That MP3 of Jon Stewart I posted the other day has been hotlinked all over the place, as a result it's been downloaded 5137 times. Multiplying that by its 5,649,826 byte length (roughly 5.5MB) and we're talking roughly 25GB of bandwidth used in three days. For a "podcast" that wasn't even me talking.
This doesn't even go *near* the bandwidth of iFilm which I guess has served up the much larger video version at least a half a million times. Yowza. Adam ran into bandwidth problems last week and now I'm seeing just a portion of that sort of issue now. My account at ServerMatrix is an old one - now you can get 1200GB of bandwidth a month for $99 per month - but I pay the same and get "only" 800GB. Even if the rate of downloads I've seen with the Jon Stewart MP3 continued for the rest of the month, I'd still be well within my limit, but that's only one file! If I started getting a semi-popular Podcast? Forget about it.
This is definitely the elephant in the room of podcasting - or any online broadcasting idea. Media files are exponentially bigger than text and images. It's just a fact of life. The next step in the Audioblogging/Podcasting/Personal Broadcasting revolution is going to *have* to be some sort of BitTorrent integration into the clients, no? Otherwise this will become a rich-man's game very quickly - those who have enough cash to rent their own dedicated server and loads of bandwidth will be able to play, everyone else will be "stuck" in the text world. Maybe Blogger could suddenly allow multimedia files of unlimited size on their free server or something, but I doubt it. Look how hard they are trying to protect their 1GB of GMail space from "abuse."
What's so interesting about this is that Marc Cuban at Web 2.0 talked about how bandwidth just isn't keeping up with disk space at all. Though I found it interesting, I honestly hadn't really cared when he was talking about it because I'm so mobile focused. But now looking at these sorts of trends it makes me realize not only how right he is, but how important this issue is as well. I remember years ago I was messing around with Real Media files as a way of getting around this problem. And compressing my audio to the smallest size possible. These 40GB MP3 podcasts I see now blow me away... I don't see how that's going to last.
I know I'm going to learn from experience. The next time I decide to put out a potentially popular media file like that, it'll definitely be on BitTorrent first.