What the Tech: ‘Serial’ podcast has millions of fans
It’s perhaps the best show you’ve never seen, and never will – a radio show on the Internet that has attracted millions of fans.
Once a week, Bill Seaver’s favorite show is automatically downloaded to his smartphone, a murder mystery, called “Serial”. Here’s the story: An 18-year-old girl, Hae Min Lee, was found murdered in 1999. Her boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. “Serial” is digging up old evidence out of a suspicion that Syed was unjustly convicted.
Since “Serial” went up on iTunes, it became the most popular show, hitting 5 million downloads faster than any other podcast. It’s the top rated podcast in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
There are “Serial” listening parties and high school teachers use it for creative writing or social studies classes. Each week, Twitter buzzes with theories. There’s even a soundtrack for sale.
And now, there’s word that Baltimore prosecutors have re-opened the real life case. But the biggest mystery is how can a podcast become so popular when most people don’t know what a podcast is?
“I think there’s a rebirth in people wanting to listen to really good audio and it’s easier than ever to listen to a podcast, so I think that’s what is driving this, Seaver says.
There have been nine episodes of “Serial” so far. New ones come out on Thursdays. We don’t know how many episodes are left, or whether there will be a conclusion. The writers-turned-detectives appear to be figuring that out for themselves. Fans hope they take their time.