Buzzcast

Will Facebook be good for podcasting? + Amazon buys Art19

July 02, 2021 Buzzsprout Episode 55
Buzzcast
Will Facebook be good for podcasting? + Amazon buys Art19
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Tom Buck joins the crew to discuss Amazon's recent acquisitions, Facebook's new social audio features, and going from a 9-to-5 career to being a full-time YouTuber.

Check out Tom's YouTube channel and his podcast, The Enthusiasm Project.

Links from this episode:


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

Buzzsprout's Dynamic Content tool now allows you to save multiple clips in your Dynamic Content Library and track how many downloads each clip receives. Learn more on our New Features page.

Travis:

It'll just be a matter of time until somebody says, You know what, we're going to bundle all of these premium content on these different platforms together into a single place. So you just pay one monthly fee, and we reinvent cable TV. But for

Alban:

God's sake come

Travis:

full circle.

Alban:

Oh, did you want HBO podcast? That's another $15 a month. Why do we do this?

Travis:

Today on Buzzcast, Amazon has gotten into the acquisition game. So we're gonna cover all the latest news of the podcasts and the companies they've reached, recently acquired. Facebook's getting into podcasts. So we'll talk about kind of what you can expect coming down the pipeline, what is currently available, what features are rolling out? Are they good for podcasters? And then also, what it's like to make the shift from a side hustle content creator to a full time content creator. Thanks to our guest host for this episode. Tom buck. Tom. Welcome to Buzzcast Thanks for making the time to hang out with us today. Yeah, thanks

Tom:

for having me. It's It's great to be back. And a lot has happened since last time. So I'm excited to talk about it.

Travis:

Oh, yes, that's that's definitely an understatement. So I think it was December of 2020. Last time you were on the show. So yeah, it'll be great to catch up with you and hear about all the awesome things epic things going on in Tom books world. Alban, how are you doing, man? Doing well,

Alban:

I just caused us to restart this recording like six times. We started that way. Oh, if echo cancellation turned on, I'll turn that off, kicked off a series of like restarts. So if you can hear this, everything's going well.

Travis:

Yes, technology is wonderful when it works. Speaking of technology and the techno giants of the world, Amazon, they seem to be taking over everything. They just went through a nice little spending spree. I guess, Jeff Bezos didn't want to stop it as $500 million yacht that needs a second yacht, just to be able to sail around the world. He's like we should we go buy some podcast companies. So Alban, what are the recent acquisitions that Amazon just made, just in the last week, and we'll walk through kind of some of the some of the downstream ramifications of some of those moves.

Alban:

Amazon got into podcasting a little while ago, where they launched, they added podcast to amazon music. And since they've done that, we've seen amazon music account for about 1% of podcasts in the podcast ecosystem, at least from the Buzzsprout side of things. That's not a small number. And they're growing. And as they continue to give podcasting bigger and bigger placement, it will do even better. And the big thing that Amazon's bringing into this is a lot of those plastic cylinders, that I won't name them, or else they'll start talking to you. But yeah, those are in a lot of people's houses. And that's a great way for people to listen to podcasts, you could say, what is you know, play this podcast play the enthusiasm project? Yeah. And those plastic cylinders and start playing an excellent podcast by our friend Tom buck. Yeah, so

Travis:

yeah, Amazon podcast. Right, Tom?

Tom:

I should be submitted. It

Travis:

was on music.

Tom:

Yeah, I submitted the request through my Buzzsprout and so I should check and make sure that I'm actually listed.

Alban:

Yeah, if you submitted it, you should be in there. But Amazon really has like, you know, taken a shot across the bow of Spotify and everybody else in the podcasting game when they bought wondery wonder is the number one podcast listen to on $500 million yachts are apparently Jim phases is like lock it up, getting

Travis:

gas, you know, got to get my fix.

Alban:

Got to get like itches. So they bought wondery for something like $300 million. I don't know if the exact number came out. And then last week, so last ob a week ago, once you listen to this, they it was announced that they acquired Art 19 Art 19 is another podcast has similar to Buzzsprout. The differences while Buzzsprout is really focused on indie creators, helping people launch shows Art 19 is kind of focused on the opposite group, which is everybody who's making these super highly produced shows mostly with there's like a team behind it. And then they do a lot with like selling ads for these really big shows. So similar technology, but very different position. And so they acquired Art 19 no number idea on how much that is but probably expensive. And then a few days ago, they just announced that they bought the or they acquired the rights to this smart less podcast, which I hadn't heard before, but Now they're going to have it on amazon music, and it's going to have all the new episodes. We'll start there. And then a week later, they will be available everywhere. And they spent $80 million. So this is definitely Amazon signaling to the world. Hey, we like podcasts too. We're ready to go.

Travis:

So that detail is nuts to me $80 million just to get the episodes a week earlier compared to all the other directories not cuz because a lot of these deals like with Joe Rogan. And armchair expert with Dax Shepard that are going exclusive Spotify, Spotify sailor daddy. Well, I mean, yeah, Alban, your favorite podcast, you listen to them. Number one. Those are exclusive. So that means if you want to listen to them, they're only available on Spotify, right, at least until they realize they can't drive enough downloads to satisfy the sponsors. And then they make them available everywhere. Like the brock obama, Bruce Springsteen podcast that was then available and other apps. But that's neither here nor there. So they just dropped a lot of money to get into the game of we have exclusive content to. And it seems like Amazon just in general feels like a company that just likes to experiment with lots of stuff and see what sticks. And they may or may not have a strategy, but they just know there's a land grab right now. And if we want to be a player into the future, we should throw our weight around. Tom, I'm not sure what your thoughts are. When you hear about a company like Amazon, landing these big companies and acquisitions. What are your thoughts horn,

Tom:

I'm kind of torn because on the one hand, like, I'll be pretty open that I'm not a fan of, of Spotify as strategy and the walled garden of podcasting. That's why I originally came to Buzzsprout and left anchor was because of that. And so in a way I feel that it's I like seeing another company kind of fire a shot. Okay, cool. It's not just one person who can sort of dominate this space, but now they're fighting. But then when I just say billion dollar corporations and multi million dollar corporations, spending absurd amounts of money on shows for people who are already absurdly rich, I don't know. That's where it's like, it's just not my universe. I know, I guess it's all podcasting. But that's not my show, which has been out for I have three podcasts. I've been doing it for years. And I have made $0. So I'm doing something wrong in terms of that I have not made an $80 million deal. I have lost money because it costs money to make them. So I you know, I don't know if that's, I'm kind of torn. But I think ultimately, at least having more competition where diversity is never going to be a bad thing. And I hope that I just hope that we always are able to continue listening to podcasts where we choose or hosting them where you want to host them, should it not be one of these giant places.

Alban:

I'm excited that Amazon is getting involved in podcasting, because you know, the time where I was probably the most pessimistic or, you know, nervous that podcasting could go into this walled garden environment, similar to like, what YouTube is, you know, video and YouTube are almost synonymous, was probably like 2019 when Spotify was like, Hey, we're serious. We want to win this. And it didn't seem like Apple was super interested in doing anything. Google launched Google podcasts, but didn't seem to invest a ton more into it. And just over time I was seeing Spotify is aggressive, has the vision and is ready to go while everybody else doesn't have the vision maybe or the interest and make sense, because these are some of them trillion dollar companies, looking at our small little corner of the web, that's podcasting. But still, you know, you thought, Well, if it's only Spotify, then maybe they could win podcasting and make it this walled garden that kind of takes away a lot of what makes podcasting special. At least the podcasting that I've always enjoyed. As soon as Facebook and Amazon, and Apple, and Google all start announcing even more stuff. Well, then it starts becoming Alright, there isn't going to be a way for one company to own this whole industry. Spotify will have their exclusives, Apple podcast, subscriptions will do really well. amazon music will add podcasts and highlight them even more, and then we'll start having some exclusive shows themselves. All of that combined is going to lead too, hey, anybody who's has a, you know, RSS feed, they make themselves use something like Buzzsprout or another podcast host, you're going to be able to get into everything. And there's not going to be some preferential treatment for podcasts that are exclusive. Or maybe there will be some, but you will have the benefits of being platform agnostic. I'm kind of at the point like, hey, if we're gonna have one big player, I'd much rather have all seven of them involved, to make sure that all the little guys don't get wrecked along the way.

Tom:

Yeah, that's kind of how I that's kind of how I was feeling about it, too, I guess is a good way to put it. Because it's, that's what I would not what I would want to do as a listener is okay, now I need to have eight more monthly subscriptions to access certain podcasts or as the podcast greater to, then you really have to pick the one place that your show can be on. So ultimately, I think, you know, this is good for that.

Alban:

I did not prep this for the podcast. But can I read you a quote, this isn't a this is out of a book I'm reading. And it's an anecdote, after Amazon lost $170 million on the fire phone. That was when they were trying to create a competitor to the iPhone, Jeff Bezos said, I think to investors, if you think that's a big failure, we're working on much bigger failures right now. I'm not kidding, some of them are gonna make the fire foot fire phone look like a tiny Blip. And like, beta is more than anybody is like really good at saying, I put out a bet. Let's go for it. Let's try it the minute it doesn't work. I'm not, you know, locked in to this long term, we can just let it go. And so it looks like they're making a very strong strategic bet on podcasting. I personally hope it works out for him. Because I, you know, the more these big companies involved, that I think the better it will be for creators long term.

Tom:

And they have they have such a, I mean, Amazon has a foot like foothold on media stuff. So that's not a new area to them. I mean, they started with books, right? So they consumable media things is one of their specialties. So I can't really imagine it not succeeding in some way. for them.

Travis:

Yeah, it'll just be a matter of time, until somebody says, You know what, we're gonna bundle all of these premium content on these different platforms together into a single place. So you just pay one monthly fee, and we reinvent cable TV and come full circle. Instead of all these subscriptions. Just what just pay one monthly rate, you get all of the different apps all in one place. Oh, did you?

Alban:

Cast that's another $15?

Tom:

Why do we do this? We just hate having freedom and options.

Alban:

Speaking of a big company that's joining the podcasting scene, Facebook, the fastest a company has ever made it to a trillion dollars. Facebook just hit a trillion dollars. And it probably wasn't a coincidence that they just announced Facebook podcast at the same time. That's it pushed it right over the edge at the end.

Travis:

That's like back in the day when all these companies were starting to add like blockchain technology to their their platform of like the things that they do just to like inflate their stock price. It's like Facebook, jumping on podcasts. Oh, my goodness, best company ever.

Alban:

trillion dollar they actually I think it was the there was like a anti trust case that just got dismissed that pushed him over a trillion. But I would like to believe it was also the podcasting news.

Tom:

Power of podcasting. power power. Yes.

Alban:

Alright. So what's been announced Facebook pretty much a few weeks ago now months, said, Hey, that clubhouse thing looks cool. And this podcasting thing's cool. And there's little audio grams and sound bites people make are cool. And yeah, we're gonna build we're gonna build all of that. And they just basically said, we're gonna build a clubhouse competitor, cologne. Better to say, we're going to build a way for you to listen to podcasts inside of Facebook. That's going to be like a legit podcasting app. We're going to make promotion tools for podcasts. And we're going to put it all together. And so we can go into each of those because each of them have some like interesting pieces. But they announced all this kind of quickly. And which really led me to believe it was much more of kind of what you said earlier, Travis the it's like the company that's blockchain to the name to like jump the stock price in 2017. It was it felt a little bit like that because everyone was making their announcements Apple, Spotify, then Amazon, everyone's making announcements about their moves into apple. podcasting and social audio. And then Facebook was like a, we're actually building all of that. And we're adding it to Facebook and you're like, Whoa, it's actually a pretty big deal. And they, you know, it seems like it looks from the videos, like it's gonna be pretty cool implementation.

Travis:

I mean, I'm just really grateful that Facebook finally added some new features, because there's not enough you can write the

Alban:

app is so wait.

Travis:

It's just so streamlines. No access, no, no added fat. It's just exactly what you need arguments with your distant relatives

Alban:

for that's what I what I really want is one place, I can go for baby photos, podcasts and argument, my uncle about politics, like I just need that all bundled together into one spot, but also

Travis:

lots of ads for

Tom:

semi related things that I'm interested in.

Alban:

Oh, man, the ads are uncanny. And such as you get them and you're, like, offended that how good they are. I got one about some like, hair loss thing. And I was like, Oh, no, it's Facebook. No. Check this airline.

Tom:

We've been looking at your photos. And we noticed

Alban:

that right?

Travis:

Oh, Alban, you're doing just fine. You're doing just fine. So yeah, let's let's go ahead and run, run through this. Starting, starting with Facebook, pulling in full podcast episodes via RSS feed and featuring them on your Facebook page, if it's labeled as a podcast is that say unlock the feature.

Alban:

So Facebook and podcasts have had this kind of interesting relationship for a while back in the day, we used to actually be able, we made it so that if you shared a Buzzsprout page that had a podcast on it, you could play that podcast, inside of you know, the post, and it worked perfectly. And at some point Facebook took that ability away. And so we weren't able to do it and no other podcasts hosts were able to do it. Then they announced this partnership with Spotify. So you could put Spotify music into Facebook posts and people could kind of comment on them. And podcast did work for that, like we shared the Spotify link to a podcast, it could be played. But the difference is like with a podcast, you mostly are listening for a long period of time versus a Facebook, where you're scrolling through in the two minutes while you wait in line. So it wasn't always a great setup. They're now making this like it's almost a full fledged podcast player. At least it's very similar to how I think about how people use podcasts on YouTube, where it's, you can look at the feed, it shows the feed, it's got a cool audio gram animation behind the artwork. The biggest feature is comments. So if anyone remembers how SoundCloud features us, comments used to work, it looks similar to that. And you can leave comments down below podcast episodes, which is awesome for building this community feeling. I mean, I'm sure you guys can remember when Joe Rogan went to Spotify, the biggest complaint from Joe and his audience was, hey, we lost that Facebook comment section. And that actually was doing a lot of work, where people were making jokes and we're commenting on the episode and linking to other materials. You know, all that kind of disappeared once you went to Spotify, and there wasn't a comment section. So Facebook's building that comment section out. And if you keep scrolling, it can make that little audio player can just sit there at the bottom of the page. So you can be scrolling through your, you know, Twitter or your Facebook rants from your uncle. And you can see that while also listening to a calming podcast. And the feature that on all podcast apps is obviously needed is the fact that when you turn your phone off, you can still hear it. And I think that that is going to be a enough to get Facebook a real hold on the market because there's just a ton of people who don't listen to podcasts yet who do use Facebook. So that is the player side of it.

Travis:

I think it will be very interesting to see how much Facebook actually pushes this new feature, because I remember back to when they first introduced live video, right? They said hey, we're gonna knock out Meerkat and Periscope. We're gonna now be the new live streaming platform of choice. And they gave special like attention to anytime you do Facebook Live. They really went out of their way to promote it to try and encourage that behavior. It'll be interesting to see how much attention they give to this new audio player that they're implementing. Right? Like, are they going to start dropping it in your notifications? Is it going to be starting to float to the top of your your newsfeed? Like, what is the behavior that they want? Because they want you to stay on Facebook as long as possible. And so if when you load the app, it's like, hey, you're new. This podcast you follow just dropped in the episode, start listening to it. Now, if they can get you to listen to that podcast, while you're scrolling. Maybe you'll be on Facebook a little bit longer, because you have this other thing you're doing in the background. But we'll just kind of see, we'll just kind of see what happens. Because Because I also know that this feature and all the other features they announced aren't available to everyone right album, like we only got asked to include one of our one of our podcasts.

Alban:

Yeah, so let's go back to that one thing feature you just mentioned, which is one of the ways they will promote this is going to be every time you release a new episode, on your podcast, Facebook will then create a newsfeed post about that episode. And it's going to be that newsfeed posts that people can comment on, they can tag friends, and they can have a discussion about the episode. Now there are one of the ways they're promoting, or what they call sound bites, which is very similar to the Buzzsprout feature called visual sound bites. And they're pretty much the same thing. It's, we don't have a patent on that name or something like that. And this is why I'm not a lawyer anymore. trademark. soundbites is pretty common phrase, but that it's like a little video of the podcast, little promotion, they have a tool to create that. And they also have the ability for podcasters to opt in, that your audience can clip one minute segments out of your podcast to share. That can be pretty big, because one people can clip stuff out of context and kind of make it sound much more sensational than it was typical kind of Facebook behavior. And then the other pieces, they could click interesting parts and it could go viral, that people are much more likely to listen and share a one minute clip versus a 45 minute episode. So those are pretty big promotion tools. As far as the rollout is going, by my best estimate, I did some polls on Twitter about this. I think we're looking at like half a percent to 1% of podcasts that are actually connected to Facebook accounts. They have to be pretty big. I don't know if the podcast we have in there. Has, I don't know maybe 180,000 plays. So I think

Travis:

it's got I think it's got more than that. 280,200 80,000 plays. Yep. And that's across, I think 10 episodes. Yeah. So. So yeah, that was that would put you squarely in like the top 10th of 1% of podcasts. So you have to be really, really, really big getting a lot of traction in order for Facebook to get you in this beta group rollout.

Alban:

Yeah, so we were invited to submit our podcast, I went ahead and submitted it. And so it's now like kind of connected to the Buzzsprout page. So that part of the rollout is really small, we're talking like half a percent. And then the other half part is the only people who can see the podcast are in the US is the only location. And then I had confirmation through someone at Facebook. It's right now only about 1% of actual Facebook users in the US that can actually see podcasts. So the number of podcasts and there's really small, the number of people that can see this is is really small, the amount of lessons that are happening right now is thus very small. So it's not like a huge rollout. Don't feel like you're missing the boat if you weren't invited, or you don't see it yet, because almost everybody is just on Facebook doing the normal thing. They're not seeing anything interesting about podcasts. But we can link to I've got a big threat on this. We've got some video showing it or maybe we can put some B roll over this conversation we just had about you know so you can see what it will look like when it is available to you.

Travis:

So let's kind of fast forward to sometime down the road. When everyone who has a podcast on an RSS feed can now unlock this Facebook feature. How useful will it be? Tom, what are your general thoughts like as someone who has multiple podcasts? sure how big how big a role do you see how social audio Facebook Yes. Facebook, what are your thoughts about utilizing this as a marketing tool for another distribution channel for for your shows?

Tom:

I mean, I can only speak for myself. But I think, you know, you guys raised a good point when you brought up that Facebook has a huge audience. And there's a lot of people on Facebook that aren't listening to podcasts or don't really understand. You know, I think I've reached the point recently, where when I talk about, I have a podcast and I do this or I talk about when I don't have to assume that I then need to explain what a podcast is, which is what I had to do four or five years ago. And I just sort of like, yeah, so and so has a podcast and I podcast here. And I figure that the person knows what I'm talking about. That might not be true for a lot of the Facebook audience, which is still like yet to discover podcasting. So I think that that I'm trying to be as objective as I can here because I, any minute I cannot spend on Facebook is a it's a good minute. So I think that that's a good thing for people who do want to spend their minutes on Facebook, they can they can find podcasts. And if it is implemented in a way that's easy to actually find what you want. The comments section is huge YouTube comments have ruined me in a good way for everything else. Because every time I consume anything, it'd be like a TV show or a podcast or whatever. And I have an idea. I'm like, Oh, I can't leave my super witty comment now. So I think that's cool. And I do have to say that Facebook's method of tagging people is probably about the best out there like the simplest, the easiest, ironically, the cleanest. So you know, looking at it from that point of view, I think that's cool, like digging into the social community side of podcasting, then making them accessible to other people. For me, personally, maybe I'll be eating these words, in a year, when Facebook is the only place you can get podcasts on or something. But I'm not going to make any extra steps like I'm not going to create a new thing to put my face by podcasts on Facebook, if there's some way down the line that it could just also be like submitted to their directory, and someone could find if they want, like, as with any, usually any directory, that'd be awesome. Like, if someone's on Facebook, and they want to listen to my shows, they're cool. Not gonna argue with that. But I'm not going to go out of my way just because, oh, man, the only reason that I am on Facebook at all is to make sure relatives are alive and still, you know, only semi crazy. And to check out a couple of groups that I like, like one of which I helped run, so I kind of have to and the other is the E cam group, because it's like the best group I've ever seen. And that's it otherwise, like, no thank you to Facebook for me. But that's just me. And that's just how I feel. So it's a, you know, it's a good thing. I'm trying to give them credit, because in the past, they've implemented stuff like live streaming and direct video uploads. And they can do those things, they can sometimes implement new stuff in nice ways. Like as someone who's used to YouTube, when I would use Facebook, live streaming or video stuff to experiment with it. There were definitely some things where I was like, Oh, this is actually kind of nice, or I like the way this works. It's even better than the way YouTube does it. So they can, you know, there's a lot of smart people there who can make cool stuff and make it work in a way that their audience can use. So I guess Only time will tell. But the thing, the thing with Facebook, and this is literally why my wife and I are moving our group away from Facebook is because it is the problem that everything is there. So we we run a YouTube mastermind where people go work on their YouTube channels and stuff. And it's really hard for someone to want to jump in and talk about like here, I'm working on this thing right after they have seen a weird political rant from a distant relative on top of a baby shower announcement on top of an ad for hairline restoration. And then right below like another political conspiracy thing. It just like, it throws you into a weird headspace. And that's something that you know, when you put your stuff on Facebook, you got to consider is the audience is going to be and they're not going to be as focused when I'm like, Hey, I'm getting in the car. I'm going to open up my normal podcast app and listen to my favorite podcast and then enjoy it while I'm driving. It's just gonna be like, Wow, what a crazy shotgun blast of everything in the world coming at me, including now a podcast.

Alban:

Yeah, I mean, Facebook's goal is to keep you looking at Facebook indefinitely, so they can continue to serve up more and more and more ads. That's the purpose. And so they are not focused on helping you start your YouTube journey in Tom's Facebook group. They're not interested in helping you solve your podcasting question in the Buzzsprout group. They're not focused on promoting or hiding any political opinions. I think they're guiding principle across all Facebook is keep people paying attention to Facebook, no matter what it takes. And if you're trying to build a podcast or a community Anything on Facebook's land, you know on their platform? Well, you're, they're happy that you're there. They're thrilled because it's another thing to put people's eyeballs on. But the minute that you're not doing as good of a job at keeping people on Facebook, as some other content is, you don't get any. Now they don't have any loyalty to you. And this is what so many businesses found that for years, Facebook was like, Hey, get your small business on Facebook, and let people know and put up your community stuff and let people know your business hours and all this stuff. And so there's a time where every business you went into it was like, like some Facebook ad, you sometimes actually did. Because you're like, Oh, I do like this business. I want to kind of keep up with them. Well, then all the small businesses realized, they went from being able to reach everyone who liked the page, to then getting like, point 6% of their followers actually ever saw their posts, almost everybody never sees them. And Facebook said, Well, yeah, you're welcome to show your stuff to everyone has like the page, you just have to pay us to boost it. And even then, not everyone will see it. And, you know, that's not the, you know, the beauty of podcasting is this open ecosystem allows podcasters to have a direct connection to their audience. You're not, it's not mediated through YouTube. It's not Apple doesn't control it. It's not controlled by any individual company. Because it's literally like the audio files will go up on Buzzsprout, or any number of hosts, and then immediately connect directly to your listeners phone. And that ability for you to have this direct connection is really powerful. The minute that Facebook lures us in with the promise of more and more features and more exposure. If we go all in or Spotify or anyone says, hey, you're gonna get all this stuff, if you just commit. Well, once you commit, then eventually, when it's no longer valuable to them, they kind of like, yeah, they boosted couple posts to get to see your podcast again.

Travis:

Yeah, so thinking, practically. I'm just kind of like, gaming out like, What? How would you use Facebook? Like, what would you need to actually do to take full advantage of this feature? I think that the key here is recognizing it's going to be linked to a page. And so any marketing promotion you put into getting your podcasts out there on Facebook, you basically have to promote a Facebook page, right, because if people aren't connected to your Facebook page, they're not going to get the little buzz on their phone saying they should listen to your podcast on your page. And so you'll need to have a strategy for growing a audience on Facebook through your page, which has Alban just talked about is really problematic, like Facebook pages in recent history are one of the worst ways to connect to people. And then the other one would be searched people searching things in Facebook. And then instead of finding a group related to the thing they searched for, they might happen onto your podcast. And so I think, at the end of the day, we'll see if this is something Facebook pushes to people, or if they're going to encourage you to simply spend more time investing your resources and promoting Facebook. And then as a nice little token of their appreciation, they'll show it to three people, we're not really sure how the numbers are gonna work out. But just be aware that that will probably need to be the strategy. If you want Facebook to be a viable place for people to not just discover your podcast, but for you to grow your audience.

Alban:

So the thing you could do if you're still waiting on an invite and you want to prep is make sure you actually have a Facebook page for your podcast. One example I saw was when Facebook launched one of their big podcasters they're promoting as Joe Budden. And it is he has a personal page for him with millions of followers but he also has the Joe Budden podcast, they had, like 6000 followers, it's connected to the podcast page. So it's a much smaller page. But that's how they want them connected. So even if you have a personal page, even if you just if you have a really nice profile with friends from college, go ahead put together one for the podcast and maybe you know start promoting that a little bit. Eventually that's where the podcast will live.

Travis:

So Tom, since your last on the show, you have made a pretty significant shifts in not only your career but just in how you're spending your time nowadays. So kind of fill us in.

Tom:

I bought a Sony camera

Travis:

Are you on the a seven three train now is it where you're at? Yeah,

Tom:

that's, that is the only thing that has changed. Just kidding. But I mean, that is true. I did buy a Sony camera. That's a big shift. But yeah, last time I was here I was, you know, literally we did the show before I had to go teach classes that day, because we were teaching online. I've been a high school teacher for 11 years. And we're teaching remotely for that the past school year. And as of March 19, I am no longer a high school teacher, I'm just, I'm just a YouTuber, living the dream, the millennial dream of being a full time content creator. And it is amazing. It happened a lot sooner than I expected. Not necessarily because of like, anything crazy on my end, in terms of like channel growth, or like, wow, I would just sweep slimming and slimming swimming in money. Suddenly, it was just kind of, like, politically, really. And due to like COVID concerns, I had thought that the end of my teaching time was approaching because I was getting kind of burnt out, ready to try something new. YouTube was hitting a point where it was starting to be like, Hey, this is actually an option compared to full time living. And then it just sort of like, well, instead of waiting three months, and exposing myself to potential disease, I'll just leave now and make videos instead of going to the hospital. And that's what I did. And it has been terrific. And podcasts.

Travis:

And podcasts. Yeah. Still podcasting. Oh, yeah. But but very much doing YouTube as well. So yeah, I think would love to what I think everyone listening to this episode would love to hear is what that process looks like. Because I know for a lot of creators, when they first start creating content, especially if it's the first time they've done some kind of creative work like that. There's this thought of like, well, maybe one day, this can be how I make a living, this can be my full time focus. And so kind of walk us through, like what that process was look like, or would look like, from your perspective, as you're trying to think through. Okay, when is the right time to make the shift? financially? What does that look like? Because I know a lot of people think, Oh, well, maybe YouTube is like the silver bullet. And I can get that AdSense money. And that'll, that'll make up the difference. But, but I noticed more than often not the case for YouTubers. So yeah, just kind of like walk us through your decision or Yeah, to kind of like plan into this transition, that'd be great. I

Tom:

have so many thoughts and so much to say about this. So just stop me or jump in at any time, I am going to do a shameless plug for my podcast, not to just plug it but because my wife Heather and I kind of documented this whole journey, we like recorded weekly episodes of like, when I was thinking about giving my notice when I gave my notice that like the whole process up until whatever. So if you go to the enthusiasm project, you can go to enthusiasm, project.buzzsprout.com, or wherever you get your podcast, just look it up. And if you kind of scroll back through some of the more recent episodes, there's really probably like seven or eight episodes that break it down. And prior to that I did episodes where I broke down all the different revenue streams that come in, I called it through YouTube, but it's really through like everything, the expenses it takes to run the channel and how we also incorporated like our LLC to be able to take money legally, and pay our taxes like good citizens and all that stuff. So that's a lot more than I can cover here. But if you really want to know that it's all there.

Alban:

Alright, where are you releasing these podcast episodes like live? Like, could there have been someone at work? And you're like, I think it'll give my notice on Thursday. They're like, Oh, well, no, yeah,

Tom:

we called it the secret series, because we, we recorded some of them early. And I wanted to make sure nothing went out until, I mean, obviously, like I told my bosses pretty early on. So they knew that but I didn't want anyone to actually know until I told my students because that's a weird, I didn't want them to find out from someone else. So it just didn't feel right to me. So we had recorded these episodes. And then which was nice because the first time ever actually had like pre recorded podcast episodes like scheduled and ready to go. And then once my students found out those started coming out and then eventually it kind of like caught up with real time. Once I had like left and everything so yeah, I was trying not to be dumb and like I think I'm gonna quit my job before telling anyone.

Alban:

But the podcast episode

Tom:

by podcast was too popular. But the big thing like honestly was I started my YouTube Channel Four years ago yesterday of the day we're recording this so June 29 2017 is when I started the channel and it did not make any money for the first year or two years and then started making a little bit of money through like Amazon affiliates and stuff and then slowly started within the past year is when it started meeting and exceeding what I was earning through my full time job, which definitely took my attention. Because that was a lot more of a fun way to earn money than a full time, you know, job, or full time regular job. However, it wasn't until probably a year ago that I actually admitted to myself, yes, I would want to do this full time, I was like, kind of embarrassed to do that. And it felt weird. I was like, I'm a 35 year old, I want to be a YouTuber, like, I don't want to say that out loud. Like, I have a degree and stuff, like a professional career. But, like admitting that to myself was actually a very big deal. And being open about that. So that's what I would say, if someone's thinking about doing the leap, it feels like you're climbing this mountain, and you don't know where to begin. But it is literally just one step at a time. And the first step is to go like, yeah, that is actually something I would probably want to do. And that's a huge, like, hurdle to overcome, mentally. And what you wouldn't want to do is go like, I'm gonna quit, leave your job, and then like, click Start account or whatever, because, you know, you got to have it going first. And that was really hard, because it got to a point where like, even though YouTube had started as a fun thing, and podcast started as a fun thing, that was really taking up the time of a full time job, in addition to a full time job. And clearly, that's not sustainable. But I knew that I knew I wasn't going to do both forever. And I knew the thing I wasn't going to let go of was my own creative endeavor. So it was gonna have to be the traditional job. And it just didn't know the when of that. But you know, it took years to build that. And that's something that's, that's important. I didn't realize that's what I was building when I was building it, definitely, I wouldn't recommend someone, like start YouTube to make money, start a podcast and make money. It can just happen if you, you know, if more than anything, if you're passionate about what you're creating, and you're you, you're in it for the long haul, eventually, like an audience will probably form around it. And that could lead to other opportunities to earn money and to grow. So like that whole thing of spending four years, essentially, working two jobs is what made it possible where when I wanted to actually leave my current job, I could do so without it being a totally risky, insane move. And that's kind of the shortest way I could explain.

Alban:

It's definitely tempting to think I would be successful. If only I didn't have money as an object. I could then be building a YouTube channel and do incredibly well. If I was, you know, lucky enough to get it with a lotto or, you know, inherit a bunch of money or something. Yeah, you did a great job of actually doing all the work and putting yourself in that position. Well, in advance of when you actually realized, yeah, I do want to be doing this full time.

Tom:

Yeah. And it's the thing that I learned though, is after I gave my notice, I was so shocked. Everybody was so happy and supportive. And I was like, do you just want me to leave or whatever. But, you know, everyone knew that I had been doing YouTube and stuff and was aware of that. And they were super excited about it. And even my students who were sad, were like, Oh, it's like you're doing the thing that you're, you're teaching us how to make digital media. Now you get to do that as like your actual job job. So it was like it was actually a very positive thing overall. But what really shocked me was once once I was leaving, and it had been announced that I was leaving every adult that I talked to, from higher level administrative people to you know, brand new people. Literally every one of them said, I wish I had a way out to I wish I had an option. And I was kind of shocked. I know, it's been a it was a really tough school year. So a lot of educators and people in education were frazzled and ready to like, explore other options. But every single person, I talked to people who I thought, you know, lived for their jobs were like, I wish I had an option too. And it taught me the importance of just having a side thing, because you never know at least keeps you sane, it gives you something to focus on. But I don't know what I would have done. finding myself in the position I was in where I really wanted something else, but not having an option and just having to like, I don't know what I would have done. And so what I learned was how important it is to have something that you're building that you're in charge of where it's not, you know, I know I'm at the mercy of YouTube or, you know, whatever multibillion dollar corporation wants to do things, you're never totally in control. But where you're at least not just one quick administrative decision away from losing what you have or having everything change or get pulled out on you like having something that you're, as in charge of is possible and growing that because you never know it could end up being a lifeboat when you least expect it. And that was I was so shocked at how many people had nothing. And then we're just sad.

Alban:

The first time I heard someone really talk about this was Ali Abdul, I think he does, he has a pot. He has a YouTube channel but he also had a podcast and he said you know whenever people would Come down and say like, Oh, you've got a YouTube channel, you got this, I wish I could do something different. And he's like, start a blog. And people be like, Yeah, but Wish I could do this. And then this and he goes, you should just start a blog. And I love that advice. Because it's very easy to feel like, if only things were drastically different, then I would be empowered to go do the thing that I want. The first step is like saying, Hey, I'm going to plant a flag, whether it be a blog, or a Twitter account, or a YouTube page, and I'm going to start creating content, or, you know, blog posts or videos about what I want to be doing. And the worst thing that happens is that you build a little bit of a following. And people are like, oh, when you're applying to a different normal job, they're not saying, Oh, this is just a normal person. They're like, Oh, he actually has a blog. And it's got some really good posts on there. Oh, you know, he actually must really care about this podcasting, because he talks about it all the time on his social media accounts, or others, actually, I mean, I know the way we've met you was because your YouTube channel Kevin got recommended a video and he was like, Albin, we need to hire this guy, Tom buck. He's amazing. He's making the best videos. She's like, I don't know how work every he's in California. But he's awesome.

Tom:

Yeah, it's, it's I mean, your YouTube channel, your website, your podcast, those are like really good resume pieces, so much more so than just a word document or, you know, whatever you might be used to. And it's, it's, it's huge to have that stuff. And it really like, that's what I've been, I had been telling my students forever was, you know, it's not that you need to be a YouTuber or something. But if you're applying to college, and you've got good grades and good transcripts, and this other person has good grades and good transcripts, but you also show that you have been like, I don't know, creating your own animations for two years and doing all this stuff here. That could be the thing that gives you the edge to get in over the other person. It's, it's a really big deal. And it's, you know, any you don't, you don't need a huge following to have an impact or to share your work or to create great work like you can get started. And it does take time to build. So the sooner you start, it's like that thing of you know, when's the best time to start to plant a tree? The first answer is 20 years ago, the next answer is today, like you, the sooner you get started, this you can get better The sooner things can grow. And, you know, in terms of like I mentioned, those podcast episodes I did that outlined everything. So, you know, you mentioned AdSense and ad revenue, like the thing going from a steady, salaried paycheck, where I mean to the penny, my paycheck was the same every month, I would get a small raise every year for seniority, and that's it. But otherwise, I knew, no matter how good I did, or how bad I did, or if I, you know, called in sick or whatever, the same exact paycheck every month, which seems like a really good thing, because I know it's gonna never be below this, but it also will never be above a certain number either. And, if I had stayed one more year, I would have maxed out where I'm at, unless I would have gotten like a PhD or something which I was not about to do. So it would literally be like, this is the most income you can ever make in this very exhausting, stressful profession that you've been in. Or you could go over here where there is no bottom, and you could go through the floor and lose everything, or there is also no ceiling. So it's kind of up to you. So I was just looking right now. And I call it the YouTube channel, but it's everything, I'm up to 15 different, like sources of income. So it's, it's not relying on any one of them. And I would like to increase that more, because some of them are really small, some of them are a little bigger, and month to month, you know, the one that was the big thing last month could do terribly this month, and vice versa, and all this stuff. So the more that you have, the more you know, it all kind of evens out and you're not at the mercy of just one thing. And that's what helps it be to be more sustainable, because you also got to think like, you know, if you're leaving a job, like I had, you know, it's leaving health insurance, it's leaving retirement that's leaving all that stuff. So how are, you know, how are you gonna afford that. So it's not necessarily even just, I'm making the same amount that I'm making at my job. Because if your job is covering those benefits than the money you're making, you kind of need to be making enough to cover that. Plus, in my case, I kind of thought like, well, because this is so unstable, I also want to be able to then save more aggressively, which means that would need to be even beyond that, so that I can pay bills, cover the extra costs, and continue to save because, you know, I definitely don't have the security that I had for the past decade or more. And that's, you know, that can be super scary.

Alban:

So if there's, if there's anybody who's watching this right now And whatever job they're in, they're thinking, yeah, that's what I want to be doing. What? What piece of advice would you give them?

Tom:

Yeah, I am the last person I would ever have expected because I'm the most cautious the most like conservative when it comes to these things, and the most like susceptible to a sunk cost fallacy of but I have the degree I have the years of experience, I have the tenure. So I would never go like, why would I leave all that? Please remember, like, first of all, don't put yourself in a dumb dangerous position Don't you know risk not being able to support yourself or your family or anything. So there's, there's the very practical side of it, you need to take a practical look at it for whatever your situation is. Some people can live on reduce things or move to a cheaper place to make those things happen. And other people you need to spend more time so that we're just kind of my thing of like, I have become accustomed to being able to, you know, live in a house and not have to live in a small apartment, that kind of thing. have food that I like to eat and not only have to eat ramen, even though I love ramen? So cool. What do I need to do to then be able to relatively maintain my lifestyle? Fortunately, my lifestyle was that of a public school teacher. So it's like, I wasn't coming home with like bags with dollar signs on them. So it wasn't that hard to like, gee, can you match the salary of a public educator? Yeah. But be practical about how you're going to do those things. And then literally just take it, you know, one step at a time. Because if you look at it, as I have my career, and I'm over here, and I want to be over here, it's gonna feel insurmountable. But if it's just sort of one little thing, maybe I'll work a little extra harder on, you know, if you're doing a podcast, for example, maybe I'll like really make sure that I don't miss a weekly episode. Or maybe instead of, you know, instead of just doing random things, maybe I'm going to actually try to structure my show a little better and make it a little more interesting, like, be a little more listener focus. So that way, it's a better show that more people would listen to, you know, maybe you would explore something like a Patreon or an affiliate program to see if you could generate some revenue from whatever you're doing, and just sort of put those little things into place. See how they're see how it grows organically over time, which is gonna be different for everybody. And then just, you know, it's one step at a time and don't feel like you have to make the entire leap all at once. Because it's, you will get to a point where, you know, if you're trying to straddle two worlds, at one point, you have to let go of the other one to step fully under the new one. But you can you can have one foot in both for a while and don't feel like you, you can't do that. And that's totally an okay thing to do.

Alban:

Have you seen this show floor is lava, on Netflix. It's like the kids game where you jump couch to couch. And yeah, like the ground was lava? Well, this is an actual game show like that. Where there's bubbling water, or something that looks like lava. It's real lava. The people that do well, are the people that they know, they have to jump. And if they can they get one foot over there. And they know if it's moving, and they understand. And then they make the second move, versus the people who just go yellow. jumping to the next thing, and they immediately bounce off into the lava. Sounds like yeah, I've

Tom:

had I mean, sometimes you gotta just push yourself and go for it. But a lot of times, yeah, you got to be you know, we'd also got to point like, our cost of living is super low. I am fortunate enough to have a house, but we also live in an area where like, our mortgage is less than most apartment rents, especially in California. We made sure to pay off our cars, like there's there's certain things where it's like, Okay, can you tighten up these areas, which is, I guess, keeping your foot in that world. And then that way, when you make the leap, it's not as it's not as terrifying as, or insane, it will be terrifying. But I just I feel so bad for how much of my life I spent wishing it would be over so I could get to the stuff I actually wanted to do. And that feels like almost I'm not even like a religious person. But that feels like sack religious or wrong to do that. And yeah, so whatever it was, for me it was this. But whatever it is that can make you instead of waking up and going like, oh god, what do I have to do today to get back to bed of the day, and feel more like Oh, I can't wait, I can do this, this, this, this and this and you get to be in charge of your time. It's, you know, there's anything you can do to make that happen. It is a worthwhile effort to put in. Well, Tom,

Travis:

thank you so much for joining us on this episode of Buzzcast sharing your journey with us. We'll definitely leave links to the enthusiasm project and to Tom's YouTube channel. Go and check it out. He does a great job reviewing microphones and podcasting equipment and all that kind of stuff. So if you're a gearhead, you love digging into that. There's a lot of great content there. And we haven't done this in a while. But if you like the show, you enjoy listening to these episodes, whenever they come out. Go ahead and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or over on pod chaser. There's links in the show notes where you can go and do that. It does. It is really encouraging to read nice reviews from you guys to keep us going to let us know. Yeah, we should keep talking about podcasting related things. So if you haven't done that recently, go and do that we would be super appreciative of it. That wraps it up for this episode. We'll catch you the next one. Keep podcasting

Reinventing Cable
Tom Buck
Amazon's recent acquisitions
Facebook's Social Audio experiment
Going full-time on YouTube