Apple Finally Fixed Its Podcast Bug

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This article first ran in Hot Pod, an industry-leading trade newsletter about podcasting by Nick Quah.

Apple has finally issued a fix, via the iOS 14.7 update, for the Apple Podcasts bug that's been preventing automatic downloads for new episodes from completing in the background for some users. The bug has resulted in some chaos with download numbers reported on third-party hosting platforms. For those closely watching, the fix comes about a month after Apple first publicly acknowledged the problem.

Two follow-ups. Firstly, Podtrac, the podcast measurement company that publishes periodic public reports on industry-wide audience patterns (as usual, they are to be read with caveats), seems to hold the bug responsible for its recent finding of a consistent downward trend in year-over-year download growth. "June download data was negatively impacted by a bug reported by Apple on their Apple Podcasts for Creators page on July 1, 2021," the company wrote in its latest blog post, before pointing to a graph displaying a sharp drop in downloads facilitated over Apple Podcasts while downloads facilitated over other platforms stayed comparatively consistent to their previous trajectory.

Podtrac also noted in the post: "Overall, 2021 has been just slightly above or on par with 2020 traffic through May, and June was the first month where 2021 saw less traffic than 2020."

Secondly, I'm still trying to get a feel for how advertisers — both brand and direct response — are thinking about these reporting issues. I haven't heard much rumbling on this particular topic over the past month, but that doesn't mean they don't exist, and I frankly haven't comprehensively canvassed the issue just yet. As usual, my inbox is open.

Anyway, if you need further context as to the bigger picture around the bug and its significance, hit my column from a few weeks…
Nicholas Quah
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