12 votes

Is a YouTube video with a static image technically a podcast?

My brother and I have been going at it on if a YouTube channel puts out a video, based around a conversation with either a static image or a simple eye catch behind it, can it be considered a podcast? I'm of the opinion that a podcast is a podcast because it's an audio file, in an aggregator, that can be downloaded to a portable device with minimal fuss. He's of the opinion that the content makes a podcast, and if all podcast aggregators suddenly go under, any audio files with album art uploaded to YouTube would be considered indistinguishable from podcasts, so podcasts can live exclusively in the YouTube space and still be considered a podcast.

Does anyone else have a take on this? Can I use Tildes to definitively prove my brother wrong?

26 comments

  1. [2]
    imperialismus
    Link
    Given the popularity of YouTube podcasts, which are frequently called podcasts, I don’t think you can exclude them from the definition. To me, what makes a podcast a podcast is that it’s an...

    Given the popularity of YouTube podcasts, which are frequently called podcasts, I don’t think you can exclude them from the definition. To me, what makes a podcast a podcast is that it’s an audio-first kind of show (it may include video or other media but they should be supplemental to the experience, not essential to it), and that it’s delivered on demand, rather than as a limited live broadcast like traditional radio. I don’t think streaming vs downloading is an essential distinction in the medium, although I think there’s every reason to enable both, which many podcasts hosted on YouTube do.

    To me, that would be like making a distinction between watching a film on Netflix vs. Blue-Ray. It is, fundamentally, still the same film medium, just delivered in different ways.

    13 votes
    1. Eylrid
      Link Parent
      Interesting that you bring up film, because originally film was the delivery method (as in the physical film). The content type took the name of the technology. "Podcast" is the same way. On a...

      Interesting that you bring up film, because originally film was the delivery method (as in the physical film). The content type took the name of the technology. "Podcast" is the same way. On a technological level a podcast is a feed of audio files delivered via RSS. But, like film, podcast-the-content-type has taken the name of the method used to distribute it.

      To someone using a podcatcher the delivery definition matters for the same reason physical film matters to someone with a reel-to-reel film projector.

      5 votes
  2. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    The current notion of what a podcast is is fluid, as it should be. It's not technical at all. As a comparison, Howard Stern broadcasts his radio show both as audio and video content. So does Joe...

    The current notion of what a podcast is is fluid, as it should be. It's not technical at all. As a comparison, Howard Stern broadcasts his radio show both as audio and video content. So does Joe Rogan with his podcast -- it's all on YouTube.

    Podcasts are like porn, you can't precisely define it (as in opposition to erotic art, for example), but you know it when you see it. There are many things that define what we're used to calling a podcast that have nothing to do with technology.

    6 votes
  3. [13]
    Algernon_Asimov
    (edited )
    Link
    Given that a podcast is an audio file for listening to on your iPod... no. :) [It's a portmanteau of iPod and broadcast: pod + cast.] A podcast has to be downloadable to your listening device, so...

    Given that a podcast is an audio file for listening to on your iPod... no. :) [It's a portmanteau of iPod and broadcast: pod + cast.]

    A podcast has to be downloadable to your listening device, so you can listen to it offline. That doesn't describe a YouTube video, which can't be downloaded.

    EDIT: Wrong bracket.

    4 votes
    1. [12]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Hard disagree. "Video podcasts" have been a thing since very nearly beginning of when the word was first coined (see: history of podcasting), so even linguistic purism like you're advocating for...

      Hard disagree. "Video podcasts" have been a thing since very nearly beginning of when the word was first coined (see: history of podcasting), so even linguistic purism like you're advocating for doesn't even really make sense in this case. That and words change their meaning over time anyways, so the point is moot anyways IMO.

      p.s. You have been able to download videos to your device for offline viewing on YouTube, since at least 2016. So even your second part doesn't work for excluding YouTube videos as podcasts. ;)

      edit: fixed archive.org link

      13 votes
      1. [10]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Are those video podcasts able to be downloaded and played offline?

        Are those video podcasts able to be downloaded and played offline?

        1 vote
        1. [9]
          cfabbro
          Link Parent
          Yep. See my p.s. edit. :)

          Yep. See my p.s. edit. :)

          2 votes
          1. [8]
            Algernon_Asimov
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            To go back to @moocow1452's original question, if the item is: a) able to be downloaded; b) intended to be listened to; ... I'd say that's a podcast. Video podcasts might technically exist, but I...

            To go back to @moocow1452's original question, if the item is:

            a) able to be downloaded;

            b) intended to be listened to;

            ... I'd say that's a podcast.

            Video podcasts might technically exist, but I doubt that most people would say a podcast includes a video component. Podcasts are always described as being things you listen to, rather than watch.

            2 votes
            1. [7]
              cfabbro
              Link Parent
              This strikes me as potentially one of those, "all X are Y, but not all Y are X" semantic cases. This one specifically being, "all video podcasts are podcasts, but not all podcasts are video...

              This strikes me as potentially one of those, "all X are Y, but not all Y are X" semantic cases. This one specifically being, "all video podcasts are podcasts, but not all podcasts are video podcasts". :)

              5 votes
              1. moocow1452
                Link Parent
                cc @Algernon_Asimov; I think my original hang-up was "can YouTube be the primary host for a podcast, or does being a YouTube project first and foremost disqualify it from being a podcast," since...

                cc @Algernon_Asimov;

                I think my original hang-up was "can YouTube be the primary host for a podcast, or does being a YouTube project first and foremost disqualify it from being a podcast," since it doesn't have an aggregator (outside of YouTube) and is entirely contained in the YouTube box. But when framed in @imperialsmus idea of Netflix stream versus Blu-ray disk, it opens up some interesting questions, like what exactly is a made for tv movie qualify as during awards season, or is a theater experience necessary to judge a film?

                1 vote
              2. [5]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                From the information you've provided, every single video on YouTube is a podcast: they're all able to be downloaded, and podcasts can include a video component. And we can then also include...

                From the information you've provided, every single video on YouTube is a podcast: they're all able to be downloaded, and podcasts can include a video component.

                And we can then also include television shows and movies on Netflix and other streaming services, which can be downloaded to watch offline.

                This word "podcast" is getting very broad and inclusive.

                What word do we use for "audio file produced regularly and intended to be downloaded for offline listening"? And how do we differentiate this content from all the other content out there?

                1. [4]
                  cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  IMO you're getting so hung up on defining it based on the medium and distribution method that you can't see the forest for the trees. The defining characteristics of a podcast is that they are all...

                  IMO you're getting so hung up on defining it based on the medium and distribution method that you can't see the forest for the trees. The defining characteristics of a podcast is that they are all episodic series, usually with a host or hosts and potentially guests as well, where the information is primarily transmitted through spoken word. Just because a podcast is also filmed as an added bonus, and may also be distributed on a video hosting platform, does not suddenly mean it is no longer a podcast. And that's why most of the major podcasts on Youtube also distribute audio only versions of their show on various other audio only podcast platforms. The same cannot be said of most Youtube videos or Netflix movies/shows though, as they wouldn't work without the video component.

                  7 votes
                  1. Algernon_Asimov
                    Link Parent
                    Thank you.

                    The defining characteristics of a podcast is that they are all episodic series, usually with a host or hosts and potentially guests as well, where the information is primarily transmitted through spoken word.

                    Thank you.

                    2 votes
                  2. [2]
                    Tardigrade
                    Link Parent
                    Does the episodic critera you mentioned there remove video essays on where you don't require the video to get the content even if the youtuber produces their essays all on similar topics?

                    Does the episodic critera you mentioned there remove video essays on where you don't require the video to get the content even if the youtuber produces their essays all on similar topics?

                    1 vote
                    1. cfabbro
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      IMO a certain segment of video essays could definitely qualify as podcasts, although none of the ones I regularly watch since they are mostly filmmaking and film analysis ones which don't really...

                      IMO a certain segment of video essays could definitely qualify as podcasts, although none of the ones I regularly watch since they are mostly filmmaking and film analysis ones which don't really work without an accompanying video. :P And another factor that might disqualify a bunch is also their short length, since I would be hard pressed to accept a podcast episode under 30min, but many video essays barely go past 10-14min it seems.

      2. Crestwave
        Link Parent
        I'd also like to note youtube-dl, which has been around for quite a while and is very flexible; for example, you could download all the videos in a playlist as audio files, which I assume would be...

        I'd also like to note youtube-dl, which has been around for quite a while and is very flexible; for example, you could download all the videos in a playlist as audio files, which I assume would be good for podcasts. There are also several frontends if you find a CLI daunting

        1 vote
  4. [4]
    Flashynuff
    Link
    It sounds like your question can be distilled to "Is art defined by form, or content?". Unfortunately, I'm not sure there's a right answer. I'd say the only thing that really matters is if someone...

    It sounds like your question can be distilled to "Is art defined by form, or content?". Unfortunately, I'm not sure there's a right answer. I'd say the only thing that really matters is if someone thinks it's a podcast.

    4 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Formal definitions of art have a short shelf life.

      Formal definitions of art have a short shelf life.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Art is form over function – ever heard of design and architecture? Art is what evokes contemplation – so what is going on in ecstatic dance, cringe comedy and horror? Art is virtuous and pure -...

      Art is form over function – ever heard of design and architecture?
      Art is what evokes contemplation – so what is going on in ecstatic dance, cringe comedy and horror?
      Art is virtuous and pure - who decides what is virtuous and pure?
      Art is tradition - when traditions start?
      Art is new - where does the new come from?
      Art is emotional - is hard sci-fi not art? What is emotion anyway?
      Art is intelectual and elevated - you just left out the entire romantic movement.

      Art is what I feel/think/whatever that art is, with no detriment to what other people feel about the subject — I’m okay with that

      2 votes
      1. Eylrid
        Link Parent
        "Art is what we do after the chores are done" -- Teller

        "Art is what we do after the chores are done" -- Teller

        3 votes
  5. 0x4A
    Link
    I've never thought of the medium being the defining factor of what makes a podcast a podcast. The oldest podcast apps around have had support for video podcasts, pretty much forever. Modern...

    I've never thought of the medium being the defining factor of what makes a podcast a podcast. The oldest podcast apps around have had support for video podcasts, pretty much forever. Modern podcast players support podcasts with chapters and imagery, essentially making them multimedia-ish anyway.

    The key attribute is syndication. You can change the name of the thing based on the medium, but it all relies on a broad system of free distribution. I know paid podcasts exist, and so does media that is essentially tethered to its platform, like Youtube and Spotify, and I would argue that that media is similar, but not the same.

    4 votes
  6. [2]
    Pistos
    (edited )
    Link
    Something peripheral to consider: [My understanding is that] traditional podcasts and Youtube content differ starkly in one way: music licensing. If you use someone else's published (owned) music...

    Something peripheral to consider: [My understanding is that] traditional podcasts and Youtube content differ starkly in one way: music licensing.

    If you use someone else's published (owned) music in a YouTube vid, YouTube's magical algorithm elves autodetect this, and then, if the author (or music label, or whatever) has registered the given song(s), YouTube will automatically issue some compensation (royalties?) to the music owner, doing so without any action needed on the part of the music borrower. This is particularly the case for people doing covers of well-known music.

    In contrast, you are absolutely not allowed to use published music in a podcast (not even a cover of the music) without getting explicit consent from the music owner/publisher/whatever, and that likely will cost you some money.

    IANAL, yadda yadda, but it behooves anyone looking into podcasting to educate themselves about these legal concerns as regards background music and covers.

    3 votes
    1. SkewedSideburn
      Link Parent
      You are not allowed to use someone else's music on YouTube without a license as well. Yes, the YouTube will detect it and most likely redirect the revenue from your video to the music owner. But...

      You are not allowed to use someone else's music on YouTube without a license as well. Yes, the YouTube will detect it and most likely redirect the revenue from your video to the music owner. But the music owner may not want that and they still hold the nuclear option: they can force you to remove the video or issue a strike against your channel. Three strikes and you're out.

      People doing cover music is a different thing. First off, it's transformative work, so that's already different. Secondly, there's a thing called "cover license" or "sync license" that musicians should acquire. They mostly don't, but that doesn't mean they're in the right.

      2 votes
  7. skybrian
    Link
    I wouldn't call it a podcast if there isn't an audio file that you can download, but I'm old-school and I don't listen to them anyway. You can certainly publish them on YouTube as well. There is...

    I wouldn't call it a podcast if there isn't an audio file that you can download, but I'm old-school and I don't listen to them anyway. You can certainly publish them on YouTube as well. There is also music that's only available on YouTube and Spotify, which would be a similar situation. Conceptually, with a bit of effort you could make an audio file, and maybe that's good enough?

    If you subscribe to descriptivism then the way to figure out the meaning of a word is to look at how it's commonly used, and I haven't paid enough attention.

    2 votes
  8. telharmonium
    Link
    Podcasts, in the traditional sense, represent a particular confluence of technology and ideals: a completely de-centralized system for the distribution of media content, built on open standards....

    Podcasts, in the traditional sense, represent a particular confluence of technology and ideals: a completely de-centralized system for the distribution of media content, built on open standards.

    This was revolutionary in 2003, and it's even more powerful today. Podcasts are not dependent on the goodwill of a parent company or the maintenance of a DRM server, and they have not yet been weaponized into tools of surveillance capitalism. The same cannot be said of YouTube, Spotify, TuneIn, SoundCloud, or whatever other would-be podcast platforms.

    I could go on at length, but it would be better for all of us if I just link to the Daring Fireball piece "Not All Shows are Podcasts" instead.

    All this is to say that yes, "podcast" is evolving into a broad term for a particular style of content, regardless of the underlying delivery technology. I only hope we do not also lose track of that egalitarian technology which distinguishes a podcast from a show hosted on a proprietary platform.

    Traditional podcasts present a glimpse into an alternate reality in which the open web and interoperable standards of the mid-2000's prevailed, and independent media remained truly independent. They are an unlikely glimmer of light from a less-dark timeline. YouTube podcasts are not.

    2 votes
  9. SkewedSideburn
    Link
    It's definitely a podcast. First off, there are already a bunch of video podcasts, JRE is the the most popular example of that. Secondly, in your case it's even more of a podcast, since if someone...

    It's definitely a podcast. First off, there are already a bunch of video podcasts, JRE is the the most popular example of that. Secondly, in your case it's even more of a podcast, since if someone were to download the video and extract the audio, they would not lose any content. There are probably players that can do that automatically, since YouTube channels have built-in RSS. I use DoggCatcher on Android to manage my podcasts and it has the ability to download video as well (not from YouTube though, I don't think)

    1 vote