In this episode, Adam Curry joins the crew to talk about the origins of podcasting, what's going on with The Podcast Index, and what the future of podcasting looks like for independent creators.
Listen to Adam on the No Agenda podcast.
Subscribe to the Buzzsprout YouTube channel to watch gear reviews, software tutorials, and podcast strategy videos.
Review Buzzcast in Podchaser to let us know what you think of the show.
In this episode, Adam Curry joins the crew to talk about the origins of podcasting, what's going on with The Podcast Index, and what the future of podcasting looks like for independent creators.
Listen to Adam on the No Agenda podcast.
Subscribe to the Buzzsprout YouTube channel to watch gear reviews, software tutorials, and podcast strategy videos.
Review Buzzcast in Podchaser to let us know what you think of the show.
It was 2005 2006 when I got a call from Eddie Q, who was pretty big man on campus there now. Yeah. And he said that you want to meet with Steve Jobs like, Huh. So I went he was at d3, the d3 conference. I went had an hour just him and me. It was really incredible. He was very personable, of course, he wanted something from me. He wanted me to to bless podcasting in iTunes, which he asked me I said, Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I'll give you the directory that we have to get it started. And that day, he announced podcasting and iTunes.Kevin:
Welcome back to Buzzcast. I'm Kevin today. I've got Tom with me. Travis is helping us on the producer. And and we've got a very special guest today. It is Adam curry, the pod father of podcasting. Thank you so much for joining us, Adam.Adam:
It's a great pleasure. And I was actually very excited. I had not seen the podcast you guys do? I did see it. Where does it show up? It showed up somewhere like, okay, they got they do a podcast for the customers. That's kind of cool. So I did see it, but I hadn't I hadn't actually checked into it yet.Kevin:
Yeah, we use it for a lot of example stuff. So you'll see as we're adopting new tags and stuff and working with the podcast index, kind of the first feed that we always hit stuff on is this one. Which, you know, for better or worse, sometimes we mess up our stuff. ButAdam:
I know the ceiling Believe me, I know the ceiling. I've met plenty of feed. Yeah.Kevin:
So a lot of people who listen to our show, and a lot of people who are Buzzsprout customers love podcasting, but they're relatively new to it. So they don't necessarily know the whole 25 is it been 25 years or 20 years history? I don't even know what 13 years 15 year history of podcasting. And so I'm sure you've told the story a million times. But would you mind telling it again, maybe the the high level overview version of the history of podcasting, how did you get started, how did this whole space come to into existence?Adam:
Okay, I was living in Amsterdam, I grew up in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and then moved to a move back to the States, I'm American, moved back to the States, and eventually wound up doing MTV etc. And then I started, one of the first internet advertising companies called thinking was on ramp. And then we took it public, and it was thinking new ideas. And after a couple year run on that, it was time for me to leave, I was just sitting around in suits all day. And that was fun to take a company public, that was really a lot of fun. But I was kind of like, Okay, I got to find something else to do. And so, my daughter been born in New Jersey, and my wife was my wife at the time was from the Netherlands. So we decided to move back and see what was going on. And in the Netherlands, you know, they are one of the first countries to really have cable to every single household for cable television. So they were a testbed for a lot of media experiments. And because they had this infrastructure, they got cable modems very early on. So in 99, everyone kind of had a cable modem. And this was a revolution because we had always on internet, not that it was fast. No, no, but you didn't have to dial up. So no more. For anyone who remembers that. You'd have to dial up it was always on but it was slow. And there was really no the computers were kind of ready for a multimedia type experience. But the bandwidth wasn't there. So we had real audio and real video and you know, nothing was really great. And certainly if you hit an mp3 or a quick time, then you know, you do click on it, you wait 10 minutes, and then you you know, make a cup of coffee, come back. Okay, it's done play it. So I thought why not have some kind of system and this isn't 2001 it has some kind of system that knows what I'm looking for when it sees something new then downloads it but doesn't tell me until it's there. So then you just kind of removing that, that wait time you just shifting it away to some other space that you know what I don't know, I can't hurt me, I guess. And I had this idea was walking around with a call the last yard I wrote a piece on a blog post on it. And at the time, Dave Weiner was really building out RSS. He had Radio userland, which is a kind of a cool app that worked as a server on your on your lap on your local computer. See the interface was done completely through a web browser, just talking to the local server. And it was a blogging tool. And one of the first I think are the earliest blogging tools. And it also had an RSS aggregator in it. And Funny enough, it was called radio user land, which is like okay, so I had my I've been a radio guy all my life. So I kind of had that radio idea. And I thought, you know, wouldn't it be cool if just like with what RSS does where it kept, you know, captures kind of the stories you go back and read them later. If we could put an attachment, a file attachment that would download and then it will be ready for playing. And I and I actually went to New York and met with Dave and he I think he had the first meeting. He was like a VGA guy or whatever. But I was pretty persistent, came back the next day and showed him in his software, my idea. And he ultimately said, Okay, I'll implement this. But under one condition, you never ever use my software again, because that was horrible what you showed me So okay, that's fine. That's good. And the, the enclosure element of RSS was born. And this kind of meandered along, we were using it between each other sending 100 megabyte file, which at the time was crazy big. And then you know, the next morning, I'd wake up because I was still you know, to timezone. And oh, there's a can play and I played the video and it was okay, but it didn't really catch any traction for it. It solved a problem that wasn't quite there yet. But I didn't know was there until I saw my first iPod. And that's when I went off radio. Because the first iPod was that white thing with the dial. It looks so much like the Sony transistor radio my grandmother gave me when I was a kid, which I listened to the basketball games under my pillow. When I was six or seven years old. Yeah, just it was it right. Now, it's not a jukebox, that's a radio receiver and I then I put the two pieces together. I said, Well, why don't we find an mp3 file that's attached to an RSS feed, and then take that out, download it, and actually built this an apple script, which is take someone who's really a developer and take Apple script, you got like, you know, you got like a mess on your hands. But I was able to make it work. And so it would look for one fee, look for a new enclosure, download it to the to iTunes at the time, because you still had to sync your your iPod, it would trigger the sync and then you pick it up and you'd be right there, I would say a playlist was created. That was the name of the show. And then the episode. And podcasting was born. And I immediately started doing a show called The Daily source code, because I knew that we needed radios, we needed radios on the other side, which really, today is become the podcast app that you use to listen to shows, very analogous to what we're doing now. I would talk about the developers who are working on these pod catchers, as we call them. And we learned a lot of things. And it's just crazy stuff. You know, when you have a very minimal modem connection, and you subscribe to feed and starts to download 50 episodes of something, this is not a good. So these are all things that we learned in the very early days. And it kind of kind of grew. And then there was, yeah, it was just like a wave of of stuff start to happen, I think was the BBC came to interview me. And then it was off to the races and everyone was calling. I was like, Oh, what is going on here? And it was 2006 I think 2005 2006 when I got a call from Steve Jobs, and he said, Well, actually was Eddie Q. Who was pretty big man on campus there now. Yeah. And he said that you want to meet with Steve Jobs like, Huh. So I went he was at d3, the d3 conference. I went had an hour just him and me. It was really incredible. He was very personable, of course, he wanted something from me, he wanted me to to bless podcasting in iTunes, which he asked me I said, Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I'll give you the directory that we have to get it started. And that day he announced podcasting in in iTunes is pretty funny video, because, you know, he plays a stick piece of my show where I'm ragging on my Mac. And so he knew exactly what he was doing. Total show guy.Tom:
So you had a directory of podcasts before apple?Adam:
Yeah, it was called iPod or.org for a whole bunch of reasons. And it was really a it was kind of a fun way of doing it. It was a distributed directory based on opml. So you know how you can have feeds in an opml file. So we use the include tag, so I had like the top level, and did it by geography. And you clicked on Europe, and then it would open up and there would be, you know, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and we had different people in each country maintaining what podcast they were finding what was out there. So overnight, I could have my, my software, walk this tree and say, oh, pop, here's new stuff that we found from somewhere all over the world. Granted, when Apple launched, the directory was disappointing because it highlighted NPR, PBS net and I will say, Tony Khan, W GBH in Boston. I mean, he was early early on, he was a big believer, he dragged NPR into podcasting by the scruff of their neck. And it was good programming of course, but it wasn't quite the, the free feel and people experimenting that we've seen in these podcasts that you know, we didn't have any of this equipment. We didn't have cool things to connect to each other. We We barely had Skype, I think just yet it was just about has Skype, maybe not evenTom:
Was there any resistance from the old media, like radio or anybody else did they did they? see this as a as a threat? Or did they just see it as a side project is something totally irrelevant to what they were doing,Adam:
you know, very similar to when I was at MTV in the 80s. And very early 90s, I'd registered mtv.com because I noticed before the web This was I had a gopher server. I mean, I was running a gopher server and I had [email protected] email address. And I was using on the air and I went to the to the legal department, and I said, the van Topher, who now I think, is the CEO of the network. And I said, Hey, man, I got this mtv.com it's just me, I'm just using it for me. Is that okay? And his answer was, it's fine. We've got the AOL keyword, we're not.Tom:
That's very bad. AOL, keyword.Adam:
Yeah. So that was kind of the vibe from the radio, guys, you know, but also, this was around the time blogging was starting. So people were, you know, Pooh poohing blogging. On the one hand, it was great. On the other hand, who, why do we have to know what you have to say about yourself? I mean, of course, now, Twitter is Twitter. Yeah, is exactly what that has become. And so yeah, I started a company and started a podcast network, which I found is not a good idea. You can't really monetize the network as a whole bunch of reasons for that. But what is interesting as a side note, because podcasting has been around for a long time, but it really the resurgence came with cereal. And that was, you know, came at a great time in entertainment history, because people had really gotten into binge watching, thanks to Netflix, etc. And so here was something that was episodic. You wanted to know what the next episode was, but you couldn't have it. And that was freaking people out, wait a whole week. Now, you could come in later and catch up, and you can catch up to where you know where it was, which was also new. But this episodic idea that really caught storm, but we were doing, we were doing all kinds of great things with podcasting. intil. And I had the pod show in San Francisco, we had a competitor coming up. And and we had heard about this competitor, and they had a whole flash interface. And it was called Oto. And we were just waiting for this thing to launch and they never launched like, it never happened. It was really strange. But they they launched something else. It was a weird kind of service. And the one thing we always struggled with, certainly in the beginning was explaining, subscribing to a podcast that immediately made people think it's costing me money. It's like a magazine subscription. And they had something they called follow, which I thought was a genius idea. You have to know that odio had pivoted and became Twitter. So they took basically the underpinnings of podcasting with you know, RSS, and change this subscribe to follow. And it just took off and it went crazy. And then you know, Facebook was coming on the scene, then YouTube came on the scene. So you know, podcasting was a very, very slow grower. throughout those years when everything was basically Oh, my God, look at Twitter, look at the Twitter fail. Well, was bigger news than, than anything in podcasting, it was just, you know, it was it was a thing. So it took quite a backseat for a number of years.Tom:
I think the iPhone had to play a big part in it too, when the iPhone came out having the podcast app, and just people having access to that kind of bandwidth on their phone to listen, so you didn't have to, you know, download it on your computer and listen on a computer, but you're listening right there on your phone like that. That made a big difference in podcasting.Adam:
Right. And so this is where I made a mistake, or where I didn't realize my mistake, but once you have, because I know we didn't have the smartphone, we were thinking mp3 players, iPods, you know, and that was kind of your your radio. But with the iPhone, it switched. Now the app became the radio. And I'd never have I never had to worry about radios throughout my entire career. I needed a transmitter I needed a microphone, and I could do my thing. radios have always been there. You know, you can get radios free in the mail. You know, weather radio wind it up. It's the radios are everywhere. And they have no inherent value. And no one's really put any, any development into radios. You know, it's like yeah, we went from am to FM. We have digital we have, you know, some like in in Europe, mainly RDS. So you can get some information flowing through to your to your receiver, no real innovation. And when it comes to podcasting, it truly is just the app. And the app developers, of which though many have come and gone and some are doing strong and most are struggling, have never been part of any value flow. It's just there's no money running from an advertiser or listener, anybody through an app developer. So the radios are drying up and what happens is you get some couple of big And they say, boom, we're Spotify. Here's our radio, and Apple, although they have been fantastic stewards of podcasting and have been very fair and allowing complete access to their will not complete but enough access to their database, they became the de facto standard on the way in which we don't know anything about, we don't know how many things get rejected. And once it's there, love it or hate it. Alex Jones has a right to say what he wants to say. And if that and I understand that might be a problem for for Apple and their customer base. That's okay. But that's when I said, Okay, I'm gonna take it back. Now, I want to take the directory back, and we're gonna put it in an independent place. So I really had two missions, one is realizing that you just can't have an entity that has any other business line than being the index, you can't have any other business it has to be that's its job. It can't be stewarded or shepherded by anybody who has anything else. Certainly not when it comes to advertising, because I'll make my speech short. advertising is censorship. That's just how it's how it works. I've been in commercial radio and television for a long time. There's stuff you can and can't say, when there's advertising at play. That's just the bottom line. So, in order to preserve podcasting, as a platform for free speech, we needed an independent index. And, wow, when it comes to the actual act of free speech, it doesn't get any better than podcasting. That's what we do is the true nature of free speech distributed globally, that has to be protected. And having done my own show for coming up on our 13th anniversary with no agenda, we have developed the value for value model, which proves that if you ask people to support something they will, if you make it frictionless enough, or if you give them a reason to it's more reason than anything, people will support it. So I had no doubt that we could start podcasts index.org. With support from the community. Thank you very much to very generous support we've seen from from Buzzsprout. And I think that we're kind of succeeding in that mission. While there's been this just as a sidetrack to this because of the structure of Apple, mainly. There's never been a capability for innovation. Everybody has ideas, everybody knows what they want. A lot of them agree. Some things overlap. Some things I don't think is anything where people actually hate an idea so much, they wouldn't want to see that as an expansion of podcasting. But everyone's kind of waiting around for the big dog Apple to say, Okay, we'll join in, we'll do it. And then as we progressed, Google came along. And then Spotify. And I Heart Radio bought bought Stitcher, I think or or Gosh, maybe it's Sirius XM. And they're all building these little silos. So where's my core problem is, I need to incentivize guys who know how to make radios into making the next generation of radio, what is the next podcast experience from a listener or viewer standpoint? Can I back you up real quick? Yeah.Kevin:
You mentioned just briefly, the the idea that Apple who have been great stewards to the podcast community, they have provided access, and as you said, not total access, but enough access to their directory. Now, you're starting the podcast index, can you go into a little bit more of the why that's important. I feel like that is it's critical for all of us as podcasters and podcast fans to understand the amount of power that Apple had in being the default directory for almost every third party podcasting app,Adam:
right? Sure. As it turns out, making a podcast app is hard work. It's not just a nice little, you know, player thingy and a list thing and a click here thing and subscribe, and Ooh, it's all great. And then I can focus on features like 1.1 to speed 1.5 speed, fast forward, you know, all these different things, you actually have to do a lot of work in the background, even if you're working off of Apple's system, there's still a lot of work to get it the way you want to build your app, your your radio receiver. And so most of the smaller podcast apps, we're all tying into Apple's database because you it really takes a lot of horsepower and hands on management to keep a million and a half podcast feeds sorted, you know, updated, and just you know, that it's, it's much bigger than it seemed it's not unmanageable. It's not Google level stuff, but it is it's quite a bit for an independent developer who has to have, you know, many machines running databases, etc. So with that in place, Went Apple removed a podcast that went like dominoes all the way down the line. It's like, Oh, no, you can't get that podcast on any of these apps, or most of them, right. And that's the problem that it's it's like, you have a transmitter but someone's deflecting the beam, you know, and that is the reason why podcasting has not been super successful with advertising the way YouTube has, is because it's distributed because it doesn't belong to one single company. And, and it's, in my mind, when that when my friend Joe Rogan went to Spotify. That's a part of the story. Because I know that that's going to, you know, Spotify is paying for him to take his audience over to Spotify. And hopefully, what they hope is that they will then change their podcast listening behavior to using Spotify, because they believe that almost everything is on Spotify, and quite a lot is not everything, but quite a lot. That leaves a vacuum, a super vacuum for people who have who make podcast apps. Because now one of the reasons that eight or 10 million people had to use their app to listen to the Joe Rogan podcast just went away to the competition, one step over on your screen, and that Spotify, that's that sucks. So I need to first of all ensure that the next five Joe Rogan's who are outside of the Spotify place, and they're already born, Joe said himself, they're here today, they have the same reach that they can have the same great reach amongst audiences. And also independent apps, just podcast apps that people love their podcast apps, they get very wedded to them. And that we don't want to end up in a scenario where if you want to listen to the shows, you like to listen to that it's like the television experience, which I think is already an outdated model. And that's why I go to Netflix for this, I had Hulu for this, I got to Amazon for this, I got Disney plus for that I got Oh Disney for that I got Apple plus for this. And then at the end of the day, you wake up you go, I got $250 worth of subscriptions to watch, you know, eight shows, this is this is too much. So and and that's the second part that I'm working on is retooling podcasting as a platform of value. So that we can operate in a, I think a postmodern structure where everybody can make money, including, and maybe most importantly, the people who bring it to you, namely the app developer. So I was adamant that whatever we come up with, that has to be a part of part of the value flow.Tom:
Let me ask a question. Because when the deal went down with Joe Rogan, it's something we talked about on Buzzcast was just how Hey, podcasters, we need to pay attention to what's happening in the industry. And we took our podcasts off of Spotify, because we were concerned about what we saw going on in the industry. But the feedback that we got was overwhelming from from independent podcasters. They didn't understand what the big deal was. They said, hey, look, this, this is great for everybody. If Joe Rogan's getting this massive payout to go to Spotify. Why is that a bad thing for podcasters? Or for podcasting? And so can you maybe back up in kind of frame that from to answer that question of why is that? Why is that a bad thing? Because if I'm on Spotify, that's more people that are listening to my podcast, why? Why would I be concerned with that?Adam:
Without fail, even what you send up to Apple to get included there. But certainly, with Google, Amazon and Spotify, you sign a contract. And the Spotify contract is fantastic. It says by clicking here, you agree to give to us now having a full license, paid in full, you get nothing but so that's it paid in full zero dollars. And we can do anything we want. And we can cut it up edit it, we can make new shows out of it. If we want to we can do whatever we want. And no, no, that's just a hard No. And people don't read. So like, Oh, clickety Click good. It's all good. I'm in and you know, they give some leeway. Or if you already have a host, a host read. That's okay. Well, we'll see how long that lasts. But ultimately, they're now doing pre rolls to pre rolls and mid rolls. So you get advertising in front of your show. Not all of them, but some will have them in the middle of the show. And I don't know, it depends for everybody. I personally, I like ownership of what I do and what I do with my partners. You know, I mean, I'd never put it up on Spotify To start with, you know, those like some eat, you know, they spam every podcast or Hey, put your stuff in a, you know, on the Spotify. So I go take a look. So it's already there, but it's not in my account. So I said How is this possible? And then they sent me to some website that said For a content, legal copyright claim, well, I'll do no such thing. See you, I'm not gonna get into a legal argument with you, I'm not gonna go through this form and sign anything. And two days later, they took it off. And I think that's because they're rolling out the ads. And they know that if they had that there without my signature, that they were in violation. So they purge that, and I was quite happy. So I didn't have to go through any, any process. I also am not so sure that Spotify as a podcast platform is going to be that successful. The reason I think that is the people who have been enjoying podcasts, probably a different from the people who use Spotify, when I'm in the car, or when I'm roving around or doing the dishes, whatever my, my secondary thing is that I'm doing while I'm enjoying something on my ears. It's podcast, it's not music, I and so I'm just not really a music guy. If I want some Spotify for dinner, or in the evening, or you know, and then I'll put it on, but I'm more of a podcast person, I believe people, there's two different kinds of people. And the people who were listening to podcasts elsewhere may stick with that experience, because it is an experience. If you using overcast it's very different from Spotify. In many ways. Spotify may catch up, I don't know. But I also know some of the numbers. The Michelle Obama podcast, which was purchased, you know, in the Joe Rogan like deal I don't think for the same amount of money but for a lot. And they launched with two sponsors with actually was Procter and Gamble. So they've tied and Donnie at dawn, tide and Dawn, and I had heard that there was very low listenership. And I heard it about three days before Spotify announced, Wow, this is so great. We're gonna put it on all platforms. a cry for help saying, Oh, crap, we can't deliver the audience. We sold this to the sponsors for so they have a problem delivering the audience. They may have the audience, you can get it you can by Joe Rogan's audience will they stick around and listen to other podcasts on that platform? I think this left to prove themselves. So I'm not so sure. But to answer your question, the long roundabout way, I have been independent, I have not had to adhere to anyone except my partner, john C. Dvorak, or no agenda, all my others face, whatever I want to do. No one can can take me off, no one can remove my feed. It's just as far as I'm concerned. Spotify radio, said it's you know, and they want to charge me you know, or not basically charge me by saying we own this. We can do whatever we want until you don't like it anymore. What was okay, I don't like it. No.Tom:
Now, you did say that you're not a music guy. And I just want to back up to the MTV days. Did that ruin it for you? Kevin and I, Kevin and I were talking about before before we got together, like I remember. Headbangers ball. Like, I remember setting up the VCR to record at my friend's house because I didn't even have MTV. And I'd have to go get the recording, to go watch it. And Kevin goes, you just wonder like, I wonder if he even like the music that he was listening to? Or if he just had to like that was just the job. They gave him?Adam:
A good question. So first of all, I lived inside the hits, you know, the 80s and 90s hits for a long time, and I definitely got burned out on it. Yeah, and, and because of the radio stuff. I know every single song I know the intro. I know when the vocal start. I can't sing any of the lyrics because I'm always queuing up another record. So I know how it ends. Not yours ball was I really liked it for a number of reasons. One, it was something that I looked the part so you know, I just had to throw on a leather jacket. But what I found out really quick is this is top and most metal and certainly stuff we played is top notch musicianship I mean really, really good. Like classically trained good. And and that I always got off on that. And I love that and whenever we had guys coming by, of course, you'd have the beat cage no one is zonked out or crazy or whatever, that's part of the World Wrestling idea of metal and Headbangers ball, but most of these guys and gals were real. And I always enjoyed that. And when I when they understood that I understood the music and, and the composition. And I do know a lot about that. We found each other immediately and I had no problem listening to metal, or most of this. In fact, what I hated about Headbangers ball is that because of MTV being afraid of alienating people, every third video was Bon Jovi. You know. It's like, Okay, so that was kind of lame, you know, you can't be you know, having Metallica and then Bon Jovi after that. It makes sense. But, you know, for the, whatever their reasons were, that's that's how they did that. So and I actually I took around about way after, when I got more into one of the internet after I left MTV, I started listening to a lot classical kind of detox just from everything. And I moved to, I moved to Texas, I really got, you know, I really got into country, modern country. And by the way, it's a lot of the guys from the hair bands in the 80s, who are playing that drums and bass and guitar for some of the, you know, for some of the big country guys, so I love listening to to talk, whatever it is I can, I can probably listen for a while.Kevin:
So I think we had a good conversation about the idea of open versus platform, right. And the the downsides to the platform is control, you got to play by their rules, they could pull the plug on you at any second, you're building whatever you're building in somebody else's, you know, playground, right, right. But there's also benefits to platforms. And some of those benefits are like, the ability for a platform to improve the listener experience. Like if they control everything kind of soup to nuts, right? Like, that's an easy task for them, or discoverability. So you're already listening to this, hey, and we know all this stuff about you, because you signed up and gave us your credit card and told us where you live and told us how old you are. So you're probably gonna like this too. Like, they can help recommend things and building those algorithms, building those listener experiences. That's if we want open if we don't want people to go to platforms, that's what we have to compete with. Right? Like, that's why YouTube is winning the video space, right? Because they've created a great environment to be able to discover and find and enjoy video content. So how do we do that in the podcasting space, and, you know, kind of leading into this discussion that I want to have about these these new namespace tags that we're developing? Because I think that's what we're trying to bite off is how do we improve the listening experience? How do we bring some of these technologies that traditionally have only been developed in platforms, but we can do them in the open space if we all work together?Adam:
Okay, so here's my experience over the past 15, almost 20 years, is that podcasting is typically long form it you know, rarely Is it a five minute 10 minute podcast, of course, they exist. Lots of people enjoy them, half hour shows, but I think they're in general a little bit more long form than your typical YouTube video. And so I don't think a recommendation engine I see, you know, Apple is working on it. And Spotify is working on it. Yeah. Okay, you know, but you it's not It's same thing to sample a podcast, versus a YouTube video. And YouTube is pretty well defined what that format is, in general, just for the Quick Hits, and you know, and yes, when you're in a YouTube hole, and you're looking at cat videos, you want more cat videos, that you know, a podcast is, it's just a whole different animal. And I find the recommendations. And we've never advertised, never, never done any of that is mouth to mouth. Well, we really turned it around from the get go. We said you, our audience, you're not listening to your producers, so you better start producing. That means you to send this money and you need to send this information and we need to be able to rely on you. And if you have expertise, so we've made it unlike radio where the only feet Well, I come from radio when you get mail. I mean, I had an MTV, even I had mailbags mail bags full in my dressing room. Now, that was the feedback loop. And then, you know, on radio, we had the telephone, but it was kind of like, hey, you're calling 100? What's your name? shanique. What's unique? Are you calling from Brooklyn, but you're calling 100? You know, that's kind of the that's kind of it. And maybe you troll the phone lines during a song and talk to some listeners. There's really no, there's not really No, no feedback engine. And now I think for YouTube, you see, you know, comments is, is a big place for that immediate feedback, by the way of which the people who make those videos Oh, nothing. That's all Google alphabet, YouTube, they own that all. I mean, how many times you like oh, this would be a cool video and it's gone taken down remove by user doesn't exist violated Terms of Service, the experience is getting worse. And that nothing really little to do with political bias. It's not brand friendly. advertising is censorship. So with with podcasts, it's really the tribe that you build, and the tribe around you. And it doesn't, what I've learned is it doesn't matter how small or how big that tribe is, if you could communicate with him and you give them enough ways to talk to you sure, email short. You can have forums, comments, whatever, we have a chat, which we call the troll room, but we have many ways for people to feedback we and we also gave away all our data, everything we have, we have for search engines. We have, you know, just unbelievable amounts of promotional sites that do something specific for the show about the show, all put together by our producers, our audience and it is is a totally different beast. I don't think it can be recreated in any manner like that in any other medium is very specific to podcasting. And that format of programming that it's to me it's I think we'll see better things coming from the podcast apps to help. An a podcast app also has an audience. They you know, they have an identity. It's not shining right now. But why wouldn't a podcast app be able to do deals with a podcaster and promote their podcast? Yeah, this is free market. None of that is enabled. And now comes in the namespace and the expansion that we're putting in place, we're podcasting. And what we when Dave and I start, Dave Jones, and I started on this journey. We said, let's just see what everybody wants. And let's not have a big meeting about it, we'll put into the document, which, as you know, all of a sudden, smart people show up and know how to write the document and put it in the right format. And everyone's collaborative. And, and it turns out, there's really no issue. The only thing is Apple's not in the conversation, or Spotify is not in the conversation. Well, they clearly don't care about us. So why don't we make our own space the way we want it to be and what I've seen from captions to transcripts to ratings to, I mean, goes the list goes on and on. All these things are great, and everyone has one or two specific ideas they want to implement. Well, let's put it all in. And if you have something working, you're definitely in, it's good to go. Because this is going to create a Spotify as a podcast experience is boring. It's boring. It's the same crap we've seen for 1015. New what's an inbox? You know, now I got a pod friender, where you can swipe left and swipe right. This is it. That's a that's a funny app. Like, um, you know, it's like just, I'm looking at I'm scanning podcast the way I would, why not anymore. But the way I might have back in the day on Tinder, you know, there's cast coverage, which is a whole different discovery mechanism by itself. But I've seen guys who are working on chats that will incorporate the podcast, I mean, this Finally, we have been able to open it up and it feels to me I just see this, this flood this rush of, of a decade of pent up creativity and ideas and frustration. is just like spewing out everywhere. We've been doing this for a month. Look at what's happened. I mean, we've got a lot of you guys, we got a blueberry from the hosting side. Was it? fireside FMKevin:
fireside? Yeah. And the captivate guys came in there toAdam:
modify can say they show a lot of seeds. But Where's it coming from? It's coming from guys like you. And that's where the innovation is going to come from. And we have a front row?Tom:
Well, I can tell you we've been we've been excited when we found out about podcast index, like you said it was a there was a lot of pent up ideas, we had tons of ideas, things that we would want to be able to bring to the podcaster listener experience like what Kevin was talking about. And we don't we as as a host can't do it, we have to do it in partnership with other hosts, and with with players with the people that are actually going to be playing the podcast. And so what you've done for us, and the reason that we are big supporters, big supporters in our time, our treasure exactly like what you've talked about, the reason that we are we we had that mentality is because we see the opportunity there to rapidly innovate faster than any one company can do by doing it together. And so I'm really thankful to you for putting a group together and excited, you know, to be able to play a part.Adam:
Well, thank you. The thing is, is that I, first of all, I'm correcting a mistake. I had no idea. I didn't understand the mistake I made, but I think I went through it. It's like I never thought about the radio side of it. Also never really thought about the actual transmitter tower side. That will be an example of you guys. You know, depending on what metaphor you look at, or what model because it can vary and can interchange. And I think that a lot of people have tried very hard to get these things done. And to be blunt about it. All we really saw were groups and boards and governors and all kinds of official titles and fundraising and and I like and Dave Jones, who I've been working with for 10 years on we've been we've created so many cool things that that no more than eight people use. And we've only met once in our life, but we've had this great relationship and it usually goes like this. Hey Dave. Dave got a great idea like okay, what are we doing? And then you know, and then we In two days, like, Okay, I got to work and what is it and they're like, Oh, this is cool. And then I wind up using it for myself who use it for self and it goes nowhere. But when I saw Joe leaving to go into, you know, to go into Spotify, and I saw what was potentially happening with Apple as the mothership, I said, Dave, we have 10 years of aggregation experience, we know how all of this stuff works. We know how gnarly it can be. Let's just let's just put this together. And then let's just wait for people to show up. And whatever they want, will do. And the only reason I think that we are getting away with it is because of who I am. Not I don't have any skill really, you know, it's like Dave Jones is really doing everything he can. And he's educating me as much as I educate him probably a little more, for some reasons, like there's not going to be on the pod father, so great. So no one really saw me in public. So let's just run, run, run, run run before they catch up, you know. And I think it's the Spirit. And that's what I see with Todd and blueberry. That's what I see with you guys. That's what I see with Martin from Denmark, who showed up and listen, because of course, we do podcasts in 2.0 podcast about what we're doing the same thing we did 15 years ago. And he's listening. I'm like, yeah, we should have a web app, progressive web app, well, boom, there it is. become this hive mind of, and we have people who are experts in database, which Dave is fantastic, but we didn't know everything. This stuff's religion. So people really collaborating. And I've seen it happen so many times with open source software development is really beautiful. And people coalesce and it's, it's just as much science as it is art. You can get to code in so many ways. And I'm not a coder, but I can see it and I understand it. And I and I actually do see beauty in it. But this, there never was a political agenda because podcasts index is there for one reason only. It is to preserve podcasting as a platform for free speech, I hope to bring personal stuff into that and offer many more things of value. That would be valuable for everybody. And you will see if it works, it's it doesn't really matter. Because ultimately, podcasts index or just has to run by itself. I find it refreshing and very exciting. I'm 56. And not a lot of people get a chance to do something again, in the mid 50s. So I'm super excited about.Kevin:
And I can't I can't believe it's only been a month. I mean, we have three tags that are like namespace tags that are completely accepted, formalized and have support for at least one or more apps in the space. So we have transcript tag, which is supported by Buzzsprout, podcast addict pad for pod friend in pod news, the lock tag, which helps prevent piracy, podcast piracy, and we really need anchor to jump on board with this one. But so far, it's been Buzzsprout pod news podcast index, and I thought I saw somebody else today. Didn't fireside say they were gonna do it. fireside is coming out too. And then we have funding.Adam:
Well, what I like about it, because obviously the honor system and this is not like, it's like some Gestapo comes down from the digital heavens in a rescue if you import a feed that has a block to tag enabled in it. But it does allow us to, you know, someone whose feed has been imported into an anchor to say, Excuse me, I see this over here, this blocked I mean, we're basically we're giving them an out. Yeah, right. to anchor the thing. marginally deserved,Tom:
I feel like we solve their problem,Adam:
we solve their problem will support this, you know, so anyone who comes along, you know, all you have to do is just reject it. It's easy, and it'll save them so much aggravation, human extra human resources. So they'll do it, I'm sure they'll come around. Otherwise, you know, if someone is importing your feed, you say, look, here it is. It's got the lock tag, I see you don't support it. But clearly, that's telling you something, and it's a starting point, instead of just Hey, hey, I think that's mine. And let me prove it to you.Tom:
Let me ask you this, because I know I don't know if we're gonna have enough time to get into monetization too much. But I wonder you know, you've you've been around the internet for a long time, right? You remember when internet met free, anything on the internet was free. If a book is on the internet, it must be free. It's totally legal for me to go download and do whatever music if it's on the internet must be free. I can just download it. It's for me, right? If it's if it's on the internet, it's free. And that mentality continues today. of everything being free, whether it's Oh, yeah, Facebook doesn't cost me anything. When now we're starting to learn that it does cost us something. And I feel like this kind of relates to your value for value. It's recognizing if something has value, you're paying for it one way or the other. Right? Like there is a cost associate With that, and I wonder if that if the mentality of internet equals free, if that is going to make if that's one of the challenges that we face as podcasters, creating content, that it's valuable. It costs money to produce, it costs money to host and to deliver one of the obstacles to monetizing, or to being able to afford to do that is this mentality of well, it's on the internet, it must be free, it's on Spotify can download, it must be free, you know, I can just download it with a podcast app. So it must not really cost anybody anything. How do you respond to that? Like, how do you how do you get people to understand, you know, this value for value approach that I know that you've had on the no agenda podcast, and you've talked about in podcasting 2.0.Adam:
I'll start with that. First, the value for value concept started about 11 or 12 years ago, almost probably close to the 13. When Jhansi, Dvorak and I were doing the show, we were doing it on a regular basis. And it was taking up real time. And we said, Hey, this takes real time. We love doing it, we see this people out there love it, you got to send us something, but instead of saying, saying $5, or, you know, making up some arbitrary amount, who said, whatever it's worth to you. So I would literally say just listen to us for an hour, what is an hour of your time worth? What was it that getting anything out, if you didn't get anything out of it, please don't send anything. And there's no penalty, you can listen to it whenever you want. If you're listening, then you clearly find some value, and it was $1 send that. So what we found very quickly is people are happy to send $5. So I'm actually will send you 50. And there's always a couple who will send you 500. That's a mind boggling experience. And then you learn very quickly that if you remind people that this is an outstanding product, if you do have to make good product, a lot of people will never make money because it's just not good enough. But I believe that even if 10 people love your podcast, they will be they will sustain you. You just have to say I need an X amount to get by, and this is what I need. And if you don't do it, then I have to go find something else to do. It's not begging it's value for value. It's It's interesting, I think the most important thing I hear for me to hear is someone who I respect as an interviewer, a host a personality, whatever it is, to all of a sudden break away and do some bullcrap spin about some product, you know, they don't give a crap about superbeets Fine, whatever. You know, that, to me is insulting. That's really insulting. I'm not against advertising. But I did find that the nature of podcasting is incompatible with advertising. And I don't mean Tommy, john, I don't mean Squarespace, I'm talking about brand advertising, Procter and Gamble, a BMW General Motors, pharmaceutical a guy but that's where your money is. Otherwise, you're just stirring around a little pieces of food, if we're serious about it. We're brand unsafe by nature. And there's no way for anybody to go through every single podcast to make sure that nothing offensive was said, and you know, where we're at it's advertising is now being used as a weapon. And that's the canceled cultures. It's because someone doesn't like you would go after your advertisers. That's it, not because of what you say necessarily. It's just a wedge, it's a tool. That's why advertising is censorship. It took me eight years and $65 million to learn that it didn't work in podcasting, you can't scale it, it's not interesting. And and what you wind up doing is classroom, a whole bunch of ads over mediocre content, I want no part of that. Understand that people need to be paid. You really have to think in a in a postmodern way. So value for value is not restricting your access, not gatekeeping what you can listen what I'm doing, but reminding you that what I'm doing is valuable and making the friction for you to get something to me as easy as possible. Now, let me talk about the landscape because I've thought about this, and I'm not ready to talk about everything. But there's definitely a strategy in mind. So about 3% of the no agenda audience supports it financially 50 to 60% and support it with time and talent. So you know, there's a large part of people who just we don't know what they're doing, they're not doing anything. They're not contributing, they're just hanging out fine. So the time and talent of sort of the three value for value, time, talent and treasure, time and talent that's making the show and where appropriate. People get credited as a producer. Most of them want to be kept anonymous, but people get a huge kick out of hearing their information being used and that's how it should be. They are putting the show to get I mean, we're so great. What cause x VJs so good. Oh man, I'm just jacking away. I can take the hits can put it together. I can make it flow. And I've learned a lot along the way. But it's really the producers who do that. Now the treasure part is people who turns out numerology they want to send a message to so they'll send a number 333 $69 and 69 cents me, I want to get laid 41 you know, the 42, the most important number in the universe on pi days $3 and 14 cents $31 and 41 cents $314. And we of course, you can find exactly what money is coming in, we give you the amounts, we tell you who sent it. And people have a message and they have something to say, I love you. I love my husband, happy birthday, or wow man that really affected me or I had my kids listen to this, or I actually know what's going on with this. So it's a it's another feedback loop. And it's copyable. It's not that hard to do. So we know that people are willing to do it. And that's about 3%. I think 1% is doable for anybody 1% of your audience should be able you should be able to have them support you financially. If we look at the IAB numbers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which who knows, but let's just say there's 100 million people in the United States who listen to podcasts, on average, a listened to one hour a day, seven days a week. So value an hour at $1. So we have 100 million people 1% of that is a million times your dollar an hour is a million dollars a day of people willing to give their money to podcasts they listen to. I think that's an interesting market to start with. Because once you got them that, you know, you can just $1 $1 per hour. That's a lot of money. And I think we can I think we know how to go after it. And it's going to make it frictionless. It will ultimately start with a better proposition than what we are offering today. Spotify thinks that music is a better music. And podcasting is a better proposition. I believe we can make podcasting, more exciting, better, much more interactive. Some of the stuff I'm seeing talked about, about sending, having chapter markers being sent back into the database for distribution, that now you're getting something interesting that people are also able to contribute in some way to, to the program, even though it's not directly in the program, they're doing something, they're adding something they're adding value. So my dream is you press a button, and you've got mp3 bits coming one way, and there's some money stream going back the other way. And it's not one to one, there's a couple other people in that loop. And I think we're going to be able to see that in the next well, we got to close out this first namespace is going to freeze that down and you know, get as many people on board as possible. And I mean that the uptake has been really fantastic. And it's like, it's like things fall in our lap. All of a sudden, Spotify kicks off for so called q anon podcast. Well, I've listened to the X 22 podcasts and oh my gosh, it's so offensive, please, why wouldn't someone put together a conspiracy theorist podcast app? that just does that? Why not? Why not? Have the god casters do their own beautiful app just for each individual religion? I don't know it. It doesn't all have to be a big library of you can share, you can search but you know, there's reasons why. I think app developers who are creating experiences can promote a certain something that they are also promotional people, they need to promote their wares. But I don't want them doing it for a stupid banner ad. I want to be in the mix. So I'm gonna have to back the ATM up to this puppy and show everybody and then maybe we'll maybe something will come out of it. You know? You something fun will happen. Not thank you enough. Because when when Dave told me that, you know you guys were what you guys were doing, first of all, how it makes so much sense. You really jumped in and it's really been incredible kind and the blog post that that really helps. And it's going to get us somewhere it's really going to get us somewhere. Yeah,Tom:
that's our hope. That's howAdam:
it is Travis ever say anything. You just make him sit there.Kevin:
Oh, he can talk to Travis. And Mike's on right, buddy?Travis:
Oh, I love to talk. SoAdam:
I'm just looking at Travis the whole time like anything.Travis:
So so here's something that I think will be really helpful for the average podcaster that's listening. That's trying to figure out their place in this conversation. So a lot of the conversation gets elevated to the Joe Rogan's of the world and the NPR of the world and it's like 1%Tom:
of the 1%Travis:
it becomes like an untouchable conversation. Right. And so I think that the thing that I would love to hear from you is the developer thing. And I know this is an overused word, but developing the intimacy between hosts and listeners, and the downstream effects of investing in better listening experiences, both from a index side from a host side from an app developer side to make podcasting, even more special than it already is, to then really help you know, drive that narrative of podcasting is not about getting the hundred thousand subscriber play button from YouTube. But it's about connecting really strongly with a handful of people that really love what you do. So I just love to hear kind of your vision for how you're hoping podcasts index and podcasting. 2.0 is able to bring that to life in the future.Adam:
Well, you know that Travis, you can't just like you can't make a great code writer developer, they are. Not every person who's doing a podcast, you know, is going to be great. In fact, a lot probably will be pretty mediocre as as you'd expect. Personally, I think the the the jewel for podcasting is in, understand, and that's the pot, it's not really a technology issue. It's just your honor. Do you listen to your audience? And what's your takeaway, and you know, I give everybody everyone gets some form of answer on the email, you may be macro it by me to do thanks, but I meant it, and I sent it. But in general, I really think the audience needs to be a part of the production, that's not appropriate for a lot of shows that people like cereal as an example. And but I think I personally find it a little bit boring, I want to hear the audience is a part of it. And I want people to think they're a part of it. Even if they're not participating, or that there's that possibility to be a part of it through one of many, many ways. That's, that's really a talent. And it has nothing to do with the technology is, how do you use this medium, we always use the new medium with the programming from the previous one. So you know, it's taken a little while, but I think I've seen it all along is there's a different way to communicate with the audience and get them involved. And they'll support it because it's about them. Now, in this case, I have a pretty broad topic, but I could do it for any I could do it for helicopters and stuff. As long as I know what I'm talking about, I could do about any topic, and it would just depend on what my goals are. But I think again, take that 1%. So if you have no if you got 1000 people that are listening, and you can get him, Well, can you get 10 of them to listen to participate with finances, and 40% giving you other things? I think I think that's the magic right there. It's like this, you're doing a podcast for your customers. I mean, let me Why am I even telling you this, you figured it out already. I mean, you are doing exactly what I'm talking about. This this is this is for your, for your for your your community, your tribe, whether it's 10 people or 10,000,Kevin:
thank you so much for for coming on and talking to our audience. And I hope that this helps our customers and our fans understand what we're doing and why we've invested so much time, effort and energy into supporting the podcast index and working on this namespace and rolling out features that might not have necessarily been at the top of your list. But you know, we see that they're important. And they're important, not just for Buzzsprout, and for the Buzzsprout customers, but for the community at large and protecting the space that we all care and love. And so that's what we're doing. That's what we're excited about. Adam, we thank you so much for kicking it off and for being the pod father, and for your time today.Adam:
Thank you and again, thank you so much for what would you guys have been doing individually and as a team and pay attention everybody because this doesn't happen all that often where you get a whole bunch of people who just have some loose common goals working together and and sprouts and trees coming out of it. And anyone who's listening or watching can be an active part of that. So we look forward to seeing as many people come play as we can get and thank you