Buzzcast

Alban's Conspiracy Episode with Arielle Nissenblatt

April 15, 2022 Buzzsprout Episode 74
Buzzcast
Alban's Conspiracy Episode with Arielle Nissenblatt
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome Arielle Nissenblatt

Follow up

  • Last week we talked about Spotify's new TikTok style podcast discovery. If you'd like to check it out on iOS open Safari and go to spotify:internal:podcastclips
  • Apple Podcasts Releases Follower Numbers
    • Followers = clicked the ⊕ follow button (similar to download numbers)
    • Listeners = listened to 1 second (22%, 18%, 22%)
    • Engaged listener = 20min or 40% of episode (14%, 14%, 20%)
  • ACast Spam turned up to 11
    • One podcast consultant reporting that Acast had spammed his client within seconds of signing with a competitor. 
    • A majority of Acast’s mailings seen by Podnews omit a physical postal address, which is required by US law. 
    • One unsolicited Acast email claims that “you subscribed to our newsletter via the beefree·io website”, but BeeFree has denied any affiliation with Acast. 
    • Acast’s emails also reference Mailup Inc; but mail headers reveal that Acast’s emails are sent using a competitor, Mailgun (via customer·io).
    • Hit Spam early and often

Topics

  • Spotify is promoting fake music artists
    • Spotify builds platform on the back of top music artists
    • Spotify convinces users to use their playlists
    • Spotify creates their own content and promotes it in their playlists
    • Artists are left with no distribution and no money
  • Buzzsprout Platform Stats
    • +5.8% listens across the platform
    • Apple is up to 37.4%, Spotify to 27.9%
      • Spotify users listening to less podcasts (Edison Research)
      • Or Spotify favoring owned content?
    • Podcast download charts
      • Top 1% - 3,994
        Top 5% - 795
        Top 10% - 335
        Top 25% - 93
        Top 50% - 30
  • How do Apple Podcasts charts work?
    • listening
    • follows 
    • completion rate
    • Ratings, reviews, and shares
  • WNYC built a bot to get their shows into Apple Podcasts
    • NPR monitored when their show fell out of the rankings, ran Facebook ads to get it back, then turned them off
    • Alban heard this story at Podcast Movement
    • NPR issued a statement
    • WNYC
  • We'll be heading to two conferences next month, and we'd love to see you there!

Contact Buzzcast

Thanks for listening & keep podcasting!!

Alban:

This is gonna be terrible if I don't know who it is,

Kevin:

you'll know tweets on podcasts and geography

Alban:

you know it sounds like Arielle

Arielle:

yeah

Kevin:

yeah so I will finish the introduction be on deck alum community at squad cast FM

Alban:

beyond deck alum I know for sure that center bias that would have locked in

Kevin:

community at squad cast FM salt Institute alum, the founder of earbuds collective, and at sounds profit news pindrop at NYC. Welcome Arielle Nissenblatt

Arielle:

I used to have NYC ish but then I was like, You know what? I don't have enough space in my bio for this, like this attitude.

Alban:

That's what like people in New Jersey say when

Arielle:

I travel a lot, you know, like, I'm kind of cool. I'm not always in NYC.

Alban:

But that's what somebody from New Jersey would say. Because they'd be like, ah, yeah, look pretty close to the city. People like pretty close. So like Brooklyn, just just a little a little further. And you're like, oh, New Jersey. Oh, yeah. I don't really say New Jersey.

Arielle:

New York adjacent.

Alban:

Well, welcome to the pod.

Arielle:

Very excited to be here. I'm using my MV seven. I love it. Do you hear me? Well? Yeah, you sound great.

Kevin:

You just emailed and said you had lawn mowers outside. Are they still running out? There now? Okay. I was gonna be super impressed. Alright, so

Alban:

last week, we talked about this Spotify discovery feature thing that they're gonna launch somebody on Twitter, it shared it. And basically, it's like this tick tock style feed. Will you can actually get it right now.

Kevin:

Right? This is old news, if anybody follows us on Tik Tok.

Alban:

So for like 300 of you, this is old news, right?

Arielle:

You're my favorite follow right now.

Alban:

We were your favorite Tik Tok account.

Kevin:

That's not real space. Yes.

Alban:

I think that my favorite tiktoks are like, they just find the most wild things for you to be into. It's like, do you want to see someone make delicious fried chicken? Like yes, like 12 times in a row?

Arielle:

Have you ever seen a horse get the chiropractic treatment? Because I have. Horse get cracked? Yep.

Alban:

Well, if this is the kind of content that you want, Spotify is about to launch it for you with this new tick tock discovery thing, and you can actually test it out right now. So if you're on iOS, or iPad, you can go it's it's not like a legit, out there feature. It's kind of a little bit of a hack. Go into Safari, and type in Spotify, colon, internal colon, podcast clips,

Arielle:

no spaces between those

Alban:

no spaces. And it's just like, you put that in as a URL, you click go, and it will open a Spotify link that will take you to this UI. And I played around with it for a little bit. And I had a ton of fun. Like I was hearing lots of cool clips. Very different from what you'd experience with normal podcast discovery, but fun to play with. So go ahead and check it out.

Kevin:

Normal podcast discovering what do you mean, very different than normal podcasts discover

Alban:

my experiences podcasting? Discovery is like you find out about a podcast because somebody's telling you it's really good. Or you hear somebody drops an episode into the feed, or you hear a promo swap or something. And then I commit to like, two hours of trying the episode out. Yeah. And this is, Hey, can I grab your attention with like an eight second clip before you swipe away? It's just a very different experience. Here's

Arielle:

the question, though. What are you looking at when you're listening to that clip? Is there? Is there an audiogram? Or is there a video alongside it? What does it look like?

Alban:

So this is part of the Spotify pod acquisition. So it's if you did you ever play with pods? Pod Z? Yeah, pod Z. It's pretty similar to that UI. You've got the artwork. You've got the transcribed audio. That was pretty good, though. Not 100%. Accurate?

Kevin:

Yeah, it's definitely not a four. Yeah, it's not like proof read. Got a few words wrong. The ones I looked up Yeah.

Alban:

But it was fun. And I liked it. And we talked about last week. So if you want to check it out, go to Safari, and then put in Spotify colon internal colon podcast clips will leave a link to the Tick Tock video I made and if you liked that tick tock give it a give it a heart and a thumbs up.

Arielle:

So I want to talk about Apple podcasts big announcement this week that Apple podcasts has released follower numbers. So you can go into your dashboard on podcasters connect and you can see a lot more data than you had access to before. So Alvin, what can we see now? And have you checked it out yet? Yeah, we

Alban:

talked about it a little bit last week, and it finally dropped like I don't know two days ago. Like such badass nerds. It finally dropped the new stats. I just like hurt myself like a 70 year old version of myself was like Listening on this moment, it was like What a loser. New stats dropped. Alright, so there's three stats in Apple podcasts. And don't look at the show notes, Kevin, because I'm gonna ask you these numbers. Alright, so there's three stats. One is called followers. And that's those people that clicked the plus button, the circle plus, you know, they actually decide to follow the podcast on the top right, yeah, and pretty. Those end up being pretty similar to the download numbers when I compare it to our Buzzsprout dashboard.

Kevin:

Now, wait, wait, let me let me interject right here. Do you all agree with me that it is ridiculously hard to follow a podcast on Apple podcasts? Now?

Arielle:

I was just gonna bring that up. I also, yes, I barely use Apple podcasts. But I do if I'm gonna go leave a rating and review for somebody. I'll pull it up on my phone. And I'll subscribe. I mean, I will follow follow when I do that. But when I went to do it, I want to say like two weeks ago, I hadn't been on for a really long time, I had a very hard time finding how to follow that podcast.

Kevin:

Yeah, I think terrible. I don't understand the decision there. Yeah, why just why not just write follow and put a button thing around it

Arielle:

or make it make it the dark purple rather than I think it's in light mode right now. And it's very hard to it doesn't direct you to it, it almost seems like they don't want you to follow podcast. That's

Kevin:

what I'm thinking.

Alban:

This was the big implant that James Cridland talked about at Podcast Movement, right? evolutions, he's on stage. He's talking about all the different apps and he goes in Apple podcasts, did this follow two plus button, and somebody who knows things was next to me and said, we actually know it's the exact same number, the same amount of people that click the plus button or clicking the Follow button, the buttons are fine.

Kevin:

So they're going to actually try to use hard data to argue my point, my subjective viewpoint. Well, I hate it when I don't

Alban:

know. Yeah, so that was what I heard. And based on who it was, I trust it that that's a legitimate thing. All right. So followers, click that plus button listeners, those are people who listen to exactly one second or more exactly one second, or at least a second, right? And engage the listener is really I think the that is the number that matters, that somebody who listened to 20 minutes, or at least 40% of the episode.

Kevin:

That's a big jump. 20 minutes is a lot. Yeah, from one second to 20 minutes. Yeah.

Alban:

So somebody whose phone is set to auto download your podcast, listening to one second, or actually listening to the episode. Those are like the three things

Kevin:

does this have to do with? I don't know if you know this, but like how far you get into the episode? Like if I skip the first 10 minutes, that's 40% of the episode, right. But if I skip ahead, is it? Is it smart enough to know I'm skipping? Or does it think I listened?

Alban:

I think that it knows that you're not listening, when you're skipping?

Arielle:

Do you like from LWCF studios talks a lot about listen through rates. And now on Apple podcasts, this new dashboard, you can see what percentage of the episode your followers are listening to, which is exciting, but I still don't know the answer to your question, Kevin, just now about how could how could it know if you're skipping through,

Kevin:

right? Because I'm a I jump around a ton. I skip a bunch of stuff. I if they have chapters? I love it. Because I'll jump around. I'll listen to the end, then I'll come back and listen, the beginning and all this stuff. I don't know how anybody could track all that stuff.

Arielle:

I do think listen to rate is important. We could bring it back to that I think if you're you know, especially if you have advertisers and you want to prove to your advertisers why it's worth spending money with you, it's not so important that you have 10,000 listeners if those listeners are only listening to 10% of your episode, they only want to tune in for this one segment where you have a celebrity guest or where you're really pumped up about whatever's going on in motocross sports. I don't know what comes to my mind when I'm giving examples I don't understand. But if you have

Alban:

you're looking at Kevin and you're like those look like guys who are in motocross

Arielle:

if you have a podcast and you have 500 listeners who are listening to 80% That's awesome. That's much better for a dirt bike company who might want to advertise advertise with you. So I don't know about you I spent I almost never ever go into my apple podcasts dashboard. I only spend time on my Buzzsprout dashboard for squad cast podcast between two mics and counterprogramming with Shira and Arielle. But now I might spend a little bit more time you know, hanging out analyzing some of those statistics.

Kevin:

Perfect. Yeah, I feel like it's something that you glance out once every couple months, right? Like you're you're probably if you're a podcaster you're probably looking at the stats that your host provides on a pretty regular basis. At least every time you upload a new episode, you're checking out what how the last episode did, but how often are we going to jump into Apple's stats or Spotify stats? Hey, keep an eye on them once every couple of months. But this is not a place where I think that we're going to do you know, like weekly checks

Arielle:

or whatever, unless it's fun for you unless you Like to crunch numbers and see, you know, maybe you tried a new call to action. Maybe you called people. Maybe you asked folks to listen on Apple podcasts and ask them to leave a rating rating and review specifically on Apple podcasts because of these new value metrics. Maybe that's a reason for you to check in. But other than that,

Alban:

all right, so I did crunch some numbers. So great. Here's what I wanted to know, from that follower number to the actual engaged listener, who may be skipping ahead 40 minutes into the episode like Kevin, or is listening to actually 20 minutes or 40% of the episode. What percentage of people who follow your show? actually listen to a second? So we're just going to listeners, what percent, I looked at all three of our shows. And now Kevin is looking at the outline or the answers

Kevin:

are not No, no, no. Okay.

Alban:

What percent? Would you say? They're actually listening to a second of all the

Kevin:

people who follow? And I'm assuming a good chunk of them have auto downloads turned on, right? And then how many actually end up listening to a second? I'm gonna say half of them.

Arielle:

I cheated, so I shouldn't guess.

Alban:

Okay, so just take it take a guess. So tell us the truth. So between our three shows Buzzcast How to start a podcast in Podcasting, Q&A, 2218, and 22%. So we're looking at about one in five people. So for every five people who are subscribed, at any point to these shows, some of them are multiple years old. They're actually in the last little period last 60 days, actually listening to any of it.

Arielle:

That's an important number though. 60 days. That's what it's calculating from?

Kevin:

Correct. Yeah, you're not looking at an episode by episode basis, you're looking at the entire podcast, right?

Alban:

Okay, then to engage listeners. So these are people who are not listening to a second, there are people who are actually really listening to the episode. They're hitting play, and it continues

Arielle:

unless it hit play by mistake. And they have not yet found the pause button.

Alban:

Okay, we're eliminating the chance of the accident.

Kevin:

All the time that you guys get in your car, and your car just starts playing something random. Yeah. So how many downloads are we getting for that?

Alban:

So you want to take a guess at what this percentage is? Kevin?

Kevin:

I'm not really because I just failed miserably. So what do I want to keep playing this game? It's about

Alban:

15%. So of the 15% of the 20%, or 15% of

Kevin:

the total. So that's not a huge drop off. So if it ends, if they end up downloading it and listening to a second, they stay pretty engaged.

Alban:

So I think, yeah, think of it is like 20 people, and out of the 24 of them are clicking play. And then three of them are listening to almost all of the episode.

Arielle:

Okay, so Oh, either 20 minutes or 40%? Yeah. I'm just I'm trying to be and your episodes are usually longer than 40 minutes. So maybe not the majority of the episode, but we don't know, because it only goes up to 40% is my math, right? Your math is

Alban:

right. I'm just, I'm trying to fourth grade me. I'm just trying to keep the positivity up. So I mean, it's a pretty big. The, it's, it's a pretty big drop off. But it was, it's interesting for Apple to give us all three of those numbers, because that's a number that I think is pretty important. Like going from downloads to actually knowing how many people are really listening to at least a good part of this episode. That's where I often want to know. So I thought that was really interesting.

Kevin:

I wonder how much of this is indicative to people who use Apple podcasts as their primary podcast listening application, like a big chunk of our show, we're not listed on Spotify. So 50% of the people who listen to the show, do listen on Apple podcasts, but the other 50% are listening in some other third party app, not Spotify. And I feel like if you're into podcasting enough to go out and find a third party app, and then subscribe to our show, or follow depending on their nomenclature, then you're gonna listen like every single podcast that I follow in my podcasting app

Arielle:

I've listened to every week, what do you use? What's your app of choice?

Kevin:

I use cast thematic right now cast them out, because it's a value for value enabled and I love boosting podcasts.

Arielle:

I was gonna say I haven't heard of that. And I've heard of most things cast thematic.

Kevin:

What you haven't heard across thematic, well download it. Are you an Apple user? Yeah, I think it's iOS only. Okay. Yeah. Well, then you're good to go.

Arielle:

I'm always looking for new plans.

Kevin:

Yeah. And if you Yeah, have you heard I see. Now I feel like I'm telling you old news. But if you send me if you open up cast thematic and you create a podcasters wallet, I think is what they call it, and then you shoot me an invoice on Twitter. I'll pay your invoice. So you have some stats that you can start sharing with other podcasters so cool.

Arielle:

I will everybody take Kevin up on that Kevin setting

Alban:

up free bitcoin?

Kevin:

Well, it's not just me. I'm using the Bitcoin that people are sending us on the show, and then I'm putting it back out in the community.

Arielle:

What is one stat that Apple did not enable that you would like to see?

Kevin:

That's a really good question. And I say that because I don't know how to respond yet. So I'm buying time

Arielle:

I know but that's classic, right? That's like you buying time It's not really that good of a question, isn't it?

Alban:

I think it's a good question. I, I don't know. I feel like they've done a good job giving us the stats we want what I mean, Brian Barletta has kind of talked about the thing that we are lacking is not Apple giving good stats. It's actually a consistency across the board. And there was this Brian Barletta does sounds profitable. So he's kind of on the cutting edge of podcast stats. And

Kevin:

there's somebody else who helps with sounds profitable. That's me. Yeah, so I don't know. I think they're doing a good job. I mean, I would have asked for the follower number, but they just gave us that I don't know, there's much more than I'm looking for them to provide. Again, I think it's it's super interesting to think about, like, how many how much like content are people skipping over? I do not know how you would display that in the UI that you could actually understand. When you aggregate all the different skip data and jumping around and all that kind of stuff.

Alban:

I mean, we you can see the play through data. Is that what you're talking about? I mean, you can see see where people are skipping for sure. Like you see the overall playthrough per episode going down over time. And then you see a big chunk cut out. And that's where everybody skips and so you listen and you Yep, that was where I dropped in my I

Kevin:

don't know that I see that meander, maybe I just haven't looked at the same episodes that you have.

Alban:

I think if we had more aggressive advertising slots, like in the middle of our episode, you would see more of those chunks. We just right now see kind of a smooth graph down. Because there's not big there's not consistent areas where a lot of people are skipping. Alright, last piece of follow up, a cast spam has turned up to 11. This story will not go away.

Arielle:

It's the story that keeps on giving emails,

Alban:

emails that are unwanted. So what will happen this week

Arielle:

more information continues to come out about the a cast email spamming situation. One podcast consultant reported that a cast had spammed his client within seconds of signing up with a competitor not a cast. So they are on it. They are really on it. They really must be pulling some emails have some real filters in place, which is illegal. It is illegal

Kevin:

I don't I don't know if I by the fact that they spammed him within seconds of him signing up. I think that's that's a little bit ego. And a little bit coincidence,

Arielle:

wherever this was posted, it was probably given to hyperbole, but it's still you know, let's let's give them the benefit of the doubt, let's say let's say an hour, let's say even a day, I think is wow, you know, you know, you signed up with somebody else.

Alban:

Definitely aggressive. And there's a few other weird things like it mentions in the emails be free.io. And then I think James Cridland reached out to be free on Twitter and was like, hey, you know, this is like spam. And they're like, Yeah, we aren't, that's not our client. And we're not sending those emails that's in the bottom of the email. That's not us. And then somebody else was like, Well, maybe it's mail up, because it's up there in the beat, the email headers have mail up. Nope, it's not mail up. either. It's being sent through Mailgun. So it's just kind of weird that, um, there's so many things in these emails that are kind of like, almost like they're copy and pasted from some other email template. I don't know. Or maybe it's just intentionally confusing so that as people hit spam on them, that it's not dinging whoever is actually sending it. What's

Arielle:

really weird is that all other aspects of a cast business, I am a big fan of I like their original content I like they're the people that work for them. I'm friendly with a bunch of them. I feel

Alban:

like they hired some weird growth marketer, and he's like, Guys, trust me, this will work. And they probably have seen a bunch of people move over to a cast. Because if you spam all 4 million podcasters, you will see a little jump in your numbers. But I know talking to our support team, like we've seen quite a few of them move back, I guess a few were like, Oh, totally free. I'll test that out and then bounce back a couple weeks later. So hopefully, that this just goes away. And we're able to as like community move beyond just spamming out emails, because it's a game that everybody could play, but it's scammy and not not a good look. So

Arielle:

our advice to you is to hit spam early and often.

Kevin:

Alvin and I just had lunch with him, we give you a little bit inside information. Albert and I just had lunch and during lunch, he proposed to me what I would put in the category of he did

Arielle:

That's so nice of him. Yep. So we haven't

Kevin:

set a date yet. So Alvin, Alvin, throughout this theory about Spotify, and how they're promoting some new shows, and I put it in the category of conspiracy theory, but he says no, they actually have some evidence behind it. So Alvin, tell me what you think Spotify is doing? And then let us hear the evidence. Alright,

Alban:

here's what's actually happening. Kevin is actually proposed this conspiracy theories to me every once in a while, and now he's just trying to like, promote his own theories by saying that my things that have, like real evidence behind them are also conspiracies. All right, so Spotify is promoting what this substack newsletter called fake music artists. And it was a really interesting article, and we'll link to it in the show notes about somebody who's just going through and looking at a lot of Spotify playlists, and really a lot of the songs that are getting a ton of plays and trying to figure out, you know, who are these artists. So it's really interesting, the person who wrote it, I guess, is knows a lot about jazz. And it's just pulling up like some of these top the best playlists for jazz inside of Spotify. And what's happening now as people are just talking to their voice assistant and saying, Hey, voice assistant, play some jazz. And so it pulls up the Spotify playlist on jazz and starts playing. And you go, Okay, this sounds good, and you're enjoying it. But when the author pulled it up, they looked at it. And I said, I know jazz, and I only know two of these artists. So why are these top playlists featuring tons of artists that are not well known. And so they dig in a little bit more. And what it looks like is most of these are not their real people. And it's not like their covers are, they're fake. But these are not like signed to a record label artists. And what it looks like is that across the music world, the big streaming platforms will reach out to somebody and say, Hey, we can tell that this kind of music would perform well, it would do really well inside of our curated playlists. So we're gonna pay you 10 grand to record this song, you know, a flat fee, they record the song. And then those songs get preferential treatment inside of the playlists. And if you go look at some of them, it's like no name artist, that maybe only has ever recorded two songs, and one of them has like 20 million downloads on Spotify.

Kevin:

Okay, so this is your theory of how Spotify and maybe some other streaming platforms are going to solve the licensing fees that they have to pay right now to music labels and musicians, which musicians and, and record labels feel like they're too low. And Spotify says we can't afford to pay any higher, because we can't pass that cost on to a customer because no one's gonna pay more than 15 or $20 a month for access to this music catalog. So they're in a bit of a jam. And this is your theory, or somebody else's theory that you're hooked into hook line and sinker. This is a you know, but but now that they're manufacturing their own recordings from artists that aren't super popular, who are willing to take a one time payment so that they don't have to pay the streaming fees every time somebody plays that song.

Alban:

Right? So what they're, this is the same thing that Netflix did that when Netflix started by licensing everything and eventually said, Okay, now let's actually start and have our own production and create our own shows. And then we'll promote those shows front and center. And that we all make see that we see Oh, that makes sense, because now they pay for once, not forever ongoing licensing. And so Spotify has started to do this as well, by paying sometimes the same person who's on Spotify is 50 different names. So it looks like it's a bunch of different artists, but it's really just one recording group that is being paid to record by Spotify sounds like Amazon music does this as well. Apple might also do this as well. Lots of the different streaming platforms do.

Kevin:

Okay, so are you saying this happens is happening in podcasting as well.

Alban:

What I wanted to propose was, this is the same scenario we've seen multiple times Netflix has done it. Now Spotify is doing it, where a platform is built on the back of the creators, the music artists who came to Spotify and said, Cool, let's get our music in because they'll get distribution. And then it gets better. And then eventually they say, Oh, we're the tastemakers because now we have all the users. And so they start pushing the playlists and they start pushing individual tracks. And eventually they said, you know, it'd be really good. Let's pull out, you know, some of the best musicians of all time, and instead Insert Stuff that we've created ourselves, because then we don't have to pay for it. And it makes sense from a business perspective. But now what you've happened to you as an artist, is you have no distribution, and you have no money. So the thing they thought they were signing up for massive distribution through Spotify, in an ongoing paycheck for royalties, has also started to dry up for a lot of these artists. And I'm proposing that this is the scenario we've talked about for many years for podcasting. Every platform says Bring in your podcast, this is gonna be great. We're gonna get distribution, we say awesome. And we go all in. And if there is any bit where they have to pay money back to the creators, they're always going to be incentivized to figure out how do we get around that? How do we do one time payments and get all the content and promote that content instead?

Kevin:

Well, you know, what it makes me think of is is like, reminds me of Amazon Basics,

Alban:

right? So it's exactly as it exists. actly the same as Amazon

Kevin:

as Amazon Basics, so Amazon finds out that everyone's buying whatever, you know, triple A batteries in mass on Amazon. And then so they come out with AmazonBasics AAA batteries, which is basically the same battery as the door seller and Energizer. But they can, they're gonna sell it a little bit less. And they're gonna, when you search for triple A batteries, what's the number one search result that's gonna pop up Amazon Basics AAA batteries, and they've done this in all sorts of categories. They don't have to go out there and find out what you know, take the risk of, hey, which products should we develop next? Where are we going to find product market fit, who's buying what they know all of that, because they're already selling everyone else's products. And as soon as they find products that there's good margin on and a lot of people are buying from Amazon, they can create their own version of that and sell it just below the market price, you know, and as long as that equation adds up to them having profit, they will do it. And so you're saying this same strategy could work in music, it could work in podcasting, and who really pays the price? Well, it's all the people who were selling on amazon before the Amazon Basics, got enough information to figure out that we should make one of these and the same thing could happen to music, who's who's going out there and taking all the risk of creating a new jazz song or something else? And then find out hey, a lot of people like that jazz song, what's the formula to make that jazz song? Hey, we can just pay this person so much money to create a similar song. We can promote the heck out of it. And then we don't have to pay licensing every time somebody streams it.

Arielle:

But come on, Kevin, you're being paid in exposure.

Alban:

It is a little bit of the paid and exposure.

Kevin:

Yeah. But this also happens. I mean, the simpler way for this to happen is like Spotify is purchased. podcast studio. Like I don't know if they're called studios. What do you call a gimlet? Is it a studio? Yeah, it's a network. You know, they bought gimlet they bought who else did they buy and they buy podcast or somebody else Barstool Sports or something, they bought a bunch of these houses that

Arielle:

they had some that weren't even labeled, remember Spotify studio for was one of.

Kevin:

And so they're going to be creating a whole bunch of original content. And I'm sure they're going to be promoting their original content over anybody else's content, not only because they're going to get whatever ad revenue is generated from that show, but it's just, you know, they have the ability to make money on that content. Right now, they're not using independent podcasters. To create money, they're just using it to get more people into their ecosystem. At some dope at some point that might change, they might open up advertising opportunities to independent podcasters. But I wonder how much it's even gonna matter. If you're not getting the promotion. Like still, they're relying on you to build your own audience on Spotify. Like you go out there and market your show, you create your Tik Tok channel, you create your Instagram channel, you bring all your listeners over to Spotify. And then we might, you know, throw you a few pennies every time we run an ad in your show that may or may not work. I don't know if that's going to change down the road. But what's definitely going to work is for them building their own shows creating their own audiences, just from the the network that they already have. They already have millions and millions of people coming to Spotify every day, listen to podcasts. So when you search for a podcast, I'm sure their shows are going to show up way ahead of ours. Yeah, and I

Alban:

don't think that this is evil, or something. And I don't think this is unique or new. Target was doing this. Walmart's been doing this for 30 years, or since they could start to figure out Sears was doing it back when Sears was

Kevin:

I grew up on check cola. Yeah,

Alban:

I mean, all these it's a name brand company. And then the people who actually have all the customer showing up in the stores go, Oh, looks like people are pretty cost conscious around this product. And they don't really have high brand affinity. Let's see what a no name product does. Yep, a no name product will do. Well, let's go ahead and do that. So I don't think that this is evil. But this is a smart business idea that makes economic sense for a platform.

Arielle:

And it also makes sense for something like jazz, because you don't necessarily need to put a face to a music genre that or Yeah, music genre that doesn't have words, right? Mostly, if we're talking about jazz, that's just instrumental. It can be quote, unquote, no name brand, right.

Alban:

And it at least it lands a little bit easier when it isn't, you know, something that's more instrumental based, or exactly more improv?

Arielle:

Yeah, I don't know how much it would work with with a podcast unless the podcast was like meditation, right? Something that you don't necessarily need a face that you don't necessarily need a personality to love. You know, that would keep you coming back for more maybe you just have consistent meditative stories. And that can be from anyone at any time, maybe even an AI voice.

Alban:

I'm thinking like that the low level of this is kind of what we're talking about this the jazz like, Okay, I'm just replacing one jazz song for another jazz song. And I feel like anyone who loves jazz right now is getting very triggered by this sorry, guys. Your your music taste is valid. The podcast side or let's say it's like a hip hop artists or something. It's, that's more akin to net what Netflix is doing, that they're looking at their data, and they're saying, okay, these types of shows do well. And so, we know that we've worked with everyone who'd created content under this old licensing model where they got paid royalties forever. Instead, we're going to go to the exact right person with the exact right formula We already know it works. And we will offer one time payments. And so I'm not saying any of this is wrong or evil or anything, I'm more saying, there's a shift in the way people are paid for their content creation. And it used to be, hey, you're probably gonna make $0. But if you make it big, you'll make millions and millions and millions. And we all knew that music turned out that way, that if you were the biggest artist who made a ton, but almost everybody else was struggling to make any money. And I feel like we saw that with podcasting. And now we're even seeing these big exclusive deals, we go, yeah, if you make it big, you will make all the money. But in a future where it's all a platform, it's like the YouTube and it's apple, and Spotify. And they all have exclusives. And they're all promoting their own exclusives mostly, then what it starts to look like is, we use everybody else as the labs to figure out what works. And then we go out and we create our own show. And so we see that serial did long in depth reporting. And that was a formula that worked in a great story, let's go create those shows ourselves. So there still will be journalists making money, and they'll still be editors making money. But it won't be you're part of something that if it blows up really big, you will make a lot of money because you own the intellectual property, Spotify, and anyone else who's doing this will make sure we actually own the intellectual property. So you're more, you know, like, if this battery takes off big Amazon will make the Amazon Basics. So it's more just like be aware that this is the way platforms will try to push things as we get more and more embedded with the platforms. This is what makes sense for them.

Arielle:

That's something to be aware of also as a consumer, not just as a creator, because gimlet does have a show called Crime town with the host is Emma Courtland. And that was created. I don't know, not too recently, but it's not you know, it's not hasn't been around since serial, you know, it probably did come through the pipeline of okay, we know narrative True Crime does well, let's have one under our own production house. Yeah,

Kevin:

this is when I think about platforms that have done this, like, it immediately pops to mind that YouTube seems to have not done this. YouTube seems to have really focused on, we want to build the best discovery engine and recommendation engine to keep people on platform. But we're not going to necessarily go all in on original content. I know they have some original content, but it seems to be ancillary to the big problem that they're trying to solve, which is, as long as we keep people entertained, they will keep our app open and keep going to the next video, the next video next video. And much of that has been built on the back of independent creators. And so as a generated, yeah, yeah, user generated. And I think that that's probably why we see more like a larger percentage of independent YouTube publishers doing well, like maybe, maybe they're not Joe Rogan money, but they're doing well on that platform than they are maybe in the music category or in the podcasting category. And so that can be interesting. If pot, if podcasting does come to YouTube as a, you know, an audio first experience, if they do create that, I wonder if they can replicate some of that magic that they've done for video creators.

Arielle:

That's the hope since that. Since James Cridland shared the news, I want to say two weeks ago about the possible ingestion of RSS feeds into YouTube and how and all of that all the commentary that came with that there's been an uptick in at least on my Twitter feed of people saying I'm gonna, you know, start a YouTube channel or, you know, how hard is it to start a YouTube channel for my podcast? And should I focus on clips? Should I? Should I focus on short clips, you know, how can I, what's the lowest lift option for me to have a presence on YouTube with my podcast to see if the experiment might be worth it? If YouTube does, in fact, make these changes that are possible that have been kind of floating in the ether? I don't know. And the answer is we don't know yet. But if if it's not too hard for you, if you're recording video already, maybe it's worth it to repurpose some of those clips. Maybe spend a month experimenting, seeing if there's any traction. And if not take a little break.

Alban:

This goes sideways. Nice, too. We've just published the Buzzsprout platform stats that we do every month, where we talk about which apps are we seeing growing, which ones are shrinking, and changes in listener behavior. And what I wanted to go back a year, especially when we're talking about Spotify, maybe prioritizing music content, like I would imagine the trend to do some podcasting as well. And I just thought has Spotify numbers have they changed in the last year? And, you know, a year ago, march 2021, Spotify made up 29.4% of all of Buzzsprout place across all of the 100,000 podcasts that were active at the time a year later, Spotify has gone down to 26.8% in the state Time Apple went from 29 to 37. So we've seen Apple grow a ton. It's a far as a percentage of all the plays we have across Buzzsprout. And Spotify, it's actually on like a six month trajectory of continuing to go down even as a percent, the raw number of plays goes up. But as a percent, it's been going down. And I did wonder, there could be two things, it could just be the people that Spotify was bringing during, especially during lock downs, and COVID. May have been just a little bit more they're testing out podcast, and it wasn't for them. But I also wondered is, could this be an indication of they're starting to do a bit more prioritizing the Joe Rogan's and the, you know, everything that they have purchased? Are those getting higher priority than maybe some of these indie shows that were used to actually jumpstart the Spotify podcast set up?

Kevin:

Yeah. So this is the problem with conspiracy theories, though, is that once you buy into them, then every bit of data you see you can twist to fit the narrative. You're believing.

Alban:

This is this is just me having to fake saying this makes sense? It's not bad. And then I went, Oh, I wonder if that is the explanation for this. I'm not the chapter art for this needs to be the, like the drawing the conspiracy theory out from always sunny Philadelphia

Kevin:

right. Now, I think I think that's a that's an interesting point. Spotify listening, if Buzzsprout is a good representative of the indie podcast community, and I think it is, then we have to look at the numbers and figure out why is that? Why are the number of people who are listening on Apple podcasts increasing so much so quickly. At the same time, we see Spotify dropping, and it's not the exact same rate, but Spotify is dropping and compare it to listening. It's happening on Apple. Yeah. And so that is interesting. And I think that would make sense. Like if Spotify is doing more and more to push listening out of the, what we would consider the indie space into more of the professional podcasting space. So celebrity podcasters shows that they own shows that are being produced from production houses that they own, like gimlet and I think they own podcast and a few others. If they're pushing that, then that's going to be reflected in the Buzzsprout platform stats, because we don't host those shows. That's not who we're targeting, you know, our customer, our independent podcasters hopefully, just like the people who are listening to the show, who decided to start up a show for various reasons. But one of those reasons would not be that we you were paid millions of dollars by Spotify.

Arielle:

Alvin, next up, I want to ask you about a Twitter thread of yours that went viral and not the Jacksonville Jaguars one but that one was a lot of fun, too. So

Alban:

I've actually created a second Twitter account to move all of my Jaguar stuff away. I don't think many of the podcasting space was enjoying my Jaguar

Arielle:

brand. Wow, what's your second Twitter account? Actually, don't tell us keep that secret. You're gonna have some secrets. Okay, so you were at Podcast Movement. And you were talking to somebody from NPR who mentioned what and then you tweeted about it. And it went podcast viral, I'd say like 1200, likes, comments, shares, all the things and it was also featured in a newsletter that I get everyday called for the interested and I was like, That's my friend.

Alban:

Oh. All right. So this person was not NPR. And after I started writing the thread, I immediately reached out and said, don't tell people I told you that. So came from they were not at NPR. Yeah, this person does not work at NPR. So here's the story that I heard and now I believe is definitely true. This is Alvin's conspiracy theory. Time. Alright, so Apple podcast is one of the most the biggest tastemakers in podcasting. You know, it's the largest of the podcast directories. And the charts are where a lot of people look to find new shows. And recently, Apple talked about how you actually get on to the top of these charts. It's new listeners, like the actual amount of new people clicking that plus button, people following the show, and the completion rate of listening to this. And so what I heard was that there actually is an API where you can check to see if you're in these charts. And so that's what charitable uses. That's what I think my podcast reviews uses to just say, is your podcast at the top of any of these charts, or is it near the bottom? And so what was happening is NPR was periodically checking our our shows in these charts. And if they were in the charts, and they were up pretty high. They were like cool, but it ever seemed to drop out of the charts. Then they would have this bot automatically start up some Facebook ads, drive a bunch of new listeners, people who'd be interested in the podcast, bump it back into the ratings up into the rankings, excuse me and turn it off. if it made sense, because once you're in the up in the rankings, then everything's golden again, because last people see the show, and then they're subscribing to the show. And you stay up in the rankings. It was kind of like a feedback mechanism to keep you in there. And I just thought it was brilliant because they were only running ads when they were kind of dropping out. And then they were getting you back in. Right after that. So that was the story. I heard a lot of people off piste a lot of people off, I think, because they were thinking, Oh, it's all rigged against Indies. I guess anybody could have done this, right. And it got a lot of attention. And eventually, NPR told me, I was full of crap. Somebody from NPR issued a statement. I said, this is not true. But then if anybody reached out to you, personally, oh, I had a lot of people reach out to me personally.

Arielle:

No, I mean, trying to correct you, anybody from NPR?

Alban:

I only through other people. I don't think anybody from NPR told me this wasn't true. But then I ended up somebody responded to the threat. And I was like, Oh, that's really cool. Because I was doing that at WNYC. And you know, somebody, NPR was doing it as well. And I was like, okay, that this has got to be the origin of the real story is WNYC is an NPR affiliate, one of their partner stations. So it sounds like it was probably at WNYC doing it for their shows, not NPR itself. But I just thought it was a really interesting and smart growth tactic way to keep themselves up in the charts. And it works because they've got good times content.

Kevin:

Well, and here's where I push back. Because when you say it was really smart. I wonder when when I first read this thread, my doubt came from like that is probably the most expensive way to grow. A podcast following is by running ads on Facebook, like Facebook is notoriously inexpensive for people who were selling. I don't know what you call it, like impulse purchase type things. Yeah, it's very hard to have an effective ad that moves somebody off platform into a podcast listening app, and then gets them to subscribe. And we know like you just went through the formula to get back into charts means that they're following or they're, they're listening or something else or completion data. Yeah, whatever all the stats are. So it's a huge leap to say that a social media campaign on Facebook could have the effect that they're trying to drive without spending a massive amount of money. Now, they might not have to spend that massive amount of money for a very long period of time, because maybe they're just saying, Hey, we just want to be on the chart. We don't care where we are on the chart. So it could just be this thing where they keep bouncing it on and off. But it just seemed super expensive. It seemed like it would have been a lot more cost effective to been like, let's run some cross promos or something like that would have been a much more cost effective way to get themselves back in the charts. So that's where my like, you know, BS meter started pinging a little bit on it. And I know you're all in on it. You totally believe it. I'm kinda like, yeah, I don't know. It's all

Alban:

conspiracy. Kevin calling me this is from us. Alvin's clears the theory podcast. This is from 2016. So Facebook ads and Apple charts were in a very different spot. Yeah, I don't know if completion rate was part of the apple podcast algorithm at that time, right? may not have been. And there's ways that you could do it to focus to make sure that your spend was going along way you could be like, only target people we know, visit NPR website here.

Kevin:

Here's the interesting takeaway. Like as a podcaster, if you're trying to grow your audience, and I don't think that's the most important thing that you should be doing. But if you're worried about your numbers, and are your numbers always moving up, then you should look at your downloads, you should check log log into platforms and see where you are with Apple stats with Spotify stats, and then you should maybe figure out which marketing channels work for you is not going to be build a bot that checks apples, you know, chart ranking, and then automatically kicks off social media campaigns, that's not going to be the winning strategy for anybody.

Alban:

I feel like you're skipping over the joy part of this right to be like, Alright, let's get down to brass tacks. How does this work?

Kevin:

No, I'm not trying to be a curmudgeon at all. I'm just wondering, like, why does this stuff go viral? Why are people so interested in this? It was it.

Arielle:

I think people love to be outraged, and they love they love to see, oh, if you have money.

Kevin:

Right. But we all know that already. So it's not worth getting upset about anymore. Like just accept that people have money. And if you have money, you can get a huge following an audience for your show. But it's only works because NPR creates really good content. And I think that's what we should all be focused on is like, let's create NPR quality content. And then we'll figure out how to get in front of more people.

Alban:

It's funny because I didn't think of this as anything that was connected to outrage when I wrote it. I just wrote it because I'm thinking from the marketing side, like, Oh, that was really smart. You saw there was a feedback mechanism that if you're in the charts, you're getting lots of plays. And they saw Well, we can nudge shows back into the charts. And if you'd nudge them back into the charts, we might pay for 100 new listeners, but then we'll get 5000 for free. So it's worth it. That's the way that it makes sense. So they were like checking is there? Is it the moment the nudge? Oh, there's the nudge, we nudged it. And it worked, right. And I was like, Ooh, from a marketing perspective, that's really smart. And so I had people who follow me because of marketing were like, brilliant. I'm so excited. And then I started interacting with a lot of like public radio people, or people who are making really big shows. And they're like, getting screwed by NPR. And I was like, Oh, I didn't really think that anybody would be mad about this. I can understand if your shows the one that's getting bumped off the charts by NPR, that? Yeah, that would definitely be a frustrating experience. All right. Well, in personal news, Kevin and I will be headed or Buzzsprout people will be headed to two conferences next month.

Kevin:

Let's talk about it. We're going to the podcast show in London, May 25, and 26th. And not me, but so that's both of us. Alvin and I will be there. And then Alvin is going to block pod festival in Atlanta, from May 28. And 29th.

Alban:

Yeah, so if you're interested in either shows, come out, hang out. We will be at the podcast show just walking around by pod festival. We'll be speaking and we'll have a booth and we'll probably do all sorts of stuff. So we would love to see you at either

Kevin:

of those. Yeah, find us on Twitter and DM us if you're going to this

Alban:

area you're going to either these.

Arielle:

I'm going to outlier podcast festival may 5 through sixth the in Austin, Texas. And then I'm going to black pod festival in Atlanta, May 27 28th. And 29th. Very excited. Squad cast is going to have a booth some fun giveaways. And yeah, I would love to, first of all hanging out with the Buzzsprout crew and also with anybody else who's listening who's gonna be there. Very cool. Okay, it looks like Rhino 737733 has left a review for you to this podcast. And Kevin, would you like to read that review out loud, but you have to do it in the tone that it is written

Alban:

in a rhino voice

Kevin:

in a rhino voice. So helpful and really fun to listen to, with 12 exclamation points.

Arielle:

But the title of the review is amazing podcast.

Alban:

Rhino thank you for the amazing podcast review. We appreciate it. And if you leave us a review on Apple podcast, we will read it. And also right now our reviews for good with POD chaser, you can leave reviews there as well. And if you leave a review for every review, they're donating 25 cents to world kitchen which benefits refugees and people in the Ukraine right now. So it's a good thing to do. And pod chaser is a great app to use. So go leave reviews for this show. And for all the other shows that you listen to.

Kevin:

Yeah. And we're also incented through pod Chaser to respond to reviews. So if we see new reviews, we will be responding to make sure that more money goes to that great cause. So thank you, Paul chaser. And now, as the French say, he's thankful reboost does that go with the upbeat theme here

Alban:

are we just I love that. What is our budget look like for all these like voiceovers that you're doing for a boosted group section.

Kevin:

So I'm not paying for these. Some one hour I wish I could remember your name, I'm sorry. But somebody checked in a whole bunch of sounds to the Git repo for the podcast index. And they made all these wonderful boosts bait sounds available to us to use for free, get some tasty boost bait, so we can use them. So I've got a bunch of new sounds that we can use as we read some boosts boost that people who are using a value for value enabled podcast app, you're streaming sets and you're boosting sets. And as you know, if you listen to the show, if you boost us and send us a message in your booster gram, we're happy to read it as long as it is not, I don't know, crude or hateful or ugly in any way. And none of them have ever been so I'm not really worried about that. So let's start running through some of our booths from the last week or last two weeks. So the first one Andy layman, gave us around to under sat and said, writing back to tell you that you did say my name correctly on the last episode, and that I do have a podcast. It's called dudes and dads, the dudes and dads podcast. So check us out on any podcast app or at dudes and dads. podcast.com Thank you, Andy. Really appreciate that. Let me see if I can find something for you here. How about the rooster booster? He's in the risk of I'm gonna get his teeth boosted as a booster booster. All right, Tom Rafferty wrote in and he boosted us around 2250 sets said my name is Tom Rafferty, I'm the host of climate 21 and the digital supply chain podcast. The climate 21 podcast is a show that I publish new episodes every Wednesday where I highlight successful climate emissions reduction stories and strategies to educate and inspire people to action. The digital supply chain podcast is the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chains. Granted, it's a small pool. I'm going to pause right here because I love that I like love the idea of focus thing on this niche that is super small so that you can be number one or you can stand out in that category. We preach that all the time. And it's a fantastic strategy. So he continues to say that I publish a new show every Monday and Friday. I have a third podcast but I'm not going to mention it because it's not hosted on Buzzsprout unfortunately, this was not my decision, but I am a very busy podcaster so check out those two shows climate 21 and the digital supply chain. Thank you, Tom.

Alban:

Boost Alright, the mere mortals podcast gave us 2000 SATs and said as someone focused quite heavily on video I've wished for Sam's all in one upload method before but it would have that come from YouTube being a host and simply pulling the audio from my video and making it an RSS don't do video guys stick to audio. By the way I've started uploading to Tik Tok thanks to you guys I would appreciate if anyone listening would check it out and give me any feedback at mere mortals podcast on tick tock so you go check it out and let it have some feedback. You better be streaming SATs

Kevin:

I was fantastic. All right. Pay thar, pe T AR hope I'm saying that correctly. Gave us around 1100 SATs and said I like the show who we are. That's thank you so much guitar.

Alban:

Who made all these Kevin, I don't know

Kevin:

people in the podcasting community.

Alban:

We're gonna see like a massive spend. When we do like the budget for Buzzsprout this month. It's like 20 grand on getting voice actors.

Kevin:

It's just people sharing in the podcasting community. It's fantastic. All right, Dave Jones is a good friend from podcasts index and podcasting to those show check it out on whatever podcast app you prefer. Gave us 2000 sets Love me some Sam set the great interview guys whose T boosts T Thank you, Dave, Dave, coach gave us around 3500 sets. And he has a question for us. So pay attention. Here we go. Should podcasters looking to cross promote their show by an ad on a podcast of the same general topic or something adjacent? Is there a best strategy here?

Arielle:

Yeah. So what do you guys think so you can cross promote, some people do recommend buying ads on podcasts that are bigger than yours in order to grow your shows, if you really do want to spend money with another show that's in your genre, do that make sure it's a show that's bigger than yours, and then go back and have a long term play with free opportunities for cross promotion.

Alban:

The best ads are the ones where the audience is as close to your ideal audience as possible. And so when you're doing a promo swap, well, who are we connecting to? We're listening connected to other podcast listeners who that's already good. And if they're already, like Ariel says, in your genre, man, that's even better, because I know they're into to true crime, they'll probably be into my true crime podcast. And so it's much more likely that they make the switch over to your show. So as similar as they can be without being the exact same show, the better it is. So yeah, if you can find them, go for it.

Kevin:

Right. And if you've listened to the episode thus far, you have probably heard some podcasts promos being dropped in because we committed to doing that a couple of weeks ago. And it's I think it's going well, I haven't heard this episode in final edited form yet because we're still live. But yeah, that's something that we'll continue to do. Now we're not going to have exact kind of genre matches because this is a podcast about podcasting and all the people who are listening probably do podcasts in a different space. So they're probably going to be less effective but our advice would be as close as you can find to your audience. So if you're doing something in this sports podcasting or something you want your promo is playing another sports podcast

Alban:

Well, thank you for everyone for listening. Thanks to our mystery guest for joining us and for playing our silly games name

Kevin:

you have to the caller Mr. Guest anymore.

Alban:

Eric, if people want to know more about you, if they don't know who you are already, where should they go to find you and follow you aim on

Arielle:

them if they don't know who I am? You can I'm most active on Twitter and by most active I mean to to a fault. It's not for me. You can follow me at Ari this and that because my last name is Nissen Blatt, and that is how you can never be wrong about how to pronounce my name, Ari, this and that and I will answer a DM I will respond to you in any way. If you have questions about podcasting. Very, very happy to help. Thank you for having me.

Kevin:

Thank you, Ariel for being here. And you've been very, very humble and genius in this episode. If you don't, for those who don't know, Ariel works at squad cast, which is a fun way to record your episodes. And so I would recommend, I think that we have a promo code for all Buzzsprout customers in our partner promotion section. So go grab your coupon and check out squad cast. If you're not using it now. You now have no excuse. So go check it out. Thank you, Ariel for being here. And we look forward to talking to you all in a couple of weeks. Keep podcasting