Buzzcast

Joe Rogan, Misinformation, and Spotify

February 04, 2022 Episode 69
Buzzcast
Joe Rogan, Misinformation, and Spotify
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Note: This episode was recorded on Wednesday, February 2nd so we only address the controversy around covid misinformation in the Joe Rogan Experience. Since then there have been additional controversies about racist comments resulting in many episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience being removed from Spotify.

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In this episode, the crew discusses Apple Podcasts' resurgence in Buzzsprout's Global Stats, what's going on over at Spotify, and what it takes to make podcasting a full-time job.

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Thanks for listening & keep podcasting!!

Alban:

One of the problems we have seen is sometimes people move over from a different podcast host. And they're like, Why did my numbers go down? If anything, it's because we are filtering out bots that they weren't. The hard thing about stats is they never get higher. Because you got more accurate. It's always a that's actually a bot and we can identify it to bot because we see it hitting 50,000 different podcasts.

Travis:

I mean, that makes sense, because I've still been waiting for the big spike in Buzzcast downloads from Malaysia. I paid this guy, he reached out to Facebook Messenger. I said the money I know I gave I gave him 100 bucks. He said, I was gonna get like 90,000 downloads on the dot and they still haven't come through so Alban, we have our new January stats, because it's February now. And some big some big things happening at the top. What can you tell us about Apple podcasts? Big search for January?

Alban:

I mean, we have to actually maybe step back to make sure people understand. At the end of January, we look at all the stats for January. And so the January stats are published in February. That's correct. It was a little, I just want to make sure that clarifications are there. We're not just taking a month to get around to putting this out. Yeah, I mean, we ran the numbers yesterday, Buzzsprout, for the first time ever in our history, served up 100 million downloads that were real.

Travis:

Yeah. Well,

Kevin:

we think we've only been publishing these global stats stats since October 2020. That's possible, we did 100 million before that point, I

Alban:

am highly confident that's not true. Because if it did, like our server costs would have skyrocketed, and Tom would have like, gonna happen.

Travis:

I mean, for for those of you that are way back in the de Buzzsprout. Fans may know a show called men in

Kevin:

blazers. Then Blazers did a lot. Yeah, they do a lot of demos. And that probably server issues, probably not 100 million, but a lot

Alban:

that that would have had to been like 2014 men in Blazers was a small podcast, and Buzzsprout got picked up by ESPN to do the coverage for like, World Cup, the World Cup. And all of a sudden, was we were getting calls from the people who managed our servers. And they were like, We're going down. Apparently, it looks like it's all you know, they weren't

Kevin:

going down. They were they were getting charged an extraordinary amount of money for the bandwidth that they were consuming from who they were buying it from. And they're calling us to let us know that that bill is coming your way. Do you want to do anything about it? And yeah, we we, what can we do about it? We can't take the podcast down. Keep serving. Yeah, but that was a fun time. CBS I think was doing the World Cup coverage. And these podcasters got segments on the coverage. And we're encouraging people to go listen, their podcast, and there's a lot of World Cup fans all around the world. Who knew? Yeah. And so no, they never nobody went down. There's no fear of going down. Like the concern was always about how much this is going to cost this. So we're that's a much easier problem to sort through and well, servers going down.

Alban:

I don't think we were hitting 100 million back then. I guess maybe we should clarify this 100 million is not very high. Until we say 100 million that are real downloads. Yes.

Travis:

I'm gonna be certified downloads.

Alban:

Yeah, if if we actually just put all the bots in there, too. It would be like everyone's stats would be triple or four times as high. It's a big amount Kevin's shaking his head? No.

Kevin:

It wouldn't be triple. It wouldn't be triple No, no. Would it be maybe 20 to 30%? Higher? Really?

Travis:

What if what if we had like a legacy stats mode that just like bumped them up a little bit for your own? encouragement?

Kevin:

Why don't we just have a button that just says how much? How many downloads Do you want? number how

Travis:

many downloads you think your show deserves?

Alban:

Right? One of the problems we have seen is sometimes people move over from a different podcast host. And they're like, Why did my numbers go down? And we're like, if anything, it's because we are filtering out bots that they weren't. And we're like, the hard thing about stats is they never go, they never get higher. Because you got more accurate. It's always a that's actually a bot and we can identify it's a bot because we see it hitting 50,000 different podcasts. So we can remove it. But it may be you don't check across all these podcasts, you may not be the person to actually see.

Travis:

I mean, that makes sense. Because I've still been waiting for the big spike in Buzzcast downloads from Malaysia. I paid this guy he reached out to Facebook Messenger. I said the money I know I gave I gave him 100 bucks. He said I was gonna get like 90,000 downloads on the dot and they still haven't come through. So is that is that what happens? Like Tom just figured it out.

Alban:

I will tell you this that has actually happened where someone wrote into support and they're like, I don't see all my downloads. I'm like, What do you mean? And they're like, Yeah, I should have had like 90,000 downloads loads, you know, I'm I know that people are playing it. And I was like, why is he saying a specific number that he's confident he's short by. And I searched by 90,000 podcast downloads in Google and all this and all these sites start popping up. They're like buying groups of 90,000. I was like, Hey, did you buy a bunch of downloads? Because like, we would absolutely filter those, and you couldn't use those numbers to sell advertisements. And I was

Travis:

like, oh, yeah, so 100 million problem has been resolved real actual people downloading podcasts, which is pretty cool. It's a pretty big milestone for sure. You go right below that to podcast apps. And Apple podcasts has been at the number one spot for a couple months now. But the amount that it is above Spotify, that gap has increased significantly. Yeah. And Alban, I know that you talked to Tom, who runs the stats to kind of get some more information on maybe why that could be happening.

Alban:

Right. So well, I posted this on Twitter that these are the top apps across for 100 million downloads. And James Cridland, who writes pod news was like, I'd love to know why Apple keeps continuing to grow, because they grew, I guess, like another 3% in the last month. three percentage points. That's a really big jump, and Spotify grew their overall numbers, but actually decreased because Spotify or Apple has been so strong, they lost market share to Apple, yeah, they lost market share, even though the, you know, amount of actual plays on their platform increase.

Kevin:

Yeah, Apple podcasts had 7 million more plays in January than they did in December. And Spotify had, I think, 2 million more check. 3 million more. Yeah, so Spotify is still getting more downloads than they have previously, but they are losing market share.

Alban:

So a few reasons why we would be saying this. I mean, number one, Buzzsprout plays when 15% in a single month, it's January versus December, December is always a down month for podcasting, because people have tons of stuff that's going on. They're opening presents, and they're spending tons of time and family and they're arguing about politics, and they've got important stuff to do. And then in January, everyone's like, well, now I'm going to make some real big improvements in my life. And I'm gonna start listening to all these podcasts and the personal growth. So we know that podcasts do get a bump in January. So that's one reason why we saw the overall jump. The apple one in particular, it's all just legit. One thing we thought for a little bit was maybe Apple is leaning more into, we always have had these group called Apple Core media, which are not identifiable if they're Apple podcasts or they're for a different podcasting app. And that has stayed relatively the same that grew by 15%. Just like everything else did perfectly in line. The one that saw the big jump was the actually identifiable Apple podcasts place. So just Apple's been doing a much better job getting more people into the podcasting app. Maybe they've changed some sort of behavior that more people are downloading episodes rather than streaming them. But yeah, it's uh, there's nothing particularly there. I did hear a piece of are we allowed to put on like gossip, Kevin, insider info? Why not? I mean, the worst

Kevin:

gonna happen is we're gonna get a warning label.

Travis:

Want to come back and retract our previous statement, but hey, give us the juice man. What's going on?

Alban:

This is actually not like, there's no medical advice. Apparently, like this thing has always been a problem that people who use this certain API for Apple actually cannot set and say, Hey, this the app that's using it, and so people like Buzzsprout podcast host can't identify where that play is coming from, or that downloads coming from? It'd be just know it's coming from something on an Apple iPhone. And the word is that that's actually going to change?

Kevin:

Yeah, well, I think it's, I think it's a little bit more nuanced than that. There are different API's that are available. And depending on the API's that you choose to use, you may or may not be able to set your user agent easily. Right? There's still ways around it. James Kurland did a great job of kind of figuring out like, if you use these higher level API's, and maybe the simpler ones, by default, just gonna say apple core media, there are ways to actually override that any way. But you have to do a little bit more work. It's not as simple. Somebody like an overcast or Pocket Cast, they use more proprietary engines as playback stuff, maybe not the higher levels, but the deeper levels, which means you do more coding, you've got more control over the audio. And when you do that, it was easy to set your user agent. So some were setting user agent, some weren't. There was additional work involved. It sounds like the rim or the little birdies that are, you know, saying things in the album's here are saying we're gonna make it easy for people to set user agents regardless of which API's you use.

Alban:

Yeah, specifically the one that is being used for streaming that's really easy to implement that has been spitting out apple core media for a long time, that is used by a ton of podcast apps, that one should allow people to set user agents so what does that mean for everyone listening to this means that stats. Hopefully at some point in the future, we'll be getting much more accurate because now we'll be able to get that data from the podcast apps themselves. And they can say, we know for sure displays code from us,

Travis:

specifically, your downloads will not change. But the devices and apps are attributed to, will be updated to be more accurate

Kevin:

might change. And I'm being Alvin's attorney today when he says much more accurate, he means that some plays that are currently being registered as what do we call them, other apple devices may move more into tickets, unknown Apple apps, unknown Apple apps might move more into specific app names, or they might move more into Apple podcasts. So that's something that we continue to monitor. And we'll tweak where we where we credit those plays, as things evolve and change. But the number of downloads overall that you're seeing is not going to change.

Alban:

Yeah, it wouldn't. It's not, it's only going to be where they which buckets they fall into. And Tom has been doing this for a long time reaching out to app developers and saying, Hey, I think your stats are actually being undercounted because you're not setting a user agent. And nobody can tell that you're the one who's actually requesting these downloads. And quite a few developers are like, Oh, well, how do I do that doesn't look like I can do it. I think they would all be excited to see their own app doing better on things like the Buzzsprout platform stats, they'd rather see that being higher and more accurate. But you Kevin doesn't like this phrase more accurate?

Travis:

Well, I mean, like, for instance, so you can press Show more to see like, a ton of different podcast apps and the global stats. And I've got to imagine that like, good pods is doing more downloads than Microsoft Xbox. Yeah, like I just that has to be, or Spotify Lite, or iBooks, or whatever these randoms apps are. So I think that'll be really helpful to be able to see like, especially if you start to build an audience on one of these third party apps, to be able to attribute that to your stats, and Buzzsprout will just help you understand how people actually finding my podcast where they listening to it. And how can I double down in areas where, you know, maybe I can build a community around my show?

Alban:

Yeah, exactly. It makes it easier for podcast creators to actually know like, Oh, I've been telling everybody, let's go over onto good pods. I charted on good pods. I've done all this work on good pods. And it's not showing up, because it might be lumped in with everything else. That's a bummer. And you don't you're not able to differentiate does that that marketing push actually help? Well, when these get into the right buckets, and app developers can make that change. Man is that can be a nice little update.

Travis:

So the new year we got a new round of podcasts, conferences, and I know that we like to travel around to especially those here in the US where we're based. So I know the I think the first one that's coming up is either going to be pod festival or Podcast Movement evolutions, which one is that? Which one of the

Alban:

evolutions is in March, march 23, to 26th. And then in May, we have black pod festival and pod fest. Those are the three I won't get to both, I think I'll probably be at Black pod festival. Okay. And then, but some of the team will be at pod fest, and then we will also go to Podcast Movement. Again, I think the next one's gonna be in August. Okay, but if you're going to be out in LA, march 23 to 26th Make sure you stop by the Buzzsprout. Booth. I'm sure group of us are going Stephanie, Megan, Tom, myself, I think Jalon might go as well. So we'll have five of us. And we will be buying drinks for people and hanging out and having fun. So come on by.

Kevin:

Great what's the Do we know the dates for pod Fest and black pod festival?

Travis:

I'll put links to all these in the show notes. You can go and check them out. I know some of them will probably also have virtual tickets, if you can't be there in person. But we're big believers in podcast conferences. Not only do you get to meet other podcasters you get to hear from experts about what's going on in the industry. And it's just really great to be around 1000s of fellow podcasters. So Kevin, I know you were talking to your buddy Neil over the weekend.

Kevin:

It was man, Neil and I go way back. And yeah, he had concerns about his podcast being on I shouldn't say podcasts. on Spotify.

Travis:

So Alban walk us through kind of a series of events of what has unfolded over the last couple of weeks in regards to Spotify in regards to Joe Rogan. And then Neil Young and other artists as well, and some aspiring podcasters that were really excited about getting their shows off the ground. You know, I really wanted to hear from Prince Harry, but still hold out hope that podcast will

Alban:

give away the lead. Alright, so Joe Rogan has always been this guy who just jumps into topics and maybe is not always the expert on the topics that he's talking about. And sometimes the guests aren't the experts either. And he's done a bunch of conversations with people about COVID. But he's done this in the past. Like he's talking about everything. And it kind of hit a flashpoint this week, when Neil Young said, Hey, there's some dangerous I think his exact words are like dangerous, life threatening COVID fault hoods. And because of it, he's pulling his music from Spotify. And it started a much larger conversation pretty quickly about a lot of podcasters a lot of artists saying, Hey, we don't want to be involved with the Joe Rogan experience, I guess Neil Young started off with an ultimatum like, is it going to be me or Joe Rogan, but everyone knew what Spotify is going to do. They didn't pay 10 or $100 million to have Neil Young's content exclusive on Spotify, so they sided with Rogan. And we've just seen a bunch of people start pulling podcasts out of Spotify. So Brene Brown has said, I'm not going to be creating any more content. The science versus which is a gimlet show has said, the only podcast we will actually create now are going to be to combat the COVID misinformation on other podcasts. So obviously, talking about Rogan again. So yeah, I thought it'd be interesting to kind of have a conversation about COVID science, because we are all about as much experts on that as Joe Rogan. So it's probably not the most illuminating conversation. But for us to talk about exclusive content, the importance of like editorial work around this stuff, but also like how this affects podcasters in the industry.

Kevin:

Yeah, well, and I would also say this, since this is a show about independent podcasters is that it doesn't stop there with the big names like the number one support request over the weekend for Buzzsprout was how do I remove my podcast from Spotify? So like, in the end, what you said Alban is that Spotify chose, you know, if Neil put the ultimatum down, that says, it's going to be my music, or it's going to be this podcast, they might have sided with the podcast in this one case, but it didn't end there. Like it's having some effect all the way down to independent small shows, or wanting to, and we don't know their reasons. Some, as they wrote in, they did say, like, I've got the same concerns that Neil Young has. And I saw that some people didn't give a reason. But it's, it's telling that it was the number one support request for Buzzsprout, which we get a lot of support requests, usually hundreds over the weekend. And the number one request was to remove their podcasts and Spotify.

Alban:

Somebody asked me about like, is Buzzsprout going to do anything about this? And I was like, well, we've actually pulled all of our podcasts from Spotify years

Travis:

ago, talking about Buzzcast, and how to start a podcast and Podcasting Q&A, right.

Alban:

Everybody who uses Buzzsprout has that option and open to them to decide wherever they want to distribute. But for us, we've never put our where we always, we've always pulled it out two years ago. Ours was over a concern. The Spotify wanted to be the YouTube, the platform of podcasting. And we said, actually, the awesome thing about podcasting is that there isn't a platform, there isn't one group that gets to decide, what is a podcast doesn't get to decide who's allowed to put content up, can't just kick you out on a whim at any moment. So that's a really great thing for podcasting. And so we said, you know, if they're going to try to be this one platform, we're not going to aid that by giving our content to them. Spotify reaction to that was nothing because they have no idea. They're not, they were not concerned, they were much more concerned when Neil Young started saying stuff than when we did.

Kevin:

Yeah, and my argument has always been, it's your content, and you should be in control of it, you should have the right to say where your content is published and where it's not. And so I don't want to get into whether Neil I agree with Neil Young's position or not, or and you might not necessarily care if you agree with Buzzsprout position or not, that the point is, is that we both made independent decisions, to remove our content from Spotify. And I think that's a fantastic thing, like I was I was trying to come up with a compelling position to have on Neil Young's decision to pull his content and Joni Mitchell and, and a bunch of others bunch of, you know, our customers made that same decision this weekend. And, and I really couldn't, what I got excited about was that we have the ability to do it. Right. And I think that that's so much more encouraging, than going down this road of relying on censorship or regulation to control a speech that we agree with or don't agree with, like, at the end of the day, I think it's a healthier world, to be able to say, you know, I don't want to align myself with some of the things that this platform is doing. So I have the option, I have the ability to cast my vote by pulling my content off. And that's what is, is, again, I don't want to get into whether I agree with Neil or not. Maybe I do, maybe I don't that's not relevant,

Alban:

what's relevant. You keep going back to this, I don't want to say what I

Kevin:

don't want people to hear what I'm not saying. I'm not saying I totally agree with Neil, or I don't agree with Neil. What I am saying is I love the fact that Neil has the ability to do this, that he has the ability to say, I do not want to align myself with this platform. And here are my reasons and that's why I'm pulling my content off. So that to me is encouraging. I'd love it.

Travis:

Right. And even thinking about this in the video world. Like imagine if Joe Rogan was exclusive on YouTube. Mm hmm. And the same thing was happening and you're an independent creator and YouTube is your livelihood. That's a much more difficult decision to say, I'm going to stop providing for my family financially to take a moral stance, right against this one platform that has a monopoly on this kind of content.

Alban:

And when you have that, that is the decision, it makes it so much more difficult to say, I'm not actually comfortable with what's happening here on YouTube. Because if you are a video creator, you probably it's going to destroy your business to say, I'm actually leaving YouTube for Twitch or for Vimeo, and it's all gonna be private, or a Patreon, like, all of your discovery disappears. And music has actually not been a great platform, because it's really down to like two, maybe, I mean, maybe three, but Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon music or title is third, I don't know, which is third. But it's a pretty much it's a duopoly. And so it's a pretty big deal for any artists to say, Pay, I'm not going to be on the biggest one in the world. And I think for podcasters, it's an easier decision for us, because everybody knows, it's still out there, I can still listen to it in any number of apps. And if you don't want to support something that Apple is doing, or Spotify is doing, or any of the other podcast directories, you have total control over saying, I'm not going to be a party to that, you know, it would be difficult if, you know, our business was like meeting making some kind of food or beverage. And we found out that it was actually a big draw for people at casinos, which I am not a fan of casinos, and I think it's immoral, and to have all of our so people were like, Oh, actually, I love these chips. And they're all casinos, I go there all the time. And then I start gambling be like, Oh, maybe we don't want our chips to be sold at these casinos anymore. Yeah, we're actually going to pull that out. You get to make those stands, when you're not totally 100% locked in on a specific platform.

Travis:

Yeah. And it does raise a larger question about this trend of larger shows, getting exclusive deals, you know, so Spotify basically locks it down, puts it behind Spotify, and it's not distributed anywhere else, armchair experts another example. Then you have Amazon music, which is we're gonna have a one week window. So smart lists, and then they just acquired my favorite murder for something like $100 million. And so you can listen to episodes a week early on Amazon music, and then it's still available everywhere else. We're seeing these different flavors of larger distributors, purchasing content, and making it exclusive in some way. That now changes the leverage dynamic as a creator, right? Because you're now you've you've signed the contracts, right? You've essentially said, I am now no longer 100% making independent decisions. There is now another party that has a vested interest in my content. And, you know, for better or worse, and, you know, we were joking around before, like, hey, if, you know, Amazon wants to show up with $100 million, check for Buzzcast full, we'll cash it and we'll, we'll say whatever I want to say, yeah. Well, we'll record from the Cayman Islands and say whatever they want us to say. But that is an interesting thing to think through. Like, is that really? Like what is that aspirational? Is that we want for our shows.

Alban:

Yeah, I think another point is, that's not a huge concern, because I'm not expecting many of our listeners or for us to be in this position going do I want to go exclusive? For $100 million? If you get that offer?

Kevin:

I feel very comfortable saying that we would not we would not we're not so sure. About a hollow as a promises I can make because it's never gonna

Travis:

but I need even then you can take that position knowing that me and Alban are gonna, you know outvote you and be like, alright, well, you know, the the majority have spoken, I guess I'll take the check.

Kevin:

It is very different when, you know, Spotify is in a position where the Joe Rogan podcast is not just a show that is distributed on their platform. Yeah, they have signed him as talent. And so they now have a higher level of responsibility for the content that he puts out. And this is what's happening is people are seeing that relationship and saying, there is a responsibility. Yeah, I was gonna try to find another word for the word I just use. I can just use the same word again, there is there's they're now responsible for the content that he puts out because he is for, you know, for better or worse. He's like their employee now, right?

Alban:

Yeah, he's the pillar content. The linchpin of this entire business strategy that they have is, we're going to try to get away from licensed music, which is really expensive is a variable cost to fixed cost, buying content that we can get, which is podcasts.

Travis:

And on top of that, if you want to buy ad space in Spotify podcasts, like you want to get on Joe Rogan, you also have to let them distribute some of that ad spend on their other podcasts. Yeah,

Kevin:

I have heard that that if you want to buy a spot on the Rogen show, you also have to buy the other catalogue of shows that are available. I don't know if it's true or not. I've just read it in order Awesome, great.

Alban:

So like Alpha Brain is, Alchemy is showing up on all sorts of other podcasts. But this is like, the thing that is helping is like the linchpin of this entire strategy. This isn't like when Apple podcasts said, Hey, I don't know if we want you to find the Alex Jones podcast on Apple podcasts anymore. That was a very different decision. Because all that was is they're like, hey, there's a link inside of our app to this content that we find objectionable. Spotify is said, Oh, we love this show. We love it so much, we will spend $100 million. We think the people who listen to show love it so much, that they will dump all the apps they're on and move to Spotify, we are actively promoting it at the top of all these charts, we are going out of our way to say this is the content you should be paying attention to. It's a very different scenario, I keep seeing people bringing up like censorship and section 230. And all this stuff about it's really much more applicable to social media and user generated content. Joe Rogan is no longer user generated content. This is your premium piece of content on your platform. And when that's the case, you absolutely owe some editorial oversight, and some responsibility. Now, I haven't listened to any of the cited episodes of Joe Rogan. I haven't listened to any of those episodes since he became a Spotify exclusive. So I'm not really weighing in on whether or not they're making the right editorial decisions. But they absolutely need to be the ones deciding that now. And a Spotify doesn't like what he's saying. They need to be the ones having a conversation with Joe about that. They can't kind of wash your hands of it be like, hey, it's a podcast guys. Like what what are you talking about? This is your podcast, this is your thing?

Kevin:

Yeah. And it makes sense for Joe to be able to say that, like, hey, it's a podcast, it's just me and my buddies having interesting conversations. But ultimately, Spotify has to offer some, they're the ones that are going to ultimately be accountable for the decisions that they make. And the decision is that Joe Mixon that's their relationship. I did think this is this is a slightly different point. But Joe's been exclusive with Spotify for over a year now. Right. And at the beginning of that relationship, all of his content was pulled off of YouTube. Right? So all the Jerry clips, all of his full episodes are all removed from YouTube. And there was some speculation that Joe's numbers must have taken a pretty serious hit when he moved exclusive to Spotify, like we'd heard about this has been this is public knowledge for what happened with Howard Stern. And we kind of assumed the same thing probably happened to Joe.

Alban:

Yeah, actually, Carmen wrote a really good article for The Verge about this, that pretty much detailed like if people used to go on the Joe Rogan experience, you would see this massive jump in their Twitter followers. And that jump has been cut down significantly. She looked at all these different factors and was like, yeah, it's definitely been pretty substantial. It was

Kevin:

circumstantial evidence that she was using to build this case. But it was it was compelling. It's pretty closely correlated. Yeah. And, and more recently, I think it's been, again, in my brain roughly about six months or so ago, all of a sudden, Joe Rogan clips started hearing on YouTube again. So I guess somebody at Spotify made the decision that we can promote Joe's show using YouTube. So let's open up the clips channel. Again, let's start putting clips back. So now we're getting Joe Rogan clips. These are not fully within context, but they do a pretty good job of kind of capturing the topic, they could be anywhere between four minutes and 12 minutes, roughly what I've seen, but there's a whole there's there's a much bigger audience, I'm assuming now because he's back into YouTube, along with the full episode that's available on Spotify. And I think there's some, there has to be some level of exposure that's happening. There's, they're the people who I think, who are upset by the content that they're they're hearing on the Joe Rogan show, probably weren't listening to four hour episodes of Joe Rogan. Because they don't like it. They don't agree with it, I imagine that you probably don't want to subject yourself to four hours of it. But now that we're putting clips of this stuff, back on YouTube, I'll sit through 12 minutes of it, it will, it will bother me, I'll hear something that I don't believe to be true, I might make an argument for why this is misinformation. And I think that might be causing controversy. It seems like Spotify is trying to grow the audience for the Joe Rogan experience, again, using YouTube. And I think that's causing trouble.

Alban:

So you think Neil Young was probably just coasting through YouTube on a Saturday like he is apt to do and he stumbled across something. And he was like, Good grief. This is totally wrong.

Kevin:

I think so. I mean, what's the other theory that that Neil Young was opening up Spotify and listening to four hour episodes of Joe Rogan? Yeah, was more unlikely.

Travis:

Or he just saw a bunch of people talking about it on Twitter, and then said, Hey, manager, I don't like what I'm hearing about what other people have heard. So definitely, we'll continue to keep an eye on this as it unfolds to see, you know, what could be potential impacts effects on the broader podcast community, but I will say that unless Spotify removes Joe Rogan, we will keep making new podcast

Alban:

episodes, and we will refuse to put this podcast into Spotify

Travis:

proactively. I feel pretty confident about that. Approve podcast.com put together a study of over 1000 podcasters. And what they wanted to see was what separated podcasters who are making at least $50,000 A year from their show, versus podcasters that aren't at that place yet to see, is there any data that we can look at, to show causation of if you do these things, in this way, you have a greater chance of reaching a threshold where podcasting could be how you make a living,

Alban:

but one piece is going to be this is correlation. This is a correlation study. We're not saying if you do the thing that successful people do, you will become successful 100% of billionaires all drink water and sleep, you know, like that. That's not gonna make you successful.

Travis:

I don't know about the sleep part. I don't think Elon Musk sleeps, but he does six

Kevin:

hours I heard on the Joe Rogan podcast. It's true. I heard that clip, he

Alban:

regret cat naps.

Travis:

So that was how the study was put together. So we'll leave the link. If you want to read the slides. You can. If you want to read the summary, you can. We're just going to go through some of these top takeaways that they're highlighting here. Alright,

Alban:

so tell us what's the number one insight? Can we actually take some guesses as some of these insights?

Kevin:

No, I can't guess at this point, because I just read them all.

Travis:

So the top actionable highlight trend statistic is that if you basically take all the data and lump it together, what are the high level themes, you can determine how successful a podcast is based on the number of published episodes they have? The number of months they've been podcasting, and the number of listeners they have per episode?

Kevin:

Well, I think you have to frame that a different way. Like, you can't say how successful podcast is looking at the number of episodes that it has. But you can say that the most successful podcasts tend to have more episodes. Right. And again, this is pretty logical, which is why I'm kind of struggling to get through this data. But like point number two, they say successful podcasters are 7.7 times more likely to publish over 100 episodes, which, you know, we're just joking around. But I was like, you could say the same thing a different way, which is successful people are more likely to continue to doing things that made them success. Yeah,

Alban:

like the most successful restaurants have actually been in business for more than one year.

Kevin:

Right. And they have more than one restaurant. Right? Yeah. Like,

Travis:

it doesn't explain why Buzzcast isn't successful, because we're not at 100 episodes yet.

Kevin:

But there, but there is a there is a narrative behind that, like it does lead you to believe other things, which is that you're not going to be successful if you only have a few episodes. This is more of a long game, right? And so at what point did these people become successful? Did they achieve that $50,000 a year in revenue for their podcast? Well, it probably wasn't before they started hitting, you know, hit 100 Plus episodes. And so that can be an encouragement. I think that's a good takeaway. It's not necessarily that doesn't come right through when you read the summary of data. But in the podcasting world, you probably shouldn't expect a whole lot of success until you get into the hundreds of episodes, you know, window,

Travis:

right. MKBHD, who's a massive YouTuber has famously said he, for his first 1000 videos, he had less than 1000 YouTube subscribers. Now he's got like 15 million. Oh, my gosh, I didn't know that. Yeah. And so, cons. It's a long game, especially if you're not already a known name brands like a Will Arnett or Jason Bateman or, you know, Harry and Megan, right, who are wildly successful. I'm sure it will be wildly, wildly successful. Spotify

Kevin:

is a different example. He was born into fame. Sure. Right. But let's talk about like the Smartlist. Guys, they launched who is a Jason Bateman Will Arnett and someone else I'm forgetting another actor, guys. I'm willing grace. Funny guy. Yeah. Yeah, so the three of them launch a podcast and they became really successful really quickly, right. And then their show got acquired by Amazon really quickly. But they had years and years and years of like building their fame and their following. And so that's something that we've talked about before as well. It may be it's not 100 episodes for those people that achieve success. But it has been 25 years as like trying to build an acting career to get to the point where now they can launch a podcast and have success in a short amount of time. Right? So you don't necessarily I don't want to do 100 podcast episodes to reach a level of success. Fine. Just go ahead and do 25 years in the TV and film industry. Like put your time but you have to put your time in somewhere. Sure. Right. I think that's what we're saying.

Alban:

Yeah, I remember I used to always love song exploder Richie Sherway. His first episode, I think was like breaking down a postal service song or something. I was like, wow, how did he and then as you're looking, all the names are like bands that I knew. And I was like, it wasn't like he just showed up and was like me Like, I like music, I wonder if I could get like all the masters from all these record labels and talk to really big artists about their music. Like he was already working in this industry, he already made all these connections. And if you see a lot of these celebrity shows blow up, it's, they're like, Oh, they're just inviting their friends on, because their cell phones are full of famous people's numbers. And they will text them back when they say, Hey, I want to be on a podcast. So you know, that is a good lesson is building a podcast in an area where you already have some expertise is smart, because you already have started putting in the time in that industry. And so it's gonna be a lot easier for you to get guests to, maybe you don't have to do as much research because this is stuff you already know. It's going to flow much more naturally than if somebody like me who knows nothing about really music is like, Ah, I wonder if I started a music podcast. And I'll just go jump into that. That sounds cool. So some

Kevin:

other interesting facts that I think they that I think were interesting anyway, is they noted that 63% of successful podcasters publish once per week, so they said that seems to be the sweet spot for the successful podcasters. When it comes to Episode length, they said that there's no there seemed to be a winning formula. However, 56% of high income podcasters said their best performing episodes are landing between 40 and 120 minutes. And high income podcasters are 1.7 times more likely to have shows that address a very specific group of people, so they have niched down. Okay, this is advice that we've given plenty of times,

Alban:

sure. And all three of those make sense, you have said, I'm going to make sure there's a piece of content every week, I'm going to make sure that piece of content is substantial, it's not just a 15 minute, quick episode. And it's can be focused to specific audience. And all three of those are very highly correlated with the shows that perform well. And I think it's because if you're going to be a successful podcaster, you need to have this core group of people who love the show, and you've actually kind of embedded your podcast into their life that they are used to, hey, I'm gonna listen to this podcast when it shows up. When I go for a run, when I go drive to work, when I go do this, or that, I'm going to listen to this podcast. And it's like, these are my friends are the people that I really enjoy listening to. And so all three of those data points really lean back into, like, if it's coming out every Monday, and it's two hours long. Like you've given your a bunch of people an opportunity to create a relationship with you and for you to kind of be important to their life. Because that's what people are putting a few dollars towards, or they're gonna

Kevin:

listen through ads. Yeah, you've given them a reason to build you into their routine. Yeah, nobody's

Alban:

building something into the routine and suffering through the ads or going in supporting you with a monthly donation. They're not doing burn

Kevin:

through the ads. That's an interesting way to put that I've never

Alban:

listened to an ad. And then like, Yes, this is great. ad loads are always done based on, hey, how many more ads can we put in here before people stop listening,

Kevin:

not always in podcasting. And maybe that's what makes podcast advertising more tolerable, at least in my view, the podcasts that I listened to more often than not have ads that are more creatively done, right. And once in a while, I'll come across a podcast that does throw in some sort of programmatic ad, but then those are usually pretty well, time constrained, it's not like I have to tolerate in your words, or suffer through two and a half or three minutes of advertisements. Before I get back to the TV show that I'm watching, which is what I'm used to, in a podcast, I might hear a 32nd ad. And I'm willing to just listen to that 32nd ad because it's just easier than pulling my phone out of the pocket and finding the you know, skip forward 30 seconds. So I'll listen to it. If it was two and a half or three minutes, I feel like I would agree with the adjective to use their of suffering through. But in podcast world doesn't seem like it's hit that point. Yes,

Alban:

it has definitely not hit that point with podcasting. And I think it's because the advertisers haven't had enough say yet, which is a positive. But if you go look at almost any website, the amount of ad space ads that are on there is ridiculous. If you go onto Facebook, the amount of ads that they've increased over the years, and the more ad spots is ridiculous. Go listen to radio. It's wild, how many how often they break for advertise the content advertising

Kevin:

ratio on the radio is unbearable. Yeah. And that's why

Alban:

podcasting is so great is because that ratio has not really gotten worse. It's gone, like a little bit of ads. And they're like, Hey, these are gonna be really premium ads. And that's, I think, why podcasts audiences feel such a high affinity is because we're not listening to a radio show that breaks every eight minutes for a four minute break right there consistently like, Hey, we're gonna keep coming back at you if you know the content you actually want. So, all that to say, people don't put up with TV shows or radio shows or Facebook. If it's not actually the content that's around the ads isn't good. Because if you're going to dedicate 20 30 to 40% of the time or the space to an advertisement, then the rest of the content has to be so compelling that you're willing to put up with it to suffer through it. In my words, either that

Travis:

or it's the Superbowl, and the ads are content. The ad themselves are actually created a sample.

Alban:

Yeah, that is

Kevin:

that that have these podcasts, there are some podcasts that do a really good job of like, when they're doing a host read, they do a really good job of, of trying to understand the product or make the advertisement funny, or they use it as an endorsement.

Travis:

Like, like earlier in this, I don't know if he recorded or not where you're talking about how you're drinking iced tea, you know, it's like that was really well placed really, really well. I want it

Kevin:

brought to you by honesty. Yeah. But everyone knows if you're a show, I always have an honesty sitting in front of me as

Alban:

Kevin is 30%. Honesty is,

Travis:

is BHT sea level is point three,

Kevin:

right. So other interesting takeaways, they talked about marketing your podcast and different marketing channels. So again, as you would expect 1.7 times high income podcasters 1.7 times more likely to be active or very active in promoting their shows. The number of marketing channels for high income podcasters that they use, on average is 3.6 marketing channels, which is 157% more than lower income podcasters 53% of high income podcasters use more than four marketing channels. So again, it's something that Alban talks about all the time, is the importance of investing in multiple marketing channels. Maybe find the one that's most effective for you and invest more heavily in that. But continually be looking for other ways to market your podcasts. Because you might be on two or three different channels or social media, whatever and trying to market and you might not have found the big one for your podcast yet. So always be experimenting, always be exploring more marketing channels.

Travis:

And that would be like I'm promoting on Instagram, Twitter, I have an email newsletter, and I go as a guest on other podcasts. Like that'd be an example of four marketing channels all driving traffic back to your show.

Kevin:

That's right. Like I'm a big tick talker. And I am on tick tock all the time. I'm kidding. But really, no, that's not true. But I do pop the app open once in a while my kids will send me tic tock videos to watch or something like that. And I noticed Alban is now a tick tock star he's he's got a couple videos on tick tock and he's also on Instagram I see his face so those apps are super smart. They know who I am when I launched them and they know buddies with Alban so they show me his content and he's doing experiments on on tick tock and Instagram and YouTube shorts and trying to find new marketing channels for our podcasts and and the Buzzsprout hosting service and everything else

Alban:

to be clear the content that you're seeing of Alban on this is me working for you.

Kevin:

It's not like it's not Alban doing the latest

Alban:

hold doing like dancing, Kevin's like nice good for him. It'd be like, hey, I want to start a podcast, here's how to do it give it's like nice, more money for me.

Travis:

I mean, I definitely whenever I see like the Samsung Galaxy fold commercials, where it's like, you could be like this girl dancing in the parking lot with your phone. It's like, Yeah, I'm not the target audience. They're

Alban:

also the limiting factor for me being really big on Tik Tok is not my ability to fold my phone to set up to record myself. It's having dance abilities. Having a face that people want to see on a video, having like skills, like all those things are the things that are actually built in. This is the marketing for all physical products. It's like Nike, just do it and you'll be an athlete, and then you kind of like in your brain are like, if I buy those shoes, I will be a great athlete. Everybody knows that's not true. But we do it over and over. If I buy this microphone, I will be a great podcaster if I buy this phone, I could become a tick tock star. All of those are so so bogus. And yet, that is how the marketing works. When people sell physical products, they're like, you could become the kind of person you want to become with the addition of this physical item. And it kind of works its way into your brain until you challenge it. You're like that is such that's so bogus. Obviously the right way for me to run a marathon is to run every day. It's not for me to buy specific shoes.

Travis:

I mean, I don't know about that. I think, Kevin, would you say that your skills as a podcaster increase as your honesty consumption goes up? Absolutely.

Kevin:

Yeah, at least my energy level does. Alright, any other takeaways from this data? Summarize it well enough,

Travis:

mate. So I think the big takeaway is, you know, it takes time to build an audience, especially if you're starting from square one. You need to create content that is for someone, not just shooting the breeze with your buddies, if you have an intention of wanting to monetize it in a significant way. And that's one big piece of having a podcast that could become successful is promoting it, actually telling people about it. Yeah. That there's no magic silver bullet that's just going to magically shoot your podcast into the stratosphere unless you're putting In the work to tell people about it. And so, in addition to having time set aside to produce the podcast, also consider setting aside time to promote it. Yeah, choose a marketing channel invest in it. When it's going, well, maybe add a second one, like those. It's not rocket science. But it is work. And so depending on how hard you want to work, how quickly you want your show to grow, will determine whether you reach some of these metrics that improve podcasts has put together as far as $50,000 per year from your show.

Alban:

Well, that is the lesson I would love for everybody to hear is that if you do not promote things, they don't grow. And every time a podcast grows, every time a business grows, every time anything becomes successful is because there was actual effort put behind it. And not just effort in making something great. But making that thing get in front of people. And like you can build the best business. But if no one knows about it, it's not going to make any difference. You make the best podcast, but no one knows about it, no one's going to listen to it. And whenever we see shows become successful quickly. It's often because they already did the work on the marketing side, well in advance. And then the content came in and it looks like an overnight success. It rarely is. And so if you're not someone who spent 20 years building a career, or a social media account, or something else that will get in people's face and present something you will have to put that work in on the front end. And on

Travis:

that bombshell discovery. We'll wrap up another episode of Buzzcast Thanks for tuning in. And we'll catch in the next one. Keep podcasting.

Alban:

Everybody, thanks for sticking around to the end of the episode. This is Alban here dropping in some dynamic content to tell you about some updates to our dynamic content features. We're continuing to move forward with all the tools allowing you to trop ads and announcements into all of your episodes, so that you can record something once and automatically have it added to the beginning or end of all of your episodes, the new updates that we've made to dynamic content. Number one, if you have an announcement that's maybe only applicable for a short period, and you replace it with something else will now that announcement stays in something we're calling our dynamic content library. The library is a list of all of the different announcements or advertisements, or just little pieces that you've dropped into your episodes over time so that you can reapply them whenever you would like. The second piece is that now those are tracked for how many times they've been played. So if you have an ad read, and you want to report back to your sponsor, and tell them how many times it's been downloaded. Well now you know, because that content may be spread across 30 different podcast episodes. You want to be able to count the stats for all of those for the entire time that it was out in the world. Reach out to us on Twitter, let us know how you were using dynamic content and the new dynamic content library. We'll see you in a couple weeks. Bye

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