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How A Ban On TikTok Could Affect Podcasters

March 29, 2024 Buzzsprout Episode 124
How A Ban On TikTok Could Affect Podcasters
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Buzzcast
How A Ban On TikTok Could Affect Podcasters
Mar 29, 2024 Episode 124
Buzzsprout

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Tom Rossi, co-founder of Buzzsprout, joins us for this episode as we dissect Spotify's TikTok-inspired podcast discovery feature and why podcasters may or may not want their follower count to be public. We also cover the potential ripple effects of a TikTok ban on promotion strategies, and whether it hinders expanding your listener base. Then we discuss why major podcasts are shifting from ad-supported to listener-supported models, revealing a fundamental change in how podcasts sustain themselves.

View the discussion thread on Twitter

📣 Sound-Off Question: What ways do you provide for listeners to contact you? To have your response featured on our next episode, send us a text at 855-951-4230!

Links mentioned in this episode: 


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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Tom Rossi, co-founder of Buzzsprout, joins us for this episode as we dissect Spotify's TikTok-inspired podcast discovery feature and why podcasters may or may not want their follower count to be public. We also cover the potential ripple effects of a TikTok ban on promotion strategies, and whether it hinders expanding your listener base. Then we discuss why major podcasts are shifting from ad-supported to listener-supported models, revealing a fundamental change in how podcasts sustain themselves.

View the discussion thread on Twitter

📣 Sound-Off Question: What ways do you provide for listeners to contact you? To have your response featured on our next episode, send us a text at 855-951-4230!

Links mentioned in this episode: 


PodMatch
PodMatch Automatically Matches Ideal Podcast Guests and Hosts For Interviews

Support the Show.

Contact Buzzcast

Thanks for listening & keep podcasting!

Kevin:

Was that you just breathing?

Jordan:

Yeah, I do it all the time, especially when I'm like thinking or something like that, I'll just stop breathing and I have to go, like it's like you have sleep apnea, but you're awake. That's exactly what it is, and it scares the heck out of my husband too. Like we'll just be like watching something, and if it's a really like suspenseful thing, I'll just be like husband too. Like we'll just be like watching something, and if it's a really like suspenseful thing, I'll just be like Do they have CPAP machines for people when they're awake?

Jordan:

I don't, probably. I just need one of those like little oxygen tanks and just like constantly.

Tom:

Oh yeah.

Jordan:

Have you ever been in one of those like oxygen bars?

Kevin:

No, I don't think I've done it. We did it for my son, though. We went out to Colorado one time. He got altitude sickness and felt very bad and had to go, but he just went to. Uh, we didn't go to hospital or anything, we just went to a bar like a tap room, and they have oxygen on tap, yeah, and so I had a beer and he had some oxygen, and then after 20 minutes we hit the slopes again. He felt great.

Tom:

Have you ever done one of those IVs?

Kevin:

They have an iv to help with altitude sickness? Is it just hydration?

Tom:

No, it's just just hydration and it's usually like in party towns and stuff, where they'll have them set up on the road. You know where the people are just getting getting IVs.

Kevin:

I don't know that I'd trust a bartender to put an IV in me.

Jordan:

Yeah, I've heard of people like having people come into their like hotel the next day after like a bachelorette party or something like that, and they do like IVs for everybody, like which is pretty bad, like if you're if you're partying that hard that you need to have someone put an IV in the next day. Like you need to evaluate.

Kevin:

Well, or you're an elite athlete. They do it on the sidelines of the NFL also, so do they? Yeah, you might have a problem, or you might just be at the top of your game.

Jordan:

Welcome back to Buzzcast, a podcast about all things podcasting from the people at Buzzsprout. I'm your host, Jordan, and joining me today, as usual, is Kevin Finn, co-founder of Buzzsprout. Hey, Kevin.

Kevin:

Oh, we got last names today.

Jordan:

Yeah, Alban is on a flight right now to go to Podcast Movement Evolutions in LA, so stepping in for him is fellow Buzzsprout co-founder, Tom Rossi. Thanks for joining us today, Tom.

Tom:

Thanks for having me on the show, yeah.

Jordan:

I'm glad you had time. You recently became a bit of an internet sensation.

Kevin:

That's true.

Tom:

I have to admit, I really enjoyed the video. With the Fleetwood Mac song playing in the background and me riding on the scooter, that was great.

Jordan:

Yeah, it was really funny because you went to the Rails conference.

Tom:

It was Sin City Ruby.

Jordan:

Sin City, ruby, that's right.

Tom:

It was a Rails conference in Las Vegas and I gave a little talk and was very happy when it was over and went exploring all over Vegas and took a scooter.

Kevin:

Yeah, Took a scooter and then people caught you on video riding your scooter to the airport, it looked like.

Tom:

Well, I was having a good time. I was like you know what, I think I could take this all the way to the airport, and I did, and not thinking that people from the conference would also be going to the airport, and so they all see me riding along on my scooter.

Jordan:

Yeah, that was really funny, Just like different perspectives of Tom riding a scooter, oh my gosh, that's hilarious.

Kevin:

Jordan, do you have the link? Can you link that in the episode description today?

Jordan:

Yeah, I will definitely link to it.

Tom:

Go viral episode description today. Yeah, I will definitely link to it. You know that it was based on a meme that went around with the guy drinking cranberry juice. Yeah, so maybe I'll get an ocean spray sponsorship.

Jordan:

Yeah, that was a guy here in Idaho. Actually he's in one of my neighboring towns and, yeah, a few years ago he was riding his longboard and drinking ocean spray to Fleetwood Mac and it went viral.

Tom:

Yeah, and didn't he get like a sponsorship? Didn't ocean spray reach out to him and do something with him? Yeah, they bought him like a car and yeah he's.

Jordan:

he's like a full-time influencer now, which is really funny, yeah.

Kevin:

Tom, you're doing it wrong you. Why didn't you have some sort of like brand beverage with you that you could have been drinking? Yeah, that's what I needed. Yeah, you have to think these things through, it would have been a good brand for me to have.

Jordan:

I mean, we could probably use AI to like superimpose some sort of bottle of something like Honest Tea or whatever you like.

Kevin:

Who do you want to be sponsored by Honest Tea?

Jordan:

Yeah, that's a great one. They're owned by Coke. Now Deep pocket. Something that has recently caught my attention is an article in Bloomberg by Ashley Carmen titled Spotify reveals Joe Rogan's podcast numbers and it says a new TikTok like redesign from the streaming giant unveils actual audience data for top podcasters and it's not just top podcasters, it's regular podcasters. To like smaller podcasters, you can see all their followers on there and before this, and really the op three tag, the only way to really imagine, like, how many listeners a podcaster had was to go on to their social media accounts or, you know, look at how many Patreon subscribers they had. Or you know, if they were on, look at how many Patreon subscribers they had. Or, if they were on YouTube, how many YouTube subscribers they had, and then just kind of like estimate from there okay, well, if they're on Apple and Spotify and things like that, they probably have this many followers. So it's been really interesting to look at how many followers some of these podcasters have. Tom, have you looked at this yet?

Tom:

I have not, I have not looked, you have not. I don't use Spotify for podcasts. Oh, really Makes it hard for me.

Jordan:

Why not?

Tom:

No, but I want to know what you think of your numbers being out there. I wonder how podcasters are going to respond to having their follower count made publicly available.

Jordan:

I mean me personally, like I don't care.

Kevin:

I actually you don't care, Cause it's like a guy in the gym who bench presses 300 pounds. You're like.

Tom:

I don't care if people like, come and see how much I can lift.

Kevin:

But like, if you're just starting out, I don't necessarily want to see some. You know, I'm just working out in the gym with just the bar. I don't even have any weights on there.

Jordan:

And.

Kevin:

I don't know that. I need that broadcast to the world.

Jordan:

I gotta be honest, I think it's kind of like a bunch of baloney.

Tom:

Strong words.

Jordan:

Here's my hot take. It's a bunch of baloney. I'm saying it right now because you know on Spotify, like your followers, I mean okay. So I'm just going to say for mine it shows I have 97,000 followers. Do I have that many regular listeners? Absolutely not, like, not even remotely close. I get like 10% of that. So I'm thinking, like you know, for a lot of people I think that these follower numbers are really inflated to how many actual listeners the podcaster has.

Kevin:

So you're saying it's like 10 to one the number of people who follow your show and actually listen to your show. You think it's about 10 to one ratio.

Jordan:

Yeah, and I'm not, I don't know, my podcast isn't like a super like popular podcast or anything like that, so it's. It's one of those things Like I think a lot of these bigger podcasters there's probably a lot of people like recommending their show to friends or sending it and they're like, oh, you have to listen to this. And they go, okay, fine, I'll, like, I'll listen to it, and they hit follow, but maybe they never listened to it. You know, there's plenty of podcasts I get recommended to me and then I follow it, but I do. I actually listen to it until like a year later and I have nothing else to listen to. Probably not. So I think that a lot of these numbers are super inflated compared to how many actual listeners they have.

Tom:

So in Spotify you could follow a podcast without ever actually downloading an episode.

Jordan:

I think that they have a similar thing about, like the automatic downloads Like you can select in a podcast if it downloads. And I mean, I really only ever download episodes if I'm going to go on like a road trip or on an airplane or something like that, right, Cause I don't want all that data on my phone.

Kevin:

So what do you use as like your, your daily driver?

Jordan:

for podcasts Listening. I've been using Apple a little bit more, especially since they updated their UI. It's really pretty and I like I don't know what it is, I'm like a magpie, I'm just like drawn to like really pretty things. And so I really liked the Spotify one before because it had like the nice colors that it brought in and it just like looked really nice, it was really easy to use. And then it felt like Apple actually kind of like shifted a little bit more in the direction of like how Spotify's UI is, and so it's a little bit more familiar feeling to me. So I've actually been using both of them pretty regularly now.

Kevin:

Yeah, I find it hard to use more than one podcast listening app because I really rely heavily on the like it, keeping track of what I've listened to and what I haven't, and my listening position. So I don't always make it through an episode before I'm kind of tired of it. But that doesn't mean I want to. I don't want to hear the rest, I do, I just want to. You know, switch to something else. I switch to something else.

Tom:

I just downloaded another podcast player called Snipped. I think its main use case was for sharing little snippets from your podcast and things. But whenever I do stuff like that, I listen to new podcasts. When I'm experimenting with a new player, I've got my Overcast is the main player that I use and so all the podcasts that I follow and listen to all the time I keep on Overcast. But if I'm experimenting with a new player, I'll go pick new podcasts because I'm always looking at new podcasts that I follow and listen to all the time I keep on Overcast. But if I'm experimenting with a new player, I'll go pick new podcasts because I'm always looking at new podcasts that I might be interested in. So I'll just go load one on a new player and check it out. But so far nobody's gotten me to switch all those regular podcasts over to them.

Jordan:

Yeah, yeah, I think like for me, what winds up happening a lot is that the recommendation algorithm it's different for both apps. Podcasting and true crime is like in the Apple category and then the Spotify category. I've got like my audio dramas and paranormal or conspiracy podcasts, Like it's like my weird category, so it depends on like yeah, that's great.

Kevin:

That's great. That is funny. And because both are available on both platforms, I'm assuming you're not just listening to them in Spotify because they're exclusives or anything, right? No?

Jordan:

I mean for us, like Buzzcast isn't available on Spotify, so someone might have to listen to it on a different app if they prefer Spotify. But I mean honestly all the ones that I listen to. I'm pretty sure they're on both.

Tom:

Do you think the use case might be where you actually listen to those podcasts, like, do you listen to one in the car or one category more likely in the car or anything?

Jordan:

No.

Kevin:

You're not going to figure this puzzle out, Tom.

Jordan:

Yeah, we're not going to figure it out. It's literally just what am I in the mood for? Am I going to be a very like, serious, reasonable person today, or am I feeling a little spooky? Which is it?

Kevin:

Well, you know, spotify is not the first player to do this to put, whether they be follower numbers, subscriber numbers or whatever, to make them public oh, who else does it?

Kevin:

I remember that, um, cast box I believe. I don't know if they still do, but they used to. I have not launched the cast box app in years. I heard that the this could be just be a rumor, so don't take it as gospel, but I heard the cast box team wasn't like actively developing it anymore, and when I hear that about an app, you know I just kind of if they're moving on, I'm moving on. So I stopped looking at CastBox.

Kevin:

But they used to publish, you know, subscriber follower numbers on, I think, a show level similar to what Spotify is doing here. The big difference, of course, is that CastBox never had the market share that Spotify does. So, like Buzzcast was listed on CastBox and I think it was a very low number. It was like 100 people or something, or maybe even less than 100 people who were listening. So I saw it. I was like, ah, that's a little discouraging. Again, it's all relative. It's discouraging for our show because we typically get more listeners than that, but for somebody just starting out that'd be a great number. But I'm wondering how people are going to respond to this if they're going to be okay with it.

Kevin:

In the YouTube world, this is a very normal thing. Every video that goes on YouTube has a public play count. Every channel has a public subscriber count or follow count or whatever YouTube calls it. In the world of podcasting it's always been a bit of a secret, a bit hush hush, and part of that has to be because it's open and distributed. So with YouTube, it is a huge platform. That one number represents the size of your channel on YouTube. There's no one platform, even Apple being the biggest. If they displayed your follower count in Apple, it's still only a subset of your total audience biggest. If they displayed your follower count in Apple, it's still only a subset of your total audience. And that's what Spotify is doing. You know, at the podcast host level. Hosts could, like Buzzsprout could, start publishing at the channel level in your RSS feed the average number of downloads or something some metric you could publish that apps could then display if they wanted to or not. But we've never had customers ask for that.

Jordan:

Okay, there's a couple reasons why I think that it would be helpful to have like download numbers published, the first being obviously sponsorships and advertisements right. Like if brands look at your podcast, they wanna see how many like actual listeners or downloads you have, and so that's a lot easier than sending them a pitch or something like that, and they can. If they're interested in like your podcast, they could just take a glance at it and see. So that's one reason I'm I mean, that's the reason why Instagram influencers or YouTubers get brand deals so easily is because it's just public domain is out there.

Jordan:

Second reason being, I hate ratings and reviews. I think people go to those to be negative. It's one of those things like there's some podcasts that have, you know, an average of like four stars, but they're huge. They have just like a million downloads each episode, right, and so it's just like not really a good metric to look at reviews and ratings sometimes on podcasts and judge it based on that where they might have a lot of avid fans or avid listeners. So those are really the only two reasons I can think of doing that. I know that Patreon allows you to either publish your monthly income or how many subscribers you have, or if you don't want to, you don't have to publish those numbers. So I think it would be interesting to do something like that.

Tom:

I like OP3 for that. I think OP3, what's nice about that is it's applying the same standard across different platforms so you can really compare. Yeah, it's just more technical, right, you've got to have the prefix and it's harder to read and things like that.

Jordan:

I have to be honest, there's been a couple of times I went to like look at the OP3 and you know me, I'm not a technical person, I'm very upfront about this and there's been so many times I'm like where the heck do I find this information? I'm like poking around on the website. I'm like I don't know where to look this information up. I can't seem to find it, and that's probably just me not having the brain for it, but I just it seems hidden to me.

Kevin:

Yeah, no, it is, it's not you, it is. It is kind of hidden.

Jordan:

Okay, good.

Kevin:

And so the thing with OP3 is that when you put that prefix on your podcast so that you can start getting OP3 stats, your numbers are public, they're not hidden. You don't need a login to be able to access them. But the OP3 service itself doesn't have like an index page that lists all the podcasts that are using the service, and so it's a little bit like security through obscurity. So again, you just can't go to a page that says, oh, let me find Buzzcast on this list, click on it and then see Buzzcast stats. But they are publicly available. So if you know the URL you can get to there, but it's kind of hard to figure out what the URL is.

Kevin:

So what James has done at PodNews is he's put a page up somewhere off of PodNews' website I'm sure we can find it and link to it. I think it's off of the Podcasting Business Journal, I think is where he published it and he took, like whatever a hundred podcasts that are using OP3, buzzcast is on this list and so are a bunch of other podcasts. He found some industry podcasts and a few others and he just put a hundred out there and he linked to them just so people can see what the OP3 stats are like. But I've asked John Spurlock who runs OP3, if he would ever consider doing an index page, and he's like I'm not sure how people would respond to that. It already is public but it's kind of obscurely public. If I make it very public will people be less interested in using it, and so I think he's not opposed to doing it. He's just like I don't know if people want it or not.

Jordan:

It'd be kind of cool if we had some sort of like integration on like the Buzzsprout website.

Tom:

Kevin had that idea of doing it for anyone who enables ads, like making it a requirement. If you're going to use ads, then we're going to put the OP3 and then you could provide the link to the advertiser so they can actually see. You know publicly standard stats.

Kevin:

There's a lot of different ways you could tackle it. You could put them in the RSS feed. You could just put a link to OP3 in the RSS feed. You could just publish it onto their podcast website that we provide for them. You could publish some of the stats from inside of Buzzsprout on their public website if the podcaster wants you to. Lots of different ways to do it. I think all of it could be helpful.

Kevin:

Again, like you're saying, jordan, this is for people who are not a beginner anymore. Their numbers are big enough where they want to attract some sort of sponsorship opportunities, some sort of brand deals, and part of that process that's always painful right now is verifying stats, is going back and forth with whoever's considering sponsoring your show or doing a brand deal or something on your show, going back and forth with them and giving them the numbers that they want, and so I wonder if part of what Spotify is trying to do is Spotify is really big into highlighting bigger shows in their network or that are listed on Spotify, and so maybe they just want to make these numbers available to potential media buyers, people who are looking through the platform, looking at shows. I don't know that for sure. It could be an idea. I know that happens a lot on YouTube. For sure, there are people who are scouring YouTube and looking for large channels that are speaking to audiences that they think that they might be interested in to promote a product or service. They're finding the people who are producing the content for those different demographics and then they're looking for the largest channels and those are the people who they're reaching out to to be able to do brand deals.

Kevin:

Either way, I think we keep our eye on it, see how people respond. If people like it, I mean, I wouldn't be opposed to it. I like the idea of the more transparency the better. I like the idea that stats that are provided on a page or in an RSS feed or through OP3, like they are. They can't be manipulated, right, and so it's a nice feeling, just if somebody's interested in sponsoring your show, to be able to send them a link that they can look for themselves, as opposed to having to trust that. I copied and pasted this accurately from my podcasting host to you.

Jordan:

We had a listener named Tiff write in to Buzzsprout support and just being like hey, I actually don't want this to be showing up on my Spotify, like how do I turn this off? And I found that if you don't want your follower count to be displayed in Spotify, you can actually just go into your Spotify for Podcasters dashboard and then on your podcast page they have like below the starts and streams and stuff like that, there's episodes, audience details and interact, and if you click on the details tab, underneath the podcast settings there's a category called episode previews and you can toggle those off. So just press update and toggle it off and it'll update within a couple of minutes and then you won't have those episode preview like TikTok style videos on your page anymore, showing how many followers you have, if you don't want that information.

Kevin:

Yeah, it seems like it's a part of that same UI, so it just comes with the preview feature. And what's a bummer is that if you like the preview feature you also have to then show your follower account. You can't do one or the other, but again, I mean, who knows how powerful it's going to be? I think it's a pretty cool UI. I just don't know if many people are going to be discovering new podcasts like that. It's a good thought.

Kevin:

The way that Spotify has it hooked up right now is when you search for a podcast, if that feature is turned on, you can click on the little preview thing and then flip through a bunch of clips from that podcast to get a sense for what the show is like, and then that could hopefully draw you into where you follow the show. And I'm assuming Spotify is thinking oh, it's. Also would be helpful when you're evaluating the show to show how many other people are following the show. The more the better. You know if it's highly recommended or highly followed, there's a better chance that it might resonate with you as well.

Tom:

Yeah, I use that sometimes on YouTube to determine. Sometimes there's multiple versions of the same content and you're trying to figure out which one is the legitimate one, and so you're looking at the number of followers and the one that's got, you know, 3 million versus the one that's got 30,000. You're like, okay, that's the one that I'm actually looking for. I wonder if that'll play into the podcasts, where sometimes there's content that's not. It's either copied from original content or it's just a knockoff in some other fashion, maybe not a direct knockoff. I wonder if the follower count will actually help people figure out which one they actually want to listen to.

Jordan:

Yeah, One of the things I found really interesting about this was a chart of how many podcast follower counts these major podcasters have, and so it was kind of interesting. The bottom one here I'm showing Ben Shapiro show at 847,000 followers, which really surprised me. That to me felt like a low number. Does it feel like a low number to you, or am I just?

Kevin:

I don't know. I mean, again, this is like the first time we've seen data like this, so I don't know if that is low or not. I mean, would I be over the moon if I had a show that was anywhere near that? Of course I would be, but Ben Shapiro feels massive and he's always, his show is always like on the top of Apple's charts, and so, yeah, maybe it feels like that should be a little bit higher.

Jordan:

Well, and speaking of like, top of Apple charts new heights with Jason and Travis Kelsey. Their podcast on Spotify is showing 938,000 followers.

Kevin:

Right, so yeah, and they've been number one, like until Joe Rogan came back to Apple. They were number one for weeks and weeks, weeks, especially right around the Superbowl.

Jordan:

Yeah, so that one was actually really surprising to me too. And then the podcast that is number two is Ted talks daily, and that's 5 million followers, which is huge. That is a massive podcast, but what's even more staggering is the Joe Rogan experience is at 14.5 million.

Kevin:

Three times the next closest podcast. Yeah.

Jordan:

That's drastic.

Tom:

TED Talks Daily is five times the number one on Apple, which was the Jason and Travis Kelsey show man. Yeah, so that was that's crazy. Yeah, Do you think that there's a difference between the listeners on Apple and Spotify that that makes up such a significant difference that there's that many more it's disproportionately popular on Apple versus Spotify?

Jordan:

I'm sure. I'm sure that there's like certain demographics that use Spotify more than Apple. You know, there's probably yeah, it's probably different ages, things like that, using these apps.

Kevin:

Well, when you think about Joe Rogan's numbers, okay, so we're at 14.5 million followers on Spotify. And, being generous, let's say Spotify is, I don't know, 40 to 50% of all podcast listens, that happen, let's, let's's give Spotify again a generous number, give them a generous market share there.

Kevin:

That means Apple is still more than that right. Apple is at least 50% probably more like 60 to 70% of podcast listening, so let's say he has at least that many on Apple as well. But his YouTube numbers are only 16.5 million and so it feels like again. When you're looking at follower numbers alone, I think he has probably 2x the number of listeners that are listening in Spotify and Apple combined than he's getting on YouTube, which to me is pretty shocking. I thought most people like the largest audience I would have thought would have been YouTube, but I'm having a hard time believing that now.

Jordan:

Yeah, I guess that's true, because he started on YouTube and he only had four years to build up the 14.5 million followers on Spotify. Yeah, like that's a lot of followers in four years. His YouTube channels I don't even know how old and he only has 2 million more on there. So, yeah, yeah, and I'm interested. I mean, he's probably like nowhere near that on Apple since he just moved over there. It was just really crazy Like seeing these numbers, cause I mean everyone's like, oh yeah, joe Rogan's like the biggest podcaster. He's huge. And then when you actually like get confirmation of like how big he is like just an absolute behemoth compared to even the biggest podcasters. I mean it's just, it's wild.

Kevin:

Yeah, I don't know, maybe it makes sense. It makes sense to me. I don't. I don't do a lot of YouTube watching, but if I were going to do YouTube watching, it would never to be to watch a three hour Joe Rogan interview on YouTube, if I don't ever hardly get through a full Joe Rogan interview. But if I were to, it would be an audio only experience. It would never be a video experience. I couldn't do it.

Jordan:

Well, I mean, if you wanted to, spotify launched their new mini player so you could just have like a little window of it, open a corner of your computer screen while you work.

Kevin:

I wonder how many people do that.

Tom:

It feels like such a waste of bandwidth, like just you're doing a disservice to the person that created the content.

Kevin:

I know, but everyone's so concerned about let's be green, let's take care of the earth, let's not. And then you're just blowing through bandwidth like it's nothing, like there's no power and energy and carbon footprint behind that video that you're not even paying attention to something that has been in the news a lot is there's a looming ban on TikTok in the United States. You're feeding right into the headlines, the clickbaity headlines, the looming ban on TikTok.

Jordan:

I think that it's just one of those things where it's causing a lot of anxiety for creators. I feel really bad for Gen Z creators that you know are making their livelihood on TikTok and they're just like am I going to lose my job?

Kevin:

You know, yeah, well, and TikTok's playing into it?

Tom:

Did you say job with air quotes?

Jordan:

No, I didn't. Hey, I'm a podcaster. I can't do air quotes around that. I feel like that's different.

Tom:

No, it's not.

Jordan:

How is it different? Gosh, I didn't hey. I'm a podcaster, I can't do air quotes around that. I feel like that's different. No, it's not. How is it different?

Tom:

Gosh, I don't know.

Kevin:

You see, Well, I can tell you how it's different. I mean, tiktok is a platform and so things like this can happen to platforms. Now, I don't know that Tom is going to agree that it's going to happen, but it could happen. Open podcasting doesn't have these same problems. Could Spotify shut you down tomorrow? Absolutely. Could Apple podcast decide that your content is not appropriate for their platform and take you off? Absolutely. Can you still have a podcast? Yes, would there still be certain apps that you'd be able to listen to that podcast on? Yes, and nobody can take that away, because open podcasting is open and so, even if you were creating terrible, hateful content, nobody wanted to host you. It violated every host's terms of service. You could still set up your own server and serve it, just like you could set up your own website, and so podcasting can't go away like this, like TikTok content can and Instagram content can, but Tom has an opinion about how real this is.

Tom:

Well, I agree with everything that you said, just that I don't see it going away. There's too much money there for TikTok to just evaporate. I think even if the government comes down and quote, bans them, I think really what's going to happen is it's just going to turn into an American company. There'll be some spinoff, some version of TikTok that's an American company that falls under all the jurisdiction of the US, and then they'll be fine and everybody will be able to watch their dance videos.

Kevin:

Yeah Well, I mean, it's so much more than that the dance video part. It's more than that. Like TikTok when they rolled out TikTok shops about. I guess it's coming up on a year that they've had this. This is a really smart way for them to monetize. It's not just straight advertising money anymore TikTok shop is. I have to admit I bought some stuff off the TikTok shop.

Tom:

I don't see it as an instrument of the government, Like I don't see this as an instrument of the Chinese government, like which the argument is being made. I think it could be. I think we know that the data could be used in nefarious ways, but at the end of the day, somebody is making a lot of money with TikTok, and it's. It's just not. I can't imagine that it's actually going to go away. Kevin is right, it could go away and that's why you don't want to build your livelihood in something like that. Podcasting is much better because it's open, but I don't see this being the death of TikTok. Yeah.

Kevin:

I totally agree. Like here's the thing when we say government, we're talking about US government. We are all living in the US and this in the US right now. I don't know what other governments are doing around the world.

Jordan:

But it's because we're too self-absorbed for that.

Kevin:

It's not my fault. It's like the US media doesn't cover anything else that happens anywhere else in the world, unless we're engaged in a war with them.

Jordan:

Yeah.

Kevin:

Our media is terrible.

Jordan:

That's true. Anyway, it is terrible.

Kevin:

That aside, there's different versions of all of the US companies, social apps that run in different countries around the world. So, for example, like the version of Facebook, I don't even think they allow a version of Facebook at all in China, as far as I know. Again, I'm only going by what I see through US media, but there are some social apps that are available there, but they're scaled down or they have to run through certain firewalls and they police all the content. So this is the US saying. This is kind of our version of it. It's like you're running a social network that has a lot of US users. We don't have any access or transparency or censorship or control over what you're doing with the data and how much data is going back and forth, and so we don't know how comfortable we are with that.

Kevin:

The solution that's being floated to this problem is you can't continue to operate here as a social network that is owned by a Chinese company, so sell it to a US company or set up operations here so that there's some accountability or jurisdiction or whatever. That aside, we're not going to get into the political side of this argument. We're going to get into the how does this affect podcaster side of the argument, because there are a lot of podcasters that use TikTok to promote their podcasts. So what Tom is saying, I agree with 100%. This company is way too valuable for it just to be shut off, for the app to go away, for you to wake up tomorrow and the app's not on your phone anymore. No, no, no, no. Too many billions of dollars are being made on this app for that to happen.

Kevin:

And so what change is going to happen? And the most likely change is, as Tom mentioned, probably some company that is either set up by ByteDance and registers as a US company to operate under US regulations and law, or it's sold off to another company here in the US and continues to exist. So I don't think it's a panic moment for podcasters. If that's a good channel for you to grow your podcast, I think you can keep doing it. But, as we've talked about a million times, like you should be aware, like when you play with a platform, you play by their rules, and their rules can change anytime, and maybe it's because they want to change their rules and maybe it's because the government wants them to change their rules.

Jordan:

Yeah, and I mean honestly, like let's say that it does get banned and it vanishes from the face of the planet. It. There's a few reasons why, like this might not matter to podcasters. Let me say that to podcasters it might not matter so much. And the first reason is I actually saw a study recently I wish I could remember where I saw it. I saw a study recently that there are more people viewing these like short kind of real or TikTok videos on YouTube, with YouTube shorts, than on TikTok and a lot of people.

Jordan:

You know, a lot of times you'll get these podcast marketers or coaches that say like, oh, you need to get your content on there, you have to do like these social posts and you make like these short videos and you can do all that stuff. And yeah, that can work. Sometimes, you know, if you have a video go viral on, say, tiktok, then maybe your listener base will go up a bit. You'll you might have like a spike. But all in all, even these like major podcasters are saying, yeah, we do all this content on TikTok but it doesn't actually translate to like downloads or listeners, like they might get some more followers for that short content, but it doesn't actually, they don't actually go onto the apps and start downloading the podcast, which is really what you need if you're going to be selling ads, right.

Kevin:

I think that this type of social clip sharing whether it be on TikTok, instagram, youtube, shorts, wherever you choose to do it it's a long-term brand awareness strategy that could work for your podcast. But if you're trying to run a test on it and you're saying like, oh, for the next six weeks I'm going to publish one a week and then I want to see my podcast download numbers grow 10% to figure out if I'm going to continue to invest in this or not, I don't think that will ever work for you. I don't think you'll ever see. 10% is what I'm saying. But I think if you commit to a strategy of hey, pieces of the content that I produce are compelling in 30 second, 45 second, one minute, you know bite-sized clips. Or if I'm doing like a true crime podcast or something and I can create like a 45 second trailer version of what this episode is about, and I can do that every week, then I'm going to continue to put those out there. What you're doing is you're building this brand awareness campaign, which is you can't track it in the same way you'd track a direct response campaign. It's much longer, but over time you will slowly build more and more and more awareness around.

Kevin:

Whatever it is that you're creating or trying to promote, like your podcast in this case, I think it can be a very effective strategy. I think it can pay off over time. I think it's really hard to test in the short term and you can't track it or try to test it like direct response where, no, I'm trying to sell gum in a grocery store aisle. So I really need that position and if we get this spot, then I'm going to see immediate results. You can't look at it that way. It will never measure up to the point where you're saying, oh, I ran a six-week test, it worked. Now I'm going to continue to invest in it.

Kevin:

I think you have to run like a one-year test or a two-year test, and that's a lot of work. We know it's effective Again, if you can create compelling content, if it can be chunked up into small, bite-sized, digestible, interesting little clips, because we've seen the largest podcast in the world that we're just talking about, like the Joe Rogan show, had to do with those short form and they weren't even shorts at the time, they were just clips. They were just Jerry clips lived on the Jerry clips channel on YouTube and they were shared by tons of people and they were anywhere from, you know, a minute to five minutes, but like the most compelling parts of the three hour interview, and just did that for years and years and years and grew the awareness of the show overall.

Tom:

And don't you think there's a certain element of like? We were talking originally, we were talking about TikTok, and it's just another way of getting that those bite-sized pieces of content out there to try to build your brand, grow awareness, do those types of things? There will always be new ones, right? I mean, it wasn't that long ago that TikTok came on the scene, but remember all the ones that we were looking at before TikTok? I mean there was. There were all different little things that pop up.

Tom:

I feel like as a podcaster, one of the things that you have to do is constantly be aware of these new mechanisms of reaching your audience. Where's your audience? Wherever they are, I want to meet them where they are, with the content that they expect to see, where they are Right. So, if they're on Instagram, they want to see pictures and quotes. If they're on TikTok, they want to see videos. Maybe they want to see Jordan dancing, but they want to see, you know, something specific to the platform that they're in, and each one has its own you know solution. Each one has its own approach and you can't just take the same approach with everything, and I think that's part of being a podcaster and it's the part that's not behind the microphone, it's the grind, it's the long-term investment, it's the you know years of sweat equity to be able to grow that audience over time.

Jordan:

And that's the problem for like a lot of hobby podcasters, Tom is how much sweat equity can they actually put into marketing their podcast? You know, if they're working a full-time job, they have a family and then they're doing this podcast on the side, I mean, that's, that's a busy schedule, right.

Tom:

Yeah, that's. I think that's where the question has to come up of, like why are you podcasting?

Tom:

What is it that you enjoy? And a lot of times I mean, I've talked to tons of podcasters at conferences that don't use a lot of social media. Well, that's, that's fine. They don't have this expectation that they're going to be Joe Rogan. They have an expectation that they're going to enjoy what they do, and if they don't enjoy being on social media, they're not going to do social media, and I think that's okay. It's just you're limiting your growth capability, but that's totally fine.

Jordan:

Yeah, I think a lot of people are under the impression that you have to be everywhere to be found by everybody. It's anxiety-inducing for a lot of people and so I think that really, with these like social media platforms yeah, it's, it's a good place to like share content. You know, people can find something that they find interesting and share it with a friend, like it does have that kind of like virality to it. But, in all honesty, like growing a really good listener base is probably best done through guesting on other podcasts. It gives you like the entire episode to win their listeners over. They're interested in the same things that you're going to be talking about and then they're going to go oh, I want to listen to that person's podcast. It just gives you so much more time, like intimate time with people, to like really win them over, and I feel like that is so much easier to sit down for like an hour interview and have that listened to by other people and then they go to your podcast. It's more fun, it's less stressful, it's way more fun.

Kevin:

Yeah.

Tom:

It's way more fun. One of the things that we talked about at Podfest as we were talking to podcasters, you know was when they first get into podcasting, they imagine that it's all the time behind the microphone and that's just such a small percentage of your time is actually recording behind the microphone. But when you get to guest on another person's podcast, when you go on their show, then you get more time behind the microphone, which is a lot of what people got into podcasting for.

Kevin:

Yeah, it definitely allows you to lean into a skill set that hopefully you already have and a skill set that you're interested in getting better at. The social media promotion stuff, the marketing stuff, is not a skill that most podcasters have out of the gate. A few do, but most don't and they're probably not super passionate about developing it. It's a grind, right. I have to take this hour-long episode that I just edited to make a really nice podcast and now I got to go back through it and try to figure out how to make social clips and share all that stuff. And yeah, yeah, yeah, jordan's a hundred percent right. Like, isn't it a lot more fun just to go be on other podcasts and talk about your podcast or talk about whatever they're talking about, and say here's who I am, here's what I talk about, and introduce their audience to you and then, vice versa, reciprocate, have them back on your show.

Jordan:

So I mean, does the TikTok ban actually affect podcasters?

Tom:

in short, probably, not Probably not all that to say but podcasters should be aware of all the different channels that are out there. Yes, adapt like this is just part of part of what it's like to promote, like we were saying.

Kevin:

Yeah, I really do feel like TikTok is leaning into this. Did you guys see the scare message that they put in the TikTok app and they sent the email to everybody?

Jordan:

No.

Kevin:

TikTok might be going away. It happened last week. I saw some news article about it, but they were popping a scare sheet inside of the app that said TikTok might be going away. Here's how you contact your congressman or senator or whatever to stop this from happening. And I think that's when all the news broke around this and like, tiktok knows they're not going anywhere. They just don't want to be regulated. No-transcript. Anyway, who knows? I don't know anything. I'm just a stupid podcast. I could be completely wrong.

Jordan:

PJ Vogt, who was previously the co-host for Reply All. He has a podcast called Search Engine. He announced that he'll be providing a premium podcast called Incognito Mode, which I think is actually really smart, and it's ad-free versions of the regular search engine podcast and then he will also have like sprinklings of bonus episodes in there. What I found interesting about this story is that he basically said that his podcast is not making money. He's losing money on this podcast, which is crazy because this is a huge show, right, so you'd think that he'd get a lot of advertising money or sponsorship deals and things like that, but apparently not, or it's not enough to be profitable. And so he wrote podcasting is in dire straits right now.

Jordan:

I get a little impatient with all the profits predicting its end times, but I understand their fear. I just think it's on us to invent new futures for ourselves, and I've come around to the view expressed for two years by Saruthi, my co-founder, that the future of this work is listener support, which I mean we've been saying for a long time and it's really been pushed with, like the value for value model and subscriptions and donations and all this stuff. It's just a really, really good way for independent podcasters to make money, and it seems like these major podcasters are starting to go.

Kevin:

Hmm, maybe there's more money in this than there is in ad dollars, so I think for a long time the narrative around advertiser supported content has been that it doesn't work at the small, like independent podcaster level.

Tom:

Yeah.

Kevin:

But once you get to a certain size, it can start to work for you, right? And so this idea of listener support or premium content meaning like bonus episodes, ad free episodes, stuff like that that is a good way for small independent podcasters to start monetizing early, while they, you know, build the volume in the audience to be able to support a fully ad supported model. Now, more recently, what we're hearing is guess what. The ad supported model doesn't work for large podcasts and I'm kind of like wait, wait, wait. That was the one thing I was supposed to be working for this whole time.

Jordan:

What is happening here.

Kevin:

And so now you have large podcasters who are saying we're going to go do the listener support or the bonus content, the subscription-based model, which is like wait, that's the small, independent podcasters thing. What are you doing? And so I'm wondering gosh, does ad supported work anywhere? I mean think of Leo Lepore with Twit. He published something. I think we could probably find the article and link to it, but they've been talking about this on their shows for the past couple, probably like six months to a year.

Jordan:

And what's Twit?

Kevin:

Twit this Week in Tech with Leo Lepore. It's a very long running podcast, completely ad supported for years and years and years. And they are now. They launched a membership program a little while ago, but now they're doubling down. It's the same story. They're going deep on it and they're really pushing all their listeners to join because they're just not making ends meet with their advertising model anymore. They've had to let go so many people from their staff, so they're running with a skeleton crew trying to produce the same amount of content and high quality content that they always have, but they're doing it with fewer people than ever and they just can't get the advertising revenue anymore. And so I think times have changed. The economy's tightened up. Advertisers aren't spending the same amount that they used to.

Kevin:

Everyone in the ad world is very concerned about this change in Apple. And did we ever have all these downloads? And yada, yada, yada. And you can argue both sides. Well, the effectiveness is either there or it wasn't. It doesn't matter what the number was. We don't need this discussion to go in that direction, but the question has to be asked. If advertising wasn't for small people, it was just for big people and listener support was for the smaller people, but now the bigger people are saying, hey, advertising is not working for us either and we have to go listener support. Does advertising work for anybody Really? Does it really work? Is it a long-term sustainable thing for anybody outside of platforms, platforms that can actually control the stuff, like YouTube?

Kevin:

And who's the big winner in the ad world in the YouTube platform? Well, it's YouTube. It's still really not the content creators. Who's going to be the big winner of? Spotify figures this out for podcasting on their platform? It's going to be Spotify. It's not necessarily going to be the creators. You look at the number of people who do a large of video content and are financially successful through YouTube. The majority of them make the majority of their money through their own brand deals, sponsorships outside of YouTube. They just use that to get the notoriety and the acclaim and the brand awareness and then they broker their own deals and a very small percentage of their total revenue that they build for their business actually comes to the YouTube ad sponsorships. But YouTube is making a lot of money on that deal and I think that's where we'll see Spotify land in the same place, and so will podcasters as individual creators or as businesses or networks that set up to produce these shows? Will they ever be able to sustain themselves through ad revenue?

Jordan:

I think podcasters were doing so well with these brand deals and sponsorships and like these personal endorsements, and it performed well because they had built a trusting relationship with their podcast audience and they're telling their audience I love this product and so will you, and that works right. That works so much better than these stinking like programmatic commercial, weird wonky, like different audio level ads I keep hearing in all these major. I mean it just annoys me, it annoys listeners, it's not effective. And I think that what happened is all these major networks and stuff. They were like oh well, this is what the advertisers want to do, so we're going to do this.

Jordan:

And they leaned so heavily into this programmatic advertising and it just it doesn't work in this medium. I don't know why they lean so hard into it. And so then you know it's falling apart because duh, so they're just like having to go this different direction with it, where I mean it just I don't know it. Just it felt like it like tainted the medium to me when they started really pushing these weird pre recorded commercial like radio style advertisements. It just it didn't work.

Kevin:

Yeah Well, I'm not going to disagree with you, Jordan, because I think I hold that belief still that you just expressed.

Kevin:

But I also know that there are podcasters like ATP, the Accidental Tech Podcast with Marco, the guy who creates the Overcast app. He's on the show with two other people, john Syracusa and somebody else I should know. But that show is still exactly like what you say. It is a small, pretty independent. They are part of a network, but it's a pretty independent show. They sell their own sponsorships directly through direct relationships with sponsors, and all the ads are host read. All the ads are vetted, like they don't just accept any advertiser that comes their way. They vet them, they make sure it's a good service. They actually, you know, in most cases try it or it's something that they use themselves and they endorse it. It's not just a commercial, it's more of an endorsement. And they are in the same boat as PJ with Search Engine, they're in the same boat with the Search Engine podcast and as Leo Lepore with the Twit Podcast Network.

Kevin:

They're struggling to get enough advertisers to sustain their show and to remain profitable and in order to continue, they've also set up their own membership program. So they have their own ATP membership program now, where they're doing an additional show like a behind the scenes show. They call it like whatever after hours or something, and so they record. Their shows are like an hour and a half, two hours, and if you want that extra hour you don't now have to become a member. But I'm seeing more and more what I would call like prosumer, like they're not the biggest, they're not in Apple's top 10 podcasts that they're, you know, the next level down they're probably in the top 500 or so. But more and more of them are leaning in this direction of we need to get connected to our audience directly and the show, if it's going to make it, if it's going to continue to be a revenue generating enterprise instead of, like a, you know, a revenue losing enterprise, then we have to connect with our audience and they have to support us directly.

Tom:

I think it's hard when you make it. Is it working or not working? Or will it work or will it not work? You have three different actors that you have to deal with. You've got the advertiser, the podcaster and the platform, and so what might be more valuable for one might not be valuable for the other, and so I think it's more of like a value. How valuable is it? It's not necessarily a will it work or will it not work, as much as how valuable is it.

Tom:

And what you might be seeing is a correction.

Tom:

What we're seeing is it wasn't that valuable for a Geico ad in the middle of a Dungeons and Dragons podcast, like it didn't deliver on its value prop to the advertiser. Now it might've delivered value to the creator because they got paid to be able to have this ad in there, but they didn't get paid that much. And what we're seeing is those numbers. As they come down, they're like ah, I'm not even interested in those numbers anymore. So I wonder if it's a more complicated problem to solve if you involve everyone the platform, the podcaster and the advertiser. But if you just look at it from the podcaster's perspective of what's going to benefit them, we know the best thing for them is to provide something of value to their listeners, and that's going to happen. If you vet your advertisers, that's going to happen. If you find a product that you want to promote, that's going to happen if you were the one to come up with that formula, versus having it come from straight from an advertiser from a platform that just puts it in there.

Kevin:

Yeah, I'm starting to feel like the programmatic ads that I'm hearing in podcasts nowadays are becoming.

Kevin:

We went through the cycle with display advertising on the web where the first advertisements that were ever placed around web pages and blogs were pretty high quality.

Kevin:

They were kind of brokered through relationship or directly between a blog writer and a brand directly and they would endorse the thing or they'd work it into their content somehow or whatever it would fit on the page in a nice way and then, like, slowly but surely, you just would continue to go to more and more blogs or more and more websites where they're just you're getting like flashing banners all around the content and you know, punch the monkey, chase the thing to win an iPod.

Kevin:

Like that's what started happening and that's kind of what feels like it's happening a little bit in podcast advertising today, especially the programmatic side. And when I say programmatic meaning like a little bit of like kind of what we offer with Buzzsprout ads. Now we've tried to differentiate Buzzsprout ads in such a way that you're just not signing up for broad categories and ads are just dropping into your content, like we built that system in a way where you get to preview every ad and you can accept it or decline it, so you can say if it's a fit or not. But anyway, this is not an advertisement for Buzzsprout ads.

Tom:

Well, but. But I think you're making an important point, though, because even with Buzzsprout ads, what we found that we did not expect was people that accept ads except all the ads. Yeah Right, it's very rare that you'll have a podcaster who's selective in choosing the ads. We didn't expect that, and that's something that I think podcasters need to be educated about is that you don't want to accept just any ad. If some brand calls you up and wants to do an ad, you wouldn't want to accept it just because they're willing to pay you. You've got to think about your listeners and making sure that you're delivering value for them, but all that it's not an advertisement for Buzzsprout ads. It's just something that we learned through ads.

Jordan:

Well, and that can hurt the podcaster too, like if their listeners are just like what the heck is this? I hate these ads are, don't make sense or offensive. Maybe if the podcaster isn't being intentional, the audience is going to pick up on that and then they're going to stop listening because they're just like their ads are. Annoying that they're playing.

Kevin:

I don't know. I don't know where my thoughts are. I don't know enough about the ad business to really speak super intelligently about it, but I do think it's concerning the situation that we're in, where advertising was supposed to work when you hit a certain threshold, and I think what we're seeing now is it's not even working for people who are some of the most successful podcasts in the world. It's still not working for them, or it's working less than it ever has. And so that's concerning. Like, if your plan as a podcaster is, I'm going to grow my audience to a certain size and then I'm going to be able to jump into this ad world and be a professional podcaster and make a living off of it, it does. It seems like the people who have made it there are struggling just as much as ever, and so here's the encouraging thing is that they're turning back to the thing that's available to all podcasters from the very beginning, and that's connecting directly to your audience and asking them if you receive value from the show. Consider returning some value in a way that you can, and so that can be listener support, that can be premium content, that can be hey, you want to help me with the production of the show. Do you want to come on my editing team? This is what Adam Curry and John C Dvorak.

Kevin:

They call all of their listeners. They don't call them listeners, they don't call them audience, they call them all producers and they say help in whatever way you can. So they have people that create show art for them. They have people that do their chapters for them. They have people that write show notes for them. People help in whatever ways they can.

Kevin:

If you can't contribute financially, there might be another way that you can help the and send them to all these other people and you're creating a community around your show that's available to every podcaster, whether you have 10 listeners or 10 million. That's available to you. You can start now. So yeah, I think that's. The encouraging side is like don't hold out to get your show to 10,000 downloads per episode, because then all the advertising money is gonna start rolling in. Sounds like that might not be true, but you can start now with your small audience and you can build a community, a community that helps, support you and allows you to continue to create this content. And it scales. It just keeps going. As you get bigger, you get more people.

Jordan:

It's time for SoundOff, the segment where you send in your responses to our podcasting questions. Last episode, Alvin asked how are you using Snapcast? We'd love to see what you're doing. And we actually got a tweet from Classroom Dynamics Podcast saying we've been using the Snapcast model and call our short episodes bits and bytes. These short, bite-sized episodes offer teachers a quick and convenient way to incorporate something new, but not overwhelming, into their classrooms.

Kevin:

That's really cool. Yeah, that's great. We want to hear more about people who are using the Snapcast model. Now I'm not sure speaking to the Classroom Dynamics podcast here directly, just a conversation between me and you. I'm not sure if you can rename it Bits and Bytes. Is it a Snapcast or it's not a Snapcast? Are we giving creative license to rename it as something else? Is that okay, jordan? Are we allowed to do this?

Tom:

I mean you renamed it on an episode. I'm pretty sure you know, but that was, it was still in development, I feel like the development window is now closed.

Kevin:

We've locked in. They're called Snapcasts. I think we have to go. I don't know. I don't know if we're going to allow it or not.

Kevin:

I would like to see, just out of a sign of respect you know, classroom dynamics podcast if you would please go back and rename bits and bytes, if you would rename it to a Snapcast model while we continue to evaluate if we're going to open it up to renaming possibilities or not. No, I'm just kidding. That's fantastic. I'm glad. I like the creative use of it. I'm curious Let me look real quick how long are your normal episodes? So I see your Snapcast is about five minutes or six minutes, oh, and a normal episode is like 38. So, yeah, I think that would qualify. Yeah, that's fantastic, yeah, and hopefully it serves.

Kevin:

You know we're thinking about these as just quick ways to continue to connect with whoever listens to your podcast, your show, whether it just be a short bite that you want to drop out there, or it's an opportunity to connect with them on a more regular basis.

Kevin:

So, like for this show, we only publish every two weeks, and so I found it kind of discouraging that Buzzcast was only popping up for whoever was subscribed to our show into their podcast feed once every two weeks. I was like I think I would like to be able to connect with our audience on a more regular basis than that. This show we're not in a position to record every week, but even if you do record every week, like, um, let's show that we sponsored pod news weekly review. We talk about them all the time. They record every week, but I would love to hear you like, why not, you know, pop in on Monday and tell me, you know the stories that you're developing. Why not pop in on Wednesday and tell me what interviews you got going this week and then pop in on Friday with the full?

Jordan:

Because that's what pod news is.

Kevin:

Yeah, daily Pod news, daily yeah.

Jordan:

That's true, but I see what you're saying.

Tom:

It's a different feed, like I think Kevin's point is that one feed lays dormant until once a week, or once every two weeks, and instead you can have it popping in. Yeah.

Jordan:

That's true. That's true. You know, I kind of liked what we did last week where we had just a couple small things that we wanted to talk about real quick, because a lot of times during Buzzcast we kind of look at these like bigger stories and have these broader discussions based on them, and sometimes we really want to talk about like these, like little fun things and we can't really like fit it in or we don't have time to record it that week, or something like that. So I think actually like just taking a second to be like oh, here's some cool things that happened this week or here's something fun I saw. That's a good way to use it.

Jordan:

I also think that Snapcast could be used in place of dynamically inserted content. You know we talk about using dynamic pre-rolls or post-rolls a lot for different things, like you know, maybe making an announcement that you're going to be somewhere or I don't know, just something like that. I know we've discussed it in a previous episode. We went ad nauseum about how to use dynamically inserted content, but I think that it could replace that potentially.

Kevin:

Yeah.

Tom:

I agree. We had a text from somebody with the last four digits 8910, that said longer. Podcasts give me better concentration.

Jordan:

This way I can be able to focus on one topic per episode, versus the same thought broken up into many parts it's one of those like competition reality shows, right, and we were wondering if the people like actually show up every single day. And then we were thinking about it. We're like you know, if you're trying to keep like information fresh in your mind, you probably do have to have it every day, like you can't have like a break in between and then try to remember everything that happened. And so I think that this is kind of in that same vein of like just having that longer form content. It's like you're able to focus more into it, you're able to get a little bit deeper into simmering in the information and maybe retaining it a little bit better. So I think that checks out.

Tom:

My challenge is getting the time to consume it when it's too long, cause I hate, I hate to stop it in the middle of an episode. If I've got a long drive or something like that, it's great to have a long, a long episode.

Kevin:

Yeah, do either of you ever get to your destination and just sit in your car because you have to finish? You've got the four minutes left on your podcast, and so you're just sitting in the garage or something listening.

Jordan:

My husband does that. I'll like look out the window and he's just sitting and I'm like, is he avoiding me?

Kevin:

Is it me?

Jordan:

But no, he's finishing a podcast, so maybe that's, I don't know, maybe that's a guy thing. I wonder if girls do that too.

Tom:

So do you do that? Do you sit in your?

Kevin:

car.

Jordan:

No, you don't.

Kevin:

You don't, you pop right out.

Jordan:

Yeah, I don't want to give robbers or anything like that time to grab me, absolutely not. I'm not going to just sit in my car.

Tom:

Okay, okay, that's an interesting perspective, so it's more of a live in fear type thing than I don't care about finishing the podcast.

Jordan:

Yeah, I'm going from the vehicle to the door as fast as possible.

Kevin:

This is something I didn't realize. I missed it in the parenting class. But my middle child just started driving and he usually doesn't get to park in the garage. But my wife's car wasn't in the garage last week and so he pulled in to the garage, put the garage door down and then was sitting in his car listening to the radio car running.

Jordan:

So after like 10 minutes I'm like where is where is he?

Kevin:

And so I go out in the garage and he's just sitting in there just bopping along, car running garage door down, bopping along the music, feeling a little high. What are you doing? He's like what? I'm just listening to some music. I'm like did I ever tell you that you can't have a running car in the garage with the doors down? He's like no, you never told me that. Well, you're about to find out the hard way. Man, it's a good thing you caught him.

Jordan:

He probably would have gotten sleepy Jeez.

Kevin:

Yeah, yeah, totally.

Jordan:

Yeah.

Kevin:

All right. So parenting tip of the day Remember to tell your kids that when they're learning how to drive, I was just thinking.

Tom:

I don't think I've ever had that conversation with my kids. Yeah, I know.

Kevin:

All right, we also got a text from 9592. It said I recently uploaded captions to my podcast as an SRT file. Take advantage of Apple Podcasts, new transcripts display. And it goes on and on and on. But basically, tom, they want to understand kind of the difference between VTT and SRT, and is Buzzsprout planning on supporting VTT anytime soon?

Tom:

Yeah, let's, we'll talk a little bit about that, because this is something that I think people get confused about. Transcripts really are meant to be processed by a machine. They're meant to be used for captions and showing things in different formats, based on, maybe, the player, things like that. That's what the formats are designed for. They're not designed for making it look pretty. You can have a pretty episode description, you could have a pretty transcript that you do on your own website, but it's going to be different than the actual transcript that you're going to serve up in your RSS feed. So all that to say that the transcripts that Buzzsprout works with are intended to be in specific formats used for machines that can display those. So the SRT format it's a higher fidelity format than the VTT format, but the VTT format has a built-in speaker tag, which is kind of nice, and so that's why someone was asking about it. It's hey, I want to be able to do the speaker tags.

Tom:

We actually kind of rigged our SRT to match the way that Otter does their SRTs, so you can actually put your speaker names in your SRT file, as long as you follow the Otter format, which is basically just put the name, then a colon at the very top of your caption you can write in a support. I'm happy to help you understand how to do that. But long story short was we will support VTT for exporting. That will do pretty quickly. But I don't know that our podcasters are going to see any difference. I don't know what they're expecting to see when we roll out VTT. It's not going to change our integration with Apple. Apple can import an SRT just as easily as they can a VTT. The SRTs are like I said, they're actually a higher fidelity transcript.

Jordan:

And what does that mean, tom?

Tom:

I don't know what you mean when you say higher fidelity Okay, higher fidelity means like, okay, if I've got a time range, how many characters fit in there, right? So, for instance, if you use something like our co-host AI, for every word in the transcript we have a timestamp. We know a timestamp for every word in there. If it's an SRT, it's about 32 characters, so a timestamp range would be for 32 characters worth of content For a VTT. It's as long as they want they can make it as long as they want.

Tom:

So the transcripts that I saw from Apple, it was a full monologue, so that's a really low fidelity because you've only got the timestamp for the entire monologue, which could be 45 seconds. It could be three minutes right, and so those are some of the things that we're looking at. The highest fidelity transcripts that we get, the best transcripts that we get, are ones that we get from things like co-host AI, from Descript integrations like that, where they're actually providing us and then we export it in those other formats.

Kevin:

So and Tom, let me ask you for a point of clarity here you said we are going to support VTT on export, but did you mean import? Like you're going to let podcasters import VTT Export? You're going to let them export a VTT.

Tom:

Well, in other words, right now when somebody uploads, if somebody has a transcript, we make it available for them in every format we can. So it'll be an SRT, it'll be HTML and we'll add VTT. We'll make that as a format. So anybody that has a transcript in Buzzsprout we'll make it available as a VTT. That's what I meant by export.

Kevin:

Okay, You're saying export, but you're saying making it available in the RSS file.

Tom:

Yep make it available. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha yeah that will be able to do. An import for VTT is going to be harder to work on. That's going to take some time, so that's not currently in development.

Kevin:

No, promises on that I gotcha.

Tom:

No promises on that, only because the VTT format is so crazy, it's barely a standard. It's so crazy, it's barely a standard. There's so much it's kind of like HTML, where you can do so much inside of it, and so you've got to figure out, well, what tags are we going to support, and all those kind of things.

Jordan:

You know, I was looking at the Apple podcast transcripts and I went in to an individual episode and I wanted to see what it looked like if you downloaded the transcript. Because it was like somebody on Reddit was asking about like how do I edit the Apple transcript and it's like, well, you can't.

Jordan:

But, it's like is there a workaround for this? And so I went into Apple, download the transcript, and it downloads as a VTT file and, yeah, when you open it it's crazy. So it's like, good luck editing this. I mean, you can, but it is going to hurt your head, you know what I mean. And so it's almost like, and honestly, if you do that, if you do all that work, you can't upload it back into Apple. They don't have an option for that.

Kevin:

And so it's almost no, you'd have to upload it to somebody like Buzzsprout.

Jordan:

Yeah.

Kevin:

And then we'd put it in your feed and they ingest it from there.

Jordan:

Yeah, so it's. It's just kind of wonky yeah.

Kevin:

It's just like a very, very long text file that you've got to dig through and figure out where to edit.

Jordan:

Yeah, yeah.

Kevin:

And so, um, transcripts have gotten better.

Kevin:

In Buzzsprout I'm not sure if you guys saw the news, but our, our AI partner, who we use podium, they produce all of our transcripts for us and our AI content for us.

Kevin:

They've done a really great job of revamping their transcript tool just announced that it all went live today, and so some of the biggest changes they've made have been with punctuation and long monologues and speaker identification and things like that, which means co-host AI gets better starting today, and so that's exciting news, and this is on the heels of some feedback that we got from Apple.

Kevin:

So Apple has actually been doing a really good job of kind of looking at the quality of the transcripts that are being provided for podcasts. They've set a pretty high bar in terms of what they would consider a quality transcript, and if you provide your own transcript to replace the one that they're generating, they're running it through some sort of quality algorithm to figure out if it's good enough to replace the one that they generated for you or not before they're replacing it. Yeah, it's something to be aware of. We've seen a couple of transcripts previously that were generated previously through co-hosts that weren't quite up to Apple's quality standards to be able to replace the one that they generated, and so these updates now to the co-host AI transcript process have been built to sort of address some of that stuff and to make sure that, specifically around punctuation being the correct punctuation and in the right place, and yada, yada, yada. So hopefully, if you take the time to correct your podcast, apple will then actually accept it.

Tom:

What's been great is that Apple has been. They genuinely seem interested in helping podcasters get their transcripts in a position where they could replace the ones that Apple's providing, so they provided a wealth of technical details of how your transcript should be formatted, which Podium was able to take that feedback and make their transcripts better, which, in turn, makes them better for Buzzsprout. So anybody that's using co-host gets those better transcripts as a result of feedback, really from Apple, which is great.

Jordan:

All right. So, tom, since you're the guest on this episode, do you have a sound off question for our next episode?

Tom:

Yes, yes. One of the things that I think podcasters can be surprised to learn is how much listeners really want to engage with the podcasters that they follow, that they listen to, and so the question that we have for podcasters is in what ways do you provide communication with your listeners, for them to be able to reach out and communicate with you? What are the different ways that you allow communication with those that follow you, that want to get in touch with you? How do you do that?

Jordan:

That's a great question. So to have your response featured on our next episode, send us a text at 855-951-4230. And, as always, thanks for listening and keep podcasting.

Kevin:

So, tom, let me ask you a question. I know you listen to Buzzcast every time we come out with an episode, right? Oh yeah, you wake up Friday morning every other week. You're like it's Buzzcast week.

Jordan:

Yeah, he can't get out of bed fast enough.

Kevin:

Do you listen to your podcasts at like 1X, 125, 15, 2X? Where do you listen?

Tom:

Definitely 125, 13, somewhere in there, it depends Now some podcasts I'll listen at faster. I don't think there's any that I listen to slower.

Jordan:

What do you listen to? Buzzcast on.

Tom:

Okay.

Jordan:

Because I have it perfectly edited, so I want to know how fast.

Tom:

Yeah, I want to say one, one, two, five or one, three, whatever the it's, whatever Overcast has for the.

Kevin:

It's the smart speed.

Tom:

Yeah.

Kevin:

Yeah, definitely I use. So let me ask you a question. Have you noticed in the past two episodes do I sound like I'm bringing more energy to our show? I have not noticed, you haven't noticed.

Tom:

I feel like you bring good energy.

Kevin:

No, no, no. Let me tell you a quick story. Jordan, I'm not sure if I've shared this with you or not yet.

Kevin:

No, I don't think you have Jordan sent me an episode was it like a month ago or so where Alvin and I got on a couple tangents and so it had nothing to do with the show, and so afterward Jordan's like hey guys, you kind of, you know, went off the rails a little bit during recording. I've got to cut a lot out. Um, I want to send you kind of a rough cut to make sure you're okay with it.

Jordan:

I cut 30 minutes out of this episode, so.

Kevin:

I'm downplaying a little bit, it was, it was bad, and so you sent me this rough cut and I think you just texted it to me or you base camped it to me, or something like that.

Jordan:

Yeah, yeah, I just dropped it, yeah.

Kevin:

But however I was loading it up on my phone, I could not adjust the speed, and so I had to listen to it at one X. I've never listened to a buzzcast at one X, and I was mortified at how slow I was talking and how boring I was. I was like how do we have any listeners? I am the most boring slow talking slug on the planet.

Kevin:

This is terrible, and so I'm like I have to fix this. And so I went out and I found I'm not a big coffee drinker. I know energy drinks are typically pretty unhealthy for you, but I'm like I've got to get something. So I did a little bit of research. I got this Jocko Go Fuel, which is like Jocko Wilkins or however you say his name his new energy drink that's supposed to be healthy. So he got some caffeine in it and a whole bunch of other stuff to perk you up. And I've been slamming them before we record Buzzcast.

Jordan:

Like at least three.

Kevin:

So I was hoping it's working.

Tom:

What is your whoop register when you're done recording?

Kevin:

Is it like you just ran a marathon? Oh yeah, I'm in the high stress zone, baby. I'm in the high stress zone while we're recording. But I asked some other people in the office today I was like, do you guys ever listen to Buzzcast? And they all said yes, but they probably don't. They just want to say yes.

Jordan:

They're all lying.

Kevin:

I was like have you noticed? Do I sound any different?

Jordan:

No one's noticing, no one's picking up on this, so is it worth it? Like I'm probably taking years off my life. You know max heart rate for an hour and a half while we record. I think that you're falling victim to one of the things that so many podcasters run into, and it's that they hate the sound of their own voice, they hate the cadence of their own voice, they think they are the worst podcaster to ever exist. And you're just now like, for the first time ever, you're listening to it at a normal pace and you're just not used to like the crazy three X, whatever you listen to it on.

Kevin:

And I feel bad for everyone in my life my kids, my friends, everyone who has to interact with me on a regular basis. I'm like it's so terrible. It's not you guys are the best people in the world that you would listen to me mumble on, but who knows what, because I talk so slow, it's not Well anyway.

Tom:

I want Jordan to edit just your voice and speed it up so that in a conversation it goes from everyone else at regular speed. Then you would sped up and see if we tell the difference.

Jordan:

It's going to sound like he had too many of those like jocos. He's like hey guys, what's up? I'm really excited to be here.

Kevin:

Well, you know what this reminded me of I'm glad you're on this episode, tom, because this reminded me of this was years and years and years ago, because this reminded me of this was years and years and years ago. We had built another piece of software years ago as a time tracking software and I had to create like. We didn't have Albin on our team at that point. So I was doing all the marketing videos for it and everything, and I recorded a little marketing video about this new feature in our time tracking software and I shared it with Tom and his feedback was like the content was good, but you're like you don't, your energy levels is a little low. Like if I could give you any feedback, it would just be like up your energy level a little bit.

Kevin:

And so I did two or three more takes trying to amp myself up and I'm just like not that guy, like I'm a pretty low. I'm not a low energy guy, but I'm just you know, I don't know whatever it's. It's hard for me to act excited, right, I'm not a good actor and I'm not naturally an excited person, so let me say it that way. So my solution was I was like okay, like workday is almost over anyway. So I went to the fridge and I drank like three beers and I got a little tipsy and then I recorded the video after three beers, sent it back to Tom and Tom's like you did it. That's great. You sound so happy and full of life, like that's exactly what I was asking for. I'm like great Now in order to do my job every day I've just got to chug beers Like this is not a sustainable solution.

Tom:

Which we'll do another conversation later, right Another conversation.

Kevin:

Let's do an intervention, so I think the Jocko Go is a much safer, healthier solution for me?

Jordan:

Oh yeah, absolutely.

Kevin:

All right, well, thanks for the feedback. Hope I'm bringing more energy. Hope it's worth it.

Jordan:

I think your energy was fine to begin with with.

Kevin:

yeah, you're being way too hard on yourself here well, you know, I'm a big fan of self-improvement, so always looking for the best thing to work on I mean jordan, would be the one to know, because she's, I mean, you have to listen to it. To me way too.

Jordan:

Yeah, you gotta listen to it over and over so many times yeah I, I can tell you, your energy is not your biggest problem. Well, I'm not asking any more scary questions.

Kevin:

I don't want to know that is great.

Tom:

That is not your biggest problem, not even the top five, not even close.

Jordan:

You think that's your worst quality. What?

Kevin:

Hey guys, I'm sorry to do this to you, but I've got a hard stop right now.

Tom:

All right Well bye.

Intro: Awake Apnea
Guest Tom Rossi
Spotify Publishes Podcast Follower Numbers
(Cont.) Spotify Publishes Podcast Follower Numbers
How A Ban On TikTok Could Affect Podcasters
Major Podcasts Turn To Listener Support
Sound-Off!
Post Show: How's My Energy?

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