The podcast Armchair Expert recently returned to the open web after a two-year exclusive deal with Spotify. Prior to that deal, we listened to that show pretty frequently in the car, but I couldn't do it when it went exclusive. I have two reasons, the first and more obvious one that I don't like things moving into closed platforms instead of being agnostic around the Internets. The other thing is that Spotify has broken making a living as a musician. You can't really make a buck easily without being at Taylor's level.
The end to a bunch of exclusivity deals apparently has had varying results. But in the end, I think it's the right thing. Platform consolidation generally hasn't been good for the Internet, or the people who put stuff on it. I know it's kind of a hippie-utopian sentiment to want everything to be generally democratized and starting from an equal place, but I think pre-platform it made for a more interesting place with far more opportunity. The barrier to entry is lower when you can start a YouTube channel or a Facebook page, but with the latter you can't even make a dollar, and it takes a long time to do so with the former. All of the advertising consolidation controlled by the Google-Facebook duopoly is bad for advertisers who have few choices, and worse for small publishers because they can't stack ad providers to fill their inventory.
Naive and optimistic me feels like the best things will rise to the top, but the silly app ecosystem, most of which replicates what could be regular web pages, has put gatekeeping and algorithms above human promotion. Surely there has to be a future that's more than 30 seconds of dance choreography and cat videos. Maybe the independent podcast will show people that's the case.