I have two reasons for these worries.
1) The purchase of Gimlet by Spotify mentioned in the article.
2) The purchase of Stuff Media by iHeart.
The purchase of Gimlet is problematic for a couple of reasons, but the biggest is that a distribution channel now owns a large content company which could lead to content bubbling. I don't want to have different players for different shows, I want the shows to be available on all players. I believe this is already happening, "Crime town" season 2 is only available on Spotify.
The iHeart purchase might be more troubling. Have you ever noticed that no mater where you are in the US, the radio stations are extremely similar? This has a few reasons, one of which is, that station is probably owned by iHeart (formerly Clear Channel), they own over 400 radio stations are are in virtually every US market . I'm not saying iHeart is evil, but the chance that shows get more homogenous increase when large corporate players have to satisfy shareholders. I'm not sure I can take any more true crime shows.
I don't know why not. Back when they were known as Clear Channel, in the wake of 11SEP2001 they censored songs that went against the agenda of starting wars.
(Ah, I see it has been spun as mere a suggestion. Just like I'm sure the managers at each station only passed along the suggestion. There couldn't have possibly been any accompanying social pressure, especially at that time, that would have made it a tacit order).
I think podcasting is somewhat shielded from this by the fact that you really don't need an insane amount of capital to put out a good product. There definitely are podcasts that have expensive, professional studio set ups, but there are others I've listened to that are just straight up recorded on an iPhone and they can actually sound very decent. This low barrier of entry makes it easy for people to make their own weird podcast without having to water down their product and pitch it to investors. I guess with time that could change if your podcast is considered dead if its not on one of these big corporate channels. As someone who really enjoys the "homemade" feels, I hope this never happens, a podcast feeling overproduced is a big turn off IMO.
You could say the same thing about the web
What is happening with websites?
This is at the heart of the control problem. If you have one true player, it commands more control than is good for you, me and all consumers. Healthy competition is the only practical way to keep this under check.
I make sure to distribute my consumption over at least 2-3 contenders for any content be it search (google, ddg, bing), video (youtube, vimeo, dailymotion), podcasts (overcast, apple podcasts). I've begun extending this pattern over all sorts of consumption.
Sure its a hassle for me. I'm ok with it. I like to think that one extra click, one purchase, one download helps the competitors in keeping the market healthy.
The proprietary-lockin epidemic is a serious issue. I think part of the problem is open standards don't often focus on the payments problem.
If we have reasonably good competition among these platforms, we may just have some hope there.
I think more people should try to create their own podcast. I've been doing my own podcast after being a guest on a couple episodes of another tech podcast and I can't recommend it enough.
I think it should be treated like the low barrier to entry medium it is.
Current favorite podcast is the indie hackers podcast. Sometimes something you hear is more impactful then reading the equivalent.
I prefer podcasts to audio books usually as podcasts are meant for audio whereas audio books are just adapted to the medium.
Google's podcast system doesn't allow you to load in arbitrary RSS feeds. This is cause for concern if others go that way too. There will always be open podcatchers and self hosted feeds, just like there will always be web pages, but they will be harder and harder to find.
I hope I'm wrong.
I subscribe to a couple of shows which offer free versions, discoverable through Apple's directory and others, and paid "upgrades". Those paid upgrades come into the same app I use for listening to podcasts generally. I actually think things today are pretty well set up for podcasters who want to be independent but still get paid.
I write fiction on the side and am able to put my ebooks (and print books, for that matter) into a variety of stores. If a model could be started through which a podcast producer can put their podcast in multiple stores so that it's a paid show but available in Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, etc., that would be a nice model indeed.
It's doubtful that Spotify would attempt such a model.
There are some small consolidation here and there. There are a few podcasts becoming paid / subscription based business. But most podcasts will be niche , small , and free. More fun people will start their own podcasts :)
In the long run, there will be plenty of niche podcasts with dozens, maybe hundreds of listeners - not enough to make a living, but an audience is its own reward.
Most instagramers are not influencers who can monetize well. Most instagramers don’t have a large follower base, which totally makes sense.
few podcasters can make a living from producing podcasts. Most podcasters make podcasts for fun. Some use podcasts to cross promote other things (eg books, music , e-commerce...). More and more companies produce podcasts, but they just treat podcasts as an addition to their social accounts to build audience and create awareness: https://lnns.co/b0jVr85WkQn
It's likely that eventually the bar will lower and people will stop minding less integrated ads. But the advertiser pays per download (right now, see next paragraph) and doesn't pay the host to do the reading, so from the buying end it's simple and generally they work with the Podcast hosting platform who then farms it out to creators.
NPR released their Remote Audio Data spec recently and many players are working to integrate it. Essentially the ID3 tags have several time stamps marked and a call back URL. The podcast player then delivers events to that URI indicating the listener listened through that time stamp with some other metadata.
The automation and ad network-ization is already in motion.
So to answer: the same place web pages get ads.
Do you have any information on who? I've mostly heard about players announcing they won't support it, and Apple and Spotify have their own analytics systems they'd probably prefer people use.
The big thing is Apple. Apple is definitely the big boy in the pond and NPR is in talks to get it working.
The thing is, if other podcatchers continue to refuse to provide data somehow, the advertisers are going to start refusing to pay for downloads and only for impressions verifiable on Apple, Spotify, and Google's apps. The end result is the closing off into walled gardens.
We already have Stitcher and Spotify buying up podcasts and keeping them exclusive to their platforms.
It can go either way but like...it's bad if it doesn't go this way. Either you're buying podcasts per episode or trapped on Google/Apple/Spotify's horrific podcast apps.
The apps are horrific. Google compresses audio to the point you get obvious quality loss and artifacting, even to my non-audiophile ears on $20 earbuds.
Apple Podcasts is a PITA once you've subscribed to more than 10 podcasts. It's really badly set up if you subscribe to a serial audio drama and have several seasons to catch up on.
Spotify thinks podcasts are just playlists in order from newest to oldest and wow is that a barebones and impossible UX for anything but a talkshow type podcast.
EDIT: Forgot to mention, all that to say, it'll probably come from markets that fit how/when/where consumers listen: exercise, entertainment, etc.
(I strongly recommend starting with Season 1. It's the most honest and vulnerable telling of early startup life that I've ever come across.)
Normally, I find all episodes interviewing a person of my interest, then binge listen them all. These episodes may be from some pretty unknown podcasts that I don’t want to listen to other episodes .
The podcasts I listen to are intentionally hand-selected over time to be 1) informative, 2) have a decent content:fluff ratio, and 3) enjoyable. I unsubscribed from Star Talk because about 90% of it was non-scientific chatter or ads, even though it was enjoyable and informative (sometimes). If a podcast doesn't cut to the damn chase like NDT's, that's an instant unsub from me.
In particular, I find independent podcasts like Sam Harris or Dan Carlin to be FANTASTIC, and that content is free for all to download in multiple ways. So, I'm not worried in the slightest.
One of it's show is "Reply All" is hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. They used to host a podcast called "TLDR" on NPR (WNYC).
These guys are all super talented and deserve to be paid very well for the content they produce, but to say those shows and podcasters you like won't go to where there money is probably not 100%.
This. Dan Carlin is fantastic and I enjoy supporting him because of the quality. No Agenda and Congressional Dish are two more listener supported/value-for-value podcasts which do an outstanding job. No Agenda, in particular, raised the bar extremely high for production value, and they do it all live to tape! No back office. Little-to-no post production. Those guys are proof you don’t need a studio, enployees, or advertisers to make a living out of podcasting.
Edit: removed "ad-free" as a descriptor of Carlin's shows, since I recall him having Audible ads.
I stopped listening to them a while back after they had a hard right turn IIRC. Their business model was excellent though.
Toys R Us is a great example. The PEG people invested 20%, dumped the debt on the Toys R Us balance sheet, and yielded at least $200M in fees. They are also able to harvest paper losses to offset taxes.
Why would they do so? They are “turning the company around!”.
That said, as long as the vast majority of shows continue to publish their shows as god intended -- as enclosures on an simple RSS feed -- I think podcasts will stay healthy and vibrant. I will not subscribe to Spotify for a whole host of reasons, and it would take far, far more 'available only on Spotify' podcasts to ever make me reconsider that.