Apple changed the way it lists its most popular podcasts in the iTunes Music Store over the weekend, using the term “Today’s Top Podcasts” in place of “Top Podcasts.” The move came shortly after Podcaster Adam Curry noted that the “Top Podcasts” list was time-based, rather than an aggregate figure.
According to Curry, Apple ranks Podcasts similarly to the way it ranks singles and albums on the iTunes Music Store, looking at new subscribers over a twenty-four hour period rather than a cumulative total. Thus a podcast with the most downloads in a one-day period could be ranked higher than another with more total subscribers.
The top ten is a list of “new subscriptions to podcasts within, roughly, the last twenty-four hours,” according to Curry who made the announcement in his popular program, The Daily Source Code . “It’s a pretty fair way of doing things, so that when a new podcast comes online, or it catches on and people start subscribing to it, it really will start to propagate into the top ten.”
For example, following an article in The Wall Street Journal , Violet Blue’s Open Source Sex shot up the iTMS charts over many other shows, such as Scott Sheppard’s Inside Mac Radio , or KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic , with a larger audience of total subscribers.
Following Curry’s announcement, some in the podcasting community took issue with the way top podcasts were labeled. Critics charged that this type of ranking rewarded podcasts with a buzz, sending them rocketing up the charts, rather than podcasts with more total subscribers, while referring to the recently popular items as “top podcasts.” The new listing, “today’s top podcasts,” seems to reflect that concern.
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