Buzzcast

Spotify Adds Ratings + 2022 Podcast Predictions

January 07, 2022 Episode 67
Buzzcast
Spotify Adds Ratings + 2022 Podcast Predictions
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, the crew discusses Spotify's new podcast ratings, how to start a successful podcast in 2022, and what we predict will totally happen in the podcasting industry this year.

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Thanks for listening & keep podcasting!!

Alban:

Maybe let's get Kevin's voice on here for saying Kevin could just say, and for anybody who isn't brand new, we should probably most people on here, we also just put out a video on pod fade and how to keep up the great work in 2022.

Travis:

Well, we know that Kevin keeps up with all of our marketing materials and watches everything.

Kevin:

I don't memorize it all, but I do watch it all. I don't have the same insecurity about getting my voice on here that maybe you do.

Alban:

It's not an insecurity thing. That's an interesting that it's interesting to have different voices. People perk

Travis:

up and listen to you, Kevin. They're like, alright, Kevin's talking. He's the one that runs the show.

Kevin:

I think they hurry up and listen to me because I only speak up when there's something compelling to say, when you guys forced me to say stuff that I wouldn't naturally say then my voice becomes diluted. It's just not good for my brand.

Alban:

Yeah, let's uh, let's keep Kevin's brand off the podcast

Travis:

the Sirius XM is in some hot legal water. To kick start the new year Alban, tell us a little bit more about what's going on

Alban:

there. Yeah, 2022 is hopefully going to be the year of podcast transcripts. This was I think, reported first by the verge, or at least that's the first place I saw it. But Sirius XM is facing a lawsuit from the National Association for the Deaf and the Disability Rights Advocates. Because they don't have captions or transcripts for most of their podcasts. And we've been talking about this for a while on the podcast transcripts are really important. They're not just important for getting your show found. And so people can find it when they're looking forward to read through it or grab little quotes. There's also a lot of people who are hearing impaired or deaf who rely on transcripts to understand the show. And this is kind of just like wild to me that we have so many of these podcasts that are getting hundreds of 1000s of downloads that are being produced with really big budgets and really big teams. And somebody is not saying hey, don't worry, I just threw this audio file over to rev.com or otter to AI or something, and got us a nice human edited transcript. And I spent $50 on it. Like this isn't an expensive process. I'd imagine a lot of these teams have interns who could even double check the transcript. And it just seems like a huge miss. And so, you know, it's, it's funny, it's not funny, it's like surprising to me that it's come to legal action to actually get this kind of started to move, but honestly is welcomed on my side that maybe 2020 to one of the things will get done is that most of our really big podcasts are going to finally start providing transcripts.

Travis:

Yep. And if you have been meaning to start adding transcripts to your workflow, we actually have a partner discount with otter.ai. That's the transcript software we use for Buzzcast. And so you can either go to the resources section inside of Buzzsprout, just click Resources in the top right corner. If you're on desktop, click partner discounts, and then you'll see it there and you can get 20% off a premium plan. And it's really affordable, even compared to rev. So rev you pay by the minute are you pay by the month or by the year. And it's a really great deal.

Alban:

We're starting to also see a lot of new benefits, I think in transcripts with more and more podcast apps starting to support them. So there's an app called Air another one called snipped, which are both having the ability for you to highlight and kind of take notes out of podcasts. And hopefully they will you know, I think both of them are act right now actively making the transcripts themselves. But I've been talking to some of them on Twitter. And I know that scene now the podcast 2.0 spec, I think more and more transcripts are going to become even more important not just for making them accessible to everybody, but also to make the experience better for all your podcast listeners. And so if this is something you're considering, really take Travis's advice, make 2022, the year of the podcast transcript.

Travis:

And Kevin when you upload a transcript to Buzzsprout we're supporting the transcript tag in the new namespace Correct?

Kevin:

Yeah, we absolutely are. And that's whatever the result of this lawsuit I hope part of it brings awareness to the podcast transcript tag, because there are companies that have made statements about supporting transcripts like Amazon. I don't know if it was before after this lawsuit was announced. But they recently made an announcement that they're gonna be supporting transcripts for all of the shows that they produce. And as part of that, they said they were like doing it their own way. Like they're not, they're not following the podcast into the podcast namespace transcript tag, spec, and that's not helpful for anybody outside of Amazon. So you have tell me if I'm wrong, but they own wondery, right? Yes. Okay. So like all the wondery shows are going to be getting transcripts. Fantastic. But the only way you're going to be able to view that transcript is if you're listening in the Amazon music app to that podcast, presumably like that's what it sounded like. So if I'm listening in podcast addict, and this Wonder Show has a great transcript that they are providing but it's not going to be available to me until Guess addict, but if they use the podcast namespace to do it, they use that technology, then it would be available in Apple and Amazon music and in podcast addict or pod friend or pod verse, or fountain or pod station, or any of these apps that support the new podcast namespace. And hopefully we'll see more and more apps continuing to follow that spec. So there is the spec that's available. And I don't understand like, just like what happened with television broadcasts, when they said like, closed captioning is important. And we're going to provide a spec for that. And then we're going to use regulation to enforce the fact that if you're going to broadcast something over like public airspace that it needs to follow these accessibility guidelines, same thing should probably happen. And I don't love regulations to do this. But at the end of the day, that's really the only way to get enforcement for stuff like this for stuff that's important. So we're going to require that people follow a certain specification. And the great thing is that a specification already exists. And there's a lot of people that are following it. And so I don't understand why somebody like Amazon would go and do their own solution. Like that just doesn't make a lot of sense to me, does it feel like it's in line with supporting the community at large that already exists. But there's a great spec, it works? Well, there's a lot of apps that use it, there's a lot of podcast hosts, including not only us, but I think transistor and captivate and a few others support this new podcast namespace for transcripts. So they are important, we'll continue to, you know, figure out what happens with this lawsuit. But my I just hope the result is that we have a standard. And there's already a great standard in place, I hope it doesn't get changed. But if it does, we will adapt and move towards it because we believe in accessibility of podcasts.

Alban:

Another piece to add to why it's important for this to be in the RSS feed to actually be open source to be this podcast to point in a namespace is that allows the podcaster, who's creating the show to actually transcribe the show. And if you speak with like kind of a Standard American English accent, then like, you probably don't run into a whole lot of issues with some of these audit transcribing tools because that's what they're trained on. But if you're auto transcribing, and you haven't heavy accent, or you use any foreign words, or a lot of them don't support much more than English, that becomes a really big issue if you have a podcast that is anything beyond just like Standard American English. And all of a sudden now it's getting transcribed by Spotify, and by Amazon, and maybe by Apple, everybody's transcribing it differently. You have no ability to update that. And they're obviously not using humans to really go through and carefully get these transcripts. Right, what they're doing is they're just reading it through some auto generation thing. They're automatically generating them on the fly. And so what we need to do is give it at least until these auto transcribing things are really, really, really good. Give it to the podcaster. Let them tell you, Hey, here's what the transcript is. So that everybody's on an equal footing when we're searching and trying to find transcripts, and there's not a bunch of crazy stuff written into the transcript. There's just not in the actual audio recording.

Travis:

Yep, and if you're looking for transcribing software that can handle more languages be on English happy Scribe is a really great option, because they do have both human transcribe options, and machine transcribe options. So another great option for transcripts. Now Spotify, shifting gears here a little bit. They're feeling left out. Everybody's saying, hey, go leave us for a rating review on Apple podcast. Tell everyone how awesome the show is like, Okay, we're gonna get on this party too. So they like literally right after we finished recording the last episode introduced ratings for Spotify podcast. And Kevin, I know you've been really digging this new feature as our you no Spotify user on the show.

Kevin:

I have no idea. I saw this in the outline and you wrote Spotify, not you. Somebody wrote Spotify, ads ratings, but it was a DS sounds like your rating advertisements.

Alban:

Is that a joke? Kevin? Or defense trust tell you that?

Kevin:

No, it's nobody told me that. I'm just looking at it. Now. Why did you talk about that in the pre show?

Alban:

Yeah. So I wrote that in the outline. I said something about ads and I typed ads again, and I had only one d and then Travis goes, Oh, ads is two Ds so may make sure that you you update that night. Oh, no, it doesn't matter.

Kevin:

It matters for somebody who misses the pre show.

Alban:

I'm a huge fan of this. I've now rated Spotify podcasts. I think the first one I rated was pod land for our friend James Cridland. Yeah, Spotify added star ratings to their podcasts. Spotify has always been like, in my opinion, the top of the top of the top at recommending music. They're very, very good at figuring out what you'd be interested in, because of how long you listen, and the ratings, you give pop music. And there's always been this kind of hope that they'd be able to turn that, you know, take that over to podcasts. Pandora tried to do this years ago, but it's a pretty big, you know, thing to try to figure out and I don't think Pandora ever cracked the nut. Part of that is you've got to have these star ratings. But one of the things we've seen over the years with Apple podcasts has been this issue that people slide into your DMS on different platforms to go, Hey, I will get me in 400 friends to give you a five star review, and you'll jump up in the rankings. And people like cool, go for it. Here's a couple 100 bucks. Spotify is trying to avoid that. And they've done a couple things I really like one, if you try to rate a guest that you have never listened to and you haven't actually played, it's not gonna let you it's gonna go, why don't you go ahead and like listen to this episode before you read it. So you have to listen, I think that 30 seconds, and they're not going to show ratings for shows that don't have at least 10 ratings. And this is something we've seen a lot for new podcasters is, when you're new, you're brand new, you probably are learning and so the show probably isn't going to be incredible. And it really hurts is really demoralizing, when the first rate review, you see is like, this guy's microphones terrible, you know, this podcast, terrible, I would never listen to this, I would rather listen to a different podcast and you're like, Man, I put a lot of work into that. And now I'm getting ripped in the one review I have. So I like that they're holding back till 10. And people actually have to listen to it. And then that ratings are global. So they're gonna probably get more quickly to that minimum threshold of 10. So three different things they put into this rating system that I'm a big fan of. So I like this implementation.

Travis:

Yeah, I also love that the ratings that they display are global ratings. So it's surely the combination of all of your ratings in every country, except for Turkey and Russia, for different reasons. And so when you see like the number of ratings you have in Spotify, that's all of your ratings, whereas Apple, you just see it in the country that you're located in. And you have to either go manually one at a time, inside of your apple podcast analytics, and kind of like filter different countries to see how many ratings you have in the US versus the UK versus Canada versus Australia versus South Africa, right? Just go through that way, or use a service like charitable to try and get all of your ratings and reviews.

Alban:

The only reason Apple I think ever split it up by countries was that I think that's just a remnant of a lot of Apple podcasts being related to iTunes. And that that was just an iTunes thing that things bought in the iTunes Store. And music often had to be split out by country. And so then they kind of adopted that system into Apple podcasts. But if you're building it from scratch, you have a worldwide, they don't need to be split.

Kevin:

Is this the same way that Spotify? Does music? Like can you rate music in similar fashion?

Alban:

I don't think so. I think you can rate music and Spotify without actually listening to it. I don't think I really try that. But like, if you go to Spotify for the first time, I think you go back and start like storing stuff and saying like, hey, I really like this music. But I'm not gonna listen to the whole album, you know, this whole Beatles album right now. But I'll go through and I'll highlight the, you know, the things I really like.

Kevin:

Yeah. So like, one of the things that that strikes me as weird about this is that when you get a rating system, as you said, Alban, its immediately starts the minds of people who want to figure out how to scam a system like this, it almost seems unnecessary in a way because you have an app like Spotify that undoubtedly knows exactly what the engagement level for every, you know, podcast listening experience is, so they know how much people are listening to it. And not only that they're listening. They know how much people are skipping, they know what speed they're listening to. So they have a massive amount of data, listening data associated with every podcast episode that's running through their system in the first place. And so why introduce a rating system and make that part of the recommendation algorithm. Again, that's an assumption, but we assume that is why they're doing it when they have much better data that they could use instead. So if they want to know the podcasts that like, like Alban likes, all they have to do is look at the data and say, well, which podcast is he listened to, on a regular basis, which ones have the most, you know, listening time or completion percentage, and then they could make a very safe assumption that there's the podcasts that he enjoys, and then they could create a rating system on their own back end that rates those high as opposed to setting up a system where Oh, Alban only listened to you know, 45 seconds of this episode, and then he gave it five stars. Okay, that's a five star review.

Alban:

Yeah, let me try to answer that from I'll put myself in the shoes of a Spotify product manager we saw on YouTube this issue where they said, hey, the main and almost the only thing thing we're really caring about right now is watch time. And when they got really, really deep into watch time, they started seeing people would go down these rabbit holes of like, more and more wild and extreme views. And no matter where they went, they kept going more and more, because they would listen to stuff that was always edgy to them. And what's sad to you is a shifting, you know, barrier. And so I wonder if they're saying like, yeah, you listen to this whole podcast, but you might have kind of listened to it because you didn't like it, and you want to listen to it, because you, you know, just was on in the background. And you didn't have any strong feelings. I mean, there's lots of podcasts that I finished, because I enjoy the show, but maybe not that particular episode. So maybe they're saying, hey, we'd like a couple more signals, like the fact that you gave that five stars versus four is useful to us when trying to find new content for you. And if they're just throwing this into some giant machine learning algorithm, they'd rather have the extra data point where you're saying, No, I actively rake this a very high number.

Kevin:

Yeah, it is funny. That's a very interesting point. I listened to a few podcasts, I don't want to name them. But I listened to them specifically, knowing that I hate this show. I can't wait for the next one to come out. And I'm not even joking when I say that. I know. It sounds funny. But it's like this, this is going to make me mad. And I can't wait to hear it. Like because I'm just going to argue with everything they say in my head for the entire duration of the episode. But I wonder like, is it fair for me to then give that like a one star rating? But I'm, I'm showing up every week to hear the next one? No, because there's something about that, that is drawing me to it. And so anybody who's similar to me, like, I would think that'd be a good recommendation.

Alban:

I think that Spotify wants to recommend you things you will enjoy. And it will keep you on the platform. And if you look at different platforms like Facebook, really prioritizes engagement. And so they will show you your you know, uncle's wild political theory, and kind of get you engaged with the comments you, you know, I hate this post, but I'm waiting for the next one. But it's helpful, I'm sure for Spotify to have the signal. Okay, Kevin's not loving this kind of content, but he is willing to come back, we're gonna keep showing him the show. But maybe if we're trying to get him on a new show, we're not going to get him on one exactly like this, we might get him on more shows that are closer to the stuff that he seems to really enjoy.

Kevin:

It's like the ratings for the new Matrix movie. You guys have seen the new Matrix movie? Yeah,

Travis:

no, not yet. I was told mixed things about it.

Alban:

It's the second best Matrix movie, which means not gonna have

Travis:

heard that,

Kevin:

right. That's kind of the point is that the first Matrix movie, I think universally, everybody agrees was a fantastic movie. And then two or three were wildly disappointing. And then how many years later, 1520 years later, now we are, we're the fourth one. But really, it didn't matter what the reviews said or didn't say. And in a lot of ways, I'd rather not hear you at all, because I'm going to go watch it like they're going to get my money. And it doesn't matter how terrible it is. Even when people were walking in the theater. And the group of people I was with, they're like, Oh, we're gonna get together and talk. I'm like, I don't even want to talk about it. Because it doesn't matter. Like, I've become a matrix fan, because of the first Matrix movie. And then if they continue to push out, terrible movies from now, until a turn, if they even come up with a matrix, you know, 522, more years from now, like, I'll go see that, again. I won't be mad about it. And I feel like the whole ratings system, if it doesn't work as well, when you're talking about podcasts or entertainment stuff, as it does like product reviews. So if I go to Amazon, I want to see product reviews, because they're like I'm buying something to have it for a long period of time. For an entertainment thing, whether it be a three minute song or a 45 minute podcast, I want to take that in, I want to enjoy it, I want to figure out for myself, if I want to come back or not. I'm not necessarily as interested in the opinions of other people. And so maybe it's just my personal take. But I'm just not a huge fan of ratings in general. And using that as a determination of whether we're going to recommend something to somebody else or not, like just use real data,

Alban:

you got to remember there's a difference between the core audience and the adjacent audience. And there's lots of there's like four podcasts, I listened to every episode. And then there's about 40 podcasts that I might listen to an episode. And the might listen to an episode podcasts are the ones where you're relying on the ratings, and the ones where you're relying on the titles and the metadata. And if I was using Spotify as my main player, and they were saying, Hey, we know that you every once in a while listen to an episode of this podcast, you'll probably like this one and they made sure it bumped up to the top of my feed. That would be valuable. And I think what you're saying is like, hey, with the matrix, I'm core audience, baby, I'm right there in the center. I go to every one of the movies. Well, that makes sense for you. I know that a matrix I'm not core audience and so I went and I was like, if this isn't getting drastically better than the second and third movie ratings, there's no way in hindsight, I think even the rating I got was probably not good enough to go see this movie I would prefer to have passed. But there's always a much larger audience that's adjacent, then the core audience,

Travis:

I have a totally different take. Yes. And because it's mine, it's probably accurate and true, at least in my own mind.

Alban:

Yeah. Are you gonna share it with

Travis:

every time we get a quarter, I'm just trying to build anticipation. Every time we get a quarterly earnings call from Spotify. They're just saying this, many percent of our users are now listening to this much podcast. And they're always coming back to all these investments we're making in the podcast space, we're trying to convert people to Spotify Premium, and not just Spotify Premium, we want them to listen to music, and to podcasts. And so as that is kind of their main lagging indicator of whether all these investments are making sense for them, and they should continue spending money on the Joe Rogan's of the world ratings are a way to get someone off the fence of listening to a podcast for the first time. So they're like, oh, Spotify keeps showing me these podcasts. Let me just click on one, oh, this is 4.9 stars. So if I'm going to listen to a podcast, I might as well start with this one. And we've kind of like to Kevin's point with Amazon, with Apple podcasts. Now, Spotify, like social proof is a big piece of how we make decisions, both with our purchasing decisions and how we spend our time where there's Rotten Tomatoes, you know, before you go see, or don't see the matrix. And so I think this is just one more piece that Spotify is putting into the puzzle to try and get people off the fence to start listening to podcasts. And if this can be the one domino that falls that persuade someone to go ahead and press play, then I think that's, that's what they're thinking. They're trying to get more people to come casual listeners, and then dedicated listeners of podcast content.

Alban:

I'm very much now on Travis's side, I think you're right, that this is probably more important for brand new listeners. I mean, I do it for YouTube, I go, what are am looking at this new channel? What are the top videos they've ever put out? You look at a lot of stuff and you say, Hey, I'm about to start a podcast, where do I start? And you're always asking people we're like, I don't know, just pick one of the good ones. And it's like kind of difficult to direct people. But Spotify had a whole list. And you're like, Oh, I see this one's been played a ton. And it's got a super high ratings. Boom, that's the one I'll start with. And I'll find out if this podcast is for me. So I think is a good spot to put a bow on this ratings talk. But there's probably a very good reason why they have it.

Travis:

And then the last little short and sweet bit of news for you squad cast or friends of squad cast, now support virtually every single Internet browser on the face of the planet. So they've just added Safari, and then iPhone and iPad support. And so whether you're using Chrome, or Safari, or edge is that the Microsoft one Microsoft Edge, spark new I don't even know what they Alban Spark, the spark, there was like a spark internet web browser at one point. But they basically support everything. So if you are looking for a remote podcast recording software, that has a lot of flexibility as far as what browsers your guests can use, to pop in and to record high quality audio, definitely give our friends over squad cast a look. And if you go to the Resources tab, we also have a coupon in there for your first four months, you can get 50% off your first four months of spod cast. As it's the new year, a lot of people are gonna be thinking about starting a podcast. If you're listening to this show, there's a good chance you either already have a podcast or maybe you're thinking about starting a second podcast, you just got that itch. Like I have all these things I want to talk about, but they don't really fit in my first show. Albums give me this look like nobody thinks that. I think that all the time. I think at this point, I'm up to like nine podcasts that I've started

Alban:

to. So probably we're doing podcasts,

Travis:

probably seven to many. But we just wanted to give some some tips, some ideas and point you to some resources that if you're thinking about starting a podcast, and you want to continue to stick with it for the long term, we're just going to give you some tips to help you with that.

Alban:

Yeah, I mean, if you're just starting place I would go is to YouTube, and search how to start a podcast. Pat Flynn's got a new video I think think media's got a new video. We will have a new video out soon pod sound school like pretty much all the big channels mostly we'll put out a new how to start a podcast video at the beginning of the year. And Travis and I recorded a podcast called How To Start A Podcast. Maybe back maybe now it was four years ago. Three and a half 2018 Yeah. And we are re recording it and we will be uploading that later. Probably in a couple of weeks, at least this month. And we will have a new version out for everybody. So if you want to follow along with Travis CI, you can go over, we'll leave a link in the show notes. And you could also go watch our video content, which is pretty much stands up two years later that it's very, very similar stuff. So I'd go do that. There's lots of free resources. We just put out a blog on the best podcasting courses. And we have a podcasting course, at schooled up buzzsprout.com. And if courses are more your style, you can go through at your own pace. And hopefully, we will make the process of starting a podcast easy.

Travis:

Alban, why don't you talk about the video we recently published on the YouTube channel walking through the different tools and features instead of Buzzsprout. Because I think that's a super helpful video for anyone who uses Buzzsprout. Because we hear it all the time, like, Hey, I didn't know this feature was here. How long has this been here? And it's like, well, it's been in there for like two years. But you know, we're always pushing out new things. And so if you kind of get lost in the wash, tell people about the podcasting tools, video and some of the stuff that you cover.

Alban:

Yeah, you know, that feeling where you're working in something like Excel, and you're like, oh, I need to be able to delete the rows that are empty, but I don't know how to do that. So for years, you do it. And then somebody like says, hey, you know, you just do this, and it deletes all empty rows, or I think you one you mentioned at one point was, you realize the first time you could schedule posts inside your Facebook group, rather than actually waking up to go do it and make sure you were in there at the right time. There's a lot of times that the feature may not be right in your face when you need it. And so you kind of think, Oh, I have to do this manually, or I have to go do a different tool. And it's kind of a bummer to find out later. Like I had this kind of convoluted workflow. And all I really needed was someone to teach me in the moment. So we made a video of, I think, what are we looking at it was something like 1410, there's quite a few.

Travis:

Now, I had to add a ticker to the bottom just so people could keep track of like what you were talking about, because we're covering so much.

Alban:

So it's something like 15 different tips and things that you could do inside of Buzzsprout. And they go from very, very basic, to pretty advanced. And the whole idea was, you don't have to use all these tools at once, you definitely don't need them all the day you start podcasting, but start watching it. And then you've got at least a knowledge like, Oh, if you want to do this in the future, you'll know about it. So it starts off in the beginning with things like how to get into directories and how to set up episodes and putting, you know, in your show notes. And then we get a little bit more advanced. And we talk about stats. And then we start talking about audio grams and transcripts, and then chapter markers. And we're just gradually getting more and more advanced, how to set up a custom website. I hope that is really valuable, I think I'm going to make it a video that we kind of share with people right when they start Buzzsprout. And just the whole idea is if you are going to be using Buzzsprout for any length of time, we want to make sure you're getting everything out of it. And that you're not maybe paying for two or three services when really only need the one they're already paying for. So hopefully we'll save people money and save everybody a little bit of time and heartache when they find out about these features. Inevitably,

Travis:

another video that we recently published, I believe this week was seven tips to avoid pod fate in 2022. Now, if you don't know what that word is, it's just a colloquialism within the podcasting industry for someone who starts a podcast realizes it actually takes work to make a good one. And then after six or seven episodes or so decides it's not for them. Now, if you start a podcast and decide it's not for you, that's totally fine. Like you went for it, you gave it a shot. But if you want to kind of push past that initial learning curve, and some of the overwhelm that could be associated with learning anything new, Sarah does a great job breaking down seven different strategies to help you overcome some of those things. And I'll just read off the two that I think are that really stand out. But you can watch the video to get all seven. The first one is to have an actual content strategy. So how often are you going to publish? What day you're going to publish? You know, are you going to be doing a weekly show? Are you going to be doing seasons, like actually have a plan other than, like guest this week, I'll publish an episode or, you know, I didn't get around to doing interviews. So I'll just wait another week. If you're not committing to a certain output or a certain frequency, then it's very easy to kind of allow the rest of life to slip in and you get distracted with other really important things. And then now podcasting is not at the top of your to do list. The second one is to try new things. So definitely at the beginning, feel like you can experiment you can try things you can try different segments, try different editing techniques. Have fun with it, because as you're shaping what your show could be, it could really be whatever you want it to be so don't feel like you have to make another job Rogan podcast are another Buzzcast. Like really focus on what do you want to make? What would you have fun making? And if your podcast is fun to make, there's a good chance you'll stick with it for the long term. Now, if you are a podcaster and maybe this year you think I'd like to upgrade my microphone, Alban, there's a great opportunity for someone a lucky Buzzcast listener to win a new microphone.

Alban:

Yeah, we've been doing a little bit more of these giveaways on the YouTube channel. So if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and you look over at the Community tab, periodically, we're running these little giveaways where we're sending out some microphones one was actually delivered yesterday from our first winner, one SM seven V setup. So if you, you know, haven't subscribed to the channel to good reason to try it out.

Kevin:

You get a chance to check out the global stats over your holiday break.

Alban:

Yeah, I actually post a little bit about them online and was kind of playing around with some new data visualization tools, but um, the bus prop platform statistics are published. And I think they're pretty interesting.

Kevin:

Yeah, I think what struck me immediately was like, it was a really strong December. So traditionally, over the past couple of years that we've been tracking the stats, December, there's a pretty good drop off in the number of podcasts, listen to podcast started and stuff like that, in this year. It was a very strong December like a little bit weaker than November as expected, but not nearly as much as it's been in years past, which is encouraging, not just for Buzzsprout as a platform, but for the industry as a whole, like the growth is is showing up. month over month and year over year. Yeah,

Alban:

hopefully we've got people you know, they're at Thanksgiving or they're at Christmas, or they're just celebrating the holidays, sitting around with family drinking hot chocolate and listening to podcasts together, the listenership is still up, which is very encouraging. I'd like to jump in and just talk about a few of the stats that kind of stick out to us. The first one that's interesting to me, is always the top apps. These are the stats for December, across all of us Brown, you know, these are the entire platform. And, man, it is wild when you chart this, Apple and Spotify are just so far ahead of everybody else. You know, Apple and Spotify probably combined make up close to two thirds of podcasts listening. But Apple is in the lead. We had 30 Over 30 million plays across Apple podcasts in December. And Spotify came in at 25 and a half million. Next few stats are people listening and web browsers are Google podcast Buzzsprout, that players podcast addict castbox overcast, you start getting down smaller, but by the time you're overcast, we're down below a million. So it's pretty incredible to me, just how much apple and Spotify are really kind of dominating this ecosystem. And over the past few months, we really seen Apple have quite a bit of a resurgence.

Kevin:

Yeah. And initially, I thought that the dip that we saw with Apple, and then the fact that they came back and surpassed Spotify again, I thought that had a lot to do with the the bug that was introduced, when they rolled out what was it iOS? What, what number 14.5 14 I think it was the original 14 release, or they had the automatic download bug that came out. And then they fixed it at some point. So I figured when we saw that dip, and then the bounce back over two month period, I thought that was more related to the bug, which I'm sure some of it was. But to see that continue that like Not only have they reclaimed their title as the king, at least in the Buzzsprout world. But now they're continuing to pull away. I think there's more there than just that bug. And so Apple is doing something in terms of introducing people to podcasts or more people are just getting turned on the podcast. And at least for the US, which is the majority of the Buzzsprout listening audience. The iPhone being one of the dominant, if not the dominant platform in the US more so than the world has continued to increase that lead over Spotify.

Alban:

Yeah. And just to kind of give people some context for Kevin just said, in May, Apple and Spotify were both right at like 29% of the market, it was a bit over. And then by July, Spotify has grown to like 31%. And Apple had dropped all the way down to like 27. So it just looked like Spotify is racing away with us. And they're going to be in the lead going forward. And that continued through August and September. But at September, Apple really started picking up again, much stronger, and Spotify really started to dip and October, they cross paths again. And then November in the December we've seen Spotify decrease from a high of, you know, almost 33% of all our plays are on Spotify. In September, now they're down to probably 29%, and apples up at, like, almost 35. So, Apple continues to grow not just the number of place, but the percentage of overall place. And Spotify actually is started decreasing a good amount. And I'm not sure if this is way up, maybe Spotify is promoting shows, or if this is just listening behavior that people are listening to Spotify, their podcasts on Spotify. But it's definitely a long term trend that we've seen. And we'll continue to watch because we were the ones probably back in May of this year, I know, I was kind of touted to the world like, Hey, I think Spotify just past Apple, at least on our stats. And now we've seen a reversal of that trend. So Apple continues to be a leader in podcasting.

Kevin:

Yeah, and I think one of the things that I often lose sight of is that Apple is competing with Spotify, probably primarily in the in the subscription services arena, mostly like and what I mean by that is like Apple Music versus Spotify, music subscriptions. And so Apple is aggressively competing with them in terms of the price of their subscription service. And now that they've offered all these additional services, they're bundling them together. And so like, for me, I just transitioned my apple subscriptions from individual service subscriptions to a apple one family pack subscription. It's a great way for them to compete, because they have a number of services that they can bundle where Spotify only has the one service. But I wonder how much that translates into podcast listening, like if Apple convinces somebody to transition from Spotify as their music app to Apple Music because now you can also get Apple TV and Apple fitness and additional iCloud storage and all this other stuff for a lower price when you buy that all together than just buying a Spotify subscription plus these individual ancillary services. It's a compelling, like marketing campaign to go ahead and get people over to your ecosystem. And then once you do, I wonder how many people are just like saying, Well, I don't use Spotify anymore. I'm not a Spotify Premium subscriber, I'm gonna delete that app, or I just don't launch that app. And so now if I want to listen to podcasts, I'm like in the Apple ecosystem. And so just being podcast focused, I often think of cash Apple's not doing great job promoting Apple podcasts, as much as Spotify is doing, saying, hey, come to Spotify to listen to podcasts. But what they are doing is they're saying, here's a really compelling reason just to get into the Apple ecosystem all together. And then once you do I wonder how many people are just not launching that Spotify app anymore?

Alban:

Well, I definitely can see that argument being right, because we look at our devices 65.7% Of all the devices you use to download anything from Buzzsprout over an entire month, almost two thirds are downloading it to an Apple iPhone. So Android phones, Windows computers, Apple computers, iPads, and smart devices and smart TVs and everything else. That's 1/3, and iPhones or two thirds. And so when you're listening on an iPhone, and Apple's like, Hey, don't you want this bundle? That's probably there's a lot of people who listen to podcasts that are very tempted by that bundle. And the minute that you stop using Spotify for music, you're probably going to stop listening to as many podcasts there. So I would not be surprised if Apple doing that bundle, really did actually start to have a material impact on how many people were listening at Spotify.

Travis:

Yep. And another mover on our global stats is Facebook. Facebook's been making some waves getting into the space, and they just been crushing it. Absolutely crushing the leaderboard. They are now officially over Chromecast.

Alban:

Yeah, I mean, the waves are, relatively speaking very small waves, little ripples, little ripples from May to December. They've moved from point 1%. So that means one out of 1000 place. We're on Facebook podcasts, and they have made consistent growth. But now in December, I think they it was like four out of every 1000 We're on Facebook podcasts. That's a very small number, but it's growing. And that's the thing that I keep watching because Facebook again is so big in you. It's hard to underestimate how big Facebook is. Especially, you know, just worldwide it's not just like a US only phenomenon. And where a lot of when you look at two thirds of all these podcasts are downloaded to iPhone. iPhone is not where most people uses their phone. Most people are using androids or totally different operating systems. So the fact that Facebook is adding Podcasts can be very big. It hasn't yet. But it's probably the main reason is Facebook podcast is still just us only. So if you are in a country that allows you to submit, go ahead and submit, but you won't be able to listen, unless you are in the US on one of the Facebook apps.

Travis:

It's a very interesting rollout, because they initially rolled out, Hey, we're gonna find all these podcasts and attach into pages. And that was full of all kinds of inconvenient bugs. And then they said, Okay, well, now you can manually submit your podcast, through this process on a page, you can add them with your RSS feed. And we're increasing the number of countries that can do that. But then you can only see if it works, like actually see if it made it through to actually being on a page. If you're on a phone in the United States, that's the only way to actually check to see if your podcast is on

Alban:

Facebook, we often hear people say, some app or service or tool is going to succeed based on the fact that it makes it easy on content creators. And I remember somebody saying like, it's not easy to make good content. And that actually isn't what most content creators are looking for is easier. They're actually looking for audience. And they're like, can you give me an audience? And I think Facebook podcasts just got to proving that out the audience, isn't there yet, just the hope of what this audience could get us is why we've been talking about it so much, and why so many podcasters are making it a priority to get listed.

Travis:

So we're gonna wrap this episode with some predictions of 2022. And everything is going to happen in the podcasting space, because we can see the future, obviously, no, we literally can't, these are all completely educated guesses, all the 2022 prediction blogs, it's the same deal educated guesses based on trends. And so we just wanted to kind of identify a couple of trends that we're looking forward to hopefully seeing come to fruition in 2022. And post some hypotheticals to see, could this actually happen? Could it not? And just kind of work through from there. And Kevin, you've got a really interesting one to kind of kick us off. Why don't you leave with that,

Kevin:

yet? Well, mine is less of a prediction and more of a question and kind of a hope and a dream. I'm wondering if it's possible for a third party independent podcast app to ever break out and become really, like really popular in terms of podcast listening. So if you look at, like, we just did a whole segment on global stats, and you look at an independent third party app. And I think the first one that pops up on our list, like the most popular one right now is podcast addict. And it's coming in at 1.5% Market share across the entire Buzzsprout platform. And then you have castbox and overcast at 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively. I'm wondering, is it ever possible for one of these apps to get up to full 5% would be the first goal, but like to actually grow big enough to become a popular enough app? to unseat Apple to unseat Spotify at the top of that chart? I don't know if it is. But there have been other apps and other categories that certainly do this, like games is a huge one games all the time small independent games, like what was the first one like Angry Birds or something like that? It was like this no name, little app that all of a sudden became number one on the charts. I think Apple tell me if I'm wrong, but like, I'm pretty sure Apple has some first party games, right? They may or may not make their own games, but at least they've got relationships with Game Studios and stuff like that. And they put them in they have arcade. Yeah, they put them in the arcade and all that kind of stuff. And so there are there are apps that continue to grow and become popular, despite the fact that they're not being pushed by Apple or owned by Apple, or, you know, have ties directly to Android. So they're not first party apps. And Spotify in and of itself is one but they're just one with a massive, you know, machine a money machine behind it to promote it. This is a long way of me saying is it possible for something like an overcast or another app or a cast box or a pocket? Like, can somebody create? Is it a feature set? Is it just the fact that no matter how good the app is, it'll, it'll never win. It will never beat Apple because it's not installed on the phone. By default automatically when you open it up out of the box. Yeah, I

Alban:

will take the no position on this. Google podcasts is pre installed, at least on Google Android phones, not the ones that are read on by Samsung. But on Google Android, Google podcasts is there. And it shows up in search results if you're searching for podcasts. And yet Google podcasts is still only at 2.4% of the market share. So even with those two massive discovery areas, it's not that big of an app, at least compared to Spotify or Apple who are both up, you know, around a third of the entire market share. And you're right, you know, podcast addict and castbox and overcast have all done really well as independent apps getting up into that one and a half, one to one in Half range. But podcast addict, the reason they're even at one and a half percent is because they entered into Android podcasting way before there were default apps. There wasn't a default podcasting app. And they had this kind of wide open space for a long time. And then, I think a lot of Spotify growth was people are already listening to music. What if you listen to podcasts, and you're listening to music on an Android, and you don't have a great way to listen to podcasts? Or at least you have you yourself have not discovered that great way. And they started saying, Why don't you listen to podcasts here. And so people started doing it. And when I look at the top two apps, I think, I mean, not to be like hard on him. But like Apple podcasts and Spotify are definitely not the best podcast apps in my opinion. But they're apps that people use a ton, because they're either automatically installed on your phone when you start, or they're an app you're already using for music. And I think those two leverage points are much more important, unfortunately, then just the ability for the app to do a great job. And if we are going to see another one, get up there rival them, I think it's gonna be like a YouTube app or something. You know, if YouTube does launch a YouTube podcast, I think that's the app that would come up and start challenging. For a third spot, you can have a good career and a good profitable business as an independent app creator, because you don't need to own the entire market. It just is going to be very, very difficult for somebody like podcast addict to convince millions and millions and millions and millions of new people to download their app at the scale that somebody like Apple can when ever new iPhones bought. They're just like, here you go check out this app that's now on your home screen.

Travis:

Yeah, I think I agree with Alban it's unlikely. And the reason I think it's unlikely is because you're essentially trying to create the best radio, right? Like there's a ton of different radios you can purchase, they all pick up am FM, you're trying to build the one that has the best features in it, the best gadgets, the best knob, whatever. And I think it's going to be something a shift that includes podcasting. So like a Sirius XM, level shift, where you're breaking through to not trying to persuade people that already listened to podcasts to download your app. But to create something that people are downloading, that happens to be podcast centric. And so that's where I think a lot of the social audio experiments that are happening, are trying to catch that they're trying to become that second wave of podcast app to push past Spotify and Apple in terms of market share. So I don't know if like podcast addict could add three new features, and then they would jump to 5%. It would have to be an app approaching it from a totally different perspective, pioneering something new that in and of itself, has the novelty to get to grab market share from people that aren't already entrenched in eliciting app.

Kevin:

Yeah, I thought of three different like types of apps that come as default on your phone, and like varying degrees of which they are the most popular. And we don't have any, like, I don't have any hard data on how many people do this. But let me let me run through these three little apps and like, get your feedback on it. So first, like I want to think about that, like the calculator app. Right? There is a standard default Apple calculator on everybody's iPhone. And by and large, it's not a fantastic calculator. Like it's very basic. You I mean, you can turn it into landscape and get some additional functions. But it's, it's not graphing. It doesn't remember, like all your previous calculations and all that. But it's very basic calculator app, there are much better calculator apps available in the App Store, lots of them for free, some of them premium, and they've got tons more functionality. But I never ever see anybody on their iPhone using a third party calculator app. Anytime you're out with somebody, and they're like, you know, remember this number for me, or what's this? And everybody just goes to the default calculator app, right? So regardless of how good a third party creates calculator app, you're probably never going to get significant market share in terms of what people use calculators for their iPhone anyway. Next category, weather apps, like I think weather apps are, it's not uncommon for a large majority of people probably still use the default weather app that comes on their phone. But if you ask somebody, oh, I think it's gonna rain this afternoon. They'll say, Oh, really? I'm not. I'm not seeing that same thing. Oh, which app are you using? Which app you're using? Oh, how do you like it? Like there's discussion there. There's a variety of weather apps and a lot of people install third party weather apps. Again, probably the majority use the default one, but there's also a significant number of people who use third party ones. Next category is maps. Maps, I think was a very interesting like, what happened with the mapping thing on the iPhone was crazy, right? Because Apple first started by using Google And then they said, No, we're going to provide our own maps. And then when they launched their own apps, everyone was like this is not nearly as good as what we used to have. And so we are going to take the additional step to go and download and install Google Maps, or Waze or something like that. And now the I don't know, but I guess I'm taking a guess that it's close to, it could be close to 5050, or more people might actually use third party mapping software than the default mapping software. It's possible that that exists. And if not, it's probably it's the best category that I could figure that a third party would have a chance of competing with a with a native app. And so where do you think podcasting could fall in the spectrum? Do you think podcasting is always going to be a calculator app? Do you think podcasting could get to the point where it's more of like a mapping app? Or do you think that we could we'd live somewhere in the middle like a weather I

Travis:

think for the casual listener, it's always gonna be a calculator. Because they don't even know like, they don't even know that there are third party apps they can listen to, that is typing podcasts in the search bar on their phone and an app pops open. And that's it. Like that's the end of the search. So I think for people that are looking for podcasts to listen to, it's going to be in that calculator category. But if that app, reinvents what a podcast app would be, and introduces something totally new, that hasn't been done before. And that is a reason to download that app. And it happens to be podcast integrated. That's where you could break into a maps because like Waze, the reason people use Waze is because it would tell you where the cops were, and Google and Apple and do that. And so they're like, well, that's actually a really valuable, like socially curated, real time data that you're not going to get on other apps. And so that was a quantum leap forward in terms of usability, and helpfulness. And so that's why they were able to break through. So I think it would have to be something like that.

Alban:

It's easy. As people who are really involved in something really unmatched that you, you're like, Okay, what's the very best of this thing, and you kind of are always testing out new tools and figuring stuff out. But most things in your life, you are treating, like the calculator app, most things in your life, you're going, I just need to be able to divide numbers and add numbers. Oh, cool. It's there. And you're not really thinking like, what would the best calculator app be for me? You know, what kind of person am I that I needed? Special calculator. And so most things, your life you're doing that way. And I think the examples that Kevin's given of ones were categories where other apps were able to kind of break in were ones where the default app was wildly deficient, or non existent at some point. And Apple podcast is not wildly deficient. It was actually one of the first good apps that Apple has been working with podcasts now for, like 16 years or 17 years. Like they're, they know what they're doing. And so I think that experience, it only has to be good enough. It just needs to make sure it's not absolutely terrible, or else, then people have to start thinking about switching. And if someone is on one of the phones, that is 66%, according to us of all downloads, and they search podcasts, it's not just on your homescreen. It's even if you go to the App Store, and you search podcasts, the top app is Apple podcasts. And the number two is the podcast app. So they're, like right there, no matter what. And I think the reason Spotify was able to get in is because there were a lot of people who didn't know about podcasts are introduced by Spotify to this new medium. Because Spotify was the first in the music streaming category, at least the first to really break through. If we were to get a third rival in there, which I think would be a Facebook or a YouTube, it would not be because they have some new feature set. Or one thing that everyone's like I got to get this, the thing that would actually get that up there is Hey, tick tock is adding podcasts because we know you love spending ungodly amounts of time on tick tock, but check out these podcasts. So you can continue using the Tick Tock app, or we know you love watching a bunch of YouTube videos and you start watching a podcast as a video. Why don't you continue just to listen to it, but on the YouTube app. And those are two places where people are spending a lot of time and they could be introduced to a new content type that they're not already using. And then those apps could get greater time spent with those apps. I think that's the way we get a third rival. It's not what the world that I would love. I'd love to see podcast addict and Pocket Casts and castbox and overcast all to be up there at the very top. We're fighting with the big guys because they all have incredible apps. I'm just pretty pessimistic that that's the world that we're gonna see.

Kevin:

Yeah, I agree with both of you guys. And one of the points that sticks out is the point that Travis brought up about ways like the cop finder feature being a Break through feature. And I wonder if if something like that exists in the podcasting space. One of the things that I think is could potentially have an impact like that is the the like the cross. I don't know what they're calling them crass cross app comments or something like that, that the podcast indexing namespace are working on right now. The idea would be that if you leave a comment in Pocket Casts, that you could open up the fountain app, and those comments would also be available, then she commented on fountain, it would go back and forth. And if there was a system like that that worked, and all these third party apps, agreed to the spec and made it compatible, then there would be conversations that would be happening that would only be available on third party apps, that wouldn't necessarily be happening in the larger players. Because, you know, for multiple reasons, they don't necessarily want to play with everybody. And they're also slower to move. The struggle with it, though, is that something like that only works when lots of people do it, it's not unique to one so wouldn't necessarily just boost one app, it might boost the third party player, like market overall, but it wouldn't necessarily project one to the top. Yeah, so that's my question for 2022. I'm always rooting for the third party independent apps. I want to see more market share there. What is the what's the cut finder of podcast apps?

Alban:

Well, one that we do love is good pods who have done a very good job of trying to help people, especially indie podcasters. chart, and build little communities around their podcasts. So if you are looking for something right now, with comments and the ability to talk back and forth with your listeners and create a little podcasting community, definitely check out good pods as an alternative to some of these really big names and podcasting that probably most of your listeners are using right now.

Travis:

So for 2022 My prediction, in the same way that we had this breakout of celebrity podcasts, like all these a list, movie stars and stuff like that starting podcasts, I think this is the year where the company branded podcast becomes standard, where companies and brands that are now starting to get even more serious about podcast advertising, are going to wake up to, we need to have our own show. Like Trader Joe's was the first one that I think really broke out just as a standalone show. I think more and more companies are going to start doing that they're gonna start seeing podcasting as a way of branding themselves, of having this, you know, having access to an audience of superfans, and using that as a catalyst for growing their business and for acquiring clients or customers or whatever their KPIs are, that drive the success of their business, I think more and more, especially small companies that are looking for bootstrap ways to get some inbound marketing coming in. I think podcasting is now in the same way that blogging was 10 years ago, gonna be one of the mainstream strategies that companies use to try and get ahead of the curve, at least until web 3.0 comes and changes the way that we talk to one another.

Alban:

My prediction is that YouTube makes a big move in podcasting, we keep talking about how big YouTube is for podcasting, Edison Research keeps putting out really great insights here. And I think it just makes way too much sense. YouTube is a lot of long form ish content, like, sometimes six minutes, but sometimes two hours long videos. And it just makes a lot of sense for them to add podcasting. Google has tested podcasting a number of times with Google Play Music, and then with Google podcasts. Both of those seem like they're not getting a ton of love right now. YouTube is their platform where they kind of promote their media stuff. I think YouTube podcasts is something we will see in 2022. And I'm excited for it. And if it can help provide some different ways of consuming podcasting content and make it better for creators and for listeners. I think that would be incredible.

Travis:

So we'll see, maybe we'll go three for three, we'll see a third party app climb in the rankings. We'll see more branded podcasts. And we'll see YouTube podcasts. Who knows. We'll revisit this a year from now and see how well we did. We hope you enjoyed another episode of Buzzcast and we'll catch in the next one keep podcast

Alban:

everybody, thanks for sticking around to the end of the episode. This is Alban here dropping in some dynamic content to tell you about some updates to our dynamic content features. Were continued to move forward with all the tools allowing you to trop ads and announcements into all of your episodes, so that you can record something once and automatically have it added to the beginning or end of all of your episodes, the new updates that we've made to dynamic content. Number one, if you have an announcement that's maybe only applicable for a short period, and you replace it with something else, will now that announcement stays in suddenly we're calling Our dynamic content library, the library is a list of all of the different announcements or advertisements, or just little pieces that you've dropped into your episodes over time so that you can reapply them whenever you would like. The second piece is that now those are tracked for how many times they've been played. So if you have an ad read, and you want to report back to your sponsor, and tell them how many times it's been downloaded, well now you know, because that content may be spread across 30 different podcast episodes. You want to be able to count the stats for all of those for the entire time that it was out in the world. Reach out to us on Twitter, let us know how you were using dynamic content and the new dynamic content library. We'll see you in a couple weeks. Bye

Kevin's Personal Brand
Tidbits of News
Tips for starting a podcast
December Buzzsprout Stats
2022 Podcast Predictions