Buzzcast

Amazon Podcasts Update + Podcasting's First Open Source Directory

September 11, 2020 Episode 34
Buzzcast
Amazon Podcasts Update + Podcasting's First Open Source Directory
Chapters
0:00
Kevin hits 98 degrees
0:39
Try Magic Mastering for free
8:51
Stats recap
12:00
Spotify loses their first big podcaster
25:37
The Podcast Index
35:17
Amazon Podcasts Update
Buzzcast
Amazon Podcasts Update + Podcasting's First Open Source Directory
Sep 11, 2020 Episode 34

In this episode, we'll tell you how to test drive Magic Mastering for free on your next episode, Alban gives us an update on Amazon Podcasts, and we discuss the value of the newly launched Podcast Index for the future of podcasting.

Watch Alban's breakdown of the Amazon Podcasts launch on the Buzzsprout YouTube channel.

The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory and Mal - Episode 375 | "View from the SPOT"
(Start at around 64 minutes)

Send an email to support@buzzsprout.com to let us know which stats you want us to discuss next time we bring Tom on the podcast.

Subscribe to the Buzzsprout YouTube channel to watch gear reviews, software tutorials, and podcast strategy videos.

Review Buzzcast in Podchaser to let us know what you think of the show.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we'll tell you how to test drive Magic Mastering for free on your next episode, Alban gives us an update on Amazon Podcasts, and we discuss the value of the newly launched Podcast Index for the future of podcasting.

Watch Alban's breakdown of the Amazon Podcasts launch on the Buzzsprout YouTube channel.

The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory and Mal - Episode 375 | "View from the SPOT"
(Start at around 64 minutes)

Send an email to support@buzzsprout.com to let us know which stats you want us to discuss next time we bring Tom on the podcast.

Subscribe to the Buzzsprout YouTube channel to watch gear reviews, software tutorials, and podcast strategy videos.

Review Buzzcast in Podchaser to let us know what you think of the show.

Travis:

So, if you are interested in trying magic mastering, but you haven't yet up, Kevin's been taking his temperature 98.

Alban:

This is a remote recording. And Kevin has been taking his temperature the entire time,

Kevin:

I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat. And so I've been taking my temperature all morning and we started and it was 97.7 and then a few minutes ago was 97.8. And now it's 98.

Travis:

Now, quick question, Kevin, before we jump back into magic mastering, did you turn the AC off in the room that you're recording?

Kevin:

Yeah. It's not blowing in here right now. I do have a fan going very slowly. Yeah. That might explain it . It is a little bit, it is a little warm. 4,000 people have taken us up on the free magic mastering trial. We'd launched it in the beginning of the month on September 1st and over 4,000 podcasters have tried it out. Holy cow.

Travis:

That is more than 3000. Yeah .

Kevin:

Well, that's been it's it's exciting. So the thing is, is that we rolled out magic mastering, you know, how many months? Four months ago.

Alban:

Yeah, something like that.

Kevin:

And just this , like we do with a lot of things, we try to get the core of the feature, right. You know, and get it out there and let people start using it. But we usually have bigger ideas. Most of the time we roll something out. It's not our ultimate vision of what we're going to roll out, but we don't want to sit around and hold the feature back while we get it exactly how we want it. And so that's the same exact thing applied to magic mastering. We got the core of the feature out, but we've always wanted to, since we came up with the idea, we said, well, people should be able to try that for free before they have to pay for it. And there has been a way to do that, but it hasn't been super simple. So you, in the past, you could turn on magic master and you could upload an episode. You could listen to the results. If you didn't like it, you could delete that episode. And then you could turn off magic mastering, and you would never be charged, but that's a bunch of hoops to jump through just to try a feature out. And so we've wanted to figure out a way to let people do a free trial. But while we were figuring that out and writing all the code to make that happen, we didn't want to withhold the feature from everybody. So for the past three or four months, if you wanted to, you know, give it a shot and turn it on, you can, but there hasn't been an easy way to try it. And now there's an easy way to try it. So starting September 1st and forever forward, every podcast account on Buzzsprout will get an opportunity to run magic mastering on one episode for free to see if you like it before you turn it on and start paying for it.

Alban:

I think this was actually a recommendation from Carrie Ann because she was using magic mastery and loved it. And then she was like, you know, all of my friends that don't use it, I like peer pressure them into it. And then they try it. She's like, but most of them don't even notice it when they're signing up. She was like, you need to make it like up at the top and like a little more intense. And we're like, well, we don't want to like bully somebody into like trying a feature if they don't want to try it. And she's like, no, no, no, no one even knows about it. And so that's where we came up with, you know, we're going to have a little pop up and say, Hey one, do you want to try this out? It was pretty crazy to think 4,000 people have tried it in 10 days.

Kevin:

Yeah. I'm super excited about it because at Buzzsprout we were thinking all the time about how do we make podcasting simpler. Right. But we don't want to, I mean, not simple to the point where you're just, you know , creating something. That's not that you don't, it's not quality. Right? We want quality podcasts. And I think the people who land on Buzzsprout and consume all of our educational content and stuff like that's, that's who you are. If you're a Buzzsprout podcaster you want to create a good quality show. And so how do we make that easier and make your workload faster? But at the same time, we're not , um, we're not making recommendations that are going to have you the end product of your podcast, not be quality, not be a high quality show. And this just fits that sweet spot really well. Like , uh , we think that you should record. We think that you should edit. We think that you should do multi-track recording. If you can, all this great stuff, but there's another level beyond that, which is mastering, which is okay now I've got the edit exactly how I want it. Right. I've taken out as many ums as I want. And I've, you know, there's been some background noise. I don't know if you can hear right now, I've got background noise to the lawnmower's going next door, but we get it as good as we can. And then we figure out, Hey, there's this whole other level of mastering to make a podcast sound great. And that is getting the loudness set correctly. And that is, and there might be a little bit of noise in the recording and how do I get that out? And that stuff is a whole nother level of expertise that has to be developed, but we can give you an 80 or 90% solution here using these algorithms made by these really smart guys, at the athletic team. And so I love it. I think everyone should be using it and even as much podcasting as we do. And we, you know, we're professional, we're in the space professionally as podcasters , even for us, it doesn't make sense for us to develop that level of expertise and spend that amount of time mastering all of these recordings. We just let magic mastering handle it.

Travis:

Yeah. Right now I'm working on a video for our YouTube channel, talking about how to master your podcast, episodes, how to mix and master them. And it is, I've been podcasting for a long time. It is still overwhelming to think about all the things that you would need to do to replicate what you get automatically with magic mastering, right? Like it is just so time consuming, even just the , the audio leveling where it's not just the whole track. Cause typically when you normalize a track to bring the volume up or down to the right level, it just looks at the entire track and then does this one adjustment. So you still have all the dynamic range issues of the latter parts and the softer parts that you did before now, the latter parts just aren't too loud, but with magic mastering, it's literally going section by section and adjusting the volume level to make it consistent. And that is an extremely manual process to try and do on your own. And so just that alone would save hours of time in the editing editing Bay. So I could do all the stuff that we do with magic mastering manually, and maybe get like a 5% improvement. But is that really worth four hours of my time for a 45 minute episode? Probably not.

Kevin:

Yeah. And I've had some exchanges with some of our customers who just that use it as an insurance policy. So they actually have the expertise to be able to master and they enjoy it. And so it's just part of the, you know , what is fun about podcasting to them? And they still run magic mastering. They've written me. And they've said, you know, because it's a great insurance policy. So as I'm going through my hour long episode and I'm getting all the levels exactly right. And I'm setting the loudness everywhere and I got it perfect. There's a possibility that I was zoomed in on the timeline too tightly and I missed a little spot or something. And so magic mastering will always catch that for me. And so for them, it's worth, you know , $6 a month or $9 a month just for the insurance policy of, Hey , even though I know how to master it and I enjoy doing it and I take the time to do it just in case I miss something I know it's covered.

Travis:

So if you are interested in trying magic mastering, but you haven't yet, then the next time you go to upload an episode into Buzzsprout, there'll be a little screen that pops up that says, Hey, do you want to try magic mastering? You can either choose to do it for that particular episode, or there's a link that you can click where it tells us to remind you the next time you upload an episode, or if you're not interested, then you can just up, Kevin's been taking his temperature 98.

Kevin:

Yeah. So just full disclosure. I should maybe

Alban:

Recording. And Kevin has been taking his temperature

Kevin:

This morning with a scratchy throat. And so I've been taking my temperature all morning and we started and it was 97.7 and then a few minutes ago was 97.8. And now it's 98.

Travis:

Now, quick question, Kevin, before we jump back into magic mastering, did you turn the AC off in the room that you're recording in?

Kevin:

Yeah. It's not blowing in here right now. I do have a fan going very slowly. Yeah. That might explain it, but it is a little, it is a little warm . I don't know. I don't have anything to like , I don't have like a baseline reading. I don't normally take my temperatures . I'm sitting here at the desk through this episode.

Alban:

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, if you have some sort of sickness, I don't think it's indicated by a 97 degree temperature change. There's a boy band from the nineties that taught me 98.6 degrees is the , what you should really

Kevin:

B shaver called 98 degrees. Weren't they? Oh, really? Yeah.

Travis:

Well I think 98, I that's how I learned 98.6. It doesn't roll off the tongue the same way. 98.6 degrees. It doesn't look as good on tee shirts.

Kevin:

I'll keep , I'll keep checking as we progress and I'll report back.

Travis:

Very nice. Thank you, Kevin. But yeah, so you can try magic mastering for free, and if you love it, then, you know, use it for all your episodes.

Alban:

One thing I've noticed this week, or last two weeks has been a surprising number of people sharing stats on Twitter and social media all about our last episode. So I don't know if it was our most popular episode of all time, but definitely Tom is bringing in a different audience than we are. So people were excited to hear more of the buzz sprout stats. Uh , I saw lots of people share, like they were incredibly encouraged by the stats, people who are going, Oh, I've been podcasting for two years and I've got 300 listeners. And that puts me in the top 20%. I never knew I was actually doing that well. And I feel I'm so excited. And then all of their like listeners are responding to it. I, this makes me so happy. All these lists , people who are listening to like, I love the show, you're doing a great job. Keep up the great work. And you just see these like really kind interactions. So I've been watching those last two weeks and responding to some of them and I definitely came up , I've come away with it. Like , okay, well I guess this has to become kind of a semi-regular thing. And so I would at least like to ask out of that conversation with Tom, all of the podcasting stats, which of those questions were the most exciting, which were the most interesting. And what would you want to know? You know, are the platform Wars interesting like, Oh, Spotify is catching up on Apple in the last two weeks or, Hey, the change for the 50th percentile, we've seen a shift there. What stats would be interesting to you to kind of hear on a regular basis , um , right into support@buzzsprout.com and you know, we'll see how we can turn this into a kind of semi-regular segment.

Travis:

It's always nice to have some kind of barometer to , to be able to measure kind of where you're at. Cause if, when you're operating in a vacuum, you have like no idea what's good and what's not good. Right. Uh , and even if you think about in the YouTube world, so many people look at that a hundred thousand subscriber number is like, that's when you've made it. That's when as a channel you have arrived, like you are actually a YouTuber, but there are so many smaller channels that are, that have really dedicated followings of people that create full time incomes off of channels that have fewer than that. And so it's, I think it's helpful to know where you are compared to other people that are doing something similar. And then also to see that success probably isn't as far into the future, as you might think that it is right, that getting 10,000 listeners, which would put you in like the top 1% of podcasters, like you, you may get there, but that is certainly not the benchmark that you have to cross in order to be a quote unquote podcaster.

Alban:

So right into support. Let us know what you liked. Let us know you'd like to hear. And we'll see if we can drag Tom back to the virtual studio on, you know , every once in a while to give us updates on some stats. I know he loves it more than anything. So I don't think it will be too much of a hard sell, especially if we have some specific questions or things you'd like to know. So support at Buzzsprout dot com.

Travis:

So in the last couple of months, Spotify has made a lot of waves in the news, signing big contracts with either former first ladies of the United States or really prominent podcasters . But one piece of news that came out recently, it was kind of on the opposite end of that, of one podcast or that signed was Spotify early on when they were first getting into podcasting and why he is leaving Spotify and getting out of his contract with them. Alban, I know that you and Kevin both listened to his side of the story. What were some of your takeaways from that? Or we're talking about Joe button.

Alban:

We are talking about Joe button. The Joe Budden podcast was probably, it was one of the first two podcasts that Spotify had and the other one being an Amy Schumer podcast that was just kind of writing, you know, they're like, Oh, she's popular. I bet she could do a podcast. Joe button actually had like a serious audience of, I don't know if it's in the millions, but it definitely seems to be because of the, just the amount of following they have on social media. I mean, it was pretty large and they signed an exclusive deal with Spotify that was not very lucrative. They never could talk about it, but there were indications when they originally signed, it was somewhere in the range of like single digit millions, maybe like a million or a couple million. It was not a ton. And they're wrapping up like, it's the very end. There's probably now I dunno something like three episodes left that will be on Spotify. And they said, we can't tell you where this podcast will be in seven, you know, in a few episodes, but we can't tell you won't be on Spotify. So they've decided to leave. We can link to the episode in the description, but Joe pretty much just goes through this entire, I don't know, it's like an hour and a half of kind of airing everything that's happened with Spotify. That's not behind it NDA . And just explaining the process that they've gone through in working with.

Kevin:

Yeah, it was super eye opening , but I mean, not in a great way. It was really, it was kind of sad and it's kind of, it's hard to hear somebody talk about that, that there's the end of this tenure that he's run with Spotify. And to hear that this is how it ends in this really kind of ugly way is, was, was sad. This is the way that deals go sometimes. And especially when you're in an exclusive agreement with somebody , uh , now it sounds like Joe had, did a good job of retaining ownership of his content and it was a licensed deal. It's not like they own all those recordings. It sounds like he'll be able to bring those with him wherever he goes. So I'm glad that he had that protection for himself and you know, and here's the other thing I've not , uh , Joe button is not a podcast that I listened to on a regular basis. Again, I'm not a Spotify guy, so I've never really heard the show. Uh, one of the few times I've listened to something on Spotify was this recent episode that he did. And , uh, I will let you know if you want to , we'll link to it in the show notes, but if you want to listen to it, make sure you are in a , uh , you know, adult environment. He's he knows a ton of language in there and it's, it's pretty rough story. But yeah, I mean, from where we sit as proponents and advocates for independent podcasters and owning your own content and doing things on your terms, this just rubs all of those, you know, gosh, this is just a tough story to listen to.

Alban:

If you've been listening to this podcast, it's probably going to sound something like when you read the new , new, like article that says like Facebook was taking data from there , you know , all the people on Facebook, they're using it to sell ads. Like it's going to come off a little bit like, yeah, I kinda knew all this stuff was probably happening, but I can kind of hit some of the high points. They were basically the test case for our podcasts , a lucrative way for Spotify to get additional listeners. And obviously Joe, button's an artist . So he's got this entire experience of the music business. And it's so interesting to see him draw the parallels and say, man, Spotify really understands the music business, which is, you know , notoriously predatory, like the, the record labels control everything. And it's kind of important to remember, like the nineties, a lot of the internet and selling stuff online really kicks off because music artists are like, thank God I can get out from under all of these silly, you know, I have to go through distributors and I have to go through all these labels. They were all excited to do it. They're building their own websites to get out of, you know , working with those people. Well, podcasting, we are on the opposite end where we have all the distribution already set up and it's all there for us and we're going, huh? I wonder what's going on with all of these music label kind of people. I wonder if they could help me out. I wonder if I should go check out the opportunities there and you know, if you're thinking about it, I would recommend highly listening to this podcast. It's a story of them pretty much proving to Spotify. Hey, this is a very valuable way for you to get listeners. Um , day one that the Joe Budden podcast was on Spotify exclusively. They crashed the site and it's, they said that it's almost immediately after that, that this famous a board meeting happened with Spotify CEO that said, let's do a thousand of these deals. Let's get as many of these, you know, big podcasts into Spotify exclusively. And it's a two year deal and they of go through and it always seems like they're not totally engaged with each other, that it's not a back and forth. It's very much a, Hey, upload your episodes. And , uh, you know, we'll send the checks your way, kind of a thing, a couple of the more like painful parts to here , they had some sort of bonus that's on the order of like, it's like half a million dollar bonus. If they're the number one podcast and they're consistently ranked number one in certain rankings. And then if you log into Spotify for podcasts, just, you know, there's a lot of different stats in there, their streams, their starts there's average runtime. There's all these things. And they ask about the, you know, Hey, where's our bonus. It's funny . Hi. Who is like, I mean , this was such a good deal for Spotify that they ended up no later spending hundreds of millions on other podcasts. So they've made their money back hand over fist. And then they're like, Oh yeah, according to the specific stats and the way we wrote it, you're not the number one podcast. And then I kid you not that's in September it , December is when they start dropping all of these, the Joe Budden podcast, the number one podcast on Spotify, not exclusive number one at all, like they were doing, they were bringing everybody in to listen to this podcast. And it's just kind of like mind blowing to be like, we just said, we are the number one. You said, no , technically you're not. So that's why you don't get your bonus, but you're doing such a good job. We're going to promote you as the number one, which like blows my mind. And there's just like all these stories of, they try to pre-record so they can take off some holidays. And Spotify is like, ah , we really don't want you to take any days off. So I'd only take days off for like Christmas and new years , you know, they are offered, Hey, instead of, because we didn't get you that bonus, maybe we'll give you like some we'll buy you guys Rolex watches. And like, I don't know about you, but if you're offering to buy some about Rolex watch, that's not going to be cheap. So that they say, Hey, what if we got these watches? They're like, Whoa, that's too expensive for like, Hey, what if we got the zoos used watches? They're like, ah, it's too much. They're like, okay, maybe we won't buy these watches at all. I don't know. It's like, is this super awkward, you know, relationship? And it all ends with Joe button going. Yeah. So we got to get out of here because you know, the last two years the world has changed and now I can see how valuable it was for me to control my own content, to control my own schedule. So I can take days off when I want. And if the podcast triples in size that I am the beneficiary of that growth, that we can try different things out. You just, I keep coming back to that, that when you sign a deal to pretty much an employee where you work for a company, yeah. The, all the upside is in their hands. You get no downside because you're going to get a check no matter what, but there all the upside is in their hands. And that's pretty much what you're doing when you sign some of these exclusive deals.

Kevin:

We're a little bit off topic here. I can't imagine anybody on this call or most people listening. I mean, no, one's getting exclusive deals from Spotify. That the question is that I think that is relevant to us and everyone who's listening is do you want to be a part of this? Do you want to be a part of building of putting, you know , your brick on the building that is Spotify, is, is erecting around podcasting. Do you want to support this? Are they bringing podcasting in a healthy direction or is it an unhealthy direction? And we've made our position clear. We support the open podcast ecosystem. I am not a huge fan of exclusive podcasts, but in and of themselves, the idea that a show is exclusive is not, it's not beyond, like I could get to a place where I could say, okay, you know, that might make sense for that particular show. But at the end of the day, you still have to come back and ask yourself the question, is this healthy or not? Or is this a, is this trend the right way for podcasting to be going? And , and , and what, what's the cost of that? And so as these platforms try to gain more and more people into them to pull them into them. The current trend is exclusivity and that builds an initial audience, but really it's not enough to hold. Like, I mean, look at luminary for an example, luminary launched with a bunch of shows that were exclusive only to them, but that ended up itself was not enough to sustain the platform. They also needed all of the independent podcasters out there. They needed their content as well. And they launched in kind of a tone deaf way. And a lot of independent podcasters said, Hey, I don't want my show on there. I don't want to support that. And we're pulling out, we're not pushing our shows into luminary. And luminary is floundering. That is not happening with Spotify. Spotify is abusing podcasters and creators and Taking the podcasting ecosystem in an unhealthy direction. And yet all of us independent podcasters are still saying, yeah, but I get 10% of my listens from there. I get 15% of my lessons from there. So I'm still going to put my show there. And it's like, if we don't stand up and say, no, this isn't good. Like Spotify start doing some good things. Start moving the , you know, embracing openness and embracing, supporting creators. And then we'll give you our content. But if we continue to throw our pebbles on the pile of whatever Spotify is building, then they're just gonna keep going. And there's no reason for them to stop. Do you think they really care too much about losing Joe button? No way. They just signed Michelle Obama and Kim Kardashian and everyone like they're moving. And if Joe button can't make a difference, if he can't make them change direction, who can, and the answer to that is a million independent podcasters that's who can make Spotify change direction and open their eyes. But that starts one person at a time, one show at a time. And so, again, I'm not trying to wave a flag and rally troops behind me. I'm telling you that we have not put our shows in Spotify. I think it's something that every independent podcast or should consider. What are you supporting when you put your show there? And are you comfortable with that?

Alban:

Yeah, that's a good point. Kevin , there , probably as anyone listening to this podcast, who's like weighing whether or not they're going to be exclusive to Spotify, but the longer we did go down this path, the more likely it is that our podcasts will basically become exclusive to Spotify because that will become defacto . The way people listen to podcasts, that is the only way the Spotify really makes their money back on all of these deals. You know, we're talking four or $500 million plus deals already by buying all these different groups up in podcasts and everything. And the way they make their money back is if eventually podcasting is synonymous with Spotify and everyone goes there. And what this pod , what this episode illustrates is when Spotify gets something that's even 10 times better than they ever hoped for their wildest dreams are shattered. You know, everything's going well, they're still going to go. I'm not really trying to make sure I take care of all the podcasters that built this. We took the risk. We spent the million dollars to get your podcast on here. So we're entitled to all of those rewards and that's not the kind of thing we want to align ourselves with. If podcasting grows, we want it to be this democratized. Everybody is doing well, because this is something that an entire ecosystem has built,

Kevin:

Which I think is a good lead in to the next thing that we want to talk about. And that is Adam Curry launching the podcast index. So the podcast index is the complete opposite of thinking about like what Spotify is trying to build. And they're trying to lock people into their platform and we're going to curate a whole bunch of content. And we really want you to listen to it on Spotify only. Well, what the podcast index is, is an open podcast directory. That's very much in the spirit of kind of what Apple has built. And a lot of people have built apps off of using the Apple podcast directory, but it's a little bit like we've got a lot of faith that Apple and to their credit, they have never done anything, you know , scary or inappropriate or that they've kept podcasting very open, but the possibility exists. Like Apple has a lot of power being the defacto podcast directory for all the podcasting that has a lot of power to put in a company that is profit driven and they have to answer to shareholders. And the day may come where they say, you know what, what we have here is too valuable for us to not commercialize it in some way and they haven't done it, but it could. It's something that we've talked a lot about at Buzzsprout. Other podcast hosts have talked about it. Adam Curry being one of the original godfathers of podcasting saw this and has decided to start a project called the podcast index where they are creating their own directory. That is , uh , it would be very similar to what Apple has with the Apple podcast directory, except it would be completely open. Uh , I don't know if he's doing it like as a, as a nonprofit or something right now, he's just covering the cost of maintaining it and running it. But they've, they've opened the code up on GitHub. They're allowing contributors. They want ideas. They want supporters, but they recognize the importance of having an open podcast directory that anybody who wants to create a podcast can get listed there and then apps and developers can build on top of that directory to pull shows in.

Travis:

Would it be right to say it's similar to kind of how Mozilla built Firefox, where it started off as like this open source? Like we just want to leverage the community to build this really awesome internet browser. Yeah .

Kevin:

I mean, I'm not familiar enough with the Mozilla Missoula foundation organization, how they built all that stuff to know, like, if that analogy sticks, it sounds like it might, but I'm not familiar enough with it. Uh , really at the end of the day, you know, a podcast directory is , uh , in concept. It's a pretty simple thing. Technically, it's not because there's, there's a lot of difficulty in aggregating feeds that can come in a whole bunch of different ways. And the, the code in a feed is supposed to validate a certain way, but those specs, like , uh , iTunes created all their own namespaces and stuff. And they have like a DTD document and this is getting super technical and I don't want to get super technical , but let's just say at the end of the day, a podcast feed is supposed to look a certain way. It might not always look like that, and we still want to try to make them work. Right. And so there's a lot of difficulty in trying to make it as friendly as possible for people to be able to publish podcasts, even if they aren't exactly technically correct, you know, down to having a comma or a colon in the right space or something like that, or the right tag that you're expecting. And so there's a lot of difficulty in doing that. Apple provides a ton of value in that. Not only did they aggregate all of these feeds together and then provide a way for you to be able to search them and then return all that stuff. They also have human curation, which is very important because it's very easy to pirate content in the podcasting space. So when you create something and you put it out in the internet, it's available openly and freely for anybody to download, that becomes very easy for somebody to download all your content, publish it in their own feed and try to monetize it and basically steal your stuff. Whether they monetize it or not, whatever value you're putting out there, it's easy for people to take that value and claim it as their own. So what Apple has done is they've invested resources in saying, Hey, not only do we want to provide a directory, but we want to provide a good directory. And so we're going to have, this is why Apple has , uh , you know, the , the duration between the time that you submit and the time your podcast is either approved or rejected, can sometimes be a couple of days. Sometimes it can be a couple of weeks because they have committed to having actual humans make sure that what you're putting out there meets their guidelines. So as an independent app creator, somebody who's creating like a pocket Casser overcast or something like that. The resources don't exist for them to analyze every feed before they ingest it into their app. So they rely on Apple to do that for them. And then they have a good directory, clean directory that they can pull from. There's a lot of different ways we can go with this, but one of the problems is that there is a pod , there's a free podcast, host. That's owned by Spotify. It's called anchor and they are submitting so many feeds. They're growing so quickly and submitting so many feeds that Apple has had to , again, now we're assuming things, but we think that there's some, they pull back somehow on the human curation element for feeds that are submitted through anchor, they're getting through faster. And a lot of feeds are getting through that are not legit they're pirated. So a lot of them are music feeds where it's just like commercial music. That's in a podcast feed and it's , it's getting into the Apple director. Somehow a lot of them are like stolen podcasts. So whatever, somebody just, you know, takes Joe Rogan's feed chains , a little bit of information on it, publishes it themselves, and that stuff is getting through. And so the podcast index has to address all these problems. These are not easy problems to solve, but it's worth solving because right now we are a hundred percent dependent upon Apple. If the Apple podcast directory went down, podcasting would , we'd be in a pretty tough spot. Now we don't have any reason to believe that Apple is going to change anything anytime soon. But there are people in the industry who have kind of been like reading the tea leaves a little bit and saying like, it only makes sense as podcasting continues to grow that a for profit company like Apple is going to take an interest in the space. And when they take an interest in the space, they usually do it because they want to make money and they have something that's hugely valuable. And so, and we're dependent upon it right now. And so like , let's build something that lessens our dependence upon Apple, just in case, at some point down the road, they say, Hey, we need to go a different direction. So we can't continue to support the open community and the way that we have historically .

Alban:

Yeah. I mean, it's pretty incredible how much Apple has invested in time, money development, everything into podcasting, and has pretty much allowed it to be completely open and free is maybe 15 years of curating lists and listening to all these episodes of making sure that they're quality content and making sure that people flag things correctly as being explicit or not, and organizing and picking lists of new and noteworthy. And they keep doing more and more at point, it makes sense that they're going to go, okay guys, you know, we've done this thing now for 20 years, but we're going to make it, it's going to start charging money to start charging for it. And this is such a good idea because it's not saying Apple's doing anything wrong, but we say this all the time, you should not be reliant on the Goodwill of YouTube. You shouldn't have to trust Spotify to do the right thing. If you're an independent creator, the whole point of being an independent creator is that you want control. Well, one of the things that the community needs is opportunities to switch to different platforms. And so if you're a podcast app, that's always been reliant on Apple, it's going to be really nice to also be able to switch over and say, Hey, Apple's changing things. Now I can hop over to the podcast index and I can get my podcasts from there. Yeah.

Kevin:

And I imagine if they do a good job, it will become the primary. Like I , again, this just, it's too early to say how well of a job that they're going to do, but there's a lot of opportunity to improve the ingestion process and the update process and Apple hasn't had the motivation to do it. Because again, this is like a , a service that they provide free of charge. It's not something that they , they monetize. So I imagine that the , the team at Apple, as amazing as they probably all are, they're not like funded or motivated in the same way as like the iPhone team or the Mac team or the, you know, because at the end of the day, this is not a huge moneymaker for Apple. It's just another piece of the huge pie that makes an iPhone more. What's the word I'm looking for. More desirable.

Alban:

Yeah. Yeah. It's , it's like integrated system that everything works a little bit nicer because Apple controls so much of it. Right ?

Kevin:

Nobody buys an iPhone because of the Apple podcast app, but the Apple podcast app is one small piece out of 2000 that make it a desirable product overall. And so that's fantastic for the iPhone. It makes sense for Apple, but does it make sense for us as a podcast community to be reliant upon something that is just very, you know , one very small piece of a huge organization with very different goals. And so the open podcast index is here's a way that we can lessen our dependence upon that. And we love it. We're excited about it. Look for Buzzsprout, we're going to be reaching out to them, look for us to be able to support them, look for us to start pushing to them , um , offered as an option for you to push your podcasts into the podcast index and help support it and grow.

Alban:

So before we go, I would like to do a quick update with , for the last few weeks we've been talking about Amazon and their plans, and we've just put out a video about what's happening with Amazon music and audible. We got a few more answers and just kind of like to share some of those on the show.

Travis:

So what have you learned recently from your interactions with our contact person at Amazon, about what the rollout process is going to look like and where podcasts are actually going?

Alban:

Yeah. So there's been conflicting reports about the, where podcasts are actually going to show up. So that was one of the things I wanted to ask podcasts will be inside of Amazon music and inside of audible. So a few points there inside of Amazon music. I think that's the right call for Amazon. It's very similar to what we have with Spotify, where it's one app with podcasts and music and different for what Apple's done with two separate apps. I think that everyone has made the right decision for them, for anybody that is kind of getting into the game. Now you want to leverage all the people who are already using your existing app to actually start getting some podcast listeners. Whereas Apple has been the defacto place to go for podcasting for the entire history of podcasting. And it's why it's pod cast . It gets iPods that now I know somebody will write in and tell me, no , it's portable on demand audio though . It's not it's, it's definitely , I thought pod broadcasting. Yes. So they're going to put it inside the Amazon music app. I tried to do some research. And at the beginning of the year, Amazon said they had 50 million people who had access to Amazon music. And they kind of said that as a way of being like, Oh, see how fast we're growing. I do think that includes like everyone like me who has an Amazon prime account. So you probably can listen to some music, but I don't. So I'm not exactly sure how many of those are going to be listening to podcasts, but it's , some , Amazon music will be the number one way to get into Alexa devices. So rather than saying something like Alexa, listen to buzz cast on tune in, you can just say, listen to buzz cast. And that will be kind of like a native command, which I think will be pretty nice. And they're going to have some sort of stats package, like we've seen with Apple, Spotify, and Google, which will be really interesting. Cause I mean, you guys know we've been going to these conferences for six years and every single one, there's talk about voice assistance . That's the future. People are going to get out of bed. And then they're going to say, Alexa, play my favorite podcast . What's happening in the news today. And that's just never happened. And it will be interesting to start getting some real data around. How are people actually interacting with voice assistant devices? Are they actually listening? What's the length that they listened. They only want news podcasts or they want other stuff. Like there's a lot of that kind of thing. That'll be interesting to learn. The other piece is that people's podcasts will be in audible. So if you've submitted your podcast to Amazon already, when podcasts are launched in an audible , uh , yours will be included. If you have not submitted by the time you're listening to this, you probably will not be included at launch. We don't know the launch date, but that was one thing they kept telling us. They're like, so probably you need to have your podcast in by September 9th, if you want to be included. So we sent something out on Tuesday saying, Hey, get it in an ASAP, but go ahead and submit now, no matter what, because you want to get your podcast in, you know, as soon as close to launch as possible. Is there anything else I'm missing Travis or questions I'm kind of raising but not answering.

Travis:

I mean, I think the only thing that we're the only shoe that we're kind of waiting to drop is for them to actually roll it out. Yeah. Right. And , and hoping that like the interface and the user experience is actually like decent and that it's easier to find things and you know, maybe they have some charts or some kind of discoverability feature, which would help people find new podcasts to listen to. Um, I don't know how the audible discovery feature works. Alban. I know you're our resident power user. Do they like surface books to recommend to you kind of like a good reads or are you just trying to find things to , to listen to like, how does, how does it work in audible? Cause I think that could maybe be a glimpse into what discoverability could look like in an Amazon podcasting app.

Alban:

I mean, Amazon's always been very good at this. Uh, I now forget the term, but it's, it's basically just a batching problem where they use sophisticated statistical math, you know , math formulas to figure out like, Hey, if you like these things, you're very likely to like this other thing. And so it's why they can recommend a book that you'd be interested on Amazon or notable book , audio book, and inside of laudable and all sorts of stuff they recommend . And I'm like, wow, that's kind of surprising. That's something I'm definitely interested in. And so I hope that they bring all of that to podcasting. You know, I know that they're good at it. You know, they have a ton of cool services through stuff like , uh, Amazon web services where they can train, you can transcribe podcasts, they could be transcribing them. So maybe they'd be transcribing all of these podcasts and making that available in the app. That'd be kind of interesting to see there's lots of stuff they can do. But if there's one thing you know about Amazon, at least that, I believe about Amazon is most often they just launched something to see how it goes. And it's not, I would doubt that it's going to be some like revolutionary thing day one, I think in five years it could be insanely good. And that's just the way the Amazon launches everything. They launched things like the, what was it like the fire phone or the Amazon phone. Like they they'll throw stuff out there and see if it sticks. And if it doesn't, then it's like a huge flop and they go, okay, no deal. And then they launch something else and they're like, what have we made it easier for you to like buy stuff and made it like two clicks? And then it was like, Oh, maybe it could be like one click. Maybe we can make that even an easier click, but that was just a swipe. And like they keep making things better and better. So I'll be interested to see, I don't expect it to be insane day one, but every time that another player gets into the market, it's another group of people that are exposed to how interesting podcasts are. And that's the real challenge podcasting has had for years is we need to just get more people to listen and go, Oh, these are actually, I really like listening to people have conversations about stuff. And then he say, well, what else are you into? Like , Oh, I'm a huge history buff. Well guess what ? There's like 50 awesome history podcasts. Oh, I'm also into like crochet. Oh, guess what? I guarantee you, there's a crochet podcast. So there's like something for everybody. But yeah, I , uh, we're excited to see and maybe it'd be cool if next week , uh, next episode, we've got some info, but I'm sure by the end of the year, we will have Amazon podcasts.

Travis:

Yes . Yeah. And my only other wishlist item, Amazon, Jeff Bezos, if you happen to subscribe to buzz cast and be a loyal listener, is that you actually market the fact that you're now including podcasts and these different apps, like one of the biggest letdowns for me so far has been Google podcasts because there was so much promise. It's like, you know, so many phones around the world use Android operating systems. And so awesome. Google podcast is filing it to make a standalone podcast app that people actually use. And they're gonna be able to make it the default listening app. They're gonna be able to integrate it into their search and what that was like a year ago, two years ago. And it's still like, not even in the top 10 of podcast listening apps. So my hope my , my plea to Amazon is use some of that, you know, $7 trillion war chest that you have or whatever it is nowadays, and actually take a couple of pennies and spend it promoting your new podcast functionality to get it in front of new people, get it in front of new listeners and help all of us grow our podcasts. That's my hope. That's my dream. If that happens, then I don't need anything for Christmas. That'd be good enough.

Alban:

Yeah. Well, it will be exciting to see me can, you know , provide periodic updates of Google, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon, you know, kind of these big tech Fang companies like what's happening and which ones are, you know, which ones are growing their podcasting apps the most. So anyway, I think that's all I've got for this episode. Did you guys have anything else before we sign off?

Travis:

It's just wonderful to see your bright smiling faces and Kevin's ever, ever glowing forehead from his , uh, his temperature checks.

Kevin:

Get some, I guess , some powder the Lighting in here. Isn't that great.

Alban:

Well, okay. We've got a large reflective surface, weird sign off Travis. But uh,

Kevin:

let me tell you this, I'm going to drop a little, I'm gonna drop a little teaser. Don't normally do this, but on our next episode in two weeks, I'm hoping that we're going to be talking about transcripts and in additional use for transcripts for your, your podcast episodes. So if transcripts are something that you've been thinking about adding to your episodes and maybe, or maybe you've been doing it for a while , and you've just been putting them on your own website and you haven't been putting them into your like linking to your episode within Buzzsprout might be a good idea to start doing that because we're pretty excited about a new opportunity. And we'll give you more information in two weeks.

Travis:

And that my friends is what we call a cliff hanger, leave you hanging, got to come back. It's just like an episode of 24, but you know, for podcasting, if you want to watch the video, the album did on Amazon podcasts and what we know so far, definitely go and check out our YouTube channel, where we have that video listed. And I'll also put a direct link in the show notes. And if you have not yet, make sure you subscribe to the Buzzsprout, YouTube channel, every single week, we put out new videos, covering podcast , gear reviews, and software tutorials and strategy videos. So if you're the kind of person that listens to buzz cast , you'll probably be also be the kind of person that would dig the bus route YouTube channel, but that's it for today. And we will catch you the next one.

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Amazon Podcasts Update