Buzzcast

Monetization for the Rest of Us + Designing Our Dream Podcast Microphone

January 21, 2022 Episode 68
Buzzcast
Monetization for the Rest of Us + Designing Our Dream Podcast Microphone
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, the crew discusses Riverside's new Android app, Travis' propensity to leave Apple Podcasts reviews on his own shows, how the landscape of podcast monetization is shifting, and what features we'd include in our dream podcast microphone.

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Alban:

All right, before we start, Travis, What's your middle name?

Travis:

James 100%

Alban:

guarantee I knew is going to be a J. All right, let me take you guys down a little deep dive that I did the other day. I was talking to someone about average podcast reviews that they get on Apple podcasts. And so I started reading through some of our old reviews. And there's some good ones. There are some very interesting ones. Buzzsprout is great. I've been with you guys for a long time. Love this show. Someone said it was a broadcast, but good. But then one stuck out to me from June 23 2021. Keep up the great work, guys, such a great podcast by TJ Allbritton.

Kevin:

you're reviewing our show.

Alban:

And now I'm wondering, do we even want this 5.0 rating? I mean, what, what is this? I'm looking around? How many of these are falsified?

Travis:

I'm pretty sure every podcaster reviews and rates their own show. I'm like fairly 100% certain that that's accurate to the point that on other podcasts that I've done when I talk to somebody who listens to it, I'm like, Hey, take out your phone. Pull it off of podcasts. Alright, let me hit five stars for you.

Alban:

Wait, so you're saying it's okay for you to review your own show because you tell other people to review their own show?

Travis:

No, no, because I tell other people to review. It's basically just one step beyond Hey, if you liked the show, go ahead and rate and review it. Instead of doing that it's Let me see your phone. And then

Alban:

congressman, like say, Oh, it's okay that I trade in insider information. We all do it. It's a yeah,

Kevin:

you're stumbling around the answer a little bit. I think I would argue it like this. Travis, if I can. I can speak on your behalf for sure. I know Kevin's good. Yeah, I mean, I think it's like a street performer. Or, like maybe a musician who works at like a piano bar or something. And they have a tip jar out there. Even if you're, you know, a walk up counter restaurant, you have a tip jar, like you don't want to see that thing empty. You have to kind of stoke the fire a little bit. You got to you got to put some dollars in there to get people to like notice it and be like, oh, yeah, people are tipping. So it's the same thing. When you start a podcast, you don't want zero reviews, zero ratings. You got to get in there and you know, throw a little bit of your money in the pot yourself to get people excited about doing it.

Alban:

I do not agree because we already have four reviews before the TJ Allbritton shows up

Kevin:

saying it. I didn't know that here, it was not

Alban:

obvious that I would have accepted such a great podcast. Keep up the great work, guys. It could have been a review of Kevin's in my performance. Yeah, not necessarily your own. But obviously that was not true. It was a self promoting review. And I think in all honesty, we need to go remove that if we want to keep the morality of the show up.

Travis:

You know what, I have no regrets. Because I can attribute our current 109 five star reviews in the United States, Apple podcasts directory listing back to that single review that started this cascade of awesomeness.

Alban:

No, there were there were already four written reviews before it.

Travis:

That's right. And it was number five, that just like carried it across the finish line. And is helped us grow the show to what it is today. So I have no regrets. And I would do it again.

Kevin:

Yeah, I think the most offensive thing about everything that you just said is that somebody called us a broadcast.

Alban:

Oh, yeah, the but it said like a broadcast but, but good. And let me get back and read that one for us.

Kevin:

I think for the rest of this episode, we should just call each other bros.

Alban:

Good point, bro. Like a bro cast, but packed with valuable information. I love the show. The friendly banter cracks me up. And it's so much more than entertainment.

Kevin:

The beginning part of that review is kind of a bummer, bro.

Alban:

If it starts with like a broadcast, I think wow. So like something not good. But good. Five stars.

Travis:

So a little bit of news, Riverside just announced that they have released an Android app to support their platform. Riverside is a long distance recording software, where you can record multiple people from anywhere in the world and get high quality audio and video is what we use to record Buzzcast. Actually, they're not paying us to say that we just have to really like the platform. And they already had an iOS app. And now they have an Android app. And so if you're interviewing guests, or you have hosts that are like on vacation, and they want to just plug into their phone with some earbuds and record, now you have that option as well. So another great another great feature from Riverside. I

Kevin:

should fire that up. I have an old Android phone. Yeah. And I just try it out. Is it audio and video did you say yeah, That's interesting. I wonder how they handle the, like, if you do portrait mode and stuff?

Travis:

Yeah, I don't know. Cuz I mean, I think the, the benefit there is that you're not reliant on like the Internet browser back end infrastructure to get the audio in the video. If you have your own app, then you control the whole, the whole thing. And so you can just jack right into the device. And so theoretically, you'd get even better audio and video than you would on a browser.

Kevin:

I remember a long time ago, we experimented with trying to get like a ATR 2100, plugged into an iPhone and getting good quality audio out of it. But I don't think it ever worked great. It was like, very, I don't know what exactly was wrong with it. Like, I think we could sometimes get it to record but then we couldn't hear we couldn't like monitor in headphones. Did anyone figured that out? Is there like a dongle or something available to hook up a good quality microphone into a mobile device?

Alban:

I know some people have figured it out. Because there's setups people were using a clubhouse. But there's more than one API on at least iPhone for how to get audio into apps. And apps can either use, like the phone system, or just only the built in mic or allow external mics. So I know I use the Shure nv 88 I think what I would clubhouse first came out and I was record using that. And I didn't really get many compliments on my sound quality. And then I think I got a message from my friend Nathan on Twitter. I think he reached out and he was like, Hey, are you sure that that mic is actually the audio? And I recorded in like an audio app? And then I recorded just what I thought and clubhouse and a comparative and it was definitely I was just using the computer speakers. So I know there's issues with that. That some there's some systems that cannot record directly from the microphone.

Travis:

Yeah, it's doing your mobile recording with a standard, even just a USB microphone. It's yeah, it's it's a complicated mess.

Alban:

Remember, the the old way was, I mean, I guess if I was using the Riverside, you know, the Riverside iPhone app, I'd probably just hook up like air pop, or something. And then that's what I would use, right? It there'll be a little bit of a delay, but there's already going to be a delay since you're doing a remote recording. So it's not the end of the world. And then at least you know that your phone is like, Oh, I am aware of how this thing works. We sell these both of these products. So hopefully they're working together. But you know, it's a cool thing that they've got this app out, right? Because the best camera that a lot of people have access to is their phone went back when we used to record some video interviews. And we would do it with just, you know, random people we're interviewing. A lot of times we would say, Hey, can you set up your phone record there? Because that was much, much nicer than any webcam they had access to. So it's good that we're getting these phone apps. I would love to hear people's experience, though, especially around the microphone issue. How do you get really good audio quality off of your phone or you kind of doing it both? You know what you could have your computer be where you're recording the audio and then your iPhone is set up there as well separately, and that's recording the video. So I'd love to hear how people are kind of setting that up.

Travis:

In other news, there is a podcast production company based in Florida sweet fish media that works with business podcasts, and they made a splash big enough that it made it into pod news. They're building a new studio with some unique features that Kevin I think are well overdue for the Buzzsprout headquarters album. What do you think we should do? First the lazy river or the go kart track?

Alban:

Is this serious?

Travis:

This is totally serious. So their new their new headquarters are gonna have a lazy river. And they're gonna have a go kart track. Apparently, it's gonna make podcasting better. So if we had to choose one, which one would you choose? Go Kart track, or lazy river?

Kevin:

Well, first of all, it sounds fantastic. Like the reminds me of like the Dude Perfect headquarters. Have you seen those videos? Yes. Like yes, yes. Where's their headquarters? Yeah, this is legit are fantastic. But it's also a little bit reminiscent of like, what's happening in Silicon Valley, or what happened maybe over the past 10 years, maybe a little bit less so today, but organizations creating these amazing environments for you to work in the dark side being that like they want you to stay there all the time. They don't want you to know so you want to take a break. Like don't go home and be with your family. Like just go in lazy river for a little bit. Oh, you need to blow off some steam. Like don't go do something healthy, like go exercise or something. Just go drive, go karts around this track for a little bit and then get back and get right back to work.

Alban:

It reminds me of when I went to school I like college was you really just went there and you studied and you went and hung out with people and you had like, the quad and you went out and threw frisbees and stuff. It was like, you know, there wasn't a whole lot of like, extracurricular activities on campus that were always available. Like there were normal things like basketball and sports. But now that my college I went to has like a lazy river, and has a lot of these kinds of amenities. And I think that's cool. But it's like, the price is all already since I graduated 2008. It is like twice as much now. So I would wonder, I think that if I was going to work somewhere, and they had all these amenities, they'd be like, Hey, how about pay me more? I would prefer that. If I want, I could go to a go kart track.

Travis:

I mean, I definitely think with the Silicon Valley, it's like, you know, the gourmet meals on site dry cleaning. Like, you know, hey, go over here and hang out in the sauna and get a massage. And, you know, yeah, we'll cook all your meals for you, we'll pick you up in a bus at 6am. And we even have little sleep pods if you want to stay the night and you know, crank out some good coding work at 3am. I'm just saying, I think having a meeting in a lazy river. Sounds pretty epic. That's all I gotta say. Yeah,

Kevin:

well, it looks like they're doing great. I just went to their website, they have a lot of shows that they produce. And their their pricing is pretty high. But I guess there's a great market for this. So they do podcast production, like for, I guess, larger, maybe corporate customers, typically probably who want to start podcasting. And they have three packages, they start at 3000 a month, they got one for 5000 a month and $20,000 a month. And I am a little surprised I have this many people or companies that are interested in in like full production podcast help.

Travis:

I mean, from a company's perspective, it's still less than hiring a person to do it. Right?

Kevin:

Well, not at 20,000 a month, you could probably hire a person for 20.

Travis:

But but then you also have to know who to hire. And is the person that you would pay to do all the things that that company does at 20k interested in working for a company for less than 20k. Right? So certainly seems to be a need. I mean, I remember back when Trader Joe's did their branded podcast, and it just went gangbusters. And I think I I noticed a trend after that, like Goldman Sachs has a podcast and you know, Robin Hood has snacks and morning brew came on the podcast. And so all these tech companies, especially starting to get into the podcast game, as another media vertical, I think, you know, struck at the right time, at the front of the wave. And now they're kind of like one of the go to studios that I'm aware of them and like podcast.co, and things like that, that really focus on that higher end business client. And so if you're trying to monetize your podcast skills, think about producing other people's podcasts.

Kevin:

Yeah, I think you should do in Alban, I think maybe they're in Orlando. We're in Jacksonville. So it's a short drive. Maybe we should schedule a meeting.

Alban:

At least driver meeting down there. Yeah,

Travis:

I think so. I think so how

Kevin:

we can help them.

Travis:

And our last bit of news Buzzsprout has a ton of features. And we just felt like it'd be a good opportunity to highlight one that you may not have known was there, but could be totally awesome once you really start to use it. And that's our Canva integration, which we recently expanded to be essentially anywhere that you have to create a graphic for your podcast is that pretty accurate Alban,

Alban:

that it's anywhere that you have to create a graphic for your podcast, right? So

Travis:

it's not just like your podcast show, but also like episode artwork, visual sound bites, anywhere on Buzzsprout. Where a graphic

Alban:

Yeah, all you've done is made me aware of one area that we don't use it. So I don't know, this is the selling point do you think it is? But yeah, the whole point of the campaign integration is if you need to create your podcasts or if you need to create some for an individual podcast episode, or you're creating a soundbite. It's a little bit much sometimes if you're like, oh, it'd be cool to have some custom artwork here. But am I really going to jump out and go hire a graphic designer right now or go ahead and try to create something myself? Well, with the Canva integration, it's really easy. Just click, it pops open Canva you pick out, you know, one of their 100,000 free templates, and you customize it with your colors and some branding. You can make it look pretty cool in a few minutes. And I think it's a really, really great way to add some personality to your podcast with some professional looking cover art. And it's not too difficult. So, yeah, there's three areas that you have artwork needs. The Canva integration is a really easy way to do that.

Kevin:

Alright, so there's a conversation that started I think on Twitter, maybe Marcos from overcast started this this rant off And I think then maybe John Gruber, I might be butchering the story. But my understanding maybe Marco started off with some tweets, John Gruber picked up on that decided to write a little article for Daring Fireball. And they were talking about podcast advertising. I'll try to summarize as briefly as possible. And then I'd love to hear your guys's thoughts on it. So Marco was complaining about podcast advertising. He was commenting on the verge article, that's probably actually the origin. The Verge article that said, like the podcast advertising host read ads that you know and love are going away. And Mark was like, This is terrible. Like, I hope these ads don't go away. Or maybe he was just saying, like, whatever is replacing it is worse. And so why are we trying to fix something that's not broken? Gruber agreed with him, in large part. And then Ben Thompson on the dithering podcast, you know, pushed back on that argument a little bit saying, you guys don't know how good you have it. You've had loyal followings for a long time, you've been doing this for 15 or 20 years, you have the influence to go out and approach brands and get paid directly and do host read ads, it works for you. That doesn't work for everybody, it doesn't scale. And you have to be aware that in order for podcasting to be successful for more people than just like people who've been doing it for 20 years with a large influence that we need a more scalable solution. And so it was interesting conversation. But they did point out some really interesting problems with this new ad tech, and concerns that podcast advertising might be going the way of web advertising, which at least for a while, was very annoying, and not very effective. You know, like the analogy they used was like those, you know, punch, the monkey banner ads and stuff like that they're like is that the way that podcast advertising is going?

Alban:

The reason this is changing? I know, Matt read The Verge article, is because there's a lot of people who can't monetize podcasts at all, if you have anything less than, like 5000 is the bare minimum. But really, it's closer like 10,000. Now 10,000 downloads per episode, not per like month, then it becomes pretty hard for you to work with a lot of brands, a lot of brands want to work with the really biggest podcasters because doing podcast ads is labor intensive, right now, you know, we're kind of adopting this model that was invented for what radio where you're kind of going out, you're talking to people, you're like, Oh, we can sell some ads, let's talk about what the copy is going to be. Once you do a read, why don't we do some updates on the read. And there's a lot of back and forth. When you have lots of back and forth, the transaction costs are really high. And thus, you're only really interested in purchases, or sales that are really large. Well, that leaves out 99.8% of podcasters, who don't have over 10,000 plays per episode. And if that percentage if people are left out of the monetization game, that is a problem. You know, like, I love the host read ads, I love the I don't know, what do we call like the bespoke post read ad, this is like it's really nice to craft and put together by these really large podcast, that's awesome. But that is only available to the very privileged few. And we have to start thinking about what kind of monetization model is available for a lot more listeners, that doesn't maybe degrade all the way until like the worst type of ads that we've seen on the web.

Kevin:

So to be more specific, what they're actually getting concerned about was, I think what the industry's would term programmatic. The idea that there are ads that are pre produced by the advertiser, so they're not hosts read, and the host isn't necessarily consulted, on the ad itself, the audio content itself, and then those ads getting inserted into podcast episodes. And some of the bigger concerns was like John Gruber, and Marco I think both agreed on this, like there is no way that they would be comfortable with ads getting automatically dropped into their podcast episodes without them being able to approve those ads. Yeah. Now traditionally, that is, like Alban was saying that's labor intensive. There's a lot of back and forth, that has to happen there. First advertisers have to apply. The host then has to go do a little bit of research about the company, if they don't know anything about them. They got to figure out they're comfortable with the idea in the first place, then they have to figure out what what do you want me to say about your product? Do I need to get some experience with the product before I feel comfortable making the claims that you're you're saying all this stuff takes a massive amount of time. So it's not just the CPM money that's at play here. It's also the 10 hours of research I put into figuring out if I feel comfortable promoting your product in the first place. And then I have to charge a CPM on top of that. So it starts to get really expensive on both sides, like the podcaster is taking some risk upfront, figuring out if this is something that they even want To promote on their podcast, and the advertiser then has to pay for all that time. Plus, they have to pay the CPM money to get that ad run. And it does work. And it works really well. Those ads are super effective, because they're not really just straight up advertisements. They're like endorsements from somebody who you know, and trust. But how does that, how does that scale and and that's the big problem is it really doesn't scale well.

Travis:

And it's not net positive either. Like the most infamous example I can think of is a gimlet show, where they had a programmatic ad inserted, that was completely disconnected from that audience to the point where they had to put out like press releases apologizing that that particular ad ran in their show,

Alban:

wasn't it? Like there's like the climate change podcast that they do? They had a, like a BP or fossil fuel company or something, right? It was advertising in it. So

Travis:

it's not like, oh, well, some ads work better than others. But they all work. There are realistic scenarios that actually happened now with massive shows, where it actually retracts your audience. And they're like, I'm not gonna listen to a show that has advertisers that talk about X, Y, and Z. And so there, there is more at stake than just one's gonna pay me $2. And one's gonna pay me $1.

Alban:

I do want to get away from thinking of it as this like, we have to pick from the dichotomy we don't it's not like it's going to be these bespoke, well crafted host read endorsement ads, or we're going to completely degrade to the Outbrain ads of the of, you know, display. There's a really good tweet I by Tom Webster a few weeks ago. And he took like a screenshot one of those outbreak ads, and it was like, someday podcast advertising will reach this the pinnacle of its evolution. And it's like, the all the ads are just ridiculous. This is what happens to your body when you start sleeping naked. These Ruth's Chris steaks, house items are utterly irresistible, the tragedy of Dave about Teesta is heartbreaking. It's like, we don't have to go all the way to that side. If we decide, hey, these bespoke ads don't work for everybody do that, to me is the true pinnacle. Like if they you can do that. And once you have that size, I love doing that way. But I think we do need to think about where how do we take a couple steps, but we still keep the brand safety, we still keep the podcaster safety, we're still making sure that the ads actually are something we're comfortable with. So there's gonna be some sort of opting in, without just throwing the most ridiculous ads at the bottom of your articles like what's happening display,

Kevin:

right. And that's what's happening in the in the programmatic experiments that are taking place right now I just call them experiments, because obviously, there's still a lot of problems to work out. So I don't think it's fair to call them finished products yet, but a lot of these things are being served from ad servers, so multiple hops to be able to get the ad, that's the best fit. And when I say best fit, usually, that just means highest bidder for your podcast. So some of these dynamic ad insertion platforms, the way that they work, is there's lots of companies that are interested in advertising and podcasts. And they put out these pre produced audio bits on ad servers, and some hosting companies, not Buzzsprout. But some will integrate with them. So that they will figure out oh, you've said, around, you know, seven minutes into your podcast that you'd be interested in inserting an advertisement, if we can find one that's appropriate. And so when it gets the seven minute mark, it goes out and hits the ad server, and it says, Hey, here's the IP address of the person who's listening, take all the information that you've gathered from other sources about that IP address, whatever, you know, and try to find whoever's willing to pay the highest bid for that price. And then they find an ad they match it, they stick it in. It's it's similar to the way web advertising works. That's the same, except like in Facebook and Twitter's world, they control the whole stack. In podcast advertising right now, with these programmatic ad insertion companies and technologies. There's lots of third parties that are working together. So not only is your listener information being shared with multiple parties to be able to make all this happen. There's privacy concerns, but also everyone along the way has to take a cut of that ad revenue. And so what happens is, at the end of the day, the $20 CPM that the advertiser paid, the creator might only get, you know, who knows 50% of that. Maybe that's optimistic, maybe it's less, but they're the ones creating all the value, and they're getting very little of the money, like relative to the value that they're creating.

Travis:

Yeah, I think the percentage split, you get paid less, if you have less leverage is typically the way that it works. Because if you're joining a network, or you're working with a specific ad agency, and it's like, okay, the more clout you have, however, you want to measure that, the more you're able to push back and say no, I want 60% I want 65% And that's also a matter of scale, too. So if you have a smaller show, and you're working with an ad agency to find you, the sponsors and these deals, like listen You're gonna get what you get, because you only have x number of downloads, and we have these other shows that have more than that. So it really is even then still something, it's still a system that rewards podcasters that have massive audiences.

Kevin:

And so Spotify and then we talked about this a couple weeks ago, but, and Spotify is moving aggressively to try to address some of these issues, and fix the problems, but they're interested in fixing it for Spotify, listening right only. So any monetization that Spotify is putting out and talking about is only right now they're saying, you know, works on Spotify platform, and it seems like they're moving more and more in that direction. Like they own anchor. It used to be when you created a podcast on anchor that you got an RSS feed that you could distribute anywhere they give you like one click buttons, kind of like Buzzsprout does to distribute in all the various podcast apps, that stuff is still available. But it's like off by default, like you don't get an RSS feed. By default, you don't get one click distribution to all the different directories by default, anchor is moving more and more in the direction of this is a solution. If you want to get a podcast on Spotify, not if you want to get a podcast out to the world. And their ad products seem to be following that same methodology. They are rolling out new ad products. And those ad products only work in Spotify. And so for people who are just interested in having a show on Spotify, that might be fine. But the podcasting world has never been up to this point. And it was never been just about getting a show on Spotify, it's been about putting out a podcast that can be available on any podcast listening app. And primarily, Apple, Apple has been the podcast app, you know, for a very long time. Spotify is now big too. But then we also know there dozens of others that are very relevant. And there are other big players that are moving into the space. I think it's concerning that the solution that Spotify is rolling out could be copied or mimic by other large players in the podcasting industry. If you're going to monetize on on Spotify, then you monetize this way, if we're going to monetize on Amazon, music, or Amazon podcasts, or whatever they call it, then you monetize this way, if you're going to monetize your podcast through Facebook, then you monetize this way. If you're going to do it through Apple, then you have to do Apple subscriptions. Everyone seems to be building all these silos in podcasting. On one hand, you're like, Well, that could work, it could be fine. I don't care if I get checks from multiple people. But think about how much work that takes for the independent podcaster, who's already stretched to be able to create good content on a weekly basis, or some sort of consistent basis. Now I have to do it this way. For Spotify to do it this way. For Apple, I've got to do this way for Amazon, I got to do it this way for Facebook. Now it just becomes like, more difficult. They're all saying we're gonna make monetization easier. No, you're not, you're making it easier only if I want to monetize on your platform. But that's not where my whole audience is. Like, you might have 20 or 30% of my audience, but then that means you're 70% somewhere else. So I'm not getting paid for unless I jumped through another hoop and another hoop and another hoop. I mean, who's gonna come out here and say, We're gonna sell podcast monetization for the independent podcaster across all platforms. So maybe that's like, I don't know, they it's might be too big of a question. Or who knows what's happening, I just, I'm getting frustrated at what's happening. Because I don't like the idea of podcasters getting pushed into the silos that it only exposes a portion of their audience, to these monetization opportunities that are built with all these. I mean, they're cool. And there's some great opportunity there. But it feels like, at least in the Spotify world, and the verge article kind of talked about this, like, it doesn't feel like a solution for podcasting. It feels like a solution for Spotify. And it feels like Spotify is saying, Hey, we're gonna follow like the YouTube model, and YouTube owns the video space online. They help creators make money. But it also comes with a lot of drawbacks. But nobody wants to talk about the drawbacks. They just want to say what's the easiest way to monetize. And maybe, you know, maybe that's just the way things go. But I kind of hope it doesn't like, I kind of hope that somebody figures out that there is a way to keep podcasting open. And we can monetize based around using RSS as an open protocol. And that's not a bad thing. That's a good thing. And we can have our choice of players. And there is an opportunity for third party app developers to continue to make great podcast listening experiences that can be as wildly different as something like a good pods, or something, you know, like a fountain app. And we have lots of different opportunities to monetize our show without being locked into a specific platform.

Alban:

This is actually a trade off because podcasting is decentralized in the same way that written text and blogs are decentralized or that email is decentralized like that. There is a protocol that's open. You're not using a platform like YouTube or Facebook or Spotify. You're not You're not locked in on a platform. So when you mitigate that platform risk by being on one of these open protocols, well then you do not actually open up like, it becomes a little bit harder to figure out the monetization piece. And it is, I think that's why it's tempting for video creators to just have it ended up on YouTube that we ended up that way, you could have kind of tried to figure out some sort of like, open video standard. And there were a bunch of different places, and everyone kind of monetized separately, you could have invented that. But we ended up kind of locking in on one individual platform. And podcasting has taken the opposite approach. It may be unless we come up with a smarter solution, it may end up being that it is a little bit more painful. But it's a little bit more painful. Because you've mitigated the risk, like you can't just get kicked off of YouTube, because somebody said, Hey, you actually infringed on my copyright. And now you've lost your channel, and it's disappeared. Even though maybe it's not even an accurate claim that you infringe on a copyright, that platform risk is mitigated on podcasting, because you can always just flip to a new podcast host or you go, Oh, Spotify, kick that episode out. But Apple was smart enough to realize that that wasn't an infringement. So, you know, this may be a little bit of a trade off, where it's a little bit harder to monetize, but you're much less risky and long term.

Travis:

So being the new year, a lot of people are thinking about starting a podcast once a year, I saw said that 10% of people that live in Britain are planning on starting a podcast this year. So that would be like 8 million new podcasts just from the UK, I find that number slightly unrealistic, considering there's less than 3 million podcast total in the entire world right now. But knowing that it's like the reason that not 10% are gonna be starting a podcast is because you get into it, you're like, oh, there's actually things that I have to figure out. There are things I have to learn, there are obstacles to overcome. And so as people are starting new podcasts, you know, what are some just real quick, helpful tips to help them overcome some of those early road bumps, to build something sustainable, that they can stick with for a long time?

Alban:

Yeah, I would start by saying that a cast survey was a 500 people in the UK, they found that 12.4. So they found out like 62 of them were like, Yeah, I could start a podcast. That'd be cool. So I don't know if I make that statistically significant. But it is true. That way, way more people are interested in starting to create content online that are actually creating content online. I bet if you asked the same group of 500 people, would you start thinking about starting a YouTube channel this year? Like you'd probably get pretty high numbers as well, I would probably answer yes to like most of these. And you know, I'd be in the 90% the say yes. And then don't create any of it. So I sympathize. I think the biggest things that hold people back, we all have these things that we think we should do, that we really are not super passionate about. So maybe that's one, you feel like, oh, I should go to the gym this year. Oh, yeah, I should do this thing this year, I should build my own website this year, I should do this. And then you end up not doing it. Because you know, you actually have like a life on top of all your aspirations. But then if you actually do set aside the time to try to start a podcast, and it's not happening, the number one thing I keep seeing is people procrastinate, and they hold themselves back. And I think a lot of that comes from wanting to be perfect, because we're nervous about everyone seeing what we create. You know, I remember when Travis Knight started, one of our first shows, thinking like a specific people from like high school and college, were gonna see it and be like, what an idiot. He was an idiot in high school. He's an idiot now. And like, I didn't want to look dumb. And so I was like, hey, Travis, I noticed I had this little like, little mouth noise at like this point. Can we can we edit that out? You're like, dude, no one cares. So I do think that was, at least for me, that was a big moment was like going like, okay, it doesn't really matter what people think. And in the end, a lot of this people have never found the podcast anyway. So like, it really didn't matter.

Travis:

What about you, Kev? What are some things that you see holding back new podcasters?

Kevin:

One thing that certainly happens a lot in the when we talk to we meet tons of people at conferences have lots of interactions with customers through support. And one thing they often get stuck on is equipment purchases. Oh, yeah. What like the microphone is probably the first and most common one. Like which microphone should I buy? And I totally understand this. I totally empathize with the problem, which is like microphones for the most. There are some that are super expensive. And so you're thinking about I have to make this investment. I certainly don't want to buy the wrong one. I don't want to waste hundreds of dollars on something that's not good. it'd be a good fit for me or my show. And I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars if one that's, you know, 70, or $80 is just as good or will work just as good for me. And so they get stuck in this, you know, analysis paralysis cycle of researching and figuring out all the technical aspects. And I don't understand all this stuff. And so I'm not gonna buy anything. And now I don't have a mic to start my show. And should I just bite the bullet and buy this one? Like, it's just this? It's a vicious cycle? What's really terrible about it? Is that the answer I think, you know, and it's easy for me to say I've been in this for a little bit of time. But the thing is, is that it's a really simple solution, and that there are great podcast microphones that are really affordable. Somewhere in the 60 to $80 range, you can get a great, like starter level, podcasting microphone, and when I say starter level, like it can take you all the way it can take, like Joe Rogan could use it, and he would probably sound great. Now he, he doesn't. But that doesn't mean that it wouldn't work just as effectively. For him. We need more like high profile podcasters who do like have a video component of their show so that you can see that they could be using the $67 Mic. It's just like a vanity thing. Like if you're looking at Alban right now you'd see that he's got SM seven vs. M seven being, you know, super popular podcasting mic for Pete, I promise you, you would not probably hear the difference of Alban, just like right now switched to a key to you, or ATR 20 100x, or something like that, you probably wouldn't hear the difference. And so there's no reason to get stuck in this place of you know, there's the $70 one, but there's this one for 200. There's this one for 301. For 400. I don't know which one to get, like, just get the $70. One, just trust me, it's, it's fantastic. Now, it might not show on camera as fancy as one of these other ones. But it's totally fine. It's totally fine, you'll sound great. And then if down the road, you're loving it and just for your own satisfaction, you're like I just want a fancier microphone, like a great analogy is the car. The car is fantastic. What's like a very common car like a Honda Civic, fantastic car, right? It gets me to the same place that the the Mercedes would get me. But it's, you know, a fifth of the price or a 10th of the price or something. I don't know how much cars cost. But the point is, is that it's to get you where you need to go. And that's exactly what I'm talking about podcasts, microphones. And maybe there's a lot of people out there who just enjoy the research.

Alban:

I think that analogy is actually perfect. The car analogy, because what you're saying is, hey, I need a car so that I can get this job across town, I really want to go to this place, I really want to go to this place. So I need a car. And then you're spending all this time looking at like, Oh, I could get this used car or this new car or this Tesla or this one. And the reason people buy expensive cars is like mostly it's a status thing. It feels cool. It looks cool. But it the utility is not really increased that much. And I think the similar thing for mics. And I say this as someone who's using the expensive mic now. But I know a podcast that had 10s of 1000s of downloads. And when I was talking to her this conference, she said, Yeah, everyone keeps asking me about mics because they like the sound quality. And then I tell him I'm using a Blue Snowball, which is a $40 USB mic that we would not recommend. And she was like, and people are always like, surprised when I say that's what I'm using. And I feel guilty like should I upgrade? I was like, No, it's obviously working. Like whatever setup you've got is good. And, you know, she was like, though, like Warren Buffett driving his Honda Accord, and, you know, crushing it his job and doesn't feel the need to upgrade for the status thing. So I think it's probably, you know, a good way of thinking about podcast mics, just go out and get the Samsung Q to you. It's reliable. It's a Toyota, it doesn't break. It works perfectly. And it actually looks pretty good too. So there's really not a lot of downsides to getting the $7 mic that could really last you 510 years of podcasting. And you don't have to sit there and fret over getting the perfect $2,000 setup. Yeah,

Travis:

I remember when back in 2020 all the podcasts that were in person started going remote, and Conan O'Brien's podcast, they were using ATR 2100s. And I'm pretty sure to this day, Tim Ferriss still uses ATR 2100s, which are, wow, they no longer exist, but they were like $60 microphone $65 microphones. And so yeah, you can definitely just get the cutie you plug it in your computer, learn how to use it. That's the other piece of it. You know, learn how to actually speak into it with some good mic technique. And you're all set. However, if you have been podcasting for a little while, you may have started kind of looking and say, Well, maybe maybe I would be interested in upgrading like now is the time where I really do want to push into that, whether it's for vanity or status. or because you want that little extra bump in sound quality. Maybe you don't like the sound of the sibilance in your voice on the Qt, which is my my only equip with the cue to you, that tends to bring out my SS a little bit more than I would like. It's kind of cruel that the words sibilance has an essence. I know. It's, it's like just hitting me, I'm always down. And so I think it would be interesting and interesting exercise, like, what would be your perfect microphone, if you could create like a Frankenstein of your favorite features, from the different mics that you've used and tested?

Alban:

I like that our lead into this was what holds people back? Well, what holds them back is thinking about what microphone I should get? And then we say yeah, don't worry about that. But now, let's worry about mics you can't even buy don't even exist. What would you buy? If you couldn't exist? This is the ultimate in like procrastination.

Travis:

Well, we did all we put all that advice first to be like, here's the real answer. And then now, hopefully, if like, you know someone at road or shore or Heil happens to listen to Buzzcast, maybe this could be their new r&d little inspiration for something that can make this year. So let

Kevin:

me kick this off, I actually have a bit of an opinion on this. Okay, this is where I think microphones are for podcasters are failing a little bit today. So if we're dreaming of a perfect mic, and I have access to microphone engineers, here's my wish list. Better background noise, like rejection. Meaning I don't want to have to set up a, I don't wanna have to cover whatever room I'm in with foam panels. Because that doesn't work for a lot of independent podcasters, who are just recording at home, they might not have a room and they can do that. And it can get expensive as paying the button better, but like Echo rejection, and just just background noise rejection, Travis is recording right now and his three year old is yelling and when we pick it up a little bit, that just makes editing a little bit harder. You know, people have dogs that bark or lawnmowers that go we need better background noise rejection. And so whatever that profile is of which it where it picks up noise needs to be super tight. And that's fine if we need to learn a little bit better mic technique and getting right in the mic to be able to get a good level. But we need better rejection. The other thing is that we need these microphones to come with better windscreens. Yes, so when you're going to be right up on top of that microphone, you're going to be blowing air into the capsule and that pops and that like Travis said earlier that also picks up your makes your SS sound funny. And they all these things like you spent all this money to manufacture this, you know, electronic device that can pick up audio from somebody's voice and then you ship it with this you know 15 cent foam like thin foam piece of garbage and, and one of the first things that we recommend somebody do like if they go out and they buy the pod mic from road or even the new MD seven from shore, these are expensive like the pod Max $100. The MT seven is 250 or something like that and it ships with this garbage windscreen and we tell people go out and Amazon and buy one for $5 and stick it on it's a little bit beefier. It'll make it sound a lot better. just ship it with it. just ship it with it. Like it's the cheapest part of the whole thing.

Travis:

I wonder how much of that envy seven is they don't want to take away from SM seven V sales like if they make it too good then people will stop buying SM seven B's which cost $150 more

Kevin:

I don't I don't care about the reason this is my dream world dream world out of my dream with the practicality just ship it with a better windscreen right

Travis:

so so better windscreen like an actually great windscreen like a lot of shotgun mics will ship with those wind cats they're like these little fuzz balls you put on the on the front of the microphone right yeah dead cats people calling Alban Do you know what these things are? They look like just giant puffballs

Alban:

Yeah, I I've seen them I was just I was honestly thinking about the word when cat like I was like What a strange name someone looked at it, it looks like a cat caught no wind, I have no it to name it.

Travis:

So for Kevin it's background noise reduction, which would be cardioid or hyper cardioid pickup pattern, but with some built in high pass filter stuff to kind of cut out potentially some of that background. I think the windscreen is is a slam dunk if a microphone a dynamic microphone came out with a windscreen that was actually worth something like in the microphone, that would be great. Like I'm using the RODE Procaster and it's a great microphone, I like it. But even then I have this giant foam cover on it. Because the internal filter just isn't great. And so unless I'm really punching my listeners in the eardrum, you gotta have it you got to buy this extra accessory. So totally there with you, Kevin. What Alright,

Kevin:

so I'm not done the last okay. Is that like road for the pod mic. They sell this little tabletop stand and I think it's a great price like $30 and it's a heavy circular base and then it has a pole that comes out of it and it puts the mic at the right height if you're sitting at a desk. I want them to make one of those for like maybe $40 or $50 but it's still half the price of a boom arm. But it has As an articulating arm on it, so I can just set that thing off to my left a little bit like out of the way at my keyboard mouse when I'm sitting in front of a computer, and I've got a small articulating arm. And so in my mind that takes the product from $30 to like $50. But still half the price of a good boom arm

Alban:

doesn't exist, that it's like a post up, and then it's got a I like horizontal posts, they can go be angled up or down Gator frameworks. Thanks.

Kevin:

I want this all in one I just want and then this might come in $100 on the box. So it's the microphone that's hyper directional. It's the super windscreen thing on it. And it has to stand with the small articulating arm. And it's USB and XLR and all the other stuff that we need these microphones to be sure. And if that's $100, then that is what every podcaster needs to buy.

Travis:

Alright, Alban, what's on your wish list?

Alban:

Alright, I'm going a different direction. I mean, my favorite microphone for years has been the SM seven B. And there's not a whole lot that I don't like about it. But there's things I don't like about the setup. So my setup is the SM seven B with a nice boom arm and then I hook up to a focus right to i two. And then that's where I want to optimize. And so I think I would like is basically, you know, the focus, right? So low, where it's just smaller. It's still not small enough, because the focus right solo is built for one XLR input, and then one of those other inputs that's for like a guitar line input. What are those are called line inputs. Mm hmm. Yeah, so it's got a little bit more than I need. And I'm really trying to simplify what's on the desk. And so I would like a focus, right, that basically is just the input, where I can crank up the gain. And I would like it to be able to provide a little bit more power. So the game doesn't have to be maxed out. And I don't need, what's it called a FET head or CloudLifter, I want to get that out of the system totally. So basically, I just want this like perfect focus, right? Solo, all these manual knobs. It looks great, it works great. And it hooks up to my one mic perfectly. And then I want one other change. And that is the output, I can also output not just to the computer, but figure out some way that it can output reliably to an iPhone. We talked about this earlier that there's a lot of confusion around that, at least there's a lot of confusion in my mind around how to get it to actually work consistently. So I would love for a really easy way to just plug this focus, right? Solo Mini or whatever I'm calling it right into my phone. And I can keep using the SM seven B, I used the NV seven in the past, which is Shures. Like, it kind of looks like a sm seven B but it's got a USB output so you can plug it into your computer directly and just avoid having all this extra stuff. I really was not a fan of some of the had this like weird slider thing on the top. It was like pressure sensitive for audio. I just I would always rather have like buttons that you can actually click like tactile things that I can click on rather than some sort of sliders or anything like that. So those are my desires. I think it's you know, it's more manual stuff. And yeah, I'm looking for really this perfect individual audio interface if someone knows if something like that. Yeah, I'd love for you to let us know.

Kevin:

You might want to check out the EVO for EVO for the EVO four is close to what you're looking for, but I don't think it does. I can't plug into a mobile device. It has a USBC connector on the back. But I doubt if you ran it straight into an iPhone. I don't know might be worth us grabbing one to see if we can actually make it work with an iPhone. This looks really good. Yeah, the EVO four is fantastic looking.

Travis:

I love how we're putting our wish list together. And other people are like, oh, yeah, that already exists, which just go by that. This is great. Alright, so I'm hoping that you guys can discover some things I don't know about for my ideal podcast microphone. So as great as ESM. Seven B is the thing I don't like about it is has a very flat sound profile. Because it's not just a vocal microphone, like you can use it on a kick drum like a drum set. And so because it has like a wide variety of uses, it's not really tailored for voices. So like the electro voice microphones and some of the Rode Microphones are better tailored for that kind of broadcast. Sound Quality. And so I really like that kind of frequency response profile. Definitely, with Kevin on like, get the better windscreen. It needs to look good. I think that's the other thing. It's like if I'm gonna design a microphone, it needs to look good on camera. SM seven B looks great on camera. I think the pod mic is really good looking microphone. Yeah, if had a better windscreen that'd be great. Right now you have to put this giant foam ball on top of it. And so it's less than ideal. And I think the things that would really set apart a perfect podcast microphone are being able to daisy chain multiple USB microphones into one computer, like a legitimately good USB microphone. Like there are some USB microphones that are out there that you can record multiple mics into the same computer. But either the microphone isn't really tailor fit for like a podcasting application, like maybe it's a condenser microphone, set of dynamic microphone, or the software is kind of not exactly fine tuned. But that's like the biggest problem when we're suggesting microphones to people or setups is like, oh, for a one person setup, you just need a USB microphone plugged right in. But if you go to person, you now have to get an XLR setup. Like that's the only reasonable way to get high quality audio consistently and reliably. You gotta get this interface, you got to make sure you have you know, microphones that have XLR inputs. And so you like quadruple the price of the podcast setup just to go from one to two people, right. But if you could take that same microphone and get a second one, and record them both in the same computer. Let's let's go crazy, you got four, four USB microphones plugged into four USB ports, and the computer can recognize all four of them as individual inputs, then that would be incredible. So really, what I want is a pod mic with a better pop filter that has a USB output, and you record more than one in a computer. That's like my perfect podcast mic.

Kevin:

I mean, the money statement in there was being able to daisy chain them all together. Because especially like in the Mac world, the newer computers don't have a ton of ports on them. And so even if I had four USB microphones that could all plug into four USB ports. That doesn't work for me, if I have a Mac, I still have to buy a hub, USB hub, if I could daisy chain them, that's really smart. I like that.

Alban:

So daisy chaining is actually one cable comes out goes into microphone one a cable comes out of microphone one goes into microphone two cable comes out of microphone two,

Travis:

we got it from there. And it might sound crazy. But that feature already exists for headphones, and for monitors and for Lavell. Ear microphones. So you can daisy chain Lavell ear microphones depending on the interface that you're using into a single device like road actually makes this. They have their road lab go, I think or whatever it's called. But you can take multiple lav mics, put them into one kind of like central hub and plug them into your phone or a recording device. And so this this technology exists, but just not for USB dynamic microphones,

Kevin:

right? Does it record on separate channels? If you do that?

Travis:

If you use the app, if you use the app, it comes with antastic

Kevin:

Mm hmm, that's great. Yep. Add that to mine. I like that feature.

Travis:

Because I think that's the biggest friction point from going from one to more than one person in the same room is your you have to have an XLR setup. It's like required unless you're gonna have each person recording on their own individual laptop, right, which is less than ideal.

Alban:

It's definitely weird when, for some people, the easiest setup to record more than one person is to say, make sure you're not in the same location. If you're using something like Riverside to record the conversation, right? That means there's something missing in the physical world that we have not built yet. We've not made this simple enough, that we're now saying, Hey, everybody, just take your computers into separate rooms. And that's actually an easier way to record. So I like these suggestions. There was lots of good stuff there. Kevin, though, may be the only one who actually followed all of the rules and was really talking about the microphone itself. Travis I expanded the the criteria quite a bit.

Travis:

That's all right. So engineers at Rhode shore Ohio, if you want to get in touch for some more wonderful ideas from people that don't design microphones. You can call us any time

Alban:

I can hear a chorus of pass.

Travis:

Well, hopefully we'll see some fun new technology coming out in the podcasting space this year. If it does, we'll certainly let you know about it. We hope you enjoyed another episode of Buzzcast Till next time, keep podcasting.

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. We're continuing 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 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 something 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.

Unknown:

Bye

What's your middle name, Travis?
Little Bits of News
(Cont.) Little Bits of News
Monetization for the rest of us
How to start a podcast (and stick with it)
The perfect podcast mic