Podnews Weekly Review

The podcast app that will skip the ads for you; plus Spotify's Wrapped, YouTube and Descript

December 01, 2023 James Cridland and Sam Sethi Season 2 Episode 50
Podnews Weekly Review
The podcast app that will skip the ads for you; plus Spotify's Wrapped, YouTube and Descript
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We talk to Anna Sian from Spotify; Christiana Cromer from Descript; and Neil Mody from Headliner.

"Use the chapters, Luke."

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James Cridland:

It's Friday, the 1st of December 2023.

Speaker 2:

The last word in podcasting news. This is the Pod News Weekly Review with James Cridland and Sam Suthey.

James Cridland:

I'm James Cridland, the editor of Pod News.

Sam Sethi:

And I'm Sam Suthey, the CEO of PodFans. Pinch punch, james, it's the first of the month.

James Cridland:

It is indeed In the chapters today the company automatically removing ads from podcasts. The UK podcasting ad market just a fifth of the size it could be and is Castro to close Plus.

Anna Sian:

I'm Anna Sean. I lead the marketing team that is focused on Spotify for podcasters. What I'm here to talk about today is we bring the wrapped experience to millions of podcasters around the world Hi.

Christiana Cromer:

I'm Cristiana Kromer Descripts Community Manager, and I will be on later to talk about our new AI Act.

James Cridland:

And later we'll hear from Neil Modi, from Headliner on YouTube, getting into podcasting. And also, eddie, this podcast is sponsored. Good news, sam, something I didn't tell you while we were getting ready we have a sponsor for next year. Oh OK, would you?

Sam Sethi:

like to know who it is. Yeah, Take me out to my suspenders, please. Yes.

James Cridland:

Here we go. This podcast is sponsored by Buzzsprout. Last week 3,013 people started a podcast with Buzzsprout. Podcast hosting made easy with powerful tools, free learning materials and remarkable customer support. From your daily newsletter, the Pod News Weekly Review.

Sam Sethi:

OK, let's kick this off then. Now we are fully, fully sponsored again A company that you wrote about called Audio. It's doing something by removing ads from people's podcasts. They've been putting out a product called Fader. Tell me more about this, James. Is this a good idea?

James Cridland:

Well, I'll tell you more about it first. Then we might talk about whether it's a good idea. It's quite an interesting idea anyway. The app is called Fader. What Fader does at the moment is it takes ads out of commercial radio so you can listen to commercial radio stations, and it replaces the ads with songs that it thinks that you might like. There are lots of questions about that service, but what they're planning to do from January 15 is to take away all of the ads from the top 200 shows in the US. Presumably. It'll cost you $5.99 a month. Basically, you don't hear any ads in any of the podcasts that you listen to. It sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?

Sam Sethi:

Well, it's not a bad idea in the sense that here's the dirty secret of podcasting. I've asked loads and loads of people what do you do when you hear an ad in your podcast? Oh, I skip it, I fast forward. So people are doing this anyway because podcasters say it's a download, I've got an ad, therefore pay me. Advertisers are going yep, we'll pay you then. And the reality is people are fast forwarding through those ads anyway.

James Cridland:

Well, the reality is that people fast forward through some ads, but not through every single ad. I would doubt that. Very many people fast forwarded, for example, through our sponsor credit for Buzzsprout just then. My suspicion is that the amount of ads which are skipped through is actually pretty low, so I suppose there is that sort of side of it. I think the interesting thing about audio is that it is all legal. They can actually do this under the law, which is quite a fascinating thing. The way that the app works is basically they download your show, your show's, audio. It works out where the ads are in using AI, and then, when the ads are coming up, it automatically presses the skip button in the player and skips past the ads, so that you essentially don't get to hear any ads at all. So that essentially means that it's just a normal podcast app. It just happens to have a smart skip button and so therefore it is arguing that they don't need to make an agreement with any podcasters. They're not changing the audio, so they say, and so therefore they don't need any agreement at all and it's all hunky-dory.

Sam Sethi:

So I'm just reading the definition of copyright, which says copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission. So they are using your work without your permission to monetize it and they're not giving you any value back. And although they're not changing the audio, every podcast, by default, because it's a creator product, has a copyright. So how are they getting past it by the law when the copyright states clearly it has to have your permission?

James Cridland:

Well, because at the end of the day, that's what RSS is. You are publishing an RSS feed he says playing Devils Evercut. You're publishing an RSS feed which you are essentially saying that anyone can download this podcast and can play it and there's no copyright on whether anybody uses the skip button. So from that point of view there's no actual differences there. So you know, I mean, when you record a show on your TV box, you can skip through the adverts on there. So there's probably not much difference, I guess.

Sam Sethi:

Well, that's exactly it. I mean, I've got a skybox here at home and we record shows, and guess what, since the ads come, we flip through them and get back to the program. Yeah, I guess that is their definition then, that they're not illegally doing anything other than it feels a little bit skanky taking other people's content.

James Cridland:

They do say, though, that they will be giving creators an attractive revenue per listener per episode, although they don't state what that is and they don't state how much, and also why, if what they've just said is that they don't need to sign any agreements with any podcasters, why are they all of a sudden offering podcasters what they call an attractive revenue per listener, per episode? From my point of view, there's no benefit to them if they sign a contract, and it'll be on their terms as well. There's no benefit to them if they sign a contract with a podcaster at all, because they end up giving money away that they themselves claim that they don't need to, and you can imagine what that contract is going to say. My guess is that it's going to have an awful lot of. You must be promoting this fader app and you must be doing X and Y and Z and everything else. I'm there thinking they would say that they'll share some revenue with the creators, wouldn't they? But not necessarily sure that, a they need to other than wouldn't that be a jolly nice thing to do? And B that that revenue is going to be meaningful in any way, really, so can I opt out?

Sam Sethi:

James, if they've sucked in my RSS, can I ping them or can I go to their website and opt out?

James Cridland:

Well, I asked how does someone opt out? And the response was why opt out if no harm is being done? That's about as far as it goes Now for the record. So that's a no then. Well that's entirely up to you to make. That I mean for the record. They have contacted other publishers who have taken my story and quoted from it and they have said that this is a very inaccurate quote. And they have said that Pod News asked this question in an email conversation with an employee of ours and cut a sentence from a separate email as if it was our answer. It is not. They have told other people and I have a copy of the email that I sent to their chief marketing officer, who's a man called Theo, and I said how can podcast creators opt out of being in your app? Is there an email address or a web form? His response to that email was why opt out if no harm is being done? What is the downside for creators here? So what the company is now doing and I don't use the word lying very often, but what the company is now doing is lying about the emails that I sent and the emails that they responded with and, by the way, not just an employee, but the very person who is telling Pod News' competitors that we've got something wrong. So, yeah, it's a very strange old company. I mean, if they're lying to other journalists about that, what else are they lying about, one would ask. But anyway, yes, I mean. To me it looks like they've hit upon a legal loophole. They think that this legal loophole is a tremendous thing because it means that they can essentially rip the advertising out that pays for it and make them a pretty pile of money. And it might be legally acceptable, but it certainly isn't morally acceptable, is it no?

Sam Sethi:

And I think the fact that they haven't got any information about what they will offer podcasters in return for doing this, which I think is going to be their sort of carrot rather than stick. Now you are a radio futurologist as well. How do they get away with this with the radio?

James Cridland:

I believe it's exactly the same thing. It's the Tevo skipping ads thing, it's the video. If you remember, back in the 1980s or 70s there was a big big thing in the US where the movie companies were taking and the TV companies were taking manufacturers of video recorders to court for copyright theft because you could skip through the ads and basically that was thrown out of court. And the point is that you can record stuff and then do whatever you want with that in the privacy of your own home afterwards. So it's much the same law, I guess. And so what it's doing is it's listening to the radio stream, it's working out when the ads come on and then it's substituting that until the radio stream comes back again. So you know, I mean again, it's this legal loophole, legal loophole that somebody has found and thought brilliant, we can make a company out of that without considering the moral part of it.

Sam Sethi:

When's this due to come in? I think they said somewhere in January, didn't they? James?

James Cridland:

Yeah, january 15 is when it's supposed to start. Now, the amount of feedback that I've got, I would be very surprised if any podcaster is going to be comfortable with that sort of thing. Anyway, the company is most indignant, as you may have guessed, and has been claiming that it's been working together for a long, long time with the podcast industry and respects podcast creators. It's a funny way of showing it if you ask me, but still so, it'll be interesting to see what happens. But January the 15th is apparently when it starts going live. They are giving it away for the first couple of months as part of the 599 tier, but they will be charging additional money just to get rid of ads in podcasts in the future. That additional money will be so the company spokesperson says a price of a latte or similar. Probably the price of a Starbucks latte, I would guess, but even so, I'm guessing somewhere in the region of another $5, $6, $7 a month for them to automatically skip the ads in the shows that you listen to.

Sam Sethi:

There we go. That's audio. Now let's move on, james, to something much nicer. Now it's that time of the year pre-Christmas when you have that review of everything you've been doing on your streaming services. Apple released the most popular podcast of 2023 on the Apple Podcast platform. Crime Junkies was number one, and for the second year running, that is, and you'll find the charts for your country in the browser tab so you can go and have a look. What's different across different countries? I think you've published the top shows for 14 different countries as well, james, haven't you?

James Cridland:

Yes, because you will only see your own country in the Apple Podcasts app, and so, therefore, it would be interesting to do some analysis on all of those shows, not just on the shows in your own country. I've got 14 different countries on the Pod News website which you can have a look through, and I'm looking through those shows True Crime, culture both the most popular categories. Congratulations to Spotify's Megaphone, which hosts the most popular shows, with 15 shows in that 140. Simple Cast and A-Cast both host 13, and the Huberman Lab was the only show to have made it to three country lists. If you like history, you can also go back and see exactly the same data from 2022, interestingly, a set of different countries. Interesting to see which countries are listed and which shows are top of each of those individual things. They're worked out, by the way, in the same way that the Apple Podcast charts are worked out, so it's a mix of followers and a mix of playback, so it's quite an interesting mix there.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I was looking through Apple's top 10 and Spotify's. There isn't a great deal of overlap, as you say. Cumulus and Signal Hill, though, have put out a report saying that Apple's podcast listeners tend to be older than Spotify's, and, while Spotify have an even split in terms of gender, 61% of Apple Podcast users are female. Additionally, long-time podcast listeners prefer Apple to Spotify. Is that something that you would back up in your opinion?

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think so. I think Apple is very much older, very much more. Female is an interesting one, but certainly when you have a look at the types of people who own iPhones, they are more likely to be richer, they're more likely to be older. They're more likely to be older than the usual. I think one of the reasons why Spotify does very well is that it is, of course, available on Android phones. There are an awful lot of people out there with Android phones, particularly younger people, so that probably has something to bear in mind as well.

Sam Sethi:

Now, they're not the only people who've been putting out their review of the year. Pocketcast have done something similar, James, haven't they?

James Cridland:

Yes, they have, and I would guess that we're going to see a bunch more of these. Youtube Music normally releases a look back at the year as well, so Pocketcast's Playback 2023 is already appearing in your app if you use Pocketcasts. I use Pocketcasts a lot. The number one show that I listened to was Podcasting 2.0. I listened to it for a total of one day, 10 hours. Podcasting 2.0 for November 24th 2023, episode 156, Model Drift. Also the new media show at number two. With Todd and Rob. And the news agents at number three. Dino will be delighted to know the news agents. So interesting to see that data in there. That's the podcast app that I use. It's always nice to see the data and information out of Pocketcasts. Now, spotify 2023 wrapped for users is, of course, one side of what Spotify does, but they also do Spotify wrapped for podcasters as well, and I thought I would catch up with the head of marketing for Spotify for podcasters, anna-shan, and I asked her what was Spotify 2023 unwrapped for podcasters?

Anna Sian:

So you'll see a number of stories. It's contextualized data about your audience, so you may see things like which of your episodes was the top episode of the year, which episodes were the ones that listeners discovered you by, so like the first episode that they heard of yours when they became your new fan. You'll see which countries were your top countries of the year and even where you were on the rise, so where there might have been some new countries on your list. You'll see how fans shared your, your podcast, so which social platforms did they use to share your show, what your podcast average rating was, and tons more really really exciting stories. I can't go through all of them. There's a lot, but overall, yeah, there are about 11 stories.

James Cridland:

And I think that they're slightly different for every single show as well, so it pulls out individual stuff that you might not know about each individual show and it's for any podcaster in Spotify right, whoever they host with.

Anna Sian:

It is for hosted and non-hosted podcasters? Yeah, and all you need to do is claim your show and Spotify for podcasters to access your app.

James Cridland:

And that's at podcastersspotifycom. That's right. What I like about it is that it tells you stories about how your podcast did over the year. What new data have you added this year?

Anna Sian:

We've refreshed a lot of our data stories from last year and we've gone into sort of a double click for many of them. So you'll see if you've seen the 2022 rap there's some builds on that, but new this year. You'll also see some really interesting stats about your audience, like what their favorite podcast genres are or their favorite music. So it's a really interesting way to sort of connect the dots between your podcast fans, listener behavior for other types of genres and other formats.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and they're most talked about episode as well. Is that most talked about in terms of Q&A on the Spotify for podcasters platform?

Anna Sian:

Yes, exactly. So you'll see some interesting stats if you're using our interactivity features. And yeah, there's just been so many new folks using Q&A and polls I think it's something like 14 million responses have been published to folks shows. It's kind of amazing. So, yeah, you'll see a lot more creators kind of sharing that type of data this year.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and I was going to ask about sharing. So last year the pod news daily podcast, for example, saw 779% more listeners and I thought that was a very good stat and I ended up sharing that. Do you know what stats podcasters share the most?

Anna Sian:

That's an amazing stat. First of all, congratulations, thank you very much and, yeah, I would definitely share that stat as well. That's a huge gain. It's so different. Everyone gets a different set of data. I expect to see the final. We have like a spinal summary share card that has a lot of highlights of, like your top episode. You know your biggest gains for the year, so I imagine that's going to be the one that's shared most.

James Cridland:

One other thing that I learned last year. You can tell I haven't I haven't looked at this year's one yet, can't you? But last year I learned seven. For seven people, the pod news daily is their most listened to podcast, apparently, and the podcast is only three minutes long, so they must have listened to an awful lot of them. Now, this coincided with 2023 Wrapped, which is the feature that Spotify users get telling them that they listened to too much Taylor Swift in my case but it also lists their podcast consumption, and I know that that drives a lot of traffic to Spotify, so is that something that podcasters should be doing to benefit from that sort of traffic that Spotify is currently getting?

Anna Sian:

This is a huge moment for Spotify listeners and creators, right Like. We've even seen a lot of other companies try to do their own version of Wrapped, so it is a global cultural moment, so to speak, and so this is the time when we are trying to get podcasters to really take a look at their show page and make sure everything looks the way that they would like it to look. When it starts to get more attention, they can add social links to their show, for example, so make sure that people can find them on other platforms, and it's just. There are a lot of different ways to spruce up your show. This best place to start, which is a way to sort of pin content on your page. You know, there's a lot of different things that they can do once they start getting engaged with Spotify. For podcasters to make sure that their show is in the best place for all that new discovery.

James Cridland:

And I know that for some of the people who are listening to this or reading this, they will have a number of different shows, and one of the things that you can do in Spotify for podcasters is link to your other shows. So you're not leaving it up to the algorithm. It's up to you to link to other shows, which I think is a really strong thing to do.

Anna Sian:

Totally. Yes. I think you can use that feature for a lot of different things. If you have other shows, it's a great way to drive people to them. If you have a friend who's a podcaster that you really want to support, you can also do that. It's just another avenue for getting more consumption towards another show.

James Cridland:

How long has it been running?

Anna Sian:

So RAPT has been around for nine years the consumption, the consumer RAPT but this is the fifth year of podcaster RAPT, so I'm really amazed that it's gotten here after where we were in 2019. There are 10 times as many people listening to podcasts in Spotify and overall podcast consumption has grown by something like more than 1400%. And so there are just so many more people, so many more ears on podcasting, and the creator ecosystem has grown a ton as well, and so we're just in this new place where the spotlight is on podcasts and Spotify has invested so much in podcasting, growing the pie for everyone. So I think it's going to look a lot different this year. I'm super excited to see how the internet blows up because of it.

James Cridland:

Yeah, indeed. What sort of changes has RAPT for podcasters seen then, since 2019?

Anna Sian:

I think the biggest change is the scale of it all and also where podcasters fit into Spotify's brand overall. I mean, I'm in the marketing side of things at Spotify so I can speak to the fact that when we first started in 2019 with RAPT for podcasters, it was still kind of a new concept to a lot of Spotify listeners, and so now I think they have an expectation that they want to see their top five podcasts. They want to share with the world, with their friends, what they're listening to, and I think a ton of people who are new to podcasts are looking to their friends for those recommendations because they want to invest their time wisely. So I think it is a different world that we're living in and I think it's to the benefit of podcast creators everywhere.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and we certainly see, don't we, that the number one way of finding a new show is by word of mouth, is by what your friends are listening to, and so anything that helps that is, I think, a really good plan.

Anna Sian:

Yep, that's right, so share with your friends what your most embarrassing podcast is that you listen to. Don't be shy.

James Cridland:

So, looking back at 2023, you've launched a number of new tools within Spotify for podcasters, for creators, video interactivity like polls and rating and Q&As, and sharing, and almost all of those features are for creators wherever they're hosted, not just those that host their shows on Spotify for podcasters. What was the thinking behind making it available to everyone?

Anna Sian:

I mean with Stream On, we decided that we wanted to open up to more people around the world, regardless of where they're hosting. We know that people have their own ways of managing their show or they have their own creation flow that works for them, and we didn't want that to be a barrier to entry for people to start using things like Q&A and polls or video right. And so I actually had joined the team when we were still anchored and I think that was over five years ago. But with Stream On, that was the time when we decided we wanted to make that mission that Anchor also had, of kind of democratizing audio to be a reality for Spotify as well, and so it is part of what we were built to do, and we want to keep that optionality open for creators and, yeah, you can do most of everything as a creator, not hosted with us, but we hope to bring more and more features to all creators.

James Cridland:

And I'm always a fan of exclusives and things. What might we be expecting from Spotify for podcasters next year?

Anna Sian:

There's a lot of really fun stuff. I think we're continuing to try to make our podcast experience as seamless as possible. We want to do even more for RAPT next year, so I'm continuing to be excited about all the new things that we have in store and, yeah, I think this is going to be a really, really big year for RAPT. I hope that everyone continues to see more and more listeners coming to their podcasts because of it.

James Cridland:

So RAPT is a highlight of a podcast this year. It's one of the things that Spotify does, which is such a good thing for the industry. Anna, thank you so much for your support and for your time today.

Anna Sian:

Thank you so much for having me.

James Cridland:

Anna Shahn from Spotify and yes, of course, I didn't dive into so when are you going to support the podcasting 2.0 namespace? Because, firstly, there's nothing to do with her and, secondly, no, now is not the time for that. Yes, so it's super good, and I think that all of the data that Spotify has been releasing, both in terms of RAPT but also in terms of the other data that they've released over the last couple of months, has been super useful for podcasters. So, very genuinely, that's a really helpful tool. Again, you go back and you have a look at what Apple have announced. They've announced some lists and that's it, and they've got all of the same data as Spotify does, plus some, and they're not really telling us any information there, whereas Spotify seems to be very open with it. So well done, spotify, I think.

Sam Sethi:

Now moving on. Then you had an exclusive story this week in Pod News Daily. It was about the UK podcasting ad market. It's just a fifth of the size it should be and you guys down there in Australia aren't much better either. You had Will Page, the ex-chief economist of Spotify, friend of the show, write an article for you. What's this one about, james?

James Cridland:

Yeah, so this is some work that Will and I first looked at a while back and we were there going well. If the weekly podcast audience in the UK is similar to the audience in America, surely you should be able to work out how much money is being earned by the American podcast industry and how much money the UK podcast industry ought to be earning. And it turns out that the UK podcast industry ought to be $279 million, but it's actually only $62 million, which is just 22% of where it kind of ought to be. So why does the UK and Australia and Canada and New Zealand, why do all of these countries perform so much worse than the US? It was an interesting question, which Will Page jumped on and wrote a ton of good reasons. Why compared it with ad-supported music revenues, which is also far, far smaller in places like the UK and Australia than it is in the US, and various other things. It's all to do, of course, with the fact that Will Page has just released the 100th edition of Bubble Trouble, which is their podcast that exposes financial misbehaviour with Richard Kramer and Will, produced by Magnificent Noise, and so, yeah, it was great to see him really get deep and dirty with some of the numbers from around the world and some of the reasons why.

Sam Sethi:

Put it another way the UK podcast. The ad market is just over a fifth 22% of the size it should be. Australia is 37%, canada 32% and New Zealand just 7%. So yeah, we've got a long way to go. Can we close?

James Cridland:

the gap, james. Well, I mean, we can close the gap. Yeah, absolutely, of course. One of the problems with the UK as a market is that the BBC is so large in the UK, not just as it conditioned the British public to treat commercial advertising as more intrusive, it also, of course, produces a ton of shows which you can't advertise in. So therefore, of course, the advertising market is going to be smaller in the UK than it is in other countries because of the massive amount of people who are listening to content from the BBC versus anybody else. Just as a comparison, the BBC reaches 56% of the population of the UK, just in terms of their radio output. Npr reaches 9% of the US. So NPR is far, far smaller and there's a tendency, I think, particularly in America, of comparing NPR to the BBC and assuming that it's much the same sort of size. The BBC is so so much larger and actually, as Will says in his article, the BBC essentially risks crowding out advertisers in that particular market. So, yeah, I think it's going to be hard to imagine that the UK is ever going to be the size of the US in terms of the revenue it can earn.

Sam Sethi:

Now another report came out. Raja and Midas released a report that said podcasting's weekly reach rose from 10.3% in 2017 to 22% in 2023,. James, why are they looking back historically to that? I mean, I'm trying to understand what's the benefit of knowing that now?

James Cridland:

Well, yes, why are they looking back? It's a good question, I mean. I guess it's a nice story the fact that twice the amount of people are apparently listening to podcasts in 2023 than they were in 2017. But it does look at all forms of internet delivered audio. So that's things like on-demand music, that's things like you know your catch-up radio that you do in the UK as well. So what's interesting around that is that Spotify, for example, on-demand music. So Spotify, apple Music and those sorts of things have grown from 20% to 32% in the last six years. But you then have a look at things like music CDs and cassette tapes. Those have plummeted from about 30% to less than 10% well, to just about 10% Now. Catch-up radio incredibly unpopular in 2017 and still incredibly unpopular in 2023. Only 10% of the population bothered to listen. So you know, it's interesting seeing some of these movement, but really the only things that are growing, properly growing, are on-demand music and podcasts. Everything else is either in decline or relatively flat, but it's good to see some of the data that comes out of it. There's a particularly good graph right at the end of the data, which shows you what people are listening to at certain times of the day and you can see there's a big peak between five and six in the evening for podcasting, a big peak. And you look at that and you think there is probably a real opportunity for UK podcasters to produce an afternoon daily podcast. There are plenty of morning daily podcasts, but you know an afternoon daily podcast I suppose the newsagents is one of those, isn't it? I guess.

Sam Sethi:

But the newsagents yeah, you've got PodSafe. The UK you've got. The rest is politics, and then there's a load of football ones as well, now daily ones.

James Cridland:

Yeah, because some of those aren't necessarily daily and I'm wondering where the equivalent of the Today Explained type shows. But interesting seeing that data you know particularly and also seeing you know data like how people listen. Most of your listening to podcasts is done on a mobile phone 76%. Where people are listening. 61% listen in a house, 13% listen in a car, 12% listen on a train or on a bus and what people are doing while they're listening to shows. So 94%, by the way, listen to podcasts alone. So it's a very intimate, personal thing and most people are either working or studying. How you can listen to a podcast while you work or study, I really don't know.

Sam Sethi:

I don't know, I don't know.

James Cridland:

Depending on what you're doing, but you know, driving, relaxing household chores, eating, drinking, cooking which is my top the cooking bits anyway 8%. So yeah, so there's a bunch of quite nice information in these charts. The charts aren't very pretty, but they're very good if you'll persevere with the way that they're laid out. And there's also information about on demand catch up radio, live radio and all kinds of other things in there too. So links from the pod news newsletter there you go.

Sam Sethi:

Didn't have walking the dog in there. I was waiting for that because that's my way of listening.

James Cridland:

But anyway, yes. Well, maybe that's yes. Maybe that's exercise, which is 12%. Maybe that's household chores, which is 10%. Maybe that's other, which is 8%, who knows? 2%, by the way of people are still using a portable MP3 player. Bless them.

Sam Sethi:

Granddad's a Christmas. I know what to get him now. Yeah, exactly. Anyway. Let's move on. A little bit of a sadder story, castro.

James Cridland:

The app is looks like it's going to close down, james, why it does Well we don't quite know why, to be honest, but according to, frankly, a surprise post from someone called Mohit Memoria who used to, so far as I can work out, used to be the general manager of Castro earlier on this year, still works for Tiny Capital, which is an investment company that bought that app a while back, and yeah, and he has basically popped in and posted on Twitter oh yeah, it's going to be closed in the next two months. Right now, though, the app isn't working anyway. There's a database server issue on the app, which means that it's actually not working for anybody. There's no way to export your library either, and the company has posted a tweet saying that a fix might take some time which is a thing?

Sam Sethi:

Well, I suppose never. Never is a long time.

James Cridland:

No well, yeah, exactly. I mean, why would they spend all of this time fixing it, if only to close it down in a couple of months? But I mean, it's a strange story. This because Castro. I met the co-founders, padre O'Shineid and O'Sheen Prenderville. I met both of those in Vancouver. We had a nice coffee and a nice chat about where podcasting was going in about 2018 or so. Padre left in 2019. O'sheen appears to have left in October last year, but didn't really say anything about the fact that he was leaving, and it just seems to me as if this is one of those companies which has been bought from the developers by a venture capitalist. All of a sudden. The developers have lost interest because they're working for the man now. They're not running their own business anymore. They lose interest relatively quickly, and it seems that the owner of this podcast app has also pretty well lost interest. It's been removed from Tiny Capital, the company that owns it. It's been removed from their website. In January of this year they were talking about a new version of Castro, but that doesn't appear to have happened at all, and the co-founder of the VC company itself which I just think is brilliant is a guy called Andrew Wilkinson, who I've actually spoken to in the past. He took podcasts off his phone in 2021 because they made him anxious. Bless him. So I don't really it's such a sad story because it was a great app. It did a couple of things very interestingly, including a sort of inbox that it gave you so you could actually triage which episodes you wanted to listen to which you don't. If you're a fan of the Richard Herring Leicester Square podcast, as I am, you will know that you will go through that list and go well, I'm interested in that person, but I'm not interested in that person, and that's exactly how these things work. So it was a really nice user interface and just really sad that it's the typical story of venture capitalists they buy something that works quite nicely, they suck all of the life out of it, they're not particularly interested in it anyway, and then it just sort of sits quietly in sobs in a corner of a darkened room somewhere.

Sam Sethi:

Well, two things. First of all, one when I first saw this, I thought castos, no, no. And then I had to realise it was castro. No, just to be clear. The second one is I'm obviously fundraising right now and one of the things I was with AVC yesterday, whose conversation with me lasted about five minutes, when he said, yes, with a certain amount of equity in your company, which was ridiculous. And then the second one we like to move the founder out the way and bring in a new CEO and I'm like, oh nice to meet you. Bye, that was about it really.

James Cridland:

Well, you know, I mean you could have taken the money and run.

Sam Sethi:

No, not yet.

James Cridland:

Not yet, not yet they should be good, here first.

Sam Sethi:

You've got to have a good deal. I mean, you know you don't want, you don't want to be. You know, take all the equity out in the round and then then be pushed out the way. I mean, yeah, eventually, you know, the idea is to take money and then to have a partner and then grow it and then maybe one day we're lucky exit. You know it's the way you want to do it. But yeah, this person was not the person who I'm going to partner with, that's for certain.

James Cridland:

No, no, gosh. Well, there you go, there you go.

Sam Sethi:

Now moving on. You caught up with Neil Modi from Headliner. What was that all?

James Cridland:

about? Yes, indeed. So I caught up with Neil Modi from Headliner last week. I was curious as to what his thoughts were on YouTube jumping into podcasting and whether or not that was going to be the end of his company, frankly, or whether or not actually it was a really good thing. And it turns out it's a really good thing for him. So that's nice. But the first thing that I wanted to find out was how Eddie is going on. If you remember, Eddie is their audio editor. Much like the Descripts platform, it allows you to edit as if it's a Word document and doing all of that, and I was curious as to how Eddie was going.

Neil Mody:

So it just came out of beta right before podcast movement this past summer, so it's only been a few months. It was in beta for a while and just trying to understand whether our users and just what we could do with it and whether we can bring something new beyond just the usual text-based editing of your audio, and I think, with all this generative AI stuff, I think we've started making strides there to really help podcasters save some time, which is the promise of a lot of the AI stuff for sure.

James Cridland:

So what makes Eddie different to? I mean, there are quite a few of these services out there now, aren't there? So what's the difference that Eddie brings?

Neil Mody:

So I think our latest update actually has something I believe no one else has right now, which is the generative episode art. So we as a company have kind of always realized that visuals play an important part of your decision-making process for a new podcast. So hence what you see from Headliner out on social and on YouTube. We've always thought episode art could really help, but it's a pretty laborious task for a lot of people just to find the imagery. I know you do a good job of it, but most people don't spend the time. So I think with some of these generative text to image engines that are out there now, this part could actually be somewhat automated. We don't fully automate it, but we give users an option, we generate options for users, and so we're trying to kind of really push the boundaries of the image and generative space there. And then for the other stuff, I mean I think, look, we've got we've probably got the largest community of active podcasters, like for a non-host platform, so we can compete on cost pretty dramatically compared to most other providers. So we'll win there at least as well, because we're all kind of packaging third-party LLMs to some extent anyways.

James Cridland:

And you're producing a promo pack for every show that is edited in Eddy, and not just those episode art images, but loads of other things as well, including keywords and show notes and a references page. What's a references page?

Neil Mody:

Yeah, I guess this is the geek in me. I actually usually find them super valuable. So the references is like the actual URLs to places and concepts kind of mentioned during the piece. Again, it doesn't do an amazing job yet, but it's doing a pretty good job picking up kind of key entities and good reference places, whether it be Wikipedia or even the web page of, like, the company itself and so on. So you'll see this at some. You know some podcasters do this manually, which takes a long time, and this kind of tries to automate all that for you.

James Cridland:

Yeah, that's really interesting, really interesting, and obviously you've got you know things that quite a lot. I mean the Pod News Weekly review is sponsored by Buzzsprout, of course, which has co-host, which is a artificial show note writer, and everything else, but you seem to be doing a little bit more than that, which is interesting to see.

Neil Mody:

Yeah, I think we looked at the landscape and we didn't want to just build a Me Too product here. I mean, again, you know, text-based audio editing is very much Me Too. There's a bunch of companies out there that do it. Some of this is just having our positioning around kind of the entire stack to help podcasters. But beyond the similarities, we again we think in the imagery we can do something interesting from all the data we've kind of picked up and learned around what works to draw attention. And then secondly, again, I mean I think some of the stuff is cost prohibitive for the average podcaster, given most are still the average one I would still consider a hobbyist. So we like to bring costs dramatically down and we think we can do that with our scale.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and that's interesting you saying that the average podcaster is a hobbyist, because that's absolutely the case, isn't it? And you see an awful lot of these products out there which are priced, you know, for those people who are perhaps making shows for companies or that sort of thing, but you're very much priced at the for the vast majority of individual podcasters.

Neil Mody:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, look, if you add up I we've had this discussion, I don't know if you and I have had it but if you add up all the different tools you need to kind of produce your podcast, you can go from free to hundreds of dollars a month, right, and? And we don't think that these tools should be cost prohibitive for the hobbyist. Ideally, we find alternative ways to monetize them, which we started doing with putting in ads and so on. But I think if all pod, if if podcasting were easier, the hobbyist would stick around longer. And that's our job and kind of what we'd like to try to bring to the market, which I don't think no other tools are really focused in on as well.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and you're claiming 1.2 million creators. Is that a total over your lifetime? Yeah, that's a pretty high number.

Neil Mody:

Yeah, we've. It's actually higher. I think I just looked at it might be approaching 1.4 million. So that might be a little bit out of date. 1.3 and change yeah, so since we launched Headliner January 2018, I think it was we've had over, yeah, 1.3 million creators.

James Cridland:

Wow which is, which is, which is quite a thing, and, of course, the headline, a product. It has been focused on YouTube and getting your podcast there, which which we use for the Pod News Weekly Review every single week. So thank you for that. Oh great, obviously, youtube is. You know, things are hotting up in terms of getting podcasts onto YouTube. You've been involved in it for a long, long time. Yeah, we've got a front row seat. Yeah, exactly what do you? What do you think about the different? What do you think about the way that YouTube is all of a sudden jumped into podcasting and is getting involved in this space?

Neil Mody:

Well, I would say, I mean, I would argue it hasn't been all of a sudden, it's been kind of trickled in over the past few years, but I think they've. I think the big question was first, are they going to stick around like we had the about face from Facebook a few years ago? I think the big existential question around YouTube is is you know, how long are they going to do this? And I think I think, given the time and what they've put out, we're seeing a lot of positive signals now. And so you know, I think the big question is is TikTok and and shorts and so on? Youtube's a massive machine and podcasting is only one part of it. But I but it does look like they're, they're fairly committed to it and and I think they bring a lot to the table. I mean, look, you know I have this conversation with a lot of, a lot of customers of ours. Youtube's 2 billion people a month spotifies, I think, 500, 600 million, you know. So YouTube dwarfs basically everybody else and beyond the 2 billion, they're like, I think, the number two search engine, they're the leader. And video podcasting not even a close second. I mean, I know Spotify's trying to do something there now, but you know, apple's never really done anything in video podcasting. I know you can publish video to it, but I can't remember the last time someone showed me a video podcast on an Apple product. And I think they've got, obviously, the recommendation engine that's. That's hard to beat. I still feel like it's much better than most podcasting consumption platforms that I use. And they've got transcription, they've got a lot. They've got all the pieces to the puzzle. The question is, are they going to steer the ship towards podcasting enough to win it? Because if they wanted to win it, they could, and it's just and it's just a question of priorities for them.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and I think you know. One other sort of side of that is that the YouTube music app, as I understand it, is one of the must installs for new Android devices. So if you have a brand new Android device, it'll automatically come with YouTube music kind of whether or not you want it or not, which is which is always always interesting. Youtube and Google as a wider sort of scale, they're not necessarily very good at staying the course, and you mentioned Facebook. This is Google's fourth podcast player, I believe sort of a little bit weird. If you want to get into YouTube music, because they have this RSS ingest thing which will give you a flat image, they will talk with companies like you and get some rather more animated and more interesting material in there, and then they've got this RSS. You copy and paste an RSS feed into your music app. Do you think they're sort of going the right way in terms of user experience, or is it just too early to tell?

Neil Mody:

Excellent question, I mean. I think I think what they want to get to is video podcasts in general. Obviously they want to win that. I mean they are winning it already, but I think that's that's, that's what the system's already built to do. And then the audio first stuff. I think the, I think they're setting themselves up for where you know where all this stuff might be going, which is chapter art, having a meaningful improvement over Anyone who doesn't want to just do video, and and then all the back catalog stuff you need some solution for. So I'd say For the stuff that's never gonna make what we will. We say internally real video or just, you know, behind camera or a head of camera, whatever the right saying is. Sorry, I Stuff. I think that they've actually got some decent pieces of the puzzle. And then we, you know we publish on the order of two to three thousand videos a day to YouTube.

James Cridland:

You know we publish about ten thousand plus a day and and 20, 30% of them are YouTube you know, I wonder whether, if YouTube was to win, whether this that would be good news for the Overall podcast industry.

Neil Mody:

It's a good question, I mean it. I mean, if you take the parallel video, like I mean, there's a few secondary video players, like you know, vimeo and there's there's a handful of secondary kind of markets and some new ones trying to get started rumble or Whatever it's called.

James Cridland:

Yeah, Petube and all of those sorts of things.

Neil Mody:

But but I think overall for the video space, you know, while a lot of people gripe about it, I think the creator market, you know, would would competition make it better for them. I think it would make it better in some ways and worse than others, like we have in the fragmentation in the podcast market. So I think it's pick your poison a little bit and and I think on the consumer side, people are very comfortable on YouTube. On the creator side, obviously, people aren't happy with Spotify, people aren't happy with YouTube, they're not happy with anyone kind of controlling a large portion of the market. But but that comes with some advantages as well and I think, given kind of RSS and and where we are right now, I don't know if it's a winner, take all, anyways, it'll just be. Who can carve out, you know, 50% of the market or something at this point, 50, 60%, I think Apple, spotify are sitting around 20, 30, 40% give or take, depending on what metric you want to take, and then everybody else Is taking the rest. So who you know, I guess, will they cut into taking about a fifth or Two, a third of the market as well, and I think that's a pretty good chance just from International exposure. Yeah, you know, I went to India, I think two last last Christmas break, over the holidays last year, and I was amazed how much Was how much of consumption and everyone was very YouTube and what's that focus compared to here in the States. And it's just a staple of consumption over there.

James Cridland:

So yeah, I caught. I caught a taxi not so long ago and the driver was listening to a podcast and I thought, oh, this is interesting, what podcast is this? And then turns out that the podcast was the audio from a YouTube video that he had on his you know, on his phone, yeah, and he was just having listened to that, which, which you know, you can well see, I think, particularly since Apple don't seem to be interested in getting involved with it, with Android, you can well see that this is a real, a real opportunity for Google.

Neil Mody:

Yeah, and at least on a protection area basis, right? I mean, I think, given the bets around music, podcasting as being kind of this, the, this kind of the sister of music, at this point, given what Spotify has done, I think it's just part of part of the overall ecosystem. And then even Apple with Apple podcasts and Apple music, I think you're just gonna see anyone who's in music need to have podcasting as well, and, and clearly, youtube's not gonna abandon music, I believe, with the vivo stuff and so on. So so I think podcasting is here to stay and part of the calculus of them making small, small bets and, I think, maybe a larger one at some point. I mean, I think that's the. That's the big question. Obviously, this RSS ingestion tool was one of the bets, but you know how far they go with that and what that means for companies like us and so on. I think is is the question. But, but ultimately, look, if you're a podcaster right now, getting your stuff up to YouTube is still a bit of a hassle, even though we we, we as a company have tried to make that really easy, I think. I think, as soon as that becomes much easier, the kind of you Bequitous nature of YouTube and YouTube links and sharing Give it a distinct advantage over over podcast apps For that kind of novice to medium User who doesn't want to, who doesn't really care as much to use a dedicated podcast app. That's my take on it, if that makes sense.

James Cridland:

There's some research out there which says that people find shows on YouTube, even if they then go and listen to them on their favorite podcast app, and I think there's something to be said for that as well.

Neil Mody:

You know the stat right 70% of the I think it's 70% of the videos consumed on YouTube or through the recommendation.

James Cridland:

Wow, yeah, it wouldn't surprise me mind bogg wouldn't surprise me.

Neil Mody:

70% right. So so I mean if, if podcasts could just get a slice of that, yeah, again they. They would be the biggest podcast consumption platform out there.

James Cridland:

That's quite a thing. That's quite a thing and and I'm glad that you mentioned that, because I was going to finally just ask you a little bit about Algorithms and YouTube's algorithm I was listening to bandrew scott's podcast a while back and he was talking very much about YouTube's algorithm not being very good for podcasts and basically saying you've. You know People will skip off. If you skip off a show 20 seconds in, then that's a bad signal for YouTube and, and YouTube will, you know, downmark you. And similarly, you know, we're told by other people that fake video or you know, just relatively static, static video is supposed to be bad. Bad for the algorithm, is that? Is that? Is that true, or is that just random guesses? Because I think it's all random.

Neil Mody:

Guess, isn't it the moment? I think we're all. We're all randomly guessing, but I think that there's some merit to if you haven't classified your stuff. I think you know my my take is if you haven't followed the steps of classifying the stuff into podcasts, like YouTube, has, you know, tried to specify? I do think that there's there's something to be said about that. I don't know for sure. I think this is all a lot of guesswork and I think, you know people make make a business out of being Pontificators on SEO and and and all this kind of stuff. Not to say that they're wrong, I just don't. I don't have any data saying one way or the other. I, I do. I do believe that they're trying to control the experience, mostly because the video add, you know it's, it's it's an ad supported medium. So video ads and and the advertisement that's that, depend on visual cues, depend on it, and so if, if they're promoting stuff that people don't Aren't looking at and just background tabbing, it's a different, if it, it's a different value proposition for YouTube. But I do think that they're going to slowly start solving for all that anyways, and that's part of, you know, being there for all podcasts.

James Cridland:

Yeah but yeah, I think you make a great point that actually the whole point of Google wanting you to categorize your podcast as a podcast is a big signal to the algorithm that this is going to be a different piece of content than you know, somebody falling off a, following off a clip or biting somebody's finger, I guess.

Neil Mody:

Or a cute cat video.

James Cridland:

Yep, yep, yes, yes. Which is a thing I Should ask you for this slightly rambly interview. I should ask you how do we, how do we find out more about Eddie and about headliner in general?

Neil Mody:

Yeah, sure, the easiest way is just to just jump on our website. So it's headliner app. So that's H-E-A-D-L-I-N-E-R. Headliner dot a pp, so headliner app, and you can find out about Eddie there. It's spelled Edd why Eddie? And? And our YouTube stuff is there as well. I mean, basically, as a company, we've always just tried to help People focus in on recording their audio and then we'll take the other side of it to try to get it out to as many people beyond, beyond the typical places, that you can. So, social YouTube, and now, with all this kind of stuff and Eddie, all the generative stuff which will help you get out, you know, and YouTube with with chapters and summaries and key notes and hopefully with this episode art that we've been talking about, start packaging your stuff for better consumption On the on all the platforms as well.

James Cridland:

Mm-hmm super cool. Well, thank you so much for your for your time, neil. I appreciate it.

Neil Mody:

Oh, I appreciate it. Thank you so much, james, and great to hear you're still using us. I know you're a tinkerer, so I had assumed you were using your own solution to post to YouTube, but it's great that you're using using us for it and I hope it's doing a good job for you.

James Cridland:

Neil Modi from Headliner and again thank him for allowing us to use his tool for this very podcast on the YouTube platform.

Sam Sethi:

Well, talking of D script, as you were at the beginning of that interview, a last couple of weeks you've been writing about them. Back in October you were talking about D script have added a set of AI actions Including chapter generation tools, summary generators and social post writers, and then again in November Recently, you talked more about what they've been doing and we said last week Wouldn't it be great to have somebody on from D script to tell us more about it? So I caught up with Christiana Cromer, who is the community manager there at D script, and she told us more about what AI tools they're using.

Christiana Cromer:

D scripts been in the AI game for a really long time. We first launched overdub, which was our voice cloning feature, way back in 2018, and ever since then we've added a AI stuff here there, sort of in our bones. But you know, gpt landed on the planet about a year ago with open AI and we kind of sat out for a second to focus on quality and stability stuff and then finally, just about six weeks ago, we said, alright, we're gonna belly up to this AI buffet, so to speak, and jump in headfirst. So that's what we've been doing. We started off by rebuilding overdub and now we have AI voices, so we rebuilt the whole engine. It's much faster now to get an AI voice and it sounds a lot more like you. It's a lot more realistic, which is awesome. And then we've been launching, for the last few weeks, things we're calling AI actions, which are basically quick AI workflow features built right into D script that just help with the grind. That can be creating Podcasts and videos. So that's what we've been up to. We've been dropping something just about every week for the last couple of months. It's been busy, but it's been really fun.

Sam Sethi:

So let's name a few of them. There's the summarizer, the podcast show notes, youtube description. There's a chapter generator, a script generator. Let's pick a few of those off. Let's start off with the summarizer. What's the summarizer?

Christiana Cromer:

Yeah, so summarizer is an AI action where you just ask AI to give you a summary of your content and it just gives you a. This is what you just said in that hour-long podcast. This is what happened, and what I like to do with that is, if I've recorded a long video message or a podcast, grabbing that summary and throwing it into an email or slacking it to my colleagues and telling them this is the TLDR. That's super helpful. I think you mentioned social postwriter next. That will scan your podcast or your video and give you some options for captions you can include for social media, and what's really great about that is you can reply back and give it feedback and say Can you change the tone a little bit? Because you make it shorter, which, as the person who writes descripts tweets, I've really been appreciating as well. So, yeah, those are two, and I know your audience's podcast there's. We also launched an AI action for podcast show notes. So I don't know if if you've ever had this experience, sam, but you spend all that time making a podcast and then you have to write the show notes. It can be the last thing you want to do.

Sam Sethi:

Oh, so much, so yeah it's like no, no, no, no more. I've done, I'm done, yet Right. You know, I edited it and I still have to do this next step.

Christiana Cromer:

So we wanted to help with that grind and so now I'm going to do a podcast that grind. And so now we have one click you ask AI for your podcast show notes and you get them, and we also have that for youtube descriptions as well. So again, these are. These are designed to just help with the grind, the more tedious parts of creating things like podcasts and videos, so that creators can focus on More fun stuff like making and creative decision making and things like that.

Sam Sethi:

With the social post. Writer. What are the integrations? X isue is tiktok included in there? What's included?

Christiana Cromer:

Yeah, so right now it doesn't connect out to any specific social platforms. We've been connected to youtube for a while in a publishing integration sense, but right now the way you do it is you click, copy and you would just paste it into Twitter x or Facebook or wherever. But yeah, a future request we've heard is connecting straight so I can just send that out to to Instagram or whatever it is, and I would be really excited about that. But yeah, right now it's just copy and paste.

Sam Sethi:

Cool, Cristiana. Let's talk about a couple of the other actions. One is the script generator. Tell me more about it.

Christiana Cromer:

Yes, absolutely. So. Now in Descript, you can just ask AI through an AI action and write me a script about, and you just tell them what you want it to be, what your podcast is about or what you want a video script for, and it will generate that for you. We also have script rewriters, so what I like to do is start recording into script and give it a good ramble and then script and just sort of talk off my head, and then our AI action script rewriters will clean that up for you. That is super helpful and then will give me something that I can actually rerecord, um, and make it sound a little bit more coherent, which is great.

Sam Sethi:

Can I? Can? I just say you could be redundant. So, cristiana, I could get script generator to do it or script rewriters, thing overdubbed, to take your voice, and I could then push it out as a podcast without you excellent, that's exactly right, yep. We are now gone.

Christiana Cromer:

Well, yeah, that I think brings up like our larger philosophy around AI. It's always so funny, like when we first got to look at these tools, um, when, because, as you said opening, I invested in us, so we got to check out gpt and our team at Descript is all podcasters and all video creators and everybody was like, uh, hello, like what's happening here. But what I love about the way we're approaching this at Descript is it's like we're on the side of the creators. We're figuring this all out together and we really believe that you're always going to need a human for the creative decision making, for the parts that make Content truly good and truly you. You'll need to be there. So, yeah, we're seeing those like faceless Accounts pop up. That's just robot stuff and if that's your thing, that's, that's great, it's not. You know, I'm speaking on my own personal opinions, not to script. It's not my favorite. But yeah, these are all like the script writers and all this AI stuff is just to make it so that creators get to focus on the parts of this that they actually like and that energize them, as opposed to kind of keeping them down and the stuff that's more tedious.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, so I I have been known to call AI assisted intelligence, and I think, if you use it as that term, I think it puts the tools in the place where they should be.

Christiana Cromer:

Totally creative sidekick, your junior assistant, there you go, I'm paid in turn.

Sam Sethi:

No, did I say that. Now we all know, and those again to remind people, descript was invested into by open AI I think it was 50 million dollars and so is this using all of the open AI, chat, gbt technology underlying it. Now.

Christiana Cromer:

It is yes. Yes, we're using open AI's tech here. It's a mix of gbt 3.5 and 4, and what's super fun is you can always ask AI what it's using and it'll tell you so yeah, so I bet there's a lot of people in uh dscript going Sam on and stay, stay.

Sam Sethi:

We've just upgraded, stay, don't go to Microsoft, stay with open AI. I could ask you to comment on that. I'm just observing that. Now. Now, moving on, you recently also bought squadcast and there's been, you know, first level integration. Is there any sign of deeper integration? So, do any of these AI tools work Integrated with squadcast yet? I mean, I know it's early days for this integration, but just again, is there some synergy beginning to appear?

Christiana Cromer:

totally so. These are all built into D script at the moment and with squadcast we're still working through the different phases. Right now squadcast and dscript are still separate, um and next year, you know, we're helping to make them all under one umbrella. So right now these are focused in the dscript app, but I'm sure in the future there will be crossover, for sure.

Sam Sethi:

But for now they're they're dscript based what I, what I like about dscript now is it's becoming the end-to-end podcasting platform. So you've got, you know, here, you've got script generator and you've got script rewriters, so what I call the five p's. So you know pre-production, so that's giving you that initial start. Then you've got the production process, which is squadcast, and you got post production, which is the script. You know the auditing and editing and now you've got what I call promotion. So now you've got your podcast show notes, you've got youtube descriptions, you've got chat. You know all of that starting. So it's really end-to-end. One of the things that dscript did quite well, probably two years ago even, was their integration with hosts. So, for example, pod news, we use bus sprout and there was one click publishing to bus sprout and one click publishing to many other hosts. Has that now with all of the Show notes and the chapters? Does that still transfer over into your podcast with one click publishing?

Christiana Cromer:

Yeah, great question. So for now, even with things like the script generator and those things, it would Eventually the assets that would eventually end up in something like bus sprout or a different hosting platform, it's still just that copy and paste. So I can definitely imagine a time in which it Kind of automagically gets brought over to your hosting platform. But right now you just get that output in dscript, copy and paste it and then throw that into your podcasting platform. But yeah, all those integrations totally still work, you can still get your stuff right in there, but you would just need to copy and paste that over.

Sam Sethi:

Cool. Now people have got ideas of what they want to add to the product. Where would they go? Because I do know you're very good at taking feedback.

Christiana Cromer:

Yes, we love feedback. We have a discord community we're with close to 20,000 creators in it, which is pretty awesome, and we have a channel in that discord dedicated to generative ai. It's generative ai wishlist, so folks can go in there and give us feedback on all of these things that we've launched. Um, and also feature requests, and we've gotten some really amazing ones. I love seeing what people come up with. So, yeah, definitely, that's just discordgg. Slash the script, anyone can join and we're all in there having fun.

Sam Sethi:

And you've got a lot of video tutorials as well, I think, haven't you?

Christiana Cromer:

Yep, video tutorials. We do a live event At least once a week. We also have office hours that are hosted in discord every week. So, yep, we love hanging out with our users and, yeah, those are always really fun.

Sam Sethi:

So if someone wants to go and try these script, where would they go?

Christiana Cromer:

Yeah, dscriptcom. Well, I think your first prompt is to sign up. You can give it a try for free. We've got a free trial. We have a free plan, always that you can use as well, and then different tiers from there. But yeah, just head to dscriptcom. We've got a web version of dscript now that's in beta, but definitely download the desktop app and give it a go.

Sam Sethi:

Brilliant Kristiana Kramer. Thank you so much. Thank you.

James Cridland:

Kristiana Kramer from dscript, and thank you to her and the rest of the dscript team for being the title sponsor of the podcast newsletter over the last month. So very good to see them there. Let's jump into events and awards. The podcast show in London in May next year. Speaker submissions are open for that. I've got some news on that. Mr Sethi, would you like to hear my news?

Sam Sethi:

You keep giving me news while we're live, as opposed to giving me news in advance.

James Cridland:

So I could even save it for the show.

Sam Sethi:

Go for it.

James Cridland:

You know this very show. We did a live version of this show on stage at the podcast show in London last year.

Speaker 2:

Live from the Amplify Theatre at the podcast show. This is the Pod News Weekly Review.

James Cridland:

They liked it so much. It is going to be in the programme for this year, so that is going to be excellent. We might do it again where the audience is the guest, because that was fun last time, but we'll see what happens, and it sounds as if I'm going to be speaking as well, kicking off one of the days too, so that should be a good thing, so perhaps I will see you there, you the listener.

Sam Sethi:

Sorry, I was going to say what. Thanks, James, I'm going to be doing the show solo.

James Cridland:

Yes, so that will be good. Thank you to Buzzsprout for helping us do that. For another year, I'm taking part in a free event, hooray for Podbean. It's called Revitalise your Podcast in the New Year with AI Podcasting Tools, which I'm going to be talking about a lot in 2024, which is going to be interesting. Anyway, it's free. It's on December 12th, if you want to take part. It's one of those virtual events and there's more information on the Podbean website and in Pod News too. And you are getting very excited about Ainsley Costello, are you not?

Sam Sethi:

I am in the sense that it's a great use case for the technology that I guess a lot of people have been working on for the last 12, 18 months and it all feels like it's coming together very nicely. So Ainsley is doing some live music events in December, on the 20th and the 21st. I just saw last night the promo trailer for it that they've given out. Later today I'm going to be interviewing both the bands for that as well, and RSS Blue Dovidas is putting together the feed and that interview will go in the trailer and then eventually, yes, people will be able to subscribe across multiple apps. So CurioCaster, found in Podcast, guru, podfans and Podverse. So, yeah, I'm very excited that we're all jumping on board and making this event happen.

James Cridland:

Yes, and in our show notes I noticed that there's a very entertaining looking table showing which features individual podcast apps are supporting and not supporting and working on and everything else. The only podcast app which has five green ticks right now is Podcast Guru, who support live audio, live video, live boosts and live wallet switching. Podfans and Podverse are there with four You're currently working on the live wallet switching, curiocaster there with four as well, and Fountain there with three because they don't do video. But yeah, I wonder whether this is a good event to essentially make sure that all of the apps are focused on turning all of these features on.

Sam Sethi:

I guess yeah, I think we will. I think all of us will be fully green lit by then. And good news, actually, we've got the CEO of Podcast Guru coming on in two weeks time to tell us more about what they've been up to as well, excellent.

James Cridland:

Well, there we are, and so I look forward to that. And there are more events, both paid for and free, at PodNews virtual events or events in a place with people, and if you're organising something, tell the world about it. It's free to be listed at podnewsnet slash events, the tech stuff On the PodNews Weekly Review. Yes, it's the stuff you'll find every Monday in the PodNews newsletter. Here's where we do all of the tech talk. Where are we starting first, Sam?

Sam Sethi:

Well, we're starting first with the fact that Google Podcast is closing down, but they've enabled OPML exports from it, so that's good, so you can get your stuff out. A bit of information there, but ACAST says it's coming soon. And then you reported that AntennaPod, pocketcast, podverse and Fountain among those that support OPML imports. If you want to import your content into one of those platforms, that's good news. In fact, antennapod has published a guide to how to migrate from Google Podcast, which you can find on PodNews daily as well, james.

James Cridland:

Yes, I haven't yet tested all of these apps with the peculiar version of OPML that Google Podcasts produces. My experience with OPML in the past has been that different apps have different ideas about how to deal with OPML. And, yes, I'm never quite sure whether or not it's actually going to work, but theoretically it should work with at least those four which support OPML imports. And if you want to get hold of your OPML, perhaps you are using Google Podcasts. Then you go to Google Takeout, which seems to me to be rather less user-friendly than it perhaps could be. Clearly, this is the first iteration. They've still got nine months or so, while Google Podcasts will be slowly dying, so I'm sure that they will put something else in place. But yeah, there's a way of getting your OPML there. For me it took three days because I have this advanced security protection on my account and so presumably some human being actually has to look. Is it all right if this person gets his OPML feed? What's an OPML feed? But that should be good. Podfans, do you support OPML in your wonderful app?

Sam Sethi:

No, you'll be glad to know, it's the one thing we don't support. So Adam can go hooray. One thing Podfans doesn't support. We support many other things, but no, we don't support that. It's not something that we really thought about. Importing and exporting we're pulling in RSS at the moment. I think we've pulled in 300,000 podcasts now, but no, we're not really looking at it. The other thing that I was surprised at in the list of apps that you listed, James, no YouTube.

James Cridland:

Not yet, but you can imagine that before Google Podcasts closes, you can imagine either there will be an OPML import or, probably more likely, a button that says import my favorite podcast into YouTube music. You would imagine that that's going to happen. I think what the difficulty that they have is that, of course, you could instantly import a set of RSS feeds into YouTube music, and if you've not tried it yet, rss2ytmnet will enable you to do exactly that Import the RSS feed of your favorite podcasts into YouTube music as a player. What you can't do is you can't spot that, for example, podsafe the UK is available on YouTube as a video podcast. There's no lookup yet between oh, here's an RSS feed for an audio podcast, but actually we're YouTube and we've got this as a video podcast. That lookup doesn't seem to exist yet. I can't use the YouTube search API because it's hideously expensive. I can't possibly use that. But wouldn't that be interesting if you were basically saying I would like to listen to PodSafe the UK in YouTube music and it goes? Oh well, actually you want the video version and it's over here. That would be quite a nice thing, but they're not clearly not actually doing that bit yet. But, as I say they've gone another nine months or so. They did say that probably quarter three of next year is when Google podcasts will finally shuffle off, so I think they've got time to get all of the pieces in place. I have to say, youtube music as a podcast app isn't too bad. It does a good job at variable speed, which is nice. I understand and this is a bit of an exclusive because I've not actually said anything in the newsletter yet but I understand that they are building a silent skip into their playback and they may be building a volume boost in there as well. So both of those are quite interesting and exciting to find out about. So I just get the feeling that it's being run now by somebody that totally understands podcasts and I get the feeling that it will be quite a good podcast player, rather better than Spotify is, for example.

Sam Sethi:

Well, I guess, I guess you know what, James. We've got a prediction show coming up soon. Maybe that'll be one of your predictions, who knows?

James Cridland:

Yes, we should probably have a look at them.

Sam Sethi:

Moving on, then, james, one of the other things that you found out is with your favorite app that you've just announced earlier Pocketcast there's a problem with its search. What's that?

James Cridland:

Yes, somebody spotted a problem with the search. If you have an apostrophe in your podcast title, eela's Choice is the podcast title that this particular person had a problem with, which seems to be a podcast. If you are farming eels, very strange. But anyway, eela's Choice For Pocketcasts. Particularly if it's got an apostrophe in the title, you need to type it in, otherwise Pocketcasts won't actually find that particular show. It's not the case in many sensible podcast apps, but it is the case in Pocketcasts and one of those things about having apostrophes and things like that I would suggest is just don't put apostrophes in. It's probably not the best plan?

Sam Sethi:

really no, it's not, but I'm glad to say you had me panicking so I did test it and we're okay. I'm sure the others apps are as well. It just seems a very odd thing, but yes, it was one of the. Oh my God, quickly, let's see if it works. Okay, move on Now. Talking about moving on, Captivate friend of the show, Mark Asquith, put out a post yesterday that they've added support for chapters in podcast episodes.

James Cridland:

Yes, they have. It's podcasting 2.0, jason Chapters. You had a quick peek at the One Minutes podcast tip, which is produced by Danny Brown, and he's put chapters into a one minute show.

Sam Sethi:

I know why. Would you do that? I don't know, james. No pressure, you've got a three minute show. You're slacking, james, that's all it is. Get some chapters in the daily.

James Cridland:

Also, he's got six chapters in and one minute podcast tip seems to last three and a half minutes.

Sam Sethi:

Where's he going there? Well, there you go. All is revealed now, danny. It's no longer a one minute thing, it's a three minute thing. He's competing with you, James.

James Cridland:

Yeah, who knows what's going on there. Blueberry has launched premium podcasting, which is a paid for subscription service for your listeners. Very clever what they've done is they have integrated Apple podcasts paid subscriptions so they're uploading automatically to that system as well as giving you a secure RSS feed for paid listeners on Blueberry as well. So one place to advertise. You can get your Apple podcast listeners paying through Apple and everybody else paying through Blueberry. That's a really good implementation of a paid for subscription service. That's a really neat idea. So congratulations to him for that. Transistor has also just announced that they are supporting Apple podcast paid subscriptions. Captivate will be announcing it early next week. I'm probably not breaking any particular rules there, because it's already been announced that they're just that a number of these companies are all are all coming on over the next couple of weeks or so, so I'm sure that we will see more announcements, but I think Blueberry's idea of integrating it with their own paid for subscription service is a really neat way of doing it. So, yeah, I thought that was nice. Wonder what, todd?

Sam Sethi:

was up to last couple of weeks. Now we know Ah.

James Cridland:

I've been working. I've been building my owncom Don't leave me pod-poccering so that's how it. That's your idea. Talking about paid for subscriptions, the BBC has launched their BBC podcasts premium, which is their paid Apple subscription service. They've launched it across the world. It started in the US and Canada in 2021, australia earlier on this year, but now it's available everywhere apart from Russia and the UK, because, of course, you already pay for it all, so you get a nicer experience within BBC sounds, so you're not going to pay twice. But, yeah, so nice to see that, and that was already one of the top 10 most successful paid for Apple subscription channels in the US.

Sam Sethi:

I noticed that red circle there, hostred ad platform RAP has grown 100% year on year according to their Q3 results. That's pretty handy, isn't it.

James Cridland:

It is. Yeah, they seem to be doing very nicely. They've announced new tools and things like that, so red circle seems to be going on pretty well as a podcast host that really understands how to monetize. Podpage has launched a podcast name generator, which is pretty good. It comes up with some really nice names, so it's worthwhile giving that. Go pod pagecom. Come on.

Sam Sethi:

Come on. No, you can't move on that quickly. We had them on last week and you wrote we quite like some of the ones it gave us.

James Cridland:

And in the podcast version I said we quite like some of the versions it gave us. In fact, I'm not going to tell you what they are, just in case. Yes, so yeah, no, it's a good tool. One enhancement that I did give Brendan as an idea was once it had come up with a list of names it comes up with 10, go and take a look on Apple podcasts to find out how many podcasts already exist with those names, which would be a fun thing to do, and he said that's brilliant idea. I'll do that next week, so it'll get even better.

Sam Sethi:

So yeah, so you're not going to tell us. This is basically what you're saying. No. No, okay, moving on then, a little throwaway quip from Adam. In last week's podcasting boardroom meeting, he mentioned that Podverse sends 10x the amount of value than the next four leading value for value apps, and then he proceeded to put the table showing that onto, mastered On for the period of October the 27th to November the 27th, which was quite interesting.

James Cridland:

One of the things I did notice, though, is that, firstly, adam is currently when he's listening. He is streaming us three Australian dollars worth of sats no, three US dollars worth of sats every minute. So, after he's listened for over an hour, we've had quite substantial amounts of money from Adam, which is an amazing thing, incredibly generous, and it does remind me that one of the things it's easy to do if you're running a value for value show is to just look at the booster grams and go, oh, that's a lovely boost. Thank you so much for the 10,000 sats, but what you actually should be doing as well is taking a look at the amount of streams that you're getting as well, because crikey, adam's streaming sats per minute are massive. So thank you so much for Adam for that. And there's a new app. Isn't there coming in terms of lightning and all of that kind of thing?

Sam Sethi:

Well, sorry, it's not quite an app. It's the Strike app, which is a payment wallet that has added a pay to lightning address, and they put out the announcement yesterday. This is great news. So they're saying that basically, you have the ability to send money to other lightning addresses, and you know that was that was nice. So Chad Farrow sent some money over to the podcast index using his Stripe account just to test it. It's rolling out globally. It's not in Europe yet. Everyone's moaning in the comments when is it going to be here in Italy, germany, uk? So still not available in Europe. But what is nice I think this could be very interesting is you can have your fiat currency and your lightning or Bitcoin payments in the same wallet and you can then transfer between the two. You can even pay using fiat currency over the lightning network to lightning addresses, which I thought was very interesting. So maybe I just want to pay you a couple of quid and I can do that using the lightning network, as opposed to having to convert it into sats before I send it over the network.

James Cridland:

Yeah, it's certainly interesting. The nice thing about Stripe is that it is actually available in Australia. Not very many things are of this sort of type, but it is actually available in Australia and, yeah, it seems to have. It seems to have both a cash balance and a Bitcoin balance in there, and you can set it for sats, if you want, or set it for Bitcoin if you want, etc. Etc. So there's some quite nice things in here and it seems to conform with all of the rules in terms of identity of you know, you can sign up for free, you can use it for a little bit, but it does require you to then take photographs of yourself and photographs of your driving license and all that kind of stuff so that you can use it fully. But it does look like quite a nice thing. Do you think it's going to significantly change the world of Bitcoin and streaming sats?

Sam Sethi:

and all that. I don't know if it will all significantly change. I think it's going back to that problem that we seem to haven't overcome yet. So we use the LBAPI and, of course, when we want to convert to Fiat and back to sats or vice versa, we have to go to MoonPay and there's that whole jump and setting up another account. Well, this one is an all in one account and it has an API. So again, I think there could be some benefits to that integrated solution, rather than having two solutions, which is what we currently have now between Albie and MoonPay.

James Cridland:

So do you think that Strike might allow you to, if you wanted to just put $10 in and then connect to using Lightning and it would automatically convert that and send it out?

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, that's the bit that really got me excited was this ability to pay Fiat currency over the Lightning network to Lightning addresses, so you could have somebody say look, I don't want to play with Bitcoin and sats and all of that stuff, I'm just going to put some Fiat currency into my account, but I will pay you whatever the Lightning address requirement is, and that means it can do a micropayment out of a Fiat currency, which I think, if that's true and we will test it, then that's very, very interesting.

James Cridland:

Yeah, well, that should be nice. Anyway, if you want to give it a go, my username on Strike is JamesCridland, simple as that, and so, theoretically, I guess I can maybe put some money in there or something, once I've given the Australian government my ID. Again again, again. We'll give that a go, but, yes, worthwhile. Having a look at. Twitter is bringing video to spaces. Oh, nothing's going to go wrong there, so that's all going to be good. Excellent, I get to see random people's genitals Just what we all need.

Sam Sethi:

You need a good filter, James. That's all I'll say.

James Cridland:

Yes, there's a thing. Daniel J Lewis, friend of the show, has posted a new feature on Podgagement, which is his new network, and he's calling it networking. What's this thing that he's done?

Sam Sethi:

So he's updated his previous product, which was a reviews product. It's now called, as you said, podgagement. It's coming out this week. It's basically looking at pod roles being able to see who's using your pod role, in what app sorry, who's using your pod role and then what other pod roles have your app in it as well. So a way of looking at various different ways of seeing who's recommending you and whether you're being put in one list or another. So again, I haven't played enough with it. I have asked Daniel and he said he will be on the show, so I don't know it could be next week or the week after to tell us more. But I thought it was also interesting because Dave Jones put out a I don't know if you picked up on this, james in the last week's podcast. In 2.0 show he's put out a recommendations Jason file, which is basically a list of all the pod roles that are out there that you can ingest through Jason if you want. But it's leading to a messaging, no, not leading to a chart. I think eventually, from the podcast index of you know whether your podcast has been included in someone else's pod role and then how many times you've been included other pod roles, for example. So yeah, so I don't know if that's the same thing as what Daniel's doing, but yeah, in the next couple of weeks I guess we'll get some clarity.

James Cridland:

Well, very nice, and it's just launched. Podgagementcom is the website address. Your final thing is that you have been sent a piece of spam on through your Albi wallet, which you're very upset about, aren't you?

Sam Sethi:

Well, I'm upset on a couple of things. One, when I look at Saturn or I look at the Albi dashboard, one of my feature requests has been we now need filters. So a year ago the amount of traffic going through that was very light in terms of the amount of sats being paid, so it was easy to look through stuff. So when we want to find booster grounds or we want to go and find who's made what payment, or even, as you said earlier, James, you know Adam's been streaming this show at you know $3. And so you might want to go and see oh, actually, in total, how much did Adam stream for this show? Is there a way of doing that in the dashboard? No, Is there a way of filtering out spam? Because I'm now starting to get, from a company called Satogram, one sat payments to my dashboard as spam. I mean I won't read out the ones that they did send, which had a lot of swear words, in which I did get some. Somebody, quite rightly, has renamed it Sato spam and I think you know again, Albi, I need a filter that says anything that's got one sat, just let me hide it. But I haven't got any of those tools. So, yes, I'm a little bit peeved that people are now starting to spam my dashboard Excellent.

James Cridland:

Well, I'm perfectly happy to get spam because that means money, so feel free to send me spam, james.

Christiana Cromer:

at critland is my Albi address. Can I forward this for you?

James Cridland:

Yeah, that's all good, but, yes, I do see that I think you know more UX improvements in terms of, you know, the helipad and Albi's Saturn and various other things will be clearly a good thing in the future. Yes, Boostergram corner corner on the pod news weekly review. Now it's our favorite time of the week. It's boostergram corner. We've only got one boost this week, by the looks of things.

Sam Sethi:

Well, no, james, james, we might have hundreds right. We don't know.

James Cridland:

I am not going through 75 pages of spam to find a booster grab Because, guess what, the dashboard doesn't allow me to filter here we go, here we go, well, yes, well, the only one that we've got, which is a row of ducks, which is always nice to have a row of ducks. Who's that?

Sam Sethi:

one from Il-Jean I am just totally ruined that name. But thank you for updating us on what's happening in the industry and for the concept of the unwritten contract between podcasters and podcas platforms. It does honor all the hard work and love that goes into making a good podcast. Yes, maybe you should forward that to audio, james, and maybe they should have a look at it.

James Cridland:

Maybe, maybe Also LN Retrover, fn sent a boost of 120 sats to the pod news daily with just a thumbs up, which is good, and if you scroll all the way down then you see the ones that we read out last week from Gene Bean. Gene Bean, of course, friend of the show and very into his home assistant, will be delighted to know that I bought a home assistant server last week and I spent a little bit of today setting it up. So look what you've got me into.

Sam Sethi:

Your wife's going to love you. Why is the lights gone out, James? I don't know yet.

James Cridland:

Well, the question is whether or not they notice. So what's happened for you this week, Sam?

Sam Sethi:

So Adam and Dave talked about the PSP and buying that top level domain. Remember, James, we talked about it about a year ago. Oh yes, Dotpodcast. Yes, yes, that's a good idea, it's a great idea and I do think actually the PSP group, with the incumbents who are making that up, could actually buy it. I think it was about $100,000 to buy the TLD, the top level TLD but it would give a greater amount of control over verification and all sorts of other things in the domain control that they would have. So, yeah, again, I was just I was going. I wonder where they got that idea from. I do remember we did that one. The other one is I went to the launch this week of podcast discovery, which is a brand new podcast marketing agency founded by friends of the show, matt Deegan and Matt Hill. Very well done. They did a lovely launch event. They had the guys from my dad wrote a porno, came out with their new well, they previewed their new podcast that they're going to be bringing out, and so that was quite nice. And, yeah, there was some lovely faces of people that we know there. So, yes, a very wonderful evening. Thanks, matt and Matt.

James Cridland:

Yes, yes, thank you for the invite, matt.

Sam Sethi:

I'm sure you're on the list somehow.

James Cridland:

I mean, I am the other side of the world. I think it's probably absolutely fair that they didn't bother inviting me Given where they put the event on.

Sam Sethi:

it felt like the other side of the world that I had to get to it. It took hours. It was in the middle of the city, but it was on the edge of the city, oh yes, ec3, ec3.

James Cridland:

Nobody wants to go to EC3. No no, nobody bothers. On a Friday, I notice the city is completely empty, so who knows what's going on there. Now, james, what happened for you this week? Well, yes, apart from buying it. So I bought a mosquito killer from a Facebook ad because I thought, oh, that looks like the sort of thing. I could do with. So I bought that. But yes, it's just been a week of staying at home. It's either been pelting it down with rain or incredibly hot. So it's a good Brisbane summer and it's not even summer yet, so who knows how much of this country is going to burn. But still, there we are and still playing around with a few interesting ideas and things. It was great to reuse some of my code, finally for the Apple Podcast's top lists of the year. So wonderful to be able to just grab the code that I wrote last year, change a couple of things in it and then bang, that's that article done for this year. So I was very, very pleased with that. So more of companies announcing the same sort of thing that they did last year, please. It's always a good plan. And that's it for this week.

Sam Sethi:

You can give feedback to James and me by sending us a boost to Graham. If your podcast app doesn't support Boost, what are you waiting for Then? Grab a new app from podnewsnet forward slash a new podcast apps.

James Cridland:

Yes, our music is from Studio Dragonfly. Our voiceover is Sheila Dee. We use clean feed for our main audio and we're hosted and sponsored by Buzzsprout Podcast hosting made easy. Get updated every day. Subscribe to our newsletter at podnewsnet. Tell your friends and grow the show and support us and support us the. Podnews Weekly Review will return next week. Keep listening.

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