by Jason Snell
Podcast app Castro updates, goes free (with requested donation)
I have a fond memory of my former Macworld colleague Dan Frakes making an impassioned case for apps that were free, but hoped users who liked them would donate some cash to show their support. Our house style at the time was to simply list those apps as “Price: Free,” but Dan made the case that if a donation was requested, we should say so. “Price: Free (donation requested)” became the official policy.
These days there are a lot of free services asking for money. Most notably, the announcement that Marco Arment’s iOS podcast app Overcast would be free with an optional support system made some people wonder what might be in store for paid iOS podcast apps like Supertop’s Castro.
Well, here’s what’s in store: Supertop announced Castro 1.5 today. Castro is an absolutely beautiful podcast app. Supertop’s apps are always crafted with an incredible attention to detail. The new version adds 3D Touch throughout the app, and hooks into Spotlight so that you can search for podcast episodes from the main iPad search field.
Previously a paid app, Castro 1.5 is now available for free. But, as Dan Frakes would remind me, there’s more to the story. Supertop is asking people who like Castro to contribute $1/month toward its ongoing development:
There are some good reasons to believe that patronage can work for Castro. Kickstarter just passed $2 billion pledged, the majority of which came from repeating backers. In the podcast world, many shows are listener-supported through Patreon, and Radiotopia, a podcast network, is doing a great job of getting patrons signed up to support their work. Lots of people are willing to pay a few dollars per month to support things that they love.
If you haven’t checked out Castro, there’s never been a better time. And if you like it and use it, you should support its developers so that it can continue to exist.
[Related: An interesting piece from Glenn Fleishman at Macworld about donationware.]