NPR buys Pocketcast

NPR bought @pocketcast, my podcast player of choice. For the owners of Shifty Jelly this is likely a great thing but for me as a user it fills me with sadness and fear. I have faithfully supported and recommended the app for years, I own the app on platforms I don’t even use (Android and web). It’s a glorious application with great features, smooth performance despite my ridiculously oversized library (110 feeds) and wide device support (the latest version even supports my ancient iPhone 5 without any degradation in the experience) but today I’m switching to @overcastfm.

My reason is primarily a fear that after being bought by a player who has already taken steps to invade the privacy of listeners and obtaining leadership from Clear Channel. While they have not yet taken steps in that direction I want to get off their service before they announce such “improvements” to the user experience. Not a word in their issued statement has reassured me that they will never do so and frankly what would NPR’s interest be if it wasn’t to generate revenue in such a manner given their past behavior.

Meanwhile the developer of Overcast has taken an admirable stance on privacy, actively removing data from his service and deploying protections against tracking. I believe such efforts should be rewarded even though currently I feel that Overcast is objectively a less attractive app. Performance can improve, the iPad experience can get nicer and eventually my iPhone 5 will die, I will hand my money to Apple and once again be able run the latest version on my phone.