In November of 2013 a podcast that was adored by many came to an end. The Enough podcast was hosted by Myke Hurley and Patrick Rhone and was a show that I looked forward to each and every week. When they went off the air, so to speak, Myke made it clear that the show's audio files would not be hosted forever. When the CDN contract came up for renewal, the 225 episodes would no longer be available. However, both Myke and Patrick made it clear that anyone who wanted to host the files for others to listen to and download were free to do so. With the permission given, I went ahead and made a site hosting most of the audio files. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, it was even possible to recreate most of the show notes and links.
For a while there were a couple of people who were sharing the files with the world. One person put all the files in a .zip and shared the data with a torrent. Another created a basic website with the audio files set up for downloading. It was just my site that made it possible for people to subscribe via RSS and see the notes if they wanted to. As time went on, the torrent ran out of seeds. The downloadable file via the web went offline a couple of years later. Now it's just my site that is sharing these files with the world … and the world is still interested.
Earlier today I noticed that there was a much higher number of audio downloads than usual. On an average day I can expect to see a hundred or so podcast episode downloads from 10C sites that I manage. By noon the number was quite a bit higher than this. Turns out a couple of people had found the Enough Archive and started downloading every episode, which I am always happy to accommodate1.
What I wonder is how many podcasts reach their natural conclusion and disappear from the Internet, and how many people go looking for those podcasts afterwards. Is there a market for a service that could take these old shows, their notes and audio files, and share them indefinitely with the world? Would podcasters who lose interest in making a show be interested in paying for such a service? When I talk to some smaller podcasters, there doesn't seem to be much interest. The larger podcasters tend to belong to networks so don't need to think about such things. But how about the shows with several thousand or tens of thousands of listeners? Would a one-time payment with a contract to provide the audio files for a minimum period of time be a decent business proposition? I wonder.
Given the number of people who continue to download The Enough Podcast, five years after the last episode was released, this does seem to be something that the Internet would benefit from.
Why have an archive if people can't use it, after all?