How Steve Jobs helped save podcasting...with a four letter word

Steve jobs and iPhone
(Image credit: Apple)

A revelation by Adam Curry, a podcast pioneer, gives an insight into the time Steve Jobs saved pivotal audio recording software in the early 2000s.

In an interview with Podcast Magazine, the "Podfather," Curry, one of the first podcast creators at the start of the 21st Century, told a story about a meeting with Steve Jobs in 2003 that shaped the future of podcasting.

At the turn of the century, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), had already shut down the pirating app Napster and attempted to stop the launch of the first hardware MP3 player made by Diamond Multimedia Systems.

The RIAA was set on preventing the inevitable move of audio into the digital age and set its sights on a new enemy, the Mac app, Audio Hijack.

Audio Hijack allows for recording Mac audio as well as being able to add audio effects to any audio recording. It's an app that past members of the iMore team have used for the iMore Show, but it was a grey area that the RIAA was worried about, as audio piracy was rife with applications like LimeWire having a detrimental impact on record sales.

Steve Jobs to the rescue

Speaking to Podcast Magazine, Curry said, "And in that very meeting, Steve asked: “How do you do your recording?”. We didn’t really have any tools to record, there was not much going on at the time. But the Mac had an application called Audio Hijack Pro, and it was great because we could create audio chains with compressors, and replicate a bit of studio work."

"Eddy Cue said: “The RIAA wants us to disable Audio Hijack Pro, because with it you could record any sound off of your Mac, any song, anything”. Steve then turned to me and said: “Do you need this to create these podcasts?”. I said: “Currently, yes!”. So Steve Jobs told them to get lost, and I thought: “Hey man, thanks, Steve’s on my side. That’s cool.”."

Following the interview, Curry revealed Jobs' actual words.

The developer of Audio Hijack, Rogue Amoeba, has since shared a blog post with gratitude to Jobs and a sigh of relief at how near the company's future was to being entirely different.

Steve Jobs would go on to prevent the RIAA from removing Audio Hijack from Macs and, in turn, directly impacted the future of audio recording and the podcast medium.

It's a lovely story. Even though it's been over 12 years since Jobs' passing, new insights into how he would help developers for the Mac are still coming to light.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.