing, there’s more to be done in search, like indexing the full content of the episodes, not just the titles and descriptions. For another, Siniawski is hoping to take more of a Netflix-style approach to “leverage more and more of that data to provide recommendations.”
The Podcast App has built up a library of 30 million episodes, and includes most of the big names in podcasting. (It also includes TechCrunch podcasts like Original Content and CTRL+T. Just saying.) In the future, Siniawski said he’s hoping to work with podcasters to develop original programming, and to incorporate more types of advertising and paid subscriptions (the startup currently limits its own monetization to display ads that run in the app).
Oh, and if you’re wondering how Siniawski was able to get such a straightforward (and search-friendly) app name, the answer is simple: No one claimed it first.