Podcasts enjoyed a steady rise in cult popularity before Serial catapulted the format into the mainstream consciousness last year.
Shows like WTF with Marc Maron, which is now up to 630 episodes including one with special guest Barack Obama, have gone a long way to bring in new podcast listeners and draw attention to the medium.
As Fast Company reports, Maron is partnering with Howl in an attempt to create a one-stop shop for podcast distribution – the Netflix of podcasts if you will.
Podcast discovery and listening app Howl has relaunched today with the help of ad network Midroll, and is offering up WTF’s entire archive of 630 episodes as part of its new premium service.
Despite their increasing popularity, podcast distribution is still mostly limited to App Stores, and this process can be very selective.
Maron tells Fast Company that Howl will provide a better model for this.
“What’s exciting about Howl is that it’s going to really create a world and a platform and a place that is uniquely podcasting,” Maron says.
“I think it’s going to blow up the audience for podcasts in general, because it’s going to make it easier and all in one place”
But convincing listeners to pay for the content will be a big hurdle for the service to overcome, with podcasts traditionally being provided for free, and monetised through advertising.
Howl has a free version and a premium subscription option costing $US4.99 per month, giving access to the full archive of shows, a library of Comedy Central specials and behind-the-scenes photos.
At the moment the archive only encompasses Howl’s 11 original podcasts and WTF, but it soon hopes to expand to all podcasts and become an all-in-one platform.