Hey podheads, this was pretty eventful week to say the least. Here’s issue #33.
Not everything is illuminated
Luminary, the new startup with a $100 million war chest and dreams of being the “Netflix of podcasting” launched to an incredibly hostile reception. Luminary is now available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
Luminary currently offers 23 odd exclusives but it aims to ultimately increase the number to over 40. The app is pretty much like any other podcast player and you can use it to listen to pretty much all the shows distributed on open feeds. The exclusives will cost you $7.99 a month.
Anyway, plenty of networks and shows were absent on the platform or pulled out later. Gimlet and Spotify’s shows weren’t available right from the launch. iHeart, WaitWahat, Endeavor Audio Barstool Sports, Joe Rogan, Owen Williams among others decided to pull their shows later. The New York Times decided to withhold The Daily. Ashley Carmen over at Verge has a nice round-up.
Quoting from another article, again by Ashley Carmen:
By withholding their shows, the Times and Spotify are setting Luminary up to fail — or at least struggle to get off on the right foot with users. It certainly seems like the first shot fired in the inevitable premium podcast war and could destabilize one of the first buzzy, well-funded entrants before it can make a dent in the industry. The decisions that happen now will reshape the way podcasts are distributed in the future.
I don’t know if this is that dramatic. My guess is that this will sort itself over a period of time.
As if this wasn’t bad, another controversy over the way the app serves podcasts broke out. Although a few people raised concern that Luminary was caching and serving the podcasts, turns out that was not the case. They had to put out a statement clarifying this:
If Luminary was caching the episodes, the original host wouldn’t be able to track the downloads. Turns out, Luminary was serving the podcast through a proxy server.
After the initial uproar, Luminary switched to HTTP 302 redirects.
(There are lots of other reasons to dislike them, and I’m sure they’ll keep giving us more, but at least this one appears to be resolved.)— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) April 25, 2019
It also turns out that the Luminary app was stripping donate links and sponsor info from the show notes.
Man, what a rough start it has been.
On a side note, this Digiday article had an interesting nugget on how much Luminary is paying creators:
One source, who asked not to be identified, said Luminary was offering anywhere from $700,000 to $1.5 million per show, provided that show hit subscriber acquisition targets for Luminary.
A new dawn
Amit Doshi, founder of IVM Podcasts wrote an interesting piece on podcasting in India.
India is just rediscovering the pleasure of listening to conversations. India is also a unique market, in terms of size, diversity, languages, demographics, income levels, attitudes around speech and conformity and so many other variables. I think this will lead to the creation of a distinctive podcasting culture, where the kind of content that works will be very different from what we are seeing in other parts of the world.
Being an Indian, I certainly hope so 🙂
A new tune
Universal Media Group (UMG), one of the worlds largest music labels has partnered with Wondery. Under the new partnership UMG will work with Wondery to produce podcasts that can be adapted to films and TV. This LA Times piece has more info.
Streaming giants and podcasts
Pandora announced that some of the popular SiriusXM talk shows will now be available as podcasts on the platform. This is a nice way for Pandora to leverage the new ownership. Content from shows such as Andy Cohen, Ricky Gervais, Kevin Hart, Hoda Kotb, Jenny McCarthy, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, and Sway will now be available.
Brian Benedik, Vice President and Global Head of Advertising at Spotify talks all things podcasts.
After months of drama, Gimlet finally agreed to recognize the union formed by its employees. This writeup by Brian Menegus of Gizmodo has more details.
Note To Self’s Manoush Zomorodi: Podcasting needs to experiment with new revenue models. – Aditi Sangal/Digiday
SiriusXM’s new streaming-only ‘Essential’ plan targets smart speaker owners. – Sarah Perez/Techcrunch
Acast acquires podcast host Pippa. – Alison Weissbrot/AdExchanger
Facebook wants in on the voice action and is building a service to take on the likes of Google, Amazon, and Apple. – Josh Constine/Techcrunch
Cadence13, the podcast production, and distribution company is launching C13Originals – its own originals banner. –
Natalie Jarvey/ The Hollywood Reporter
Mark Zuckerberg launched his own podcast,
own podcast, Tech & Society with Mark Zuckerberg. – Brian Heater/Techcrunch