Podfading, Spotify’s Podcasting Ambitions, High-Quality Crap, Going Local, and More

Hello People, here’s issue 5 of the weekly roundup. There were some really interesting developments this week which may change the course of the industry for good. So, read on! 

Feel like fading out yet?

Starting a podcast today is easier than ever but creating a good podcast is harder than ever. There was a time during 2006-2010 when you could have started a podcast, just because you wanted to, without worrying if there was an audience out there. But as the medium has evolved, so has the effort required to create a successful podcast.

Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry, one of the largest podcast hosts, spoke to Stephen Goldstein of Amplfi Media about the trend of Podfading.

Cochrane says that in the 90 day period of April, May and June of this year, only about 20% of the 540,000 podcasts produced a fresh episode.  
It doesn’t change much when the variable is altered from 90 days to 12 months — 132,000 of the total 540,000 created a new show in all of 2017.  That clocks in at just under 25% of all podcasts with new production.  So the inverse; 75% of podcasts are no longer in production.

The thing that struck me the most was this comment

The arc of podcasting may see a parrallel in the blog surge of ten years ago. Everybody had one, and then over time, they didn’t.

This quote perfectly sums up the realities of podcasting today. A maturing medium means that individual podcasters will have a harder time breaking through. Increasing professionalization will separate the men from the boys. This might sound a little discouraging to new podcasters, but this is a new reality. Good shows will ultimately rise to the top, it might be a hard slog, but what isn’t?

Spotifhigh!

Spotify has been increasingly making some interesting moves in the podcasting space. Last year it had launched 3 originals: Showstopper, Unpacked, and The Chris Lighty Story. This year the company signed top comedian Amy Schumer in a reported $1 million deal to create a new show, 3 Girls 1 Keith. In May of this year, it added the entire NPR catalogue and this month the BBC catalogue to the platform.

This week, it signed a deal with Joe Budden, host of the popular show, The Joe Budden Podcast to make it exclusively available on Spotify. It also launched a new branded podcast “Ebb & Flow,” in partnership with New Amsterdam Vodka. The show hosted by Jasmine Solano will feature conversations with hip-hop and RnB artists. Solano is also the ambassador of the vodka brand.

In a statement, Rob Walker, global director, creative solutions said

“Ebb & Flow” is not Spotify’s first original podcast, though. It launched 3 Girls, 1 Keith and plans on adding more this year

With these moves, it looks like the company is trying to diversify its revenues. Last year, the company paid ¢79 of every $1 dollar back to the right holders. With podcasting slowly attracting the ad dollars, Spotify seems to be placing an early bet. The company with over 180 million monthly listeners is present in 65 countries.

The company in filing in the run up to its IPO has said

“We believe there is a large opportunity to grow Users and gain market share from traditional terrestrial radio. … A migration away from radio broadcasting is likely and it will benefit both consumers and artists alike.”

Spotify is not the only music streaming player to bet on podcasting. Pandora, its US rival also seems to betting big on podcasting. We had written about it podcasting ambitions in issue #3. But whatever the reason given its massive reach, Spotify can potentially bring millions of new listeners in the podcasting fold.

Rob Walch, VP Podcaster Relations at Libsyn appearing on the NZ Tech Show a month ago revealed that Spotify accounts for 7% of their downloads. He also said that the iOS to Android consumption ratio on Spotify for Libsyn stood at 0.74:1, which means that a significant amount of podcasts are being consumed on Android.

On the other platforms, this ratio stood at 5.2:1. Remeber, Android is the dominant mobile operating system in the world present on 75.9% of all smartphones. We have been from day one on this blog saying that podcasters should also focus on being on Google Podcasts to ensure they are accessible to Android audiences which even in the US make for over 48%.

Spotify does seem to be getting its podcasting act right and I hope that they continue to hit the right notes. Spotify currently allows only approved hosting platforms to submit podcasts. If you aren’t already on Spotify, it’s time to contact your host.

High Quality Crap!

Tom Webster, SVP, Edison Research wrote a post titled “Where Does Podcasting Go Next? A manifesto for growth”. In this post, he popped the “Podcasting is growing” bubble in a brutal fashion. In this episode on The Marketing Companion, he talks about this post and as you’d expect for Tom, the conversation was incredibly insightful. 

I could write a brief of the episode, but nothing beats listening to the conversation. 

Castles and microphones

Podcasting seems to be on the rise in Slovakia. According to a survey by The Slovak Spectator, the country with about 30 odd podcasts is seeing growth both in terms of audiences and programming. 

On stranger tides

Podcasters Hall of Famer and Community manager at Libsyn, Elsie Escobal recently hosted Broadcasters Meet Podcasters as part of the Podcast Movement. In this post, she about 5 thinks that radio broadcasters should know about podcasting. Even though it’s meant for people from radio, there are plenty of takeaways for podcasters as well.

Armented!

Marco Arment, creator of the popular podcast app overcast was on the Wolf Den podcast. Marco Arment is one of my favourite writers and thinkers in podcasting. He has some strong options about a lot of important issues and developments in podcasting and is a vocal proponent of the open nature of podcasting. I haven’t listened to this episode yet, but it can’t be anything but awesome. 

In The Spotlight

This week had a really insightful chat with Rahul Nair, founder of Storiyoh about the idea behind the platform, his thoughts on competition, and a whole lot of other things. Rahul had a lot of interesting perspectives and I had a really good time asking him these questions. You can read the full conversation here

Perspectives

Last week I was listening to Nicholas Quah, creator of the Hot Pod Newsletter on The Substack Podcast. At a point during the show, he says  “Everything is connected” or something to that effect. This got me thinking about how interconnected things are and how we can learn from things that might seem totally unrelated. So, in this segment, I’ll share interesting developments from other industries that podcasters can learn from

Starting off with Netflix. The company which came from humble beginnings today has disrupted both Hollywood and TV. As cliched as this saying might be, change is truly around the corner. Netflix never had an easy ride. Its first disruption was the movie rental business. It fought a long drawn battle against Blockbuster, which in hindsight, never did stand a chance and came out victorious. 

It then rather stealthily, entered the world of original content right under the noses of the major Hollywood studios and redefined how shows are made and launched. This piece on Variety makes for an interesting read. As a podcaster, you can be disrupted anytime. The disruption may be in the form of formats, content, style or anything else for that matter. It may even be in the form of an AI bot doing a better job at running a show than you. So, unless you are constantly on your toes and delight your listeners, high chance that your show will lose relevance  

Also, if you wish to learn more about how Netflix battled the media titans, The Business Wars podcast is highly recommended.

Voices From India

Anniversary episodes! Hurray!

Itihaas – The Indian History podcast
The show hosted by Sneha Gore celebrated its first year anniversary earlier this month.

The Inspiring Talk
The show by Bijay Gautam also celebrated its first year anniversary in August.

Kudos and here’s to many more!

Going local!

Vernacular podcasts might very well be the next big thing in the Indian podcasting space! Although India is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, there is a glaring shortage of content in local languages. With increasing smartphone and internet penetration, regional content is poised for growth. Here are some early movers who have taken a leap of faith.

Hindi

Premchand ki Kahaniyaan or Stories of Premchand 
With a voice that induces nostalgia and makes the listener crave for more, Samir Goswami makes a brilliant rendition of Stories by Munshi Premchand in a way that captivates the listeners’ imagination. One of the top-rated podcasts on iTunes India charts.

Puliyabaazi
This podcast features in-depth conversations on politics, public policy, technology, philosophy, and more. Presented by tech entrepreneur Saurabh Chandra and public policy researcher Pranay Kotasthane, the show features thought-provoking conversations with experts.

Tamil

Puram, the podcast on NewsMinute
Puram is a newly launched interview style podcast that features conversations with politicians and policymakers on their vision for society and on their motivation to become a politician. A conversation that hopes to bring out their raison d’etre which is increasingly a vanishing part of the political discourse.

Curry Podcasts 
History is fascinating, rude and, often not true. Join Naveen Haldorai as he narrates, in Tamil, What Happened to India, some of the real stories from throughout Indian History, as they happened. The podcast starts off with a beautiful narrative of the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to find India.

Kannada

The State News
The team at State News and Sugata Srinivasaraju were perhaps the first to bring Kannada podcasts mainstream. Check out their podcasts ranging from the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharatha to a show on the Constitution.

Telugu

Telugu Bytes
A podcast in Telugu about technology, programming, music, movies, life in the Bay Area, and other stuff.

Learn Podcasting

Podcasting 101 – podcast workshop by Chhavi Sachdev
Learn the tools you need to create your thought-provoking podcast from start to finish. Have you got something to say? If you’d like to learn about what it takes to put out a podcast, this workshop is for you.

When: On Saturday, September 1st, 10 AM – 2 PM
Where: Doolally Taproom, Khar, Mumbai.

Online group podcast coaching by Bijay Gautam
Interested in launching your own awesome podcast? Join Bijay and other 9 other participants who are as crazy as you are to take their message to the world using audio. Class starts September 9.

And this!

Weekly Recommendations

From this week, we’ll be publishing our weekly recommendations as a separate post. Since the Weekly Roundups were largely industry and creators focussed, the recommendations seemed out of place. 

Here are this week’s recommendations:

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Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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