What is Player FM?
Player FM is a cloud-based podcast app, like Spotify for podcasts. Busy people rarely have time to sit down and read a book, so Player FM helps them stay informed by reading with their ears. Great talk shows and an easy app make it possible to learn while commuting, working out, or performing manual chores.
How is Player FM different?
Player FM emphasises discovery, simplicity, control.
Discovery. “I’d love to get into podcasts, but I don’t know what to listen to”. We heard that problem a lot and solved it by letting users follow their favorite topics, such as “Gadgets”, “Baseball”, or “Mad Men”. Hundreds of topics are available and our researchers are always adding more. In addition, Player FM was the first podcast app to allow full episode searching, so users can search full shownotes on over 2 million episodes.
Simplicity. “It’s too complicated” is the second problem we heard about. Traditional podcatchers required some mix of subscribing and downloading before users can play it. Player FM’s philosophy is simple: if it’s on your screen, you can play it. Furthermore, Player FM embraces the cloud to ensure users only set things up once. Subscriptions reside in the cloud, sync across multiple devices, and can be played on Player FM’s website by users who don’t have the app.
Control. “Real podcatchers should do X”. More advanced users and hardcore podcast fans demand more than just a streaming radio service. While following topics is a simple model for beginners, more advanced users can subscribe to individual series. Latest shows automatically sync for offline play, and advanced users can fine-tune exactly when and how many shows will be kept offline.
Who started Player FM?
Player FM was launched by Michael Mahemoff, a former Googler and web development author. Michael got into podcasting when it started in 2004, creating his own software podcast and the first podcasting FAQ at https://podca.st. He was a huge fan of Odeo, the podcasting service founded by Ev Williams before the team pivoted to create Twitter. Over the years, Michael waited for someone else to pick up the slack and build a cloud-based podcasting app, but it didn’t happen. So after leaving Google, he decided to finally build it himself. In the modern era of smartphones, mobile broadband, and social media, the model pioneered by Odeo can really thrive.
The service launched as an experimental website in mid-2012. After seeing people liked the model and were happy to keep their subscriptions in the cloud, he continued to evolve the web app while began planning a mobile app with offline support, which launched a year later. It reached 100,000 downloads after 7 months and the audience continues to grow as the app evolves.
Is Player FM funded? What’s the business model?
Player FM hasn’t sought external funding because we want to focus on staying small and building the best possible user experience. Longer term, the goal is to support a sustainable freemium model, where users pay a small annual fee to receive features such as higher limits, full play history, multiple channel management, and real-time syncing of episode positions across the cloud.
Where is Player FM based? Company info?
Player FM’s owned by Nuvomondo Ltd, a UK company that was initially Michael Mahemoff’s consulting vehicle. Michael is now working full-time on Player FM.
What’s the technology behind Player FM?
Player FM is based on an open-source stack. The servers run Ruby on Rails and some Node and the website runs HTML5 using a custom model-view-controller framework. Feeds are updated using Sidekiq for message queueing and Superfeedr for notifications. ElasticSearch powers the series and episode search. The Android app communicates with the server using a RESTful JSON API. We use blue-green deployment for staged rollouts on the server and Play beta channel and staged rollouts to gradually distribute the app to users.
What’s Player FM working on next?
We have several ongoing projects:
- An iPhone app and an offline desktop app are in active development. We have open-sourced the framework that will allow us to distribute it as either a Chrome app or a native desktop app.
- We are trialling the Gold subscription plan.
- Our next big piece of functionality is play tracking in the server. It will let us provide high-level analytics to publishers and help users sync even more across the cloud.
Where can I find company logos?
Feel free to use these Player FM logos.