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Podcasts are inherently decentralized. As a medium, they rely on open standards and simple, straightforward tools to allow them to reach as wide an audience as possible. In recent years, however, the desire to monetize the format has started to change the shape of the podcasting landscape. With the acquisition of popular podcasts, platform holders such as Spotify have started a precipitous downward trend into centralization which flies in the face of what podcasts stand for. Luckily, there are many emerging platforms within the world of free software which aim to make the publication and dissemination of podcast content easier, more accessible, and more decentralized to combat this trend towards neo-corporate radio.
As the developers of one of these platforms, the Funkwhale project has faced and still faces unique challenges designing the necessary tooling and anti-abuse features to enable users to host their own podacasting platform. This talk explores some of these issues, some of the solutions we have found, and why we believe it is important that users have free and open alternatives to centralized podcast hosts.