Podnews Weekly Review

Skye Pillsbury from newsletter 'The Squeeze' talks about 'What Does "Big Money Podcasting" Look Like?' both now and in the future, as layoffs continue and shows are cut.

October 07, 2022 James Cridland & Sam Sethi Season 1 Episode 96
Podnews Weekly Review
Skye Pillsbury from newsletter 'The Squeeze' talks about 'What Does "Big Money Podcasting" Look Like?' both now and in the future, as layoffs continue and shows are cut.
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James Cridland:

From POD News, welcome to Pod Land. The last word in podcasting news. It's Thursday the 6th of October, 2022. I'm James Cridland, the editor of Pod News.

Sam Sethi:

And I'm Sam Seth, the MD of River Radio

Skye Pillsbury:

Hi, I'm Sky Pilsbury and I'll be on later to talk about why I started a newsletter called The Squeeze about the podcast industry.

James Cridland:

She will Pod Land is sponsored by Squad Cast. We use the latest squad cast version five to remotely record this episode. Sam's in the UK and I'm in Australia.

Sam Sethi:

and we're sponsored and hosts by Bus Sprout. Last week, 3,506 people started a podcast with Bus Sprout and now there's Bus Sprout ads to grow your podcast wherever it's hosted.

James Cridland:

Yes. Pod Land is our weekly review where Sam and I review the week's top podcasting stories covered on pod news.

Sam Sethi:

You've had a busy week, uh, in Sydney, I think. Uh, you have podcast A 24. It was a busy day. How did it all go?

James Cridland:

Yeah, no, it was, it was a very busy day at the Maritime Museum in Sydney on Darling Harbor. And, uh, yes, uh, lots of stuff there. Um, we kicked off with, uh, more data from the Australian Podcast Ranker, which is always interesting to have a look at. It's, uh, 750 million downloads go into that thing, so therefore it does, pretty well in terms of numbers. Apple podcasts still number one, 46% of all downloads Spotify, 19%. Obviously, Spotify does cash some shows, but not necessarily, uh, the ones in the Australian podcast Ranker. So interesting to see. Um, and a ton of other data. It's just a really, uh, a really fun day with lots of people from the industry getting together. Um, uh, you know, there was some great, uh, speakers form McCue was there talking about how to make a great narrative podcast. Tony and Ryan, um, Spotify's big, uh, signing. They were there, what was really interesting is there was, um, Michelle Laurie, uh, who does the Australian True Crime Podcast. She was there saying, You know, I come from radio. I deliberately don't do any, um, any working on my show before I'm recording it. You know, I don't do any research. Everybody has to hear stuff as I hear it, because that's the authentic way that radio has worked, and that's the authentic way that this podcast will work. Tony and Ryan, completely different. Tony and Ryan came from this, from a radio production background. And they were saying, We need to plan everything you need to know when you are listening to this show, you need to know that someone else is driving for you and you can just relax, uh, and somebody else is steering the car and you can just relax and listen and you know what's going to happen and, you know, in what order it's going to happen. Really fascinating, um, uh, conversations. So, um, yeah, super, uh, enjoyable day. half of it, of course in Sydney, the other half in London, and, and if you bought uh, tickets, you can watch, uh, both of those on demand as well. I haven't yet watched any of the stuff out of London, but I'm sure that it was very good too. So, um, yeah, it was a good day.

Sam Sethi:

Well done. Congratulations to you and Matt Lynn. Moving on, um, I had the pleasure of interviewing this week, Sky Pilsbury. She started a newsletter. James called The Squeeze. Dunno if you've had a look at it.

James Cridland:

I have indeed, yes, I've linked to it, uh, a number of times. I think what's really nice is being able to have a look at, uh, long form, um, reporting as Sky is doing. It's not a pod news, it's not trying to, you know, um, um, condense everything into, um, uh, everything that's happened in the industry. It's focusing on one big story, looking at it from an investigative side, and, uh, seeing how that works. So yeah, I've been very much enjoying.

Sam Sethi:

So we, we've had a, a, a long interview with Sky and we're gonna split that into two. So you're gonna get a bit now, and if you want to hear the rest of it, it'll be at the end of this podcast. We started off by talking to Sky about why she started the newsletter, how she plans to monetize it, and why she didn't start with a podcast.

Skye Pillsbury:

I have hosted a podcast in the past. And I loved it. It was a labor of love for me. I interviewed podcasters about their craft. It was called Inside Podcasting, and it was a huge amount of work. And so shouts out there to everyone who produces a podcast, even if it's an interview podcast. It is a gigantic amount of work, and for me, I felt a sense of urgency in wanting to. Right, wanting to tell stories more quickly, and so that was one of the reasons that I started a newsletter, because I can write something one week and it's out there right away. That doesn't take away from the joy that you get in building a podcast, but writing to me as a journalist, an easier way to get my message out there. If anyone who's listening to this wants to produce a podcast for me. About the news or about what I've written, I'd be happy to do that. But I do love the written word, and it's sort of like where I started in this industry. So let me talk about why I've started the Squeeze specifically, and then maybe I can go back and talk about what I did leading up to that. I started the Squeeze because. frankly, it was the newsletter that I wanted to read. I wanted to go behind the scenes of the podcast industry and find out what was underneath all of the headlines, right? There's James Cridlin, for example, writes Pod News, and he does a great job of letting the industry know what is happening in the news. But I wanted to do something slightly different. For one thing, I didn't wanna compete with James, but also I wanted to, just from my own curiosity and my own sort of journalistic spirit, I wanted to go behind those headlines and find out how those headlines were impacting the people who actually work in podcasting. So if a company has acquired another company, what does that actually mean for the companies who work at the company who have been acquired or. What are other reasons that. People would make the decision to release a particular type of podcast at this very moment. There were so many little stories that I was curious about as I would read the news that I felt like that was something that I. Had the skill and certainly the passion and curiosity around to make happen. So that was really the reason behind starting the Squeeze. I would also say writing the Squeeze. It's an independent effort, and so I wasn't gonna be tied to any larger organization that would hem me in from covering the kinds of stories that I wanted to cover. And that seemed like an opportunity as well to be able to speak in a sense more freely about. What are the real issues that I see in podcasting? What are systemic issues or just having the freedom to actually criticize the things about the industry that I saw that weren't going well? I think that there is this instinct among people who work in this industry to. Cheer the industry on. And of course that is important, right? We're still a relatively new industry, even if people have been podcasting for over 20 years, and we're still new. And so we want to cheer ourselves on. We want to establish that we are credible, we want to be taken seriously, but at the same time, I think that a lot of us see that. in some cases we're repeating the same mistakes that other mediums have made and or that other people, I should say, in organizations that produce media have made, and I feel like it is important for us. to be critical in order to become a better industry. And so I also began the squeeze because I wanted to have the freedom to do just that. So the other reason is, and just going back to some of the work that I've done previously. So you know, I started in this industry as a writer. I. Hired by inside.com to write inside podcasting, which was great. I basically got paid to learn about the industry very, very quickly because that was a daily newsletter, sort of curating the news. Eventually I left that job after having done it for a few years, and also after having started inside podcasting, the podcast in which I would interview podcast creators, which I loved doing, but was. You know, a lot of work. An exhausting thing to do, especially once the pandemic hit, right? So when the pandemic hit, I was finishing up the second season of the podcast, I was still writing this newsletter. My kids came home and I have a child who has learning differences and I really needed to be home with her. So I ended up quitting for a time for about six months. I didn't do any work at all, but I really missed it. I was still super passionate about the industry. I was still. Keeping myself up to date by reading various newsletters and reading various stories. Certain publications were starting to write longer form stories about podcasting at that time, and I wanted to be part of that. And so I ended up speaking with Nick Qu maybe in February or so of 2021. He was looking for writers to provide content for hotpod. And I had a number of stories I was really interested in writing, and he was great. He was very supportive of any story that I had passion around, and that ended up being a great gig for me because as I said, he was very supportive. He was also a great editor. As a writer, it's so easy to get into our own space. That is something that even today I miss, is having someone who would look at my work and who I could bounce ideas off of. So I wrote a number of stories for him in 2021. Longer form stories, looking at patterns within podcasting, and also, as I mentioned before, systemic issues within the industry and. That gig went away when Hot Pod was acquired by The Verge. And so then I'd been sort of batting around the idea in my own mind of writing my own newsletter for years. And literally since I started working at Inside Podcasting, it had been something I'd been thinking about and it was sort of like, Okay, this is your chance to prove that you can do it. And so I finally did it. Not until a couple of months ago, but I've been producing issues I think since July, and I feel like the response has, has been positive. Okay.

Sam Sethi:

It has. I'm one of your readers, so. Again, what I'd ask is you start these things and you chose Subst Stack to go down the route of creating your newsletter. Is that the monetization route? Is monetization important even to you? Is it a case of I want to get my voice out and Subst Stack was the quick and easiest way to do it or was it, I want get my voice out and I wanna be paid for it and therefore, Subs Stack was the platform for me.

Skye Pillsbury:

I'll be honest, when I started to squeeze, it had nothing to do with. Monetization When I decided to use Subec as a platform, in fact, you know, I went to my husband, I'm in a fortunate enough position that I was able to go to my husband as my partner in life and say, I want to do this thing. Uh, of course, Would eventually like to be paid, and I'll get back to that. But my number one priority right now is getting my voice out there, and there aren't a whole lot of opportunities for people who do what I do to actually make money right now. That's one of the problems I see in the industry is that there aren't a whole lot of. People who are writing about this for money. There's someone at the New York Times who has written a number of articles, Quas now at the Vulture, but he's doing mostly podcast criticism. The opportunities are far and few between, and so I really saw it as this is an opportunity to get my voice out there to establish trust and credibility with a potential audience. And if I'm able to be successful in that, then there will be a way for me. To be compensated for my work at some point. But what I told my husband at the time was, I'm probably gonna do this for a while without making any money. And are we as a family okay with that? And we decided together that I could afford to do this without making money initially, because I'm a big believer that if I can be really passionate and prove myself, hopefully there will be a way to make money. And actually, I'm pleased to say that a number of advertisers have actually already approached me. Nice. However, that is good. Good. . It is good. I'm not sure that going down the advertiser route is the right one for the squeeze because I want to keep it independent. As I said, I don't necessarily wanna be hemmed in by having any other organization. Stake in what I write, and even if I'm not gonna write about those advertisers, because I don't have a separate advertising department that would be selling to them, it's very hard for me to say, Okay, there's this wall that I'm gonna put up in my brain between who I'm taking money from and who I'm gonna be writing about. I would be lying if I said there wasn't any consideration that comes with that. So I still. Decided outright that I won't work with advertisers, as they say. Never say never, but it hasn't struck me, at least at this stage, as necessarily something that's in line with my brand as the squeeze my brand is. Independent Maverick can say what she wants. No bullshit. Am I allowed to swear? You are?

Sam Sethi:

Well too late now. , . Skye Pillsbury: Feel So that's my brand, so I'd rather not have to go down that route. On the other hand, I am also aware that a lot of my readers are not people with a whole lot of disposable income. They're independent podcasters. They're. Making a podcast because they're passionate about it. Maybe they aren't even interested in monetizing or they haven't faced that themselves. And so I also would love to thank and. Has been and is still my plan to keep that Thursday issue free to my readers. If I were to try and monetize it, I would try to find a way to provide my readers with a different kind of value, either a separate issue on a different day. I've thought . About other things because doing a separate issue on another day also requires more work on my part. And to be honest, getting this thing out once a week, especially when I'm doing a reported issue and not just an interview. It's a lot like even the issue that I am supposed to release tomorrow. I'm honestly at this stage, not even sure that it's gonna happen. You know, there's a lot of steps when you're reporting on something. You have to give the person or the organization that you're reporting on time to weigh in, to share their own perspective. All of these different steps take time. And so I'm not confident that I could produce a second issue every week. So is there something else I could do? Could I create a discussion channel or something else? Some other kind of benefit. This is one of these funny things that James and I talk about some fairly technical elements of the podcasting world within podcast. Mm-hmm. . And we do worry that we sometimes lose the audience in our geek out that we have, and one of those. Geeky things that's currently going around between a very few people I suppose, but it's growing is value for value and the idea of a payment of value on micropayments using Satoshi, which is the Bitcoin. Mm-hmm. Micropayment system and it's really interesting. Looking at somebody like yourself, You're talking about, I'm gonna put out an episode, but I have to add extra value, so I'm gonna put out a secondary one. Mm-hmm. . But that primary one has value, right? And so in, in some ways there's a company called Albi, which has a WordPress plugin. Again, this may not be something you want to do, but it was just going through my mind as you're talking, that you could. Through yourself or through a third party, create a WordPress site with this paywall. Mm-hmm. , for want of a better word, but the paywall doesn't predetermine the price. The price is predetermined by the reader. In your case, or in our case as a podcaster, the listener. Mm-hmm. . And a lot of what we do on pod land, we get these things called booster grams, which are comments that are paid for with Satoshi. Right? Hmm. And the idea is that if you've enjoyed. Pod land and you think we've added value and you want to thumb us up or give us a heart, Well don't give us some stats instead. Yeah, send us some micropayment. And I wonder whether that is something that you may wanna look at instead of a second edition. A primary edition that has value for value enabled. Yeah.

Skye Pillsbury:

It's so interesting because there are such parallels with what people are thinking about and podcasting right now in terms of getting paid for their work. Uh, in addition to having advertisers reach out to me, I've actually had readers reach out also and say, How can I support your work? And so far I've just written back to those people and said, Thank you so much. It really means a lot to me to know that what I'm providing has value. I don't right now have a way for you to support me, but I'm thinking about it and I have thought about. These different sort of models where I could get paid maybe even per issue or whatever, by people who feel like this particular issue did provide value. Subec does actually provide a way for people to support you without necessarily, you know, creating a pay wall. So you could actually, if I turn this functionality on, you could come to Subst Stack and you could actually pay me through Subst, even without the production of a second issue. But I. is required that it would have to be $5 and it would have to be like a subscription model. So yeah, Cause the reason why I chose Subst Stack, I'll be honest, was not even because of the monetization capabilities. It was because of the platforms that I looked at. I felt that it had the easiest. Format structure. For me, it was all about design and format. I will admit that I had some misgivings, like just the way I think a lot of people do about various platforms these days, right? Like I am very aware that there are people on this platform whose values do not align with mine. And so I actually had some misgivings, not because so much like. What is monetization gonna do for me on this platform? Does that work with the way that I wanna eventually make money for my work? But more about, is this the right platform? Ultimately, I decided that it was really important to me to just be able to, At the moment I say Go and subs tax platform was easy, but it was also from a design perspective. Elegant. Like I just knew that I could just write it and get it out there right away and that it would look good. Quite frankly, but looking back, I don't know, did I make the right decision? I, I could always move it to a different platform. I guess I'm just not at the stage yet where. I'm ready to start thinking about monetization and all these other advantages I might have elsewhere. I'm in that stage where I'm still trying to build trust with my readers and. Prove that I'm a credible source for them, that they can take seriously. But I do think eventually I will have to think about that. And I can't do this forever and not be compensated for my work forever. I wanna be sensitive and I wanna be thoughtful.

James Cridland:

Sky Pilsbury and part two of this interview around the role of women in podcasting is, uh, later if you have chapters on your podcast app as you do in things like uh, Apple Podcasts and uh, in other places, uh, then you can go and find that right now.

Sam Sethi:

The other part of the interview was also a conversation James about, uh, cuz we are, uh, or Im old enough in Sky remembers, uh, Web 1.0 and how so many startups were bought and, and basically, for example, Microsoft will buy a whole bunch of startups and then you'd never hear or see anything of that startup again. And it does feel like a little bit of that is going on with pod podcasting text. So we had that conversation about. Comparing. I mean, a good example is Anchor Mike Minno has done his three years. The golden handcuffs are off, he's off to VC land. Um, anchor feels like it's been left to die in the vine. Now, within Spotify, I mean you report this week that it continues to lose market share within Spotify. Um, what do you think is that, is that a fair comparison?

James Cridland:

I think possibly, I think, you know, clearly from Spotify's point of view, they see real opportunities in megaphone. Um, they see opportunities in the Spotify advertising network and an anchor doesn't necessarily seem to fit into that quite now. Maybe they will again, maybe there are opportunities there. Um, uh, I think part of that is around, uh, brand safety and, and that sort of thing. But yeah, I mean, you know, they are currently seemingly posting the lowest ever figure first share of all new podcast episodes. Um, and, um, you know, one wonders whether Anchor is a bit being, uh, glossed over by, uh, Spotify. Now I read something that, uh, actually album broke from Buzzsprout, uh, shared on Twitter, which was, um, about Google and why Google keeps on canceling. Um, and that, and that apparently is all to do with, uh, internal promotion at Google, that actually you get far more promotional juice for your own career if you launch something than if you just make something better. So you'll never find a, an amazing engineer at Google who just makes Gmail better. You will find an amazing, uh, engineer at Google who is launching a brand new thing. So that's why Google appears to launch so many things and then just don't care about them because once it's launched, then where's the career benefit for me to stay in that particular app or, you know, service? And I thought that that was interesting too. And I wonder whether that's a little bit of, um, anchor's thing as well in terms of, uh, Spotify too.

Sam Sethi:

Talking of Spotify, Ashley Carmen reports that five editorial people from the podcast team were laid off this week. Again, it just feels like maybe they're doing the big shake up. I always go, Who runs podcasting in Spotify? Never know the answer to that question, but maybe they are now beginning to shake it down, uh,

James Cridland:

Well, I think this is going on everywhere, so, yeah. You know, whether you have a look at Spotify, um, who are saving, uh, some of their headcount, whether you have a look of, of course, at Acast that we talked about, uh, last week. Who are saving, uh, headcount, By the way, those people who are going from Acast are going this week. Um, so, you know, and I know a few of them. So yeah, it's, it's very, um, sad to see some good people leaving the industry, although hopefully not for long. Um, and of course, uh, over at, uh, Oy, um, which, uh, a large company that used to be called Intercom. They own Pineapple Street Studios, but also own Cadence 13. Apparently they are now wanting to sell Cadence 13. They think they can get a hundred million for it. Um, Although orders says, say, this is just a rumor. If they don't raise their stock price, um, they need to double it or more than double it by the end of February. And if they don't, then basically the New York Stock Exchange de lists the company. Um, I said could in, um, in the pod news newsletter. Um, but uh, Adam Curry tells me, No, it's not good. It's will, um, . Those are, those are the rules. So, um, yeah, so I think, you know, interesting times, you know, clearly as we go into a recession, and I don't think that anybody is really saying that we are not going into a recession, but clearly as we go into a recession, profitability is going to be more important than, you know, future growth. And I think that, uh, companies are gonna be focusing a little bit more on short term, um, profitability. So, um, yeah. So I'm sure that we'll see more of that and, um, Seeing people leave, uh, Spotify's podcast editorial team is probably exactly that.

Sam Sethi:

Talk about people laying off. Um, do you want Liz trust over down there? Cuz you know we don't want her anymore.

James Cridland:

Well, yes, that's the UK Prime Minister. For anybody that's listening and you don't know, and if you don't know, well, congratulations. You can pat yourself on the back for that. It's a probably a good thing. Um, but yes, it's not, uh, it's not, it's not, it's not looking good over there.

Sam Sethi:

No. Um, have you got a spare room?

James Cridland:

Yikes. Um,

Sam Sethi:

on. Moving on swiftly. Um, a little story that I saw you wrote about, um, Kara Swisher, who's got her new podcast on, um, and she's already had Hillary Clinton and a few other loves, um, but Cora Swisher, her. Podcast is going great. Guns. Um, her old podcast, which was at the New York Times called Sway, um, she's not happy because they've taken the RSS and repurposed it and to use a new tech show called Hard Fork. Um, and Carra is very annoyed that they've taken that audience and who are subscribed to the RSS question James Should, a podcast is now in all contracts, say they will take their RSS feed with them.

James Cridland:

Uh, I'm going to be very controversial here and say, No car. If you want to leave the New York Times, um, then you have no rights over what the New York Times ends up doing with your, um, with your staff after you, you, you, you leave, um, uh, you know, a Pineapple Street Studios, which is owned by Odyssey. More than three quarters of the staff have signed up to join the W G A E Union, which is the Writers Guild of America East. and one of the things that they will, will be talking about is staff retaining IP of their shows. Uh, and to my point at the end of all of this, If you want to retain the IP to your shows, then don't work for a large company. Uh, when you work for a large company, they take the risk, they pay you a salary every single month. Um, they take the risk of whether or not they can go out and sell it and make and make profit out of it. If they can't make any profit out of it, then that's their risk that they have taken on. You don't get to own the IP as well. That's what happens when you join a large company. So now I think, uh, you know, Carra, Swo, I mean, Bless, she might be upset that Hard Fork, which is a tech show has taken over her former podcast Sway, which was a tech show. But at the end of the day, good business from the New York Times to start that show going with a decent audience. Um, uh, and it's entirely within the New York Times' purview. If you don't want another company having your own personal ip, then don't join the company. And learn how to, um, take, take the risk alongside every everybody else. So, um, now I'm, I'm not, um, I'm not, I'm not up for that. Sam, am I being overly, am I being overly unfair? Do you think?

Sam Sethi:

No, as an entrepreneur, I'm, I'm sometimes saddened and annoyed when people join your company as the owner and the entrepreneur. You work damn hard, you don't sleep a lot, and you're worried most of the time how to grow your company when people just simply come in, use your stuff, if it works, great, they'll stick around. If it doesn't, they walk off. Um, and I guess, yeah, what you're saying is like the New York Times took the risk that Cara's podcast would take off if it hadn't, Carra would've walked and gone somewhere else. So she has done him and numerous times, right? She's gone back to Vox Media, then she's come back again. So, you know, um, yeah, I, I guess I don't disagree with you, James. I mean, we've seen it before with the BBC, with Top Gear, Peter Crouch and the other ones. I guess the secret though, is like with Simon Mayo and Peter Crouch is stick your name in the podcast and then they can't really do much with it.

James Cridland:

Yes, well, there is that, and of course, that then, uh, artificially makes it your IP even if you don't actually own the IP in it. Um, so I think that that's certainly worthwhile having a look at. But you will notice, of course, that the, you know, even those people, uh, even, uh, Peter Crouch, for example, didn't get to keep his RSS feed. Um, so, uh, you know, again, that's, uh, I think interesting. I can completely see from the point of view of a creator that if you come up with a good idea while you're working for a company, then you think you have, um, dibs over that good idea. But the reality is no, you don't. Uh, and the reality is that's what the company has taken the punt on. Um, and I, and I'm sorry that it's that way, but it is that way. So , so there we go.

Sam Sethi:

Exactly. Uh, moving on, Uh, the winners of the International Women's Podcast Awards were announced this week. Uh, James, what was the, uh, big highlight?

James Cridland:

Well, you know, it, it happened in, uh, the uk uh, it was hosted at the Conduit, which is a very fancy old place. And, um, yeah, it was one of those interesting awards that ended up, um, you know, everything was sponsored, which was very clever and everything. Um, what I found interesting was that, um, all of the award categories were. Quite sort of strange award categories. So there was the blueberry moment of dramatic tension. There was the Capt eight fm moment of entrepreneurial inspiration, and there was the Amazon Music and Wondery moment of comedy Gold. Uh, and these were, you know, some of the, um, of, of the, uh, titles of the, um, of the categories that you could have, uh, won. So, yeah, interesting to see. You know, it is not quite the same as, you know, the winner for best branded podcast is, uh, , you know, et cetera, et cetera. It was very much all around moments, the moment of visionary leadership. Um, so, uh, yeah, and, uh, an interesting set of, uh, winners and we link to them from the pod news website.

Sam Sethi:

Congratulations to all of them. Spotify, let's go back to them. Uh, Spotify released a fan study for podcast creators, fans who follow or aka subscribe. Now, as we should say, your podcast will listen to four times more episodes of those than those who don't. Um, so is that an obvious, uh, thing, James? I, it seems obvious that if you follow something, you're probably more likely to listen to more episodes. Dunno

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think, I think it's, I think it's obvious, but we never get that data. And I think this is Spotify. It's interesting timing for Spotify because this came a week after, or uh, even less time after iHeart were caught red handed buying podcast plays. Um, through that, those games apps, if you remember last week, um, and what Spotify has basically put out here is just a reminder that, hello, we're Spotify and we've got consumption data, not just download data, but proper consumption data from our platform for absolutely every one of the podcasts, which are available there. Uh, and I thought it was very canny from Spotify to release this, um, you know, as close to the iHeart revelations. Um, you know, as it was. Um, particularly, you know, some of the data, for example, that it showed again, data that only companies like Spotify that own the players can actually share things like how, um, you know, which podcast category has the highest completion rate. And it turned out that true crime and fiction have the highest completion rate. Tech shows probably like this one, have the lowest completion rate brilliant at around 72% . Um, so you

Sam Sethi:

no one's listening now. James, let's go home.

James Cridland:

We sport, we sport chapters, so we don't care. But I think, you know, that that was a really, um, good piece of, of research. Um, the timing, I think very unfortunate around the iHeart, um, uh, you know, revelations and so on. Um, but you know, great to see that, uh, data and it's really handy data and if Apple were, uh, clever, Apple could release something that was like this, but even more detail because Apple have all of this information as well. But obviously that would be a, uh, difficult conversation inside, uh, Apple to release this, this, uh, this sort of stuff. But no, I thought it was a great piece of, uh, data from, uh, Spotify and well worth having a look into.

Sam Sethi:

Well again, we'll have a link in the, but also Nick Hilton friend of the show did a very good piece. He digs deep into the Spotify research and, uh, again, we'll put a link to that as well.

James Cridland:

He did.

Sam Sethi:

Now moving on, uh, in text stuff this week, and I'm pretty sure we did it last week, but if we didn't, we should do cuz my head is blurred. Uh, Transistor is now supporting host and guest credits, which means that transistor supports the person tag. James, which is great news.

James Cridland:

Yeah, which is great news. And Dave Jones was on the New Media show last week, which is really good. If you don't know much about the podcast index and the podcast, uh, the new podcast namespace, um, then you should definitely have a listen because, uh, he does a great job. He's so, so clear at explaining things. Um, so, uh, yeah, that was really good. One of the things that Dave was talking about in that show last week is he was surprised that the podcast person tag has not had more podcast hosts supporting it. And, um, great to see Transistor now, uh, supporting it, um, in terms of host and guest credits at least. Um, and, uh, that, uh, tag, they join, uh, Captivate, I think support it as well as, um, as well as Buzzsprout our sponsor and, uh, a number of others as well. Um, so great to see them, um, uh, uh, doing that because I think it's one of those tags that should really succeed.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I mean it's quite simple to implement as well that, that being the case. Um, the other thing on that show, which I did listen to with Todd, it was quite funny how Todd has flipped for the. 360 from where he was, you know, um, uh, I was listening back to when I was on his show and he was, he was quite, uh, I wouldn't say derisory, but dismissive, I think, of the podcast index and how he, he wasn't gonna implement and spend developer time on implementing boosts and everything else. And now he's a complete advocate, which is wonderful to see. But there's also phase six of the podcast index tags that are coming out. One of those is around playlists, which is quite interesting, um, which I thought was nice to see, so that it's still evolving, although it's a bit worrying some, as you just said, most people haven't started doing phase one or two yet. So why we're on phase

James Cridland:

you know, Yeah, no, I, I would agree with that. But I think that, uh, what we're seeing is we're seeing a ton of new ideas being thrown out there. The benefit is that it doesn't, uh, necessarily matter if some of these ideas crash and burn. Um, but, uh, you know, there, there is, there, there's a very techy one, which is likely to be called podcast dot txt or podcast code on txt. And, um, what that will enable you to do is it will enable you to, um, prove that this is your podcast in a variety of different, uh, ways. And, and, and, uh, means, um, that's gonna be a really, really interesting, uh, uh, tag. But yeah, you're, you're absolutely right. Still more work going into those tags and some of these tags will be a great success and some of these tags will crash and burn. And I don't think that that's a problem.

Sam Sethi:

No. Now, uh, Benjamin Bellamy, another friend of the show who is the, uh, developer of Caster Pod, um, congratulations to him. They've added support for a premium podcast and he was also the number one story in Hack and News as well on why Combinator. So congratulations to him for that.

James Cridland:

Yeah, indeed. Uh, Twitter is also rolling out their podcast interface for Twitter blue users on Android. Um, they rolled it out for iOS users a couple of, uh, weeks ago, and now it's coming out on Android as well. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the four countries that has Twitter blue and you are silly enough to pay, um, the owners of, uh, Twitter, which is very shortly to be that, that lovely man Elon Musk, but, uh, yeah, so that's, uh, rolling out. So that will be interesting to, uh, have a play with also version 0.5 0.1 of Fountain, uh, is, uh, out, uh, which includes exciting things like, uh, Apple CarPlay. Uh, they are currently working on Android Auto. In fact, I've got the beta version of, uh, Fountain on Android and that appears to have some, uh, Android Auto functionality in there. Uh, there's OPM l import, there's an auto play queue and all kinds of other things in there as well. Um, so, uh, a bunch of work, uh, is, uh, going on there. I'm an advisor for Fountain. Uh, so, um, yeah, lots of, uh, movement in that world.

Sam Sethi:

Can I just say I feel like I'm an unpaid advisor for Fountain? Cuz uh, I was feeding back on the Apple CarPlay, but there you go.

James Cridland:

well, well, I've, yet, I've yet to have my first advisor call, so, uh, . So we're, so who knows, Who knows what's going on there.

Sam Sethi:

Uh, now, uh, this is, this is where I, I defer to you cuz this is where you go deep into the, uh, bull rushes. Uh, to improve the open op org user agent list, pod users produced a live tool that uses data to give the apps used for 1000 O P three audio. Christ. Translate that James please.

James Cridland:

Right. Well, so o p three, uh, which is a thing that we spoke to John Spurlock about on the last episode of Pod Land, it's basically an open log file at the moment, and it shows you a ton of, uh, downloads of lots of, um, popular podcasts. No agenda is in there. Podcasting 2.0 is in there. The Pod News Daily podcast is in there, and so on and so forth. Um, and what I thought would be interesting is to take that data, to take the, uh, the request data that we can see, um, and have a look at, um, the. User agents. So the apps that are downloading these particular podcasts or that are requesting these particular podcasts. So what I've done is I've, um, uh, written the scripts that live, uh, grabs the latest downloads from o P three, uh, and also uses the open user agent list, which is available on GitHub, um, to do that bit of matching. So, um, I, uh, just, uh, loaded that page two minutes ago and I can tell you that Apple Podcast is in the lead, um, with, uh, 27% of all downloads. Google Podcast is at number two at the moment, um, with podcast addicts at number three. Um, so you have to be careful with this because this is, um, this is, uh, not necessarily all podcasts out there, it's just the podcast which are in o p three and, um, and these figures change all the time because you're just, Taking a look at a thousand, um, a thousand, uh, audio requests. And in fact, quite a lot of those 840 of those, uh, wouldn't count as a download under the i b guidelines. So, um, Yeah, so there's, uh, quite a lot that is, uh, thrown away there, but really interesting to have a look at. And the benefit of this working live is that it means that, um, the user agent list can be kept even more up to date because you can actually spot new podcast apps as they come in and be able to work out, you know, exactly what's actually going on. So I notice in the, uh, unknown players list, there's something called podium, um, which, uh, I should go and find out what that is. And there's also something called gumball.fm analytics, prefix checker, uh, which has, uh, downloaded a piece of audio, not quite sure what that thing is. Uh, but again, it's worthwhile going and, um, and, uh, having a play with that and if that's a bot, which I suspected is then, um, to add that to the bot list. So, um, so anyway, so that's what I've been doing there. Then

Sam Sethi:

Wow. I'm now all the clearer for that. Thank you.

James Cridland:

you're a very good liar.

Sam Sethi:

Can you just say that all again, please? It might take me three times to, before I understand it now, uh, Saturn from Albe, we've talked about this before. It's their new, uh, beater dashboard to show you, uh, what boost grams you've received and what satoshi you're getting. It now shows complete boost amounts so you can thank people for a rush boost, for example. So congratulations to the guys over at Albe. I'm just looking at it now. I find it more fascinating cuz I, I'm not a big user of Matic. Um, but that for, for me, when I look at my dashboard, is the number one app that listeners use to pay booster scraps

James Cridland:

Yes, Curio Caster is number one for me. And, um, Fountain number three, Podcast index itself. Number four, because of course you can boost from the podcast index website and pod verse number five. So, yeah, it's, it's nice to see just a good range of different, um, apps and things being used there. Brogram Corner. Thank you to the O L D podcast, Optimal Living Daily Podcast. Uh, Justin, who has sent a double one, double one, uh, boost. James did an impression, I think this was my impression of Todd Cochran. Get your own com. That's Road Todd. Uh, so, uh, he said James did an impression equals boost. Excellent. So do I have to do that every single week? Uh, I don't know, but uh, still thank you. That's, uh, kind of you, Justin.

Sam Sethi:

Talking of, Rob there when you did the impression, uh, good luck to his new podcast as well, that he's just launched. So, uh, yeah, check it out. Um, well done Rob.

James Cridland:

Yes, indeed. Um, Kyron, uh, centers double two, double two SATs. A big row of ducks are all the ducks or a, a medium sized row of ducks. I don't know. But anyway, he points out Pod sage was my invention. Ah, we said last week that we had come up with the name Pod Sage for Dave Jones. Um, but, uh, Kyron is, uh, putting us, uh, right and quite correctly too. Um, it was actually Karin,

Sam Sethi:

Oh, well there you go. Um, I was gonna look back, but I won't bother. I'm not that bothered. Um, whoever came up with it, , Dave

James Cridland:

apparently we were trying to call Dave the pod bro. It's probably a good job that that didn't , that didn't happen.

Sam Sethi:

Well done Karen. We'll let you have that one then, mate. Um, over to you. Um, Brian of London, uh, 1948 sat, uh, do you have a license for those Monty Python jokes? No. We just have a memory. That's all we have.

James Cridland:

Yes. That's, that's all we've got. Are you here? Are you here for the two minute argument or for the full half hour? Uh, Brian from Top Tier Audio, a thousand sat using Customatic. Thank you. Appreciate the insights on potential ad arbitrage with the in-game ads. Sounds super creepy. It does, doesn't it? Uh, so thank you for that. Uh, and Dave Jones, a big rush boost. Uh, remember that Spotify. Uh, numbers are also sketchy since they consider only 20 milliseconds as a full play that allows autoplay of episodes that people almost immediately then skip to still count as a play. Knowing whether people are really listening and being transparent about those numbers are too different things. I think being fair, Dave, I think that they have a number for plays and a number for listens, and one of those is 60 seconds, and one of those is, as you rightly say, 20 milliseconds or so. But yes, I think that there are quite a lot of sketchy numbers in the podcast world, and I think it would be good if we got rid of all of them.

Sam Sethi:

Now, uh, I might need you to translate this, but 1948 SATs again from Brian of London. There must be a reason for that. Uh,

James Cridland:

an Israel, uh, SATs boost, isn't it? Isn't it? When Israel was, um, uh, something happened, uh, in Israel in 1948.

Sam Sethi:

independence.

James Cridland:

find out while you read it.

Sam Sethi:

Okay, well I'll go 1947 as the India boost then. There you go. Um, but where does iHeart rank in Rome, um, do they rank amongst the highest? What help James, please will

James Cridland:

I, I don't understand, uh, that, uh, boost at all. Where does iHeart rank in Rome? And Rome is in capitals. Um, so yes, I don't know. And by the way, in case you wondered what happened in, in, in Israel in 1948, uh, then, uh, Israel, Israel was created in 1948. That would explain that one. So yes. So there we go. Uh, talk

Sam Sethi:

the 1947 SAT them for India.

James Cridland:

Yes. Well, in talking about 1947, um, uh, in, uh, in Deli, there's news around the world is the, not.

Sam Sethi:

There is indeed. It seems that HT Smart cast says it's achieved more than a hundred million podcast listens over the past year from more than 200 original podcast shows. Sounds like a big good number. Sounds like they're doing okay actually.

James Cridland:

Yeah, it sounds like a pretty good number. I think that's the Hindustan Times. Um, I think that's the, um, the

Sam Sethi:

That would make sense.

James Cridland:

behind that. And, uh, yes, they seem to be doing, uh, pretty well, uh, in there. Uh, moving to Australia, s CA's listener has announced an agreement to represent Stitcher and Sirius XM inventory in the country, which means that iHeart will not be number one for podcasts anymore because listener will almost double in size if you look at, uh, monthly podcast reach, um, because of this, uh, deal with Stitcher and Sirius xm. So the days of iHeart being number one in, um, in Australia are now, uh, over, uh, so many congratulations to listener for doing that.

Sam Sethi:

Off to Spain now, uh, ads was signed, an exclusive agreement with the Spanish broadcasting system, SBS to sell audio ads in the usa. Again. Sounds very good.

James Cridland:

Lots of these, um, deals are going on at the moment and interesting to see them all. And the uk the BBC World Service has announced more than 380 potential job cuts. So, um, the BBC World Service, uh, produces some of the largest podcast in the world and some of the largest podcasts from the bbc. The concern is that part of those job cuts means that there will be fewer staff for standalone programs, which are those ones that are probably turned into podcasts. The radio station is going to focus more on live news and live sport, um, become, um, you know, even more of a news channel than it currently is. Um, so that's probably bad news for podcasting overall. Uh, you have your excellent conservative government to thank for that, um, which I know you're a big fan of, so, um,

Sam Sethi:

you just spoke Oxy more on there, James.

James Cridland:

what? Excellent conservative government. Oh, there have been excellent conservative governments before, but not, um, not since the end of the Coalition of Chaos. That of course, was not chaos. Anyway, let's, uh, uh, drop the, uh, the politics move on to Asia.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah. Uh, Acast has published research on podcast listing in Asia. It was looking at Hong Kong, Singapore in Japan, and, and 90% of listeners finish all or most of the podcast episode, and 70% say they, uh, most focus when consuming podcasts rather than other media.

James Cridland:

Yeah. And this, I think, is, uh, part of the really good stuff, which is going on in the podcast landscape at the moment. Um, competing on content, yes, but collaborating on research, collaborating on information is really, really helpful. And so this data, the data that you heard earlier on from Spotify, all of this handy useful information, which will help all of us grow is really good. Uh, so many congratulations to Acast for putting that data together and, uh, more data out of Canada as well. Signal Hill Insights, which is very difficult to say. And tpx have produced data from the Canadian podcast listener, uh, showing a 17% increase year on year in monthly listeners in Canada. Um, so Canada, I, the thing that I found fascinating in Canada is that there is so much listening to US podcasts in Canada. It's quite unreal. Um, but good to see that the amount of listening to podcast is continuing to increase in that, uh, large frozen country

Sam Sethi:

Hmm. So not a regular feature here on uh, Pod Land, but a couple of celebrity bits of news that I noted, um, Fresh Air Productions have announced that Fern Cotton's app is out. Um, which is interesting that she's moved to a dedicated app of her own. I know that you think that dedicated radio apps aren't a good idea, James. Um, what do you think of a dedicated podcast app?

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think dedicated radio apps are great for your, uh, fans, for your P one listeners, as they're called in the radio industry. The, um, the priority one listeners, um, and they're great for that and they're useless for trying to get new listeners to your radio stations. So, uh, in radio parlance, they're good for hours, they're not very good for reach. Um, and in this case you can see that the Fe Cotton app, if you are a fan of her podcast, which is called Happy Place, um, if you're a fan of that podcast, if you're a fan of some of the meditation stuff that she does, and you would like to, um, hear more of that, then to have an app, which, um, apparently has 70 hours of audio, 220 mixes of sounds, scapes, and meditations and sleep stories and music all available in that one app. Um, I think that's a, that's a clever plan. So I think, you know, for something that will really appeal to the fans of that particular podcast and it's been a pretty successful podcast, uh, then that's not a bad thing at all really.

Sam Sethi:

Hmm. Moving on. Uh, Kim Kardashian, Uh, yes. Rolls Eyes and goes Who? Um, she's launching new exclusive True Crime podcast with Spotify. Um, my daughter and I went up to see Liverpool versus Glasgow Rangers, uh, in the football match. And on the way back, my daughter, who is a big Kardashian fan, said, Let's listen to it. I think it lasted, hmm, 15 minutes before we turned it off. It was dire.

James Cridland:

Oh dear. Oh dear. Wow. Uh, I thought it was interesting because, um, Kim Kardashian is actually studying to become a lawyer apparently. Um, and so therefore should have a little bit more understanding of some of the nuances of the legal cases than, um, some of the other celebrities. I thought it was also interesting that, you know what the, what Spotify have basically done here is that they've grounded a very big name and they've put her into a very big genre. Um, so, you know, from that point of view, uh, you know, you should be a shore fire hit. Um, and I wonder whether or not it will be, but, uh, as you have so carefully written in the notes and then highlighted it and then put it in header one text, it's rubbish. So , but, so perhaps it's not necessarily the show that, uh, is going to be a big hit, but who knows?

Sam Sethi:

Well, I'm not the target audience, but my daughter is the target audience and she even, she thought it wasn't very, um, interesting, but there you go.

James Cridland:

And, uh, two other things going on in, uh, the us. Um, there is a new telephone number for you if you want a podcast recommendation. The amount of people who are going to do this are, I think I could probably count on one hand and still have a couple of fingers free, but still there we are. If you live in the US or Canada, you can call the, the pod line at 1 8 4 4 POD at me, 1 8 4 4 7 6 3 2 8 6 3. Uh, it's a new service from Tin Media. Um, I think it's a very clever way of getting their name out there. Uh, I can't imagine that anybody's going to call it, but that's not going, going to stop me from, um, uh, from giving them a bit of audio to promote pod news on it so we'll, so we'll see how that works. If it works, then great. I will eat my hat, uh, after buying one. Um, but um, but uh, yeah, but I thought it was a nice, uh, gimmick. Uh, and also going on. Um, in the US uh, there's a company called Pod Match. I think this is really interesting actually. It's a platform that matches podcast hosts and guests. Quite often when you use those platforms, you find there's lots of abandoned. Accounts that nobody has really bothered with. Um, there's lots of people that don't respond to any of your emails or anything else. And there are also a lot of spammers on the other side that are desperately trying to use you for podcast. Um, you know, uh, uh, promotion and all that kind of stuff. Pod match has gone through and basically removed pretty well half of their users to focus on the quality users rather than just the quantity of users. Uh, Alex, who works on that, uh, product, um, tried this earlier on in the year and got rid of a few of the less than quality users. And, uh, everybody loved it. Uh, and I think it's a very clever idea actually getting rid of all of that. Um, getting rid of all of the crap and, uh, making sure that, uh, your product is only full of the good users who are going to make it.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I think uh, it's a great idea. And Dave Jones is doing something similar with the podcast index. He's removing dormant podcast as well, which is nice. It's cleaning, cleaning that podcast index up.

James Cridland:

Triton has, um, made some changes to their tap advertising platform, which is their podcast advertising platform, basically, um, which allows, um, more clever things. So it's, um, nice to see Triton, uh, still, uh, working on that. Platform, uh, Lipson's advertised cast has, um, increased the amount of cost per thousand, but it, it is, um, seeing in their platform. Uh, it, uh, has, uh, jumped 5% year on year. It's up 3.7% month on month, uh, which is, uh, really good. Second, highest on record, $24 and 35 cents. By the way, Acast is getting $22, uh, in terms of their cost per thousand. But also their financial data that they shared yesterday in their capital markets day, whatever that is, um, ended up, uh, saying that they sell five ads in each show, which is quite impressive. Um, but that, um, they only actually sell 28% of their inventory, 28%, which is the best ever that they have sold, but still are only selling 28%. And I wonder, What, how that compares to other, um, podcast ad sales companies. Be fascinated to find out whether 28% is a ludicrously low figure, or it's an amazingly high figure. Um, but, you know, re uh, you know, fascinating figures, I if I've read their, um, data correctly. It also says that half of their biggest shows aren't monetized at all. They're not actually adding any money out of about half of their biggest shows, which, um, again, is really interesting. The o the other thing I noticed from the Acast stuff, they are calling themselves the WordPress of podcasting.

Sam Sethi:

Hmm.

James Cridland:

Hmm. Which is, uh, an interesting thing. Do, do you think that that, um, conveys what they do the word press of podcast?

Sam Sethi:

It just made me stop and think, but that's about the only thing it did do. Um, no,

James Cridland:

it probably, I, I think it probably kind of fits, you know, it's a set of tools that WordPresses and blah, blah, blah, blah. But it was, uh, yeah, it was a strange thing seeing that right at the start. Acast is the WordPress of podcasting. It's better than being the internet explorer of podcast apps. Uh,

Sam Sethi:

Wow. That title may be being given to somebody else very soon.

James Cridland:

Oh, Oh, right. Well,

Sam Sethi:

gonna crown a new, new person with that in a couple of weeks time, but hold off on that announcement. That's it for this week, James. Uh, before we go though, um, what's been happening for you in Poland?

James Cridland:

Well, yes, I mean, it's been Mac mostly, um, podcast day 24. Um, I've got some, uh, radio work on at the moment, which is, um, keeping my head busy. Um, but that's been, uh, fun. I've been on a couple of podcasts as well. One of them is called Podcast Audio, uh, which is worth a listen. Uh, you'll find podcast audio in your, um, in your favorite podcast app. Um, uh, I talk around, um, working in radio and in podcasting, how I came out with the idea of pod news in the first place, uh, and all of that. And I've just, um, had a chat with, uh, Simon Owens as well, this, uh, morning, who was a, a very good, uh, media commentator. He looks very much around, um, online media and the economics on that. And I was talking to him about the economics behind how pod news works, uh, which is something that I've not really spoken to other people about. So that was quite, uh, cool to end up doing. Um, so that should be coming out, uh, relatively soon. So, um, yeah, so that's been good. So you went all the way up to, uh, Glasgow to watch, um, uh, some red, uh, colored, um, uh, football team, sports ball. Um, did the, did the match. Did you score more, more hoops than they did

Sam Sethi:

Yes, Yes. Clearly you've got the offside rule down to a T there James, as they say. Um, no, it was good. Little Tide. Got home for two in the morning, uh, and got up the next morning to go and, uh, to the podcast publisher event in London, which, uh, Chris from Hindenberg and Neil from Headliner we're at. So good to see them both and yeah, it was good to get down there. Little bit tired, uh, probably can tell from my voice today. Um, but yeah, it was well worth going. We met some of the guys from Timeout and Sky and from some of the other big, um, publishing companies who were doing podcasting. Very interesting to see where they are in their thinking currently. Um, they're still looking at how to get discovery and monetization fixed. That's their biggest headaches, I suppose. That's everyone's big headache. But, um, they haven't got big budgets. That was the one thing I, uh, picked up from it. They haven't got big budgets to put money towards podcasting. Yeah.

James Cridland:

Yeah. And I don't think that very many places are going to have particularly large, uh, budgets, uh, at the moment. So, uh, yeah. Yeah. Worthwhile keeping an eye on that. Uh, you're not, you're not planning anything else exciting? Are you

Sam Sethi:

Well, I thought, you know, , I haven't got much time, so I might as well do something else as well. Um, I'm really excited actually. I've, I'm gonna be launching another podcast, um, called Off the Mic, um, and the I off the mic. Yeah. And very pleased it's going to come out in November, so a little way away yet. Um, and the idea is to interview people about what they do when they're not podcasting and what goes on around them, and some of the other things that will make it interesting. Hopefully it'll be a little bit fun, a little bit irreverent, uh, and just, yeah, just digging behind what the podcasting industry people.

James Cridland:

Excellent. Off the mic. Uh, you heard it here first. And, uh, we

Sam Sethi:

No one's listened to this bit. James. It's okay,

James Cridland:

We will doubtless do an episode drop, uh, as well once it gets, uh, a little bit, uh, closer. So that's very exciting. Uh, and that's it for this week. If you like this episode of Pod Land, uh, tell others to visit and subscribe wherever you listen to podcast. We'll be back next week with another weekly review.

Sam Sethi:

You'll also find all our previous shows and interviews on our website, Pod land.news. You can give us feedback using a Boost Instagram. If your podcast app doesn't support Boost, then grab a new one from pod news.net/new podcast apps.

James Cridland:

Yes. If you want daily news, you should get Pod News. Of course, the newsletters free@podnews.net. You'll find Pod News Daily in your podcast app. And all the stories we've discussed on pod land today are in the show notes. We use chapters and transcripts too.

Sam Sethi:

Our music is from Studio Dragonfly and we're hosted and sponsored by our good friends Bus Sprout and squad cast.

James Cridland:

Keep listening. And now it's time for the second part of our interview with, uh, Sky Pilsbury You and I were chatting before we went live here about our past and our history, about being in the early days of the web and some of the amazing companies that we saw, and some that were acquired. One that you had was called Link Exchange. You got acquired by Microsoft. Tell me more. Yeah. Being acquired by Microsoft was a wild ride, but. It started when I jumped ship from a PR agency that I was working at. I went to Link Exchange, which was at that time a very small company led by Tony Shay, who some of your listeners might be familiar with his work. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple of years back, but he had started this company called Link Exchange. The idea behind it was very, Idealistic. This was back in the nineties when advertising on the web was still very much a new thing and even a controversial thing among some people. So Tony and a few other people had founded this company with the idea that they could create an advertising network. It was this idea that if we all band together, we can share advertising on a network and almost like a socialist point of view. like we're not necessarily gonna make a ton of money, but you know, this will have value for all of us. And. That was a principle behind it. Eventually, the idea was that they could sell advertising to bigger advertisers who could buy a chunk of that network, and that's how Link Exchange eventually did start to make real money. And in fact, they were. In the block pretty quickly because of that strategy. And there were a lot of bigger companies that were interested in acquiring us. And I mentioned to you when we were talking before that Yahoo was one of the first companies that came to us, which was ironic because Yahoo had been my client prior to going to Link Exchange. I had worked with Yahoo on its public relation strategy before, during, after it's ipo. I know I'm, I'm dating myself there. I was really excited about the prospect of being acquired by Yahoo. We all were a, Mike Moritz, who was an investor with Sequoia Capital, had invested in both companies, and I had a relationship with him from having worked with Yahoo as well. So this was something that we felt excited about for those reasons, but also because I think our values seem very much in line with Yahoos at that time instead. Acquisition fell apart. And I was telling you before that I can't quite remember the reason for it. If I went back and reread some of my materials or Tony Shay's book that he wrote, I would remember. But for some reason it fell apart the 11th hour and Microsoft came in and acquired us instead and. I think that while that was still exciting on paper, it felt like we were being acquired by a company that maybe didn't have the same values and principles as we did. It was not a startup at that time, whereas Yahoo was still very much in its startup days. There was, after the acquisition, which was made for quarter of a billion dollars or so, and so many of the founders, A lot of money, and in fact, everybody made some money. What happened after that acquisition was a lot of bureaucracy that we weren't used to a lot of having to defend the decisions that we wanted to make. Everything took way longer to get done and we became part of their small business division, which ultimately is there to make money. And as I said before, we were still in the middle of coming up with creative ideas that we could spin out of the first idea that was behind the AD network. So, It just changed. It changed the morale. It changed our priorities as a company, and so what you and I were talking about is that we see some parallels with that, with what's going on today in podcasting. You talk about link exchange. And immediately I jumped to Lauren Perell at Tin Media and she's talking about promo swaps. And that went straight to my head. Oh yeah. Wow. And we're suddenly seeing this, Hey, why don't we just swap stuff between each other and build up a network and help each other grow? And that was the first thing I thought. And then I looked at Spotify and their acquisition trail, and they've got Megaphone, The Ringer Gimler Anchor podcast pod sites, Chartable Wcan, 20 more according to this site. And yet they all seem to have been, I don't know, maybe it's just my perception, but they've all seemed to have been lost in the bigger company, which feels what Microsoft did to Link Exchange and many of the other bigger companies did. They used to call it Acquihire, but I dunno if they are Acquihires. I don't know whether we repeating history. Mm-hmm. in the podcasting industry and some of these companies that are selling the. Early, maybe too early, and not growing into entities themselves, but they're taking the money and running to the hills far too fast. I don't know, but it feels very Sammy. To the time that you and I were looking at the web and early days of the internet. Yeah. It's hard to know without being part of these companies and hearing from those people, like what their interpretation of what that acquisition has meant for them from a creative standpoint, from the standpoint of being able to produce new products that are innovative, that kind of a thing. But from the outside, it certainly looks like a number of these companies have been acquired. Almost in like a performative way, like in terms of when you look at Spotify and the acquisitions that it's made. For me, it almost feels like it made those acquisitions to position itself on the map as a player in podcasting versus making those acquisitions so that. They could have the capital and the resources that they need to continue to build some incredible content. Bloomberg wrote that article saying that there haven't been hits in quite a while. I know that there's a lot of people who would disagree with that, but it does feel like we haven't heard as much from like a place like Gimlet in terms of shows. And successes as we did prior to its acquisition. We haven't heard as much after the acquisition as we heard prior. It's been relatively quiet, so I think that there is some validity to the idea that, Huh. Has making all of these acquisitions actually advanced our industry, or has it just. Been sort of a line item and a press release for a big company that wants to be seen as suddenly it's a big player in podcasting. I really don't know the answer, but it does feel similar to what I saw happen in the early days of the tech acquisitions of the nineties and even the two thousands. Yeah, I, I wholeheartedly agree with that. We've seen Mike Minno now leave Spotify after his earn out. He was the CEO of Anchor. Mm-hmm. anchor from what James reports is now losing a number of percentage points in terms of the number of podcasts that it's hosting. So you're seeing it fade into the background. He doesn't have the love of a CEO as an entrepreneur. Found that's right anymore, it just feels like it's a a p and L somewhere in a corner that someone's got to deal with. That's sort of withering on the vine. And one of my favorite companies that I use for my radio station is ska. But you know, when I talk to Rob, are you gonna be evolving ska further? I don't feel, and I'm not putting words into Rob's mouth, they may well put new features in, but I don't feel that anything new is coming out of that post-acquisition. So again, what did Anchor bring to Spotify? What. Ska brought to Megaphone Gimlet. We talked about where's the content? We shouldn't just pick on Spotify. I think other companies like Amazon's acquired companies and what has happened to those companies other than the parallels that we seem to be drawing. Where do you think the industry may go forward then? Is it just gonna be a continuous case of acquisition and acquihire? Yeah, it's interesting. Actually wonder whether. What we're seeing in the market could ironically be good for the industry. Not to say that those acquisitions happening and those people being subsumed and some leaving, none of that is good. But I guess what I do wonder is what this provides is an opportunity for a new layer of mm-hmm. innovative companies. You know, that are independently run, who have been able to watch what's happened to these other companies who've been acquired and maybe have the benefit of seeing what's happened to those companies and whether or not those companies have been able to reap the benefits of an acquisition that maybe there will be a new batch of independent companies that are fiercely independent that will, you know, have an opportunity to actually come up with the next level of whatever the innovation is in this industry. I, I don't wanna be misunderstood, like I'm not saying those acquisitions were necessarily a good thing, but I do think that it could provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and podcasters out there to create new content that does advance the industry. I think it was known as the PayPal Mafia. All the guys who earned out on PayPal, set up different companies, Elon Musk being one of those. Wait, I do wanna just respond to that really quickly. . I also wanted to say, Uh, and I don't think that you were necessarily saying this, but in my previous comment, I didn't mean necessarily that the entrepreneurs who had left would necessarily be that next layer, although I'm sure that they will obviously be part of it because so many of them have left and their entrepreneurs and they're gonna start something new. But I guess what I meant was for the rest of us in this industry, There are so many of us who haven't even had that chance. And in one of my issues of the squeeze I pointed out that so many of the people who have been acquired by these companies are your sort of typical, I mean, I hate to say it, but white male who probably already had. Some amount of capital started, these companies made more money, and certainly those guys will continue to start new companies. But I also think that hopefully there's an opportunity in this industry for people who haven't been recognized as producing something that could be worthy. Maybe those companies will be taken a little more seriously now and. Other people with different points of view who come from different backgrounds, who are serving maybe a completely different type of audience, will have the opportunity to be rewarded for their work. So I just wanted to point that out, that I hope that this provides a new sector of our industry with an opportu. I agree. I was actually gonna go on to say something very similar as a question to you, which is podcasting gives nearly everybody a chance to have a voice. Whether you've got two people listening to you or you got 20 million people listening to you, it doesn't really matter you, you find your tribe. Do you think that podcasting has been in terms of its gender balance? Good for the female sector. Do you think women have adopted to podcasting in the way that you would have expected, or is it still an imbalance? There's no doubt that there's an imbalance. Going back to the issue that I just mentioned, of the squeeze, there were almost zero female founders. Of any of these companies that have been acquired. So I did an issue where I looked at the companies who have done the most acquisitions within the industry, and I'm not gonna remember all of them right here, but it was like iHeart, Spotify, Odyssey, Amazon, and there was one more that I'm forgetting. And I looked at all of the acquisitions that they had made and I presented it in a visual format. So I went and I got like the headshot of all the people who had been acquired. Don't remember. And in some cases, what those companies headshots looked like, what their management teams looked like. And it was overwhelmingly white and male. There were almost no women. I remember that. Oh, Apple. Apple. How could I forget? Apple. Apple had made two small acquisitions, and actually both of those acquisitions were companies that had been founded by women. They were white women, but they were women. And I'm trying to remember if. Any other company, and I'm not sure that there was a single other company and people should look at that issue. I'm not looking at it now, so I don't wanna pretend that this is totally accurate, but I'm pretty sure that there weren't any other companies that had been founded by women. So you can just look at that and say, Well, there's a clear imbalance. This is a problem in many industries and worldwide that women are just not recogniz. As having the same level of value to someone who's making an acquisition for whatever reason. When you look at that issue, you can see that there is an imbalance. On the other hand, there's opportunity, as we've discussed already, there is an opportunity for people in podcasting that you. Couldn't necessarily see in a different medium like television where the gatekeeping is so much more strict. So it's a mix, right? There's an imbalance. There's also an opportunity. I'm not disagreeing with what you say. But look at wandering. There's Jen Sergeant who runs wandering. Mm-hmm. . When I think of women in podcasting, I think of AIS and bla. I think of Lauren Perel. I think of Escabar. Mm-hmm . There's some strong voices for in this industry. And so I often say to my wife when she's gone for senior positions, The, The difference between men and women is men go for a position when they're underqualified and have the hood spur to front it out as if they can, I'll run this, of course I can do this. Not a problem at all. Mm-hmm. . Whereas women will wait until they are overqualified, could run it in their sleep and probably do 10 other jobs. And is that the reason why so many? Men take on the entrepreneurial role of running companies because it is fake it until you make it a lot. There is that horrible expression, but often you have to put on that front, Oh yeah, everything's great, we're growing. It is brilliant. We're doing this thing. Mm-hmm. and I just wonder whether it's a case of that difference between men and women is the reason why we don't see as many female entrepreneurs in the industry as we should. So, I see what you're saying and I'm sure that element exists, but if we run with that right, then we're essentially saying that women aren't stepping up because they don't have enough confidence. So what I would say, and I'm not saying that's not true, I agree that I think that women. probably are more likely than men to hold back. Right. And to not necessarily have this fake sense of like, I can do it. This like somewhat psychotic sense that a lot of entrepreneurs have to take Yeah. To feel like they can run something like that. I agree with that, but I also think that. Those women do exist, and that sometimes despite their assertiveness in trying to be that person, they're not necessarily given the same amount of trust that a man would be given. So, I think what you have is a theory, but I think that if people were more intentional about finding women who are running companies that they could acquire or whose network they could become a part of, I think so much of it is about intention. Whether or not we are intentional about finding the people out there who are marginalized or in some way, whether or not they're women or people of color, or lgbtq, whatever, we don't have it in our mindset necessarily to find those people and either. Give them our money or make it more possible for them to be successful because the white guy comes along and we just assume that, Well, this is the guy who's come to me, so this is the guy I gotta give my money to. What I guess strikes me just a little bit about the theory is that it blames the women for not being successful. No, no. I'm not saying that you were. I'm not saying that you were, but I am saying that it's part of that attitude of, well, women don't really go for it. That help justify. An industry where we have so many men and mostly. I would say almost entirely, at least from that issue that I mentioned, white men, it was like 98% running these companies. And then if we were more intentional, if we said, You know what? Maybe that theory's wrong and those women exist and maybe not. This is a theory too, like maybe I'm wrong. Maybe if we went out and tried to find those women, but they don't exist cuz they haven't stepped up. But we don't actually a hundred percent. And I worry that theory is older thinking because as you said, there's gen sergeant running Wondery. They exist out there. Well, I'll give you another example. Melanie Perkins at Canva, she's worth 26 billion. Yeah, she created Canva. You could argue people of color would've had similar barriers. White men used to run big companies. You look at Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Pepsi, the list goes on. Predominantly male Indian men, but I think at Pepsi it's an Indian female. Cisco, another example. So I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe there is a second generation, going back to our point, maybe these early acquisitions will remove out the early white male men and leave space for females and people of color to come in and fill that vacuum. Yeah, I guess I hope that just the awareness that those people do exist and that they are out there can help change some minds, and that's. Sort of full circle back to the Squeeze and why I started the squeeze was do I think that putting that issue out there, the issue that I mentioned, do I think people are gonna read that and be like, Bob Pitman, the head of ihearts, all of a sudden gonna be like, Dude, we gotta acquire some companies that have more diversity at the top. Like, no, I don't think that's gonna change anything. But I do think that it's important to repeatedly point these. Out. Change is slow. Change doesn't happen overnight. So the reason that I'm writing the squeeze is to be that thorn in the side of this industry. Yes, we can cheer ourselves on. There are things that we're doing that are different. We have been successful in lots of ways. But we are still repeating some of our old mistakes. And part of that is that we have a lot of legacy companies moving into this industry who come from that old sort of thinking. But we also have companies that are being founded by people like Miesha Yusuf who started Dust Light, where she has a completely different point of view on what is possible and and how to treat your employees and what kinds of shows to make. And my hope is that by highlighting those kind. People in those kinds of companies and showing and contrasting that with some of the shitty stuff that's going on, Just having it as a moment in their brain when they're hiring someone, when they're bringing on a new show, when they're acquiring a company, that maybe we should be thinking about this a little bit differently. And again, I think that there are a lot of factors that impact the decisions that people make, but I think that my hope is, The industry can open up a little bit more to new kinds of thinking, and that's what I. the squeeze can help advance Sky. Pillsbury, thank you so much. Where can everyone go and subscribe to the Squeeze? Well, they can go directly to the Subst page, which is at terrible. I always forget, I should know this if I wanna promote my own work. This is the squeeze, don subst.com. Thank you. Or they can find me on Twitter. I'm just sky Pillsbury on Twitter and the link is right there on my profile page. . Excellent sky. Lovely to have met you. And yeah, keep writing cuz you need to open and shine a light on the different elements of our industry. We don't wanna repeat the mistakes of web bond. Do, do we? That's right. We definitely don't. We all live through it and let's do it differently this time.