The once popular third-party podcast app Castro had seemingly shut down this weekend, after earlier saying that it was “actively seeking a new home” for its product. The announcement had followed rumors that the company would soon be closing down, spurred by a post from a former Castro employee Mohit Mamoria who, in November, wrote on X that the app would be shut down over the next two months.
In a blog post on castro.fm, Castro’s team in December apologized for the app’s downtime due to a recent issue that had required “extensive work” to fix, and noted that any communication about the app’s future outside of Castro itself was “not official” and did “not represent Castro’s views” — an indirect reference to the X post which had prompted a number of media reports about the app’s impending closure.
The company also confirmed that, although it had seen employee departures, it wanted to apologize for the “unnecessary panic that may have arisen from these conversations.” The post additionally noted that Castro was seeking new owners for its podcast app in order to continue to provide users with service. TechCrunch’s requests for comment at the time of this initial report were not returned, however.
Reddit users were the first to notice the current outage with the Casto app, saying over the weekend that the app would no longer load new podcasts or export the ones they have — meaning, they would not be able to easily migrate to another app. Several also expressed frustration with the lack of transparency from the app’s makers, noting they would have appreciated a heads-up that the app was being shut down.
“Why all the silence and secrecy? It’s a huge slap in the face to people who have paid for and promoted the app for years,” wrote one Reddit user who goes by the handle g-money-cheats.
Castro sold a majority stake to Dribble’s owner Tiny in 2018, but its creators at the time said they were still shareholders and would continue working on the app full-time. Citing the reasons for the sale, they said the app had reached the size where the demands of running the business had pulled them in too many different directions, and Tiny would provide them with more resources, contacts and expertise.
Castro’s website was also not working on Monday morning, but a tweet from the company clarified on Monday evening that DNS issues it had claimed to have experienced were now resolved and users should once again have access. Some users were still suspicious of the timing, however, given that the company made no announcement on X when the site and app first went down.
The fix has been deployed and propagating over the past couple of hours.
Many of you may have gotten back the access.
We are waiting for the propagation to hit 100%. pic.twitter.com/kxx7Hdyp4l
— Castro Podcasts (@CastroPodcasts) January 8, 2024
Concerns over Castro’s future, and the fate of the indie podcast app industry as a whole, have broadened in recent years as Spotify entered the market to compete with Apple Podcasts. That move influenced the exits of other smaller podcast apps, which included the sale of Pocket Casts to a collective of radio broadcasters, including NPR and BBC Studios. The app was then sold again to WordPress.com owner Automattic in 2021. Satellite radio provider and Pandora owner SiriusXM also bought the podcast app Stitcher in 2020 for $325 million. That leaves the market with fewer third-party apps outside of the tech giants, with Overcast, Podbean and a handful of others remaining.
Another request for comment from Casto owner Tiny was not returned at of the time of writing.
Article updated, 1/8/24, 6:45 pm pt to note Castro claimed DNS issues had impacted its website.