Buzzcast

Unraveling a Podcast Mystery in Lake Stevens, Washington + What Happened To Apple Podcasts?

December 04, 2020 Episode 40
Buzzcast
Unraveling a Podcast Mystery in Lake Stevens, Washington + What Happened To Apple Podcasts?
Chapters
0:00
See what happens...
0:34
A mystery at Lake Stevens
10:05
"How do I identify my listeners?"
14:35
What happened to Apple Podcasts?
25:02
"When should you monetize your show?"
32:28
Podcasting jargon and tech talk
Buzzcast
Unraveling a Podcast Mystery in Lake Stevens, Washington + What Happened To Apple Podcasts?
Dec 04, 2020 Episode 40

In this episode, we investigate why so many podcasters are seeing downloads from Lake Stevens, discuss the sudden drop in downloads from Apple Podcasts, and answer listener questions from the Buzzsprout Facebook group.

Links from this episode:


Check out our new Buzzsprout merch store on Cotton Bureau.

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

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

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we investigate why so many podcasters are seeing downloads from Lake Stevens, discuss the sudden drop in downloads from Apple Podcasts, and answer listener questions from the Buzzsprout Facebook group.

Links from this episode:


Check out our new Buzzsprout merch store on Cotton Bureau.

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.

Kevin:

I mean, if you want to test it out next time you get on a plane, whoever you're sitting next to ask them what they're listening to, as soon as they put their earbuds in. And then like every five minutes, ask them what they're listening to. And then when they get off the plane, follow them, and keep asking them what they're listening to. And when every time look at their phone and say, Well, what website are you going to? And then if they get an Uber say, hey, do you mind if I hop in your Uber with your share nuber and then keep asking them what they're listening to what they're doing on their phone, and keep writing it down. Or you go I think we've discovered the number one city for podcasting in the world. Lake Stevens, Washington, was brought to our attention by someone in our Facebook group. And they asked the question, why do I have so many downloads from Lake Stevens, Washington, my podcast and started people started checking their stats, and everyone is getting lots of downloads from like Stephens pug, or like Stephens, Washington for their podcast. And the question is, is this a huge town? Is this a town where people are just all they're doing is going to coffee shops and listening to podcasts? What's happening in Lake Stevens? And I feel like we need to take a trip out there and investigate.

Alban:

Okay, so it's definitely not the population. I had to look this up Lake Stevens, population spiked in the 2000s to 21,000 people, and has since then grown to 33,000. We're looking at 33,000 people live in Lake Stevens, Washington. And yet somehow, they account for something like 3% of podcast place. And we're seeing that across all these podcasts. I mean, somebody posted, hey, this is kind of weird that I'm getting a few downloads here. And is this thread the Facebook group? It's like 100 comments of people chiming in with their own stats where this small town is super over represented.

Travis:

Yes. And Buzzcast is no exception. So I was curious, how affected we were, by this deep, vast semi government conspiracy to listen to everyone's podcasts, and Lake Stevens, Washington is the number three city for Buzzcast over the last five episodes. So you have Atlanta, which you know, it's big city, you got Jacksonville. So all of us and our spouses and friends that listen to us talk and then like Stevens is right there underneath that.

Alban:

Atlanta in Jacksonville make perfect sense. We live close to Atlanta. Buzzsprout is based in Jacksonville. And we know a lot of podcasters here, so that makes sense. That's number two. Okay, so what what is this? There's, there's a bunch of comments in here. And I think the reason this thread stuck out to me is because it's hilarious. There's, you know, people are going out some conspiracy theories. There's armies of people listening to podcast, 24, seven under Lake Stevens. I don't know if there even is a lake there. But

Travis:

there isn't like there. I did check.

Kevin:

Why would they be under? It's so much easier to be on top of

Alban:

it. It's a conspiracy theory. It doesn't. It has to feel true. It doesn't have to be true.

Travis:

Where else are you gonna hide that many podcast listeners, Kevin?

Kevin:

I think I have to hide them. There's nothing illegal about listening to podcasts. There's air pod on a pontoon boat and listen than it is to get in the submarine. Okay, so

Alban:

we've got some theories. I think we've got to figure it out. So what could this be?

Travis:

So my favorite theory is that there is an army of podcast listening robots that are trying to find surface popular podcasts for the future social media podcast listening Mecca platform, that the giant that Facebook and Instagram and tik tok will collaborate on.

Alban:

I've got a theory, there was actually a reply all about this. He has listened to a file. Yeah. There's a episode recently about a family that bought a house that like every month, people show up, and they're like, Hey, is my phone at your house? Like I lost my phone and the doc says it's at your house? Yeah, it's actually a really good episode, they end up finding out, it's all these IP addresses that were not actually assigned to the correct location. They're all just kind of assigned down the road somewhere. And so because of that, all the GPS lookups are kind of messing up. And they're just kind of saying, Hey, we don't know exactly where it is. But it's, maybe it's this house is doing the best guests it can. So is there a chance we're just seeing a bunch of Miss assigned IP addresses that are showing up inside of like Stephens?

Kevin:

Yeah. This that's the most plausible explanation. So in Lake Stevens, Washington, if you do a Google search, you search for Lake Stevens, Washington data center or AWS, you'll find that there are a lot of data centers their first one right reason or another, I don't know all the reasons that go into choosing a good location for a data center. but evidently, that checks a lot of boxes. And there are data centers there. So I imagine it looks like Google has some data centers there. Amazon has some data centers there. And there's a lot of other Colocation Data Centers, which are just like third party data centers, where people who have big computing networks put a lot of computers. And one of the things that data centers do is they get there, one of their responsibilities is handing out IP addresses to local ISP, local internet service providers. So if you get your IP address from whoever, Comcast, or xfinity or brighthouse, or spectrum, or whoever you get your cable modem from, or I don't know what other types of internet there is, but whoever you get your internet from, they're going to assign you an IP address, they get those IP addresses from other places. And the main place that they get them is from data centers, or like tier one internet providers. Once those addresses get handed off to them, they're supposed to register them with IP address location databases, so that we know that these IP addresses are now being handed out in Jacksonville, Florida, or Atlanta, Georgia, if they don't reassign the geolocation of that IP address, or there's a delay, because we just got a whole new block of them and we switched everybody out. And there's a delay between handing out those new IP addresses and updating the databases, then what you're gonna get is you're gonna get the old address, and the old address might be the datacenter address. So Huh, that's the theory that makes the most sense to me, which is that lake Stevens, Washington, for whatever reason, is handing out a bunch of IP addresses. And there's some lag or delay or negligence on behalf of the ISP and updating the location of those of those IP addresses as they're distributing them to all of their customers.

Alban:

So this theory, originally came from Ashley Hackett and the thread who said, hey, there's an Amazon fulfillment center. Wait, there's actually an Amazon server there. And that that sounds pretty plausible. It's still kind of crazy, though. It's only 30,000 people. And how do they have these like, all these were houses and they're say like, the number one data center in the United States is in a city of 30,000? People?

Kevin:

I don't know which question they answer your question about how many people does it take to run a data center? I don't know. But probably not that many good is good. A town of 30?

Alban:

Why are you got you the question?

Kevin:

That was a weird off the wall question. Yes, I think the town of 30,000 could support a data center. And I think it'd be really glad to have it. You don't need a lot of people to run a data center, they just need to keep the power on the AC running. Here's the other thing that I discovered in my investigation is that this seems to be a pretty recent anomaly that we're finding, like if we go and look at all of our episodes, like Stephens Washington is very low on our list. But if we look at like our last five episodes, like Stephens pops up to number three. And so what I think happened is that one of the data centers and like Stephens recently assign, like, gave out a whole bunch of IP addresses all over the United States, or potentially the world. And the, the geo lookups on those IP addresses haven't updated the databases yet. So they're all still registers like Stephens. But I think over the next weeks or months, they're going to start to fall into the correct cities.

Travis:

And that does make sense because Tom made sure that they like actually dug into the our stats platform to make sure that they were legitimate. And these are all legitimate podcast episode downloads, right. So it's not a bot spoofing something and fooling us into, you know, showing a bunch of downloads that didn't actually exist. These are real people. They just happened to be pulling the download into a device that has an IP address without a location attached to it. So it's defaulting to an updated location. Right. Yeah. The the factory setting, right, the, whatever the original IP address came from.

Kevin:

Yeah, that's close enough. What's happening? Close enough summer.

Alban:

Well, I guess that makes sense. I'm actually I want to hear this though. Is there actually somebody there? Like, I know there's 30,000 people but like, do we actually have listeners in Lake Stevens? If you are a listener in Lake Stevens, we want to hear from you. And we need boots on the ground to figure out this conspiracy. Kevin has an idea. He thinks it's this data center thing. Who knows? I think there could still be a conspiracy.

Kevin:

That's totally fine. You're from Lake Stevens, Washington. And you drop us an email at support@buzzsprout.com and you have a shipping address. That is Lake Stevens Washington, we will ship you some Buzzsprout swag.

Alban:

Wow. That's actually that's a pretty good way of getting this data and then you will be our boots on the ground as we investigate this Buzzsprout is now could actually have an investigative journalism. Our

Kevin:

of the show you live in next episode as you walk around and talk to people about all the podcasts they listen to. I mean,

Travis:

I've been saying for months, we need to start a Buzzsprout True Crime podcast. This could be This could be our entry point, guys.

Alban:

This kind of goes back to one of our listener questions this week, Georgie asked, How do you know who your listeners are? And specifically, if you wanted to reach a person to input from them? How could he actually reach them? So I've got, we've got two answers, one of them is the marketing, the sleazy marketing answer that I can give you. And the and then we can give you like the ethical Buzzsprout answer, the sleazy marketing answer is something we don't do. But there's services out there, like clearbit, I think is probably the number one in the world that basically collect all this data about people. And then you will feed them the data that you know, like, Hey, I know this email address, or I know this IP address, I know this info. And then they connect it with the larger profile that they have. So I'm sure clear bit right now is kind of they understand this whole lake Stevens conspiracy thing better than anyone else, because they see all of their, they're actually saying, Oh, we know the person isn't in that location. And yet, that's where their IP addresses. That's actually one of the reasons we we would never use clear bit and why we don't Buzzsprout show things like gender, or age, because to get that data, you pretty much have to hook up with one of these companies that does kind of all this creepy building profiles on people. So if you ever get a host that gives you that info, that's how they're doing it, what's the ethical answer,

Kevin:

the ethical answer is to talk to your audience on your podcast, and ask them to connect with you in one way or another. So go to your website, fill out my contact form, you can set up a speakpipe page where they can leave you a voicemail, you give them your contact information to find you on social networks, what whichever ones you're on. And Twitter is a very popular one you can find me at Twitter at and you give them your handle. And so that's a that's the easiest way. And then you can get more complicated if you want. So like, you can start collecting email addresses on your website, or through what other ways are there I don't know, I guess websites the main way to collect email addresses. But yeah, collect email addresses, start sending out an email every time you launch an episode. Or if you have questions for your audience, put a questionnaire together and link to it from an email that you send them. So there's very easy ways to connect with your audience. But it usually involves like the ethical way involves asking them if they would like to connect with you and then giving them opportunities to opt into that, to choose to connect with you, as opposed to you being a sleuth, or hooking up with a personal information company and trying to find out information about them that they didn't necessarily want to share. That's we don't really recommend that we recommend inviting your audience to connect with you if they choose to,

Travis:

or driving to like Stevenson and knocking on their door and saying, hey, you listen, my podcast.

Kevin:

Demons are where most of them are Anyway,

Alban:

what podcasts are you listening to? It's very interesting to me how we've gotten into this world where there are certain things that are acceptable online, that are totally unacceptable in real life. I mean, just imagine, if you pulled this clear bit stuff in real life you like, we're driving down the road, and like, you saw somebody, and he took a picture of them, and you uploaded it to a website, and learned everything about them their address, their phone numbers, their emails, and then you went up to them and said, like, Hey, I know you're, you know, you have this medical condition, like when you want to buy this medicine from me. And like, they'd be like, wow, you're an insane person. Like, that's totally inappropriate. And yet online. This is like totally fair game, you get one little piece of info about someone and then it's like, oh, yeah, just connect it up with their profiles. And go ahead and try to sell them whatever, you know, junk you have.

Kevin:

Yeah, I mean, if you want to test it out, next time you get on the plane, whoever you're sitting next to ask them what they're listening to, as soon as they put their earbuds in. And then like every five minutes, ask them what they're listening to. And like, start reading. And then when they get off the plane, follow them, and keep asking them what they're listening to. And when every time look at their phone, say well, what website are you going to? And then if they get an Uber say, do you mind if I hop in your Uber with your share nuber and then keep asking them what they're listening to what they're doing on their phone, and keep writing it down.

Travis:

If you ever wondered what pepper spray felt like, you will probably find that flavor. So in the last episode, we talked about our new global stats dashboard. So when you log into Buzzsprout and you go to your stats, you can see your downloads, you can see where in Lake Stevens people download your podcast. You can see trends and stuff like that. Well now we pull all that information from all of our Buzzsprout podcast and show it across the entire platform. So you can see as a snapshot month over month, how podcasting on Buzzsprout is growing, the apps that are moving up and down the charts, you can see the number of episode downloads, you would need to get into certain ranges of podcasts like top 50%, top 25%, stuff like that. And so being December 4, when you hear this podcast, we now have the November stats up. So just wanted to go through some things that you'll notice that are different than October. And, you know, we'll just kind of see how these different apps are sorting themselves out. I mean,

Alban:

there's one massive difference that stuck out to me, the day that I looked at the stats and that Apple podcast percent dropped. So in in October, we were saying Apple podcasts makes up 47% of all plays for Buzzsprout. And then we actually ended up saying, oh, a November it's only 32%. So they dropped 15%, which was 10 million place. Yeah, that that really jumps out to me is enough that I wrote Tom and was like, Hey, I think there's a bug because there's no way that's true. What What happened there?

Kevin:

So point of clarity, when Alvin says plays, he means downloads? And that's a question that we get, oftentimes, too, and we don't have to go super deep on it. But we do use those terms interchangeably. Sometimes, although they could mean something different to you. And so to a lot of people ask, like, How do I know, if somebody actually listened, we don't actually provide that data at Buzzsprout. To get that data, you need to log in to your Apple podcast Connect account, or your Spotify account or your Google dashboard thing, Google podcast dashboard. When we talk about downloads, we mean downloads. And sometimes we say listens replays, but it's all downloads to us. Because that's the data that we get. We know, when someone requests your episode from our server, and pulls it off. We don't know if they're streaming it live, and listening to it as it's downloading, or if they're downloading it to us and later, and if they do download to listen to it later. We don't know if they actually ever listened to it. So for the purposes of this conversation, let's just say we're going to talk about downloads. And if we accidentally say player listens, just know that we mean downloads. So the numbers dropped significantly for Apple podcasts in November, when we ran our November numbers, and the reason for that is that we have decided to change what we're considering Apple podcasts. So when it when an application, whether it be a desktop application, or a mobile application, or anything requests an episode from our server, it tells us a little bit about itself. And Apple podcasts does a really good job of identifying itself very clearly. It says, Hey, I'm Apple podcast app, I'm running on an iPhone. This is the version of the iPhone that I'm running on. This is the version of Apple podcast app that I am. And I would like this episode. So we know very clearly that that is Apple podcasts. Now there's a bunch of other apps that also request episodes from the servers that look a little bit like Apple podcasts. But they're not clearly saying that they are Apple podcasts. So they'll say, hey, this request is coming from someone on an iPhone. And we're going to use apple core media to make this request, which is an API that's built into iOS. And so that all that stuff looks very much like a typical typical Apple podcast request, except it doesn't say, I'm specifically Apple podcasts. And so up until November of this year, we said, Gosh, that looks so much like Apple podcast, it's almost identical, that we're just going to go ahead and call it Apple Apple podcasts. But the more we looked into it, we're like, why would somebody have an app that almost looks like Apple podcasts, but is not Apple podcasts? It must be something else. And so doing some investigation and looking at we decided we're not going to call it Apple podcasts anymore, unless it's clearly 100% saying it's Apple podcasts. And when we made that change, the numbers dropped significantly.

Alban:

These are still downloads that are happening on iPhones, or iPads, some device, but we don't know exactly which app they are. It's using kind of the underlying infrastructure that is in the software.

Kevin:

Right. So if you scroll down the list of apps, you'll see other applications that we know are iOS only Apple only, like overcast. That isn't an app that runs on iPhones and I don't even know if have an iPad version but we know it's Apple only. And you cannot be running on the Android device. You cannot be running that on the desktop computer. Again, unless you're like hacking it to pieces or running it through an emulator or something. So that is always coming through and it's it's identifying itself very much like Apple podcasts, but the difference is is that it says this is overcast, and I am coming from an iPhone and I am using apple core media and all this other stuff. So if there's like 10 criteria, nine of them are identical to Apple podcasts, but one is different. And that's the name of the app. Apple podcast is on Apple podcasts and overcast is on overcast there. Some where if there's 10, checkboxes, if they check nine, and then the 10th, one is blank. And so we have been wrapping them into Apple podcasts and just saying that's our best guess it looks a lot like Apple podcasts. But the reality is, it's probably not, you know, and so that was, it's been a tough decision for us to make. But if we really want to dig into accurate stats, and try to be as accurate as possible, every play that we've ever seen from Apple podcasts, oh, we says it's Apple podcasts. So these other providers who are putting out numbers, and they're saying that Apple is still doing 50 plus percent of total downloads, I don't, that's not the data that we see. Right. And so, I mean, we're not trying to blow the lid off of, you know, uncover a story or conspiracy to make apple look bigger,

Alban:

or conspiracy or whatever.

Kevin:

We're not trying to do that we're just trying to present the the most accurate picture that we can based on the information that we have. And so what we're seeing across the Buzzsprout network, is that it's really not in the high 30s, or 40s. It's really like the low 30s of requests that we are getting, specifically from apps that identify themselves as Apple podcasts, well,

Alban:

we'll definitely keep you updated. You know, this whole project of putting out these global stats is our way of trying to be transparent and say, here's how we see the statistics changing and trying to talk through, you know, the complexities of it, I saw one person with the, you know, when they saw the lake Stevens stuff, they said, Well, you know, this makes a little bit harder to trust my stats, and I totally sympathize with that. Because we feel that way sometimes do you know, we're constantly testing and trying to figure out why do these IP addresses look weird? Why are these user agents, not what we'd expect with these device types, and we're trying to get all that together to give the most accurate data possible. And what that sometimes will mean, is taking a turn, when we go, Hey, you know, now that we've got a more clear picture, this doesn't look like Apple podcasts easy answer would have been just to delete the October page and pretend like that never happened. Though, we want to be transparent and say, This is actually a pretty big shift in our mindset. I mean, I until a few days ago was thinking, Apple podcast is still near half of downloads, it's 47%. And now I'm looking at it going, Wow, Apple puck is closer to a third, when Spotify is a quarter. Spotify is actually very close to Apple, especially when Joe Rogan just went exclusive to Spotify. I mean, next year, the year after, I would not be surprised to Spotify called Apple podcasts, especially when I'm seeing data like this.

Kevin:

Yeah, I think what I would ask people to trust is that if you're a Buzzsprout, customer trust that we are doing our best to give you the most accurate information possible. And if we get to the point ever, where we say, Hey, this is a more accurate way than the way we're doing it before, then we're going to make that change. Like regardless of what it does to the numbers of regardless of of how that looks, we're going to always err on the side of being the most accurate that we can. Yeah. Now that said, we don't have all the information that we would like we would love for every time somebody downloads something from a Buzzsprout server for them to properly identify themselves and tell us, this is the app. And this is the version and this is the iOS, and this is the correct location, and all of that kind of stuff. But we can't make this stuff up, we have to just take what we get. And then try to decipher it as best we can. And we have some very smart people who are working on that and work on all the time and consult with other people in the industry who are also working on the same things and trying to solve the same problems, and so on. This is why we say when you look at podcasts, that's it's part science, and it's part art. And anybody who says it's all science, and the numbers should match up exactly regardless of who you host with. Well, that's that's just disingenuous. In a perfect world, it would be all science, but it's not a perfect world. And app developers can do whatever they want and send whatever they want. And then we have to do our best to interpret the data that we get. And we try to be transparent with that. And so look at your stats and enjoy them from what they are looking at them at a macro level, not a micro level. If you start seeing players show up from a location where you didn't know you had any listeners say, hey, maybe I'm growing a fan base there. But also remember that I might not be maybe the location data is outdated. So I'm gonna watch it for a couple months and see how that changes. And if you're Apple podcasts play start to drop down. Well, maybe that's because we're doing a better job of clearly identifying who is Apple podcasts and who is not. And it doesn't mean that your podcast is failing or that you need to make changes to your content, it just might mean that we're getting better information or we might be getting worse information. And again, that's the art part and and trust that we're doing our best to support our customers and give you the best information that we can. Anytime there's an update, we're always erring on the side of accuracy and the best interest of our customers.

Travis:

So some other questions that we got in the Facebook group this week. One of them is from john Cal, who said, essentially, when should you monetize? I've seen a lot about how to monetize a podcast, but not the when some podcasters seem to start right away with Patreon, etc. Other say it's best to wait until you become more well known. What What should you do? So, and I think this is actually a really important question, you know, because the how the strategy The, the the actual doing of the monetization, that's certainly one thing. And we do talk a lot about that. But the one question is also really fascinating. What do you guys think about? Is there like a magic moment where it's like, you've crossed this threshold? And now is the time to start monetizing? Or how do you think about it?

Kevin:

I think podcasts are I mean, they're your thing. So it's whenever you're comfortable whenever you want to do it. I don't see anything wrong with launching your podcast and asking people to support you right away, which whichever way you want that to happen. You know, it could be, you know, support me by just sending me feedback on this episode. What did you like? What did you not like? How did I sound you want me to have more get like, help me with the format of the show, just drop me an email or go to my website or do something like that, that's supporting your show. And again, you can take that further, you can say, support me with money, if you if you can. And there's some great links in Buzzsprout. Linking out to different ways to do that, you know, there's PayPal and buy me coffee, and Patreon and everybody else and they all have their own way of making money off of people who send you money. So research them and figure out which one's going to work best for you. As far as when you like, want to start trying to do affiliate marketing, or sponsors, again, totally up to you your choice, there's not a magic number in terms of I have to have this many downloads per episode before that is, it can work? Well, let me say it this way there is in terms of your property, if you want to start approaching sponsors who are going to pay you up front. But for affiliate marketing, there's not, you can start anywhere. And I always encourage everyone to do that to start with affiliate marketing, because here's the thing, if you're not successful in affiliate marketing, then you're not going to feel good about selling sponsorships. Because this we hear this often is that somebody has a podcast and they're doing affiliate marketing. And they're saying, but I'm not making any revenue from my affiliate stuff, well, then you have to try either different product, or you have to try talking about it in a different way, or talking about a different location in your show, maybe you've been doing it as a pre roll, and maybe it should be a mid roll. Or maybe it should be a post roll. Or maybe it should be all three, maybe it shouldn't be as much of an ad should be more testimonial. So try to find a product that you actually personally use and love and can talk about authentically. But you have to experiment with that and figure out how to make money on affiliate marketing before you can go sell a sponsorship. Because if somebody buys a sponsorship with you, like it Buzzsprout bought a sponsorship on your podcast, and we paid you $500 and you're going to talk about us, we're going to figure out what the return on that was, we're going to say okay, well, we need this many customers from that buy in order to buy again. And if we don't get that, then you know, that's just a one and done deal for us. And any company is going to look at it the same way. anytime they buy an ad or sponsorship, they want to see return on it, obviously, So figure out how to do effective sponsorships how to provide value with affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing is you as the podcasters. taking the risk, I'm not getting paid anything for this upfront, I'm going to go ahead and talk about this product that I love. And I'm going to try to get some people from my audience to love it as well and make a few purchases. And when they do, I'm going to get a small commission. Once I'm doing that, well. Now I have the confidence to go out and sell a real sponsorship because I know I can drive value.

Alban:

I think my answer to this is I would try to make sure that my podcast was monetized from the beginning, but maybe not through ads, and maybe not through listener support. But through, I actually have a theory of the podcast and like why I'm doing it that actually is going to provide me the hosts some value. So maybe I should give some examples. So I'm talking about there. If you're trying to break into an industry, and you're new in the industry and you want it you're basically networking with your podcast here interviewing a lot of high level people in your industry, that is monetized that at least maybe it's not monetized is getting money, but it's doing something for you the host, and it's getting you results that will move you forward in your career. Or maybe you're trying to get some new customers. And so the way you get customers is by talking about your business or at least about what your business does. That's probably actually pretty similar to what we're doing on this podcast. We're not selling Buzzsprout here, but we are talking about the industry. And so we're naturally attracting people who are interested in the industry, and then are kind of being exposed to our brand. It'd be kind of silly for us to right now be running ads in the middle of it. Now let's talk about our sponsor, you know, and put somebody else on here. I really like that way that if when you're thinking of your podcast, kind of looking at what are my goals, and a lot of the goals are monetized to an extent and if it is mana if it is going to provide value, then I would focus on getting that value out of it. If what you really want to do is your book podcast, you want to be able to interview some of your favorite authors. Well, maybe you don't have to put ads on it until it just is a no brainer to start putting ads in and make some money. Maybe you don't stress yourself out if what you're getting is I get to have conversations with some of my favorite authors. This is fantastic.

Travis:

Yeah, that's really good feedback. Alvin, I think whenever somebody asked me this question, or whenever I ask other podcasters, how are you monetizing? Or what if? What are things that you try that have worked? And what are the things that you try that hasn't worked? Some of the common feedback I get is that ultimately, the success of whatever monetization strategy you choose, is highly dependent on how off putting it is to your listeners. And so so this goes back to the reason why host read ads are more successful, then, dynamically inserted ads that Geico records and gets to you is because one is just like a straight up interruption in what you wanted to listen to. It's like I did not click on your episode to listen to GEICO, I clicked on it to listen to you. And so you reading that same ad on Geico his behalf is one step closer to the content they were expecting. And so the more integrated you can make, whatever your strategy is, into your podcast, the more successful you will be, make sure that you choose the products that your listeners are actually interested in. Make sure that the way you deliver that monetization strategy actually feels like you're giving to them, which is why affiliate marketing is so powerful, because you're like, Hey, I use this stuff all the time. I love it. And so I recommend it to all my friends. And I consider you, my friends, if you listen to my podcast, so I want to recommend it to you. And if you use this link, then it'll help the podcast. But then as far as timing, my stock answer is wait six months after you launch to start thinking about monetization. Because there are so many things you're trying to figure out when you first get started. You know, it's like, how do I get my artwork? Exactly what I want? Do I really have my episode structure locked in? Do I have interviews scheduled have I figured out how to manage my editing workflow and all that kind of stuff, there are so many things that you're trying to figure out. Adding monetization on top of that is just one more, you know, pebble on the pile. And so it is helpful to kind of figure things out, figure out your lane that you want to stick with with your podcast and really dial that in, and then start thinking about different monetization strategies.

Alban:

Alright, so we've got another question from Jonathan, who basically is asking for kind of a primer on, you know, all these technical terms for new podcasters. He's specifically asking for us to talk about normalization, verse loudness, normalization, what is the decibel? Why is true peak negative one decibels? I personally have a question, why are decibels, even negative numbers? What is compression? We have a blog post on point for this. But is there any of this that you could speak to Travis or Kevin? Sure,

Travis:

yeah. And the definitely the best thing to do is go and read the blog post, because that will give you the best answer for some of these. And these are very nebulous ideas. And so even, like, as someone who practices these effects and editing techniques, it's still pretty out there sometimes, just on a surface level, there are some things that you do during editing that are best practices to make your podcast sound good. I mean, that's, that's just kind of the basic answer. So normalization, the normalization effect, for instance, makes all of your audio clips around the same volume. So if you have one person that's recording quieter than another, you apply normalization to both of them, and you set the the loudest part, the true peak at the same level, then after you apply that effect, they should sound like they're at the same volume. And so that's just a good practice thing to do. When you're editing your podcast, compression does something similar, it reduces the difference between your loudest near softest portions to make it sound more well rounded, more pleasant to listen to, and less harsh and jarring. So it's just a good thing to apply. And for all these things, there's not really like hard rules about what you have to do or don't have to do. So the long answer is, go read our blog posts that will link in the show notes outlining what all these terms mean. And then the short answer is, luckily for you, you don't have to have a PhD in audio engineering in order to take advantage of these effects to make your podcast sound better.

Alban:

Speaking is someone who like enjoys technical things and is on this podcast and works for a podcast company. There's quite a few of these that I could not answer. And so that's why I'm passing it off to Kevin and Travis because I'm looking at going yeah, until I started poking around about it on Korra. I really didn't know why decibels were negative. And I always thought that was interesting and I heard all these different types of normal I think there's an old post on the blog as well that Kevin did. There was basically just like, Hey, here's the seven effects you need to know, as a podcaster, to make your audio sound good. You don't have to go figure everything else out. There's just, this is a really advanced technical field that we do not need to all understand. If you're doing a podcast, you really shouldn't have to get into all this. And I'm, I'd be pretty surprised if even people like Joe Rogan are doing it as well. So you don't want to get too deep on it. If you want to just improve the sound quality. That's why we put out magic mastering in case you really want to take that next level. And yet you don't want to get super deep on all this techie stuff, then you can just turn on magic mastering.

Travis:

And then one more question, which is related to Jonathan's question about explaining technical terms with editing. Alicia wanted some advice on how to edit and or equalize multiple recordings. So if you have multiple people recording for a podcast, you're recording at different times, and you bring it all into an episode. How do you adjust the sound levels to make it all? Sound like, you know, this makes sense. This was all one concise episode, right? So

Kevin:

one, one person is not super loud, and one person's very quiet. Precisely.

Travis:

And so you would do normalization, if you're going to do it manually, I wouldn't really start to go down the EQ rabbit hole. I edit podcasts literally for a living. And I very rarely even dip my toes into EQ because there's so many ways you can screw it up. My suggestion would be if you have that problem, use normalization. To set your your tracks to all be the same volume level, make sure that you have loudness targeting turned on on your final export before you upload it to Buzzsprout or use magic mastering, which actually takes normalization to the next level, where it does adaptive leveling. So how does the adaptive leveling work with magic mastering Kevin?

Kevin:

So what adaptive leveling does instead of like normalization would just take the audio overall and adjust the whole section of audio that you have selected, and adjust it to match the true peak settings or whatever normalization settings that you have adaptive leveling, takes it every time, there's a significant change in the audio so like between one speaker in the next or between the speaker and background, music or anything else, and it takes each one of those individual segments and adjust them to the target settings, which and with magic mastering we have pre programmed in there. So it's just more precise, instead of doing it on a large segment of audio or your entire episode. It's it's cutting it into hundreds or thousands of tiny little pieces and running it individually.

Travis:

Right, because you could have one loud outburst in the middle of the episode where you like sneeze into the microphone. And if you apply normalization, it's going to take that one spike, and that now becomes your truth peak, where the rescue episode could be much quieter. By contrast, whereas doing the adaptive leveling with magic mastering would take care of that.

Kevin:

And there's there's tons of tools that some make that easier to do than others. I'm not super familiar with Audacity. But I know that there's lots of tutorials, including on the Buzzsprout YouTube channel to do normalization in Audacity and look those up. And then we use Hindenburg and Hindenburg makes it very easy. They have a setting that says like as you bring audio into your timeline, it can automatically sort of normalize it for you. And again, you don't want to get into any of this stuff, then turn on magic mastering and just let it happen. Awesome. Well,

Travis:

thank you so much for sending us your questions. If you're not yet a part of our Facebook group. Go ahead and join. We're always engaging in they're always interacting in there and thanks for listening and we'll catch you in the next one podcasting

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