'Serial' Season 2 Episode 2 Debuts On iTunes, But Can We Expect That For The Rest Of The Season?

On Thursday morning, Serial fans woke up to a surprise that probably shouldn't have been much of a surprise. Serial Season 2 Episode 2 debuted on iTunes, as well as the Serial website and, of course, new partner Pandora, all at the same time. This is a slight departure from Season 2, Episode 1, which was only available on the latter two sites at 6 a.m. EST, and didn't make its way to iTunes until around 8 a.m. EST. While this week follows the norm that we had come to expect from Serial Season 1, I'm finding it a little hard to trust it considering how long I had to wait to have the first episode in my iTunes. Will every Serial Season 2 episode debut on iTunes at 6 a.m. from now on? Is this week just a fluke? Will they alternate episodes with a start on Pandora, later followed by an iTunes debut? What's happening here?

As Ira Glass from NPR said in a statement in November 2015, "For people already listening to Serial and This American Life, nothing will change. But we believe lots of people who'd like our shows simply haven't heard of them, or haven't started listening to podcasts." Of course, this statement was released before Serial Season 2 premiered on Pandora and the official site only when people awoke last Thursday, so it would have been easy to question what a cruel world we live in where your next episode of Serial doesn't automatically download itself overnight. However, with Serial Season 2's second episode now debuting on iTunes as always, at the same time as always, I would guess that this is definitely going to be the norm from now on.

After all, even with episode not being available on iTunes at 6 a.m., it didn't stay that way for long. Two hours later, the podcast had made its way to iTunes for wider consumption, so the lag time was just a fluke of some kind, rather than something that we should expect going forward. We don't have to worry anymore that Serial won't be on iTunes and, thus, won't automatically download itself overnight for people who are subscribed to the podcast. All we really have to worry about is finding a quiet space and time to listen to the episode, so we can brag to all of our friends when we get into the office. Or, you know, just staying home sick from the office to listen in peace. I don't know your life.

CORRECTION: This article originally speculated that the delay in the lag time between the debut of Episode 1 of Serial on the site and Pandora versus iTunes might have been a promotional strategy to celebrate the new partnership between Serial and Pandora, but this is not the case. Serial editor Kristen Taylor confirmed that the Serial feed will go up at the same time on Thursday mornings and will be available across all platforms.

Image: Serial