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Apple hits one billion podcast subscriptions via iTunes store

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Apple

Apple on Monday announced a new milestone -- one billion podcast subscriptions via its iTunes store.

The format, which allows anybody to create an audio or video show on any topic, arrived in the iTunes store eight years ago. Content producers include anyone from bedroom-based amateurs to global media organizations, between them offering a hugely diverse range of material.

“From comedy to hard news to sport to innovative educational content and so much more, podcasting has transformed the global media landscape,” Apple said in an announcement on its iTunes podcast page. “The heart of podcasting is finding your favorite voices in this exciting field, and subscribing to the best ones.” 

And then remembering to listen to them all. Actually, it’d be interesting to know how many enthusiastic downloaders of podcasts actually take the time to plow through them all. How many times have you excitedly subscribed to a show only to forget about it after a few listens, leaving your iPhone to gradually fill up with new episodes that sit there undisturbed until you get around to sorting them all out?

The Cupertino company is marking the milestone by highlighting some of the most popular podcasts from across the eight years alongside a number of current and up-and-coming shows. The selection is country-specific, with US users offered classics such as Real Time with Bill Maher and Happy Tree Friends, and others including TEDTalks, The Rich Eisen Podcast and Aerial America.

Apple told Macworld this week that the iTunes store currently holds around 250,000 different podcasts in more than 100 languages that together add up to somewhere in the region of eight million episodes.

The Cupertino company launched a standalone iPod app for iOS last year, extracting it from the Music app, though it was widely criticized for being clunky and awkward to use. A recent update, however, improved the offering markedly, so much so that in his review DT’s AJ Dellinger was moved to describe it as a “fully functional and viable option for podcast addicts.”