Pandora Music & Radio
Stop Asking for Podcast Ratings and Reviews!
Thank you to all of you who commented on last week's special episode, The Death of Music Radio. I was worried about coming across as bitter toward radio, but most folks in those circles found my commentary maybe a little harsh, but fact-based and fair. Here's a link to last week's episode. Twitter almost bought Clubhouse. Business Insider says they were in talks to buy the platform for $4 billion, but those talks fizzled out. As far as this week's actual acquisitions, Spotify bought Locker Room, sports version of Clubhouse. and Libsyn bought Advertise Cast. Speaking of Spotify, have they overtaken Apple? Looks like we're going to get some competing data for awhile. Podcast host Buzzsprout says they had more downloads on Spotify than Apple Podcasts in March. As far as podcast hosts, they appear to be on their own with this claim. Other hosts still say Apple is number one, but we could be seeing the beginnings of a sea change. At the other end of the spectrum, Samsung mobile phones are going to come with the Samsung Free app, which you can also use to listen to podcasts. We'll see if that affects Spotify and Google Podcasts on Android devices. iHeartMedia is continuing to pad its All Star roster, announcing podcasts with Robin Roberts, Bethany Frankel, and Chelsea Clinton. They've bought and leveraged their way into being the top podcast publisher by audience, according to Podtrac. As for their app, not a ton of use outside radio circles. Amazon continues to invest in the podcasting space. Podcast producer Wondery, now owned by Amazon, going to double its staff, hiring in California. This morning, I had a client ask if she should ask for reviews at the end of her show. It's a common misconception that reviews will get you to the top of Apple's charts. What actually gets you to the top is an algorithm that Apple won't share, but we have learned that gaining new subscribers, now called followers, helps. But more importantly, the charts aren't how people find podcasts. Top 3 methods of podcast discovery are internet searches, social media, and old school word of mouth. While we're on the topic of Apple's charts, Dan Misener of Pacific Content says a year ago, so-called "G-dCasts," or religious podcasts, were the top category. Now, in 2021, it's Education, followed by Society and Culture. Misner also says, if on the fence, pick the least crowded category for your show. PodChaser has brought back its Reviews For Good program, donating 20 cents to Meals on Wheels for every review you leave on their platform. I often get asked how to monetize your podcast. It's not easy. Generally speaking, you've got to have a ton of downloads, or have a really specific niche to your podcast. But here's some good news. The IAB, or Interactive Advertising Bureau, says advertising in the digital audio space was up 12.2% in 2020, despite the pandemic. If you are wondering about the effectiveness of podcast ads, consider this. I heard enough live read ads on Pod Save America for Magic Spoon cereal that I finally decided to try it. The idea is that its sweet like the cereal you had as a kid, but high in protein and low in carbs and sugar. And they say it's less than 2 bucks a bowl. Problem is, minimum purchase is 4 boxes, and even with discount codes, that's $35. I finished my first box, the chocolate, which is basically a Cocoa Krispies knockoff. Little sweet, but not bad. I still have the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes knockoff flavors to try. Bottom line, not bad, but not worth $35. Now I'm not saying go back to sugary cereal, but some carbs are OK. We need to stop vilifying them, just ask my registered dietician client, Melissa Joy Dobbins, host of the Sound Bites podcast. But my point is, podcast advertising works. Squadcast has a blog on monetizing your podcast, including promo exchanges, targeting advertisers, working with large agencies, and even trying a service like Podcorn to pair podcasters up with advertisers. I'm going to try it.: Squadcast is still my preferred remote recording app, but they have a limit of 4 participants. I have been using Riverside.FM for larger groups on a recording. And big news from Riverside this week - they have an iOS app in public beta. The idea behind it is that if your guest has an iPhone or iPad, you can have them on your podcast or video, using their device's camera and microphone. Again, it's still in beta, but could be a game changer if you have remote guests that aren't easily in front of a computer. Other tech news this week - Spotify is testing a "Hey Spotify" feature that will work like Google, Siri, or Alexa to allow your Spotify app to play music or podcasts. And for those of you, who like me, use the Rodecaster Pro box, THEY have a firmware update, also in Beta. It's got enhanced features for the sound pad buttons, a button to mute audio on the fly, and something they call the "trash talk" button, that will mute everything being sent over Bluetooth or USB to your guest. Not a huge fan of the name, and remember that golden rule of broadcasting. Always assume any mic you are around is hot. Finally, a huge thank you to Professor Tina Perkins and her Newhouse class at Syracuse University, who had me join them via Zoom as a guest speaker this week. It's been quite a journey over the last 20 years, working my way through radio, then eventually starting my own podcasting company and watching it grow. To be asked to come back and speak to some really insightful and engaged students at my alma mater was a really cool and humbling moment for me. A bucket list item for sure. As always, if I can help you create or improve your existing podcast, find me online at
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