Mining iTunes for podcast listenership data

For podcasters and their advertisers, tracking the size of a podcast’s audience is sticky. You can track how many people download a podcast, but who knows if they actually listened to it?

iTunes is the #1 podcasting client (57% market share last year), and additional podcatchers push podcasts into iTunes, so much of the data about podcast listenership can be found in iTunes. Advertisers just need a way to get to it.

I recently commented to Phil Windley that perhaps the iTunes XML file could be mined for listenership data. iTunes exports an XML file that contains a rating, play count, last played date, and last skip date for every song and podcast. This would be extremely valuable information for advertisers.

Phil connected me with Doug Kaye, the creator of IT Conversations, who is now exploring a way to automate the flow of this valuable iTunes information back to podcasters. After seeing the architecture he created with web services, I believe if anybody can do this, Doug can.

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