Remember the day you discovered Pandora? You plugged in Arcade Fire. Then heard The National. And so on down the indie-fabulous rabbit hole.
Now you can have that same exploratory experience, but with podcasts.
Talk-radio fans, meet Swell.
Swell is a free app that streams content (as short as one minute and up to two hours) from NPR, iTunes, the BBC and more, learning over time what you do and don’t like and making selections accordingly.
When you sign up, Swell will start with fairly wide-ranging stuff. We got a 15-minute TED Talk about stress followed by a 17-minute BBC segment on the G20 summit followed by a one-hour This American Life episode about rest stops.
Give the app feedback and it learns what you like. For instance, if you’re loving a Planet Money episode, just hit the “like” button and your queue will be populated with similar finance podcasts. On the other hand, if you’re not digging a segment on soil erosion, you can hit “skip” and a different clip will begin. The app calculates your preferences based on how much time you spend on a particular selection, and the more you use it, the more spot-on it gets.
We particularly love the discovery angle. Before Swell chose it for us, we had never heard of The Treatment (a podcast about the inner workings of Hollywood), but now we’re devout fans.