Podnews Weekly Review

Interview with Kevin Smith of Snipd; and seemingly a bad news special?

January 12, 2024 James Cridland and Sam Sethi Season 2 Episode 56
Podnews Weekly Review
Interview with Kevin Smith of Snipd; and seemingly a bad news special?
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Step into the future of podcasting with us as we unwrap the latest industry shifts and ponder whether tracking total listening hours trumps download counts. We're joined by Kevin Smith, CEO and co-founder of Snipd, for an exclusive look at his AI-driven app that's changing the way we listen to podcasts. 

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James Cridland:

It's Friday, the 12th of January 2024.

Speaker 2:

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

James Cridland:

Yes, I'm James Cridland, the editor of Pod News, and Happy New Year to you.

Sam Sethi:

And I'm Sam Sethi, the CEO of Truefans, and it's a Happy New Year to you as well.

James Cridland:

In the chapters.

Kevin Smith:

today, the IAB seems to be losing its certified podcast companies, plus stats bankruptcies and closures, and Hi, I'm Kevin Smith, ceo and co-founder of Snept, and I will be on later to talk about Snept, the AI-powered podcast app to help you highlight and take notes from podcasts.

James Cridland:

He will. This podcast is sponsored by Buzzsprout. Last week, 2,164 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:

Now, james, it's 2024. And last week we did a show about predictions. Again, I thought it was quite a nice little intro to 2024 myself. Well, some of our predictions were, you know, mine were James, Joe Rogan. He's joining YouTube. Micro payments go mainstream. The remote item, which I call the hyperlink of podcasting, is going to be really important. I'm predicting a new tag and I think ACAST is going to buy one of the podcasting 2.0 apps. So lots and lots of good predictions. If you want to hear more of my predictions and James's, which we're going to go through in a minute, then I suggest everyone listens to last week's show. But we're not the only ones making predictions, james, are we?

James Cridland:

No, there's been a bunch of other people making predictions. Connell Byrne, who's CEO of iHeart Podcasts, say they're going to be using AI for translation and voices for its podcasts this year. They see big growth in foreign language markets, as well as the black and Latino communities, which is interesting.

Sam Sethi:

One of the things he does say, though, is he thinks that daily podcasting habits are on the rise. I hope so, and yeah, and I think we'll see more and more daily shows. To that extent, arcane Audio is already hiring for a daily new podcast. Who are Arcane Audio? James? I haven't come across this one.

James Cridland:

Oh, I think yes, I couldn't work out whether it's pronounced Arcana or Arcana, but in any case, it's a podcast production company who's making a bunch of new things. So, yeah, so nice to see them doing that, and I think it does tie in with some data that came out of Listen Notes, who you know. The big headline is a five-year low for new podcasts in 2023. But actually the number of new episodes increased quite nicely by 5.5% year-on-year for last year. So I think he's absolutely right. I think those podcasts that only come out every month or every couple of weeks are on the wane and we are seeing many more daily podcasts. So I think that Connell is correct, as, of course, he always is. He always is correct. Do you remember? We got this lovely email from a very important man at iHeart who said how much he enjoyed one of our predictions shows? So I feel that we have to be awfully nice about iHeart as we go on Number one for podcasting, as we call it. What also other people are saying is lots of growth of live and video podcasting and AI tools as well.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, so I mean that seems to be the general trend for 2024. Riverside also has put out a trend and predictions. No surprise, james. They said video podcasting is here to stay.

James Cridland:

What the remote video recording system says the video podcasts are on the way. Oh, there you go. Who'd have thought it Exactly?

Sam Sethi:

But they are hiring for a VP of R&D, which I mean again, that's a pretty important role.

James Cridland:

I would have thought, yeah, it's a very important role and I hope that everybody at Riverside are safe and well. Podritten has also published its six podcast trends. They're talking about video podcasts and I think it's interesting a number that came out of Tubefilter the other day that Spotify now has more than 100,000 video podcasts on its platform. They said that video is more popular in the evenings. Audio is used more during the day. I think one of the things around Spotify that I have noticed is that they are beginning to promote the fact that video is exclusive on the Spotify platform, so you can listen to podcasts anywhere, but some of their new podcasts specifically are being made in video and you can only watch the video on the Spotify platform, and I think that's quite an interesting new strategy from that company. Yeah, I'm not sure how to make it.

Sam Sethi:

I mean, why would they do that? I mean, again, they've tried exclusive. They've realised they don't work, they're going to try exclusive videos. Ok, let's see what happens Now. The other company that's big on video is YouTube James. They've opened up the UK page as well, but again, but it's rubbish. Youtubecom slash podcasts.

James Cridland:

Yes, it's rolling out to more and more countries, but I'm not quite sure what is actually rolling out, because it just looks like a very bad algorithm that isn't even taking many of the popular UK shows in there. When I took a look at it, there was only one show from the UK in there Diary of a CEO. You've got very popular UK shows like Pod Save the UK or the Rest is Politics. They're available in video as well. So you know, clearly there's a bunch of really good content out there, not just reformatted audio. So I'm really surprised that YouTube is doing just such a poor job of their YouTubecom slash podcasts homepage and it does really. From my point of view, I think that there's two things going on at YouTube YouTube music, where they're really leaning into podcasting. You know, audio listening podcasts of the world, audio listening podcasts available through RSS in there as well as on the YouTube platform. And then you've got the YouTube video platform which, frankly, I'm not sure is very interested in podcasts at all and is doing a pretty poor job at giving them a push. So perhaps it's just a YouTube music thing rather than a YouTube thing, but whatever it is, it's a really bad experience, I think.

Sam Sethi:

I think they've been slow to roll out stuff. So I wonder if it's just a case of somebody hasn't turned the other button or cranked another lever, because, you know, a year ago or maybe more, when we said you know where's the RSS support and why aren't they talking to the press, and nothing came back. And then eventually they sort of, oh yeah, we'll get there. And then they sort of sped up a bit. I don't know. I think I guess 24 will tell.

James Cridland:

You know whether they're going to be a success or not, but yeah, I mean, it's not particularly, you know, difficult to have a look at the Edison Podcast Matrix, uk data. New figures came out this week showing Diary of a CEO at number two, joe Rogan. There's no clips from Joe Rogan on that podcast's page. I mean, why not? Why would you not do that? Girl Hanger Podcasts the rest is politics is at number five. That's fully available on YouTube, as is the news agents from Global and various other things. Why are they not putting those on the YouTube podcast's homepage? It just seems really short-sighted to me, hmm.

Sam Sethi:

Well, now let's see what happens with YouTube. But, james, I made a couple of predictions. Obviously, you made some predictions in the last show. What were you saying?

James Cridland:

Yes. Well, I made a bunch of different predictions which you can go and take a listen to. I mean, obviously, Apple Podcasts launching on more platforms in 2024. That's my slightly changed prediction, so hopefully I won't lose again. But one of the things that I predicted is that the IB will be less important to podcasting in the year to come, and I ended up saying that I wonder whether or not the IAB's time is numbered in terms of podcasting. And funny, I should have said that because all of a sudden, things are changing, aren't they?

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I mean most predictions, you know, get a little bit of time before they get warmed up and then eventually they get implemented. Yours seems to have happened like day one, January one, it says here up to 10 companies may lose IAB measurement certification. That's easy for you to say. Put those things back in.

James Cridland:

Yes, 10 podcast companies are still not certified for the latest version of the IAB's podcast measurement guidelines, that's version 2.1, in spite of being asked to do so by the end of 2022. That's not 2023. That's the end of 2022. Butsprout, our sponsor, is one of those. Alongside them, adswiz, anker, captivate, charitable, libsyn, megaphone, podbean, podtrak and Simplecast. They're only compliant to version 2.0 and the IAB tech lab have been very clear in saying that they will lose current status. You can't continue being compliant to an old standard. So at some point, the IAB, might, you know, put its teeth in and work out. Well, we're going to ask these companies to stop mention that they're IAB compliant because they're not IAB compliant to the latest guidelines, version 2.1, which, by the way, are also quite old. So you know, there is that too, I guess. So I think you've got, firstly, 10 podcast companies that simply haven't bothered to recertify for over two years, but then you've also got the fact that actually, out of 28 compliant companies, only six have bothered to recertify in the last 12 months, and the IAB does now require you to recertify annually. So only 20% of the compliant companies are actually compliant with the IAB's requirements right now Only 20%. So I don't know. I think that there's something going on there. I mean, I had a chat with somebody at the IAB at the end of last year and he was very much saying you know, we're not being mean to the industry. You know, we're just trying to make sure that the compliance is, you know, correct and that's absolutely fair. But if all of these companies don't want to spend the whatever it was $35,000 on recertification, I think that that's definitely something there. We should, for balance, mention what the IAB spokesperson told us when I spoke to him last month.

Speaker 5:

He said, we do have several companies in process of recertification and we do expect them to be completed by the end of the year. We will offer a little flexibility to these companies if they are not entirely complete by the end of December, so they won't lose certified status.

James Cridland:

That voice by AI. So yeah, you know, you can see, yes, a little bit of flexibility, but 13 months flexibility. I don't know how do you see this.

Sam Sethi:

Sam Does that's Well. When I first read that, I said 10 companies see no value in the IAB certification. That's what went through my head. And then the other one was we'll give you a little bit more time. Please, please, please recertify, because if you don't, we have no idea what to do.

James Cridland:

Please, please, please, spend another $35,000 with us or whatever it is. It's not quite that much, I don't think, but you know what I mean. I mean I read it that 80% of companies don't see the value in it and I think, from my point of view, it was really helpful to get those IAB guidelines, because it was the Wild West and people were calling it, downloaded different things. So it's really helpful that we've got these guidelines now, which everybody strives to be compliant with, either certified or just telling us that they are compliant. But I think it's priced wrongly, I think it's being run by the wrong people and I think, most importantly, the wrong people are paying here. You know, podcast hosting companies like Buzzsprout don't sell advertising. So if you were to look at this from the other side of a different media company, it's like a transmitter company certifying for radio statistics or a news agent certifying for newspaper sales. It doesn't work that way. It's the companies who are selling the advertising should be getting the certification. And I think actually this is all relatively pointless, because if you're buying ads with dynamic ad insertion, as a lot of people are, then the advertisers know exactly how many of those ads that they've actually served, because that's how dynamic ad insertions work. So the ad insertion systems deal directly with the download. So, whatever Buzzsprout or Libsyn or whoever your podcast hosting company is, it's kind of irrelevant as to whether or not they're actually, you know, properly officially certified. So I don't really get why the wrong people are actually paying. But I do think, you know, if the podcast standards project was to step up and go, we will look after all of this for the industry, you will pay $500 for the right to, you know, have a badge to prove that you are, you know, compliant. I think that that would be a much more sensible system than you know, the thousands of dollars of fees that the IAB is charging, which is, you know, well over the top. So, yeah, that's. I think the podcast standards project should probably step up. Whether or not they will, who knows.

Sam Sethi:

Was that one of our predictions for 2024 as well? No, Now one company did manage to cross the line. That was Soundstack. They achieved a version 2.1 certification on December 31. Well done to whoever was doing that paperwork.

James Cridland:

Yes, indeed. Well, there's a piece of paperwork that says December 31 on it, which is the actual compliance document, and then the IAB's website says December 28, because, you know, soundstack used to be called Empire Streaming. So they are just re-certifying for version 2.1, but it's good to see them jumping in on there.

Sam Sethi:

Now, apart from the death, now maybe, of the IAB, a couple of other companies, james Soutley, seem to be going the wrong way or into, let's say, bankruptcy. Who are they?

James Cridland:

Yes, well, firstly, odyssey, who are owners of Cadence 13, Pineapple Street Studios. They have filed for bankruptcy the company. Weirdly, the company announced the fact that they were filing for bankruptcy with a big picture of a thumbs up on their corporate website. What, what's going on there? They've got debts of $1.9 billion which they're hoping to significantly reduce. Of course, the company used to be called Entercom. It acquired CBS Radio in 2017, which was a big deal, but obviously a big deal which basically sent them bust. But the company says that it won't have any operational impact. So I don't fully understand how companies go bankrupt in the US. Ah, it seems like basically a nice way of turning around and saying we're not going to pay anything that we owe you.

Sam Sethi:

bye, but I may be entirely wrong on that. I think it's called Chapter 13, and fundamentally, in America going bankrupt isn't the same as going bankrupt anywhere else in the world, where it's a stain and you may actually be banned from being a director of another company etc. And you may get the various HMRC people coming after you. So yeah, actually just saying I'm just going to wipe my hands of any debts and walk away isn't quite the same as it may be in the US.

James Cridland:

Yes, and I think it was interesting to also see that Voxelize, which is a podcast analytics company, have announced that they are filing for insolvency and I thought, oh, is that the same as bankruptcy? But it turns out that it's not. I can't remember what the difference is, but it's not. So on Christmas Day, actually, we covered news of the fact that it is discontinuing its analytics service, but it's now basically closing the entire company. I have to be careful. They say that they are restructuring, they say that they may well be back, but what they're also saying and this is important if you're using the Voxelize prefix, which you may be is that you have to get rid of that Voxelize prefix before the end of January. If you don't do that, then your podcast will break. It really is as simple as that. You want to be checking for your emails. It says remove your Voxelize tracking prefix in the subject and that will tell you exactly what you have to do. But you have to do that before the end of January, otherwise it'll break your podcast. So if you're using Voxelize, there's a thing. So two companies going bust. One company up for sale SoundCloud, who made 10% of their workforce redundant last year, and now they are working for a sale, which might happen in the middle of this year, worth up to $1 billion, because that's how capitalism works. Who's buying that? Who's buying them? Yeah, well, they're a German company, as well as are Voxelize, and yeah, I mean, who knows what the thinking there is? I don't think SoundCloud has ever made a profit I could be wrong on that, but I don't think that they have and they're sort of like Spotify, but worse in terms of the hock that they're in to the record companies. So, yes, so the SoundCloud, which, of course, some people host podcasts on. Don't do that. And then, finally, the Castro podcast app. Yes, yes, we covered, didn't we? In November, we reported that it was to close. Yes, we did. And the company stood up and said, no, it's not. No, it's not. I mean, I know that we've been down for five days, but no, it's not, it's not at all. Anyway, it's just been down for another three days. It was an issue with DNS, because it's always DNS, isn't it? If in doubt. But, yes, I think their DNS provider managed to delete all of their information, but the folks at Castro spent three days fixing it. And while they spent three days fixing it, they didn't tell anybody that they had any problems, and so they had lots of users going. Well, why isn't Castro working anymore? And it's all a little bit of a mess. They have published the fact that they are looking for new owners. We have asked for comment, but of course they're not talking to anybody, are they? So RAP Castro? I think if I were you, I would find another podcast app if you're still using Castro, but I would doubt that. Very, very many people are Wow, so we're cheery, aren't we 2024.

Sam Sethi:

I know.

James Cridland:

RAB is going down the pan and all these companies. This has been. My year so far has been, oh God, I need some positive news to lead on. Franz Beckerbell Hence why? Yeah, I mean hence why, earlier on this week I led on that slightly spurious news that NPR news podcasts are more brand safe than other news podcasts. I mean, you know, that was partially because I knew where to get a nice picture of NPR, but also partially because that was the only really positive news in that, in that, you know, addition, and I thought, and I just thought, I just don't want more negative news but still. But there we are, let's talk positive news?

Sam Sethi:

Well, I think it's the one you talked about earlier listen notes stating that a five year low for new podcasts in 2023, just 213,000 podcasts now. And, as you said earlier, james, you know. But the good news was, the silver lining is the number of new episodes has increased by 5.5%. So again, just remind me what are you thinking here? Is it a case of less podcasts, but everyone's who's got a podcast is just putting out more content?

James Cridland:

Yeah, well, I think I think there are a few things. I think, firstly, little notes aren't actually measuring new podcasts. They're measuring new podcast RSS feeds, and that is a different thing to measure. Quite a few people are now using old podcast feeds that they had to put new podcasts into. You might remember that there was a Kara Swisher podcast last year that closed down from the New York Times and then the New York Times replaced it with a tech news podcast or something a few months later. So that would not have appeared in these stats because it's not a new podcast RSS feed. So I'm not sure that it's necessarily measuring new shows, but I think what we are seeing is that those shows that are out there are recording and releasing more, and that might be just due to the fact that you earn more money if you release shows more often. If you earn in terms of advertising, that might be the plan, but I don't think it's necessarily quite as bad as it looks.

Sam Sethi:

Okay, well, that's good news. Now Podtrak themselves also published its rankers for December 2023. Oh, dear James, here we go again. Global downloads for the month were down 19% month on month and 24% year on year. Come on, james, oh, good one here. Yeah, and they blame Apple. Come on, james, explain this one.

James Cridland:

Yeah, it's all Apple podcasts fault. Remember when Apple podcasts used to have a PR person of their own?

Sam Sethi:

They not still got one?

James Cridland:

anymore. That seems to have disappeared as well. Yes, so the company is blaming Apple podcast changes. Now, the 19% month on month who cares? It's December, everybody's on holiday. The thing that is the important number, though, is that 24% down year on year. That's the worry, because it was December last year as well, you know, and we were all on holiday last year. Why have global downloads gone down by a quarter and Apple podcast changes are not? No one is saying that Apple podcasts is pulling people down by 24%. Quite. A lot of people are saying it's gone down by about seven to eight percent for most shows. So I think that there is a wider problem. As I've said in this show in the past, I think there's a wider problem with podcast downloads and the fact that there are fewer podcast downloads out there. Spotify is down. Other platforms are down as well. So I think the 24% number I would be concerned about. The ranker only lists participating publishers only, and I think it's worthwhile just mentioning that. Of course, quite a few of those are going to be daily shows, and daily shows were particularly affected by the Apple podcast changes, so perhaps that might be something about it, and these rankers are normally US focused. They're certainly US focused in terms of the publishers, even if this is a global downloads number. So the iPhone very popular in the US and again, that may have something to do with it. But yeah, I think it's a bit of a concern there.

Sam Sethi:

Okay, look, let's try and make things better. Podpros has published an actively established podcast report for January 2023. Alex Sanfilippino tells Pod News that the data says that starting a podcast in November is a bad time. That seems to be very sensible, alex, but he does then go on to say the data also says that there are 310,000 fewer active podcasts. So why what again, james, tell me more about this one.

James Cridland:

Yeah. So I mean the first thing very makes an awful lot of sense. Starting a podcast during November for the first time, starting a podcast during November for the first time, that doesn't make any sense, does it? Starting a podcast during November drastically decreases your chances of success, he said, because you only have 8 weeks to get that rhythm going, to understand what it is that you're actually doing, and then everybody's on holiday and their routines are ruined and so, therefore, it's a really bad year, so a really bad time to launch a show. So don't do that, and I think that that's actually. I've never seen anybody saying that, but it makes so much perfect sense, so that was a good that. That was a good thing. However, he also says that 310,000 fewer active podcasts than the were in 2020, but we know, of course, that the, that the pandemic, had a big effect on the podcasts. The reason why I would also like to mention Podmatch is that that's also Alex's company, and what Podmatch has been doing is it has been paying out money to podcasters, ended up paying 185,000 dollars to podcasters last year. It's a way of sharing guest fees and things like that. The company has now achieved more than a quarter of a million dollars overall shared to podcasters. That's a really good thing from Alex, and the Pod Pros and Podmatch set of companies seem to be doing incredibly well, so I think that Alex is doing good things there, and it's nice to see a large amount of money being shared in the industry and also talking about a large amount of money. Advertiskast released their average cost per thousand for podcast ads $22.58 for the year, which is a 6% drop, which I don't think is too bad. Nor do they they call it a relatively small decrease, which demonstrates the resiliency of the podcast advertising ecosystem, because of course they would, wouldn't they? I think, though, the more interesting thing is that December's average would actually up month on month, $22.91, so podcast advertising seems to be going the right way. Of course, there are many more podcasts out there, so perhaps these numbers are being spread thinner and thinner, but yeah, I thought that that was nice numbers in total.

Sam Sethi:

Few okay. So overall it's not a great start to 24, but hey, it can only get better. That's the thing. Okay now, I was listening to a show over Christmas. The rest is entertainment which I don't know. I was just getting a sort of board so I was looking at other things, oh, yes. I've not listened to that one yet. Yeah, it's quite a good show. I mean, I think I was listening to it because they were doing a review of a show I was watching and I thought, oh, come on, let's go and see what they had to say. But what they did actually have was a very interesting analysis of Netflix. Now, why would I talk about Netflix on a podcasting show? Well, what was interesting was they were producing statistics, or Netflix has produced statistics that measures in individual hours watched and that's how they're doing their metrics. Now they're not doing it on number of eyeballs or I don't know how Rajah does it, but Netflix measures in individual hours. And I thought, hang on a minute, when we go back to the IAB and when you and I have talked in the past, we talk about listen time and percent completed and value paid as probably better metrics, and download. It looks like Netflix is also switching over to this idea of individual hours. They don't show the percent completed, but of course, they will have that stat internally and they don't show the value paid because, again, they all know how many subscribers. But again, it's interesting to see that Netflix has already switched over to this metric of individual hours. I don't know what you thought.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think it's interesting and actually the radio industry has used individual hours an awful lot as well internally. It's the way that you earn money, of course, at the end of the day, and it's something that I've been asking Edison Research to highlight the amount of hours that a typical podcast listener is listening to podcasts. They did release a number which weirdly didn't appear to have changed in the last 10 years, which I found a little bit strange, given that the UK number I know has people are listening to more podcasts than they ever have done, or more time spent listening to podcasts more than they ever have done. So I think you know total hours is a useful figure because it is directly you know you can directly see revenue from that number and it's quite a good number to have, I think.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, one of the other things that the report from Netflix said was that many of the things that were making the money were actually older shows. So they were looking at things like friends, suits, the night manager, and it just made me realise we have such a focus in podcasting on new, new, new. But actually maybe you know there is a argument put forward that many of the older podcasts you know serial still has probably a new audience every time maybe worth looking at. We have this fixation on new. We've just talked about it for you know five minutes above, but it looks like Netflix doesn't focus so much on you, or if they do, it's the older stuff that people are going back to time and time again.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and I think that's probably the difference between podcasts, which are mostly interviews, and also, you know, sort of news and current affairs shows, whereas Netflix is mostly drama, and I think that's the big difference between podcasting and anything else. When you look at audio drama, I think that that's far more evergreen and I don't think that advertisers understand that and I think it's still quite difficult, if you're producing audio fiction, to make that make money. So I think that there's real opportunity in specific portals and specific newsletters and all of that kind of stuff for audio fiction. And Evo Terror runs a very good one, the endfyi, you know, which is worth a look at. But yeah, you know, I think that audio fiction is fascinating and if you were to compare like with like, I suspect that you would see a lot of old shows doing quite nicely for podcasting as well.

Sam Sethi:

Now, one of the things they did talk about was maybe production companies don't want to know better figures, so they're going to say that Netflix individual hours watch maybe something that worries those. And it made me think do podcasters want to actually know their listener figures? Right? Do they want to sit in the happy bubble of I've got so many downloads or do they really want to know how many hours people listen to their podcast, or how many minutes and what was the percent completed? Do you think actually podcasters want to have that detail?

James Cridland:

Yeah, I mean, I think that some podcasters are keen in that. I mean, some podcasters don't care. You know, if you're Adam Curry, for example, he was saying on the podcasting 2.0 show not so long ago, he was saying that he, you know, occasionally pops into op3 to have a look, but that's really about it. You can get the total time spent listening on the Apple Podcasts platform, on the Spotify platform and, of course, on YouTube as well, so you can use that as a pretty good sample to work out how big your total hours are, and I think that's a useful figure. But you know, I mean again, you know, I think all of this comes down to advertisers and from an advertising point of view, actually, you know, total hours is less interesting to them. What's more interesting to them is how many times they can hit a potential audience member, and you know, and how much that's going to go to cost them. You know, is it a? Is it a sensible thing? You know that I mean. So the story goes you're supposed to hit somebody five times in their buying cycle. So if you're buying cycle, for buying a new loaf of bread is once every three days, then you need to advertise to them at least at least five times in that three day cycle, and so therefore, that can get incredibly expensive. If you remember, it was really difficult to get people to switch their cigarette brand because it was very difficult to market the same, you know, to market a new cigarette brand to them in their, in their buying cycle, which was typically one day. So, you know, I I I wonder whether or not it's as important for advertisers, but I think certainly total time spent listening is a great metric that we should be focused on and of course, if you know, we get total time spent listening, albeit a tiny and quite biased sliver, from streaming sats as well, so everybody has that kind of information, you know, available to them.

Sam Sethi:

Well, let's move on, james. Now, one of the areas or predictions was I think the lazy prediction was AI is going to be important in 2024. I think we both made that really bad lazy prediction, but it seems that companies who are using AI with podcasting are moving ahead quite fast. Podcast AI, who we interviewed a couple of weeks ago, have now added automatic speaker recognition to their platform, which is very cool, and Headliner, who we love dearly. They've shared their data about how podcasters are using AI. So it seems, james, that AI is getting a firm grip on podcasting. What's your thoughts?

James Cridland:

Yes, I think you know. I mean AI will always be a really interesting thing to watch during this particular year and you know, good use of AI, as with any of these things, good use of AI is a good thing, bad use of AI is bad, but, but you know, I think you ended up talking with a new well, new to me at least app which is using AI in an interesting way.

Sam Sethi:

I reached out to a company called Snipped, which you've covered several times. Snipped is based out of Switzerland with a very English sounding man called Kevin Smith, who's half German, actually, but he and his company use AI very interestingly. So I thought I'd reach out and find out more about Snipped.

Kevin Smith:

Snipped really starts off with. You know, I myself, I often find myself riding my bike listening to a podcast and thinking, damn it, I wish I could write this down Some great insight that I just heard, and this is exactly what Snipped solves. So Snipped is a fully fledged podcast player and the most important, the most special thing about it is, if you listen to a podcast on Snipped, every time you hear a great insight that you want to remember. You just tap your headphones and then the apps AI actually summarizes what you've just heard and saves the summary, together with the transcript, in your library, and, optionally, it even automatically syncs it to your favorite notes app, be it Notion, readwise, obsidian, you name it. Yeah, now, in the future, you can always come back to these insights that you've heard, review them. You can also share them with friends, of course, and, as mentioned earlier, export them to your notes app.

Sam Sethi:

So that's something I've always wanted to do. I'm walking the dog, I'm doing something and I'm going oh yeah, that bit. So I have to stop normally and then go right. The time is 14 minutes 27 seconds. I'll get back home and I'll remember that, and I never do so. What is your background in programming, then, and are you an AI engineer?

Kevin Smith:

Yeah, that's exactly actually my background. So before starting Snipped, I was an AI engineer. I led the AI team of an early stage tech startup here in Zurich and this job was actually my first job in the startup world and I remember when I started out, the co founder of that startup, he recommended this great podcast to me called how to Start a Startup, by Sam Elkman, who these days is very famous, and I started listening to that while riding my bike to work every day. And this was really this magical moment for me where I realized, wait, I'm here in Switzerland, I have no idea about entrepreneurship, but I'm listening to the best of the best, the experts of the experts, and giving me all of the best insights while I'm riding my bike. So this is basically how it all started, how I fell in love with really knowledge, rich podcasts, listening to podcasts to learn something, to learn from these interesting people. And it was really during that time where I just had exactly this problem over and over again, where you just think, ah, damn it, I wish I could write this down and later on you forget it and you try to find it again in the podcast. You know, use that skip 20 second button like 50 times to find the moment. So I just went through all of this pain and, luckily for me, I was, as mentioned earlier, I was an AI engineer. I was seeing what was happening in the AI community, especially in the area of natural language processing and speech to text, and it was really this moment where a big breakthrough came to the speech to text area, namely, the technical breakthrough of this transformer architecture, which is also the architecture behind chat, gpt today, and this concept of self supervised learning, where suddenly you were able to train these models on large amounts of data that were not labeled, so you could just use any speech to train these models. Yeah, this was really the moment where I talked to a good friend of mine his background is also in AI and data science and we said you know what? Actually, we can solve this problem today, so let's do it.

Sam Sethi:

So the underlying technology you are using, open AI, is whisper. Am I correct in understanding that as well?

Kevin Smith:

Yes, that is correct. So when we started out, open AI whisper did not exist yet. Open AI's chat GPT did not exist yet. So when we started out, we really were using our own models, based on open source models, and refined tune them. So there was actually a lot of work that went into that and in the meantime it's become much easier for us and so we're using open AI's whisper model to do speech to text and a lot of the processing. For example, summarizing this moment that you've just heard, we're using open AI's chat GPT.

Sam Sethi:

And congratulations, by the way. You raised a wonderful seed round of $700,000. Well done that must have been fun getting that into the bank, putting a little bit of relief. I mean certainly I know from doing my own startups. That's the moment when the wife goes okay, you've got a proper job, now get on with it. As opposed to, this is a hobby I'm doing in the back garden. What is the plan then for snipped in 2024? You've got. You've got your funding, you've opened up the platform, you've got a premium version. You're building this out. What are you looking to do in 24?

Kevin Smith:

Yeah, maybe before we look ahead to 2024, maybe just what we've done recently. To give a bit more context. So towards the end of last year, or actually in August September, we released the first premium version of the app. So there's still a free version of the app. You can get all of the AI features that are just described, plus many more. You can get all of these for two episodes that have already been processed by our AI for free each week. And if you want more, if you're one of these hardcore podcast listeners like me, then you can get the upgrade to the premium version and get for all of the process episodes that we have out there. And yeah, so far we've really been focused on the English speaking market, so namely the United States, the UK, canada, australia, and now for 2024, looking ahead, we actually want to expand this to many more languages. So this is one of the big feature requests that we hear over and over again from our users, because we have users all across the world. We have users I actually recently checked with in more than 174 countries, but our AI features are only available for the English language. So this is really a big part for next year. We've now proven out that this concept is something that people want. People are willing to switch podcast players. They love it, they're excited about it, they're willing to pay for it. So now the next step is growing this and letting the whole world know about our app.

Sam Sethi:

So, beyond just taking a snippet of the audio and doing it once you've got a library of audio snippets, would the AI be able to help me do other things with it? I mean, clearly it can, but what are you thinking that you can do with it?

Kevin Smith:

Yeah, so currently, what you can do already in the app is we have what we call a daily review, where we resurface these insights that you've come across in the past and you can just browse through them. So we show you five each day and it's just a fun way of remembering these insights, because it's so easy to again listen to all of these amazing podcasts, think of these great insights, but then sort of forget them and never do anything about them. So this is an important way of how we're resurfacing this and in the future, this is actually also one of the areas that we want to improve more and we want to make this even more fun and valuable to discover all of the nuggets that you've come across in the past, combine them with one another and, you know, for example, also allow you to more easily search for them again.

Sam Sethi:

What else do you think then for 24, just taking your snipped hat off for a minute, but in your podcasting? Well, as we're at the beginning of the year, we can still do this. What does Kevin predict for podcasting in 24? How do you see the outlook?

Kevin Smith:

Yeah, I really like thinking about the future of not just podcasts, but spoken audio in general. So, just as an example, I see something like a headspace app, also a spoken audio content. So once you look at it like that, you see that there's actually so much more content out there, and I think one of the most interesting aspects that will happen this year is that all content that is available as text today will become available as audio as well. It is unclear how the interaction will look like, whether, for example, blog post creators will start to create their own podcasts on the fly with the help of AI, or whether it will be read it later apps like Readwise that allow you today to read out loud a blog post, but this is something that I believe will have an impact on the space of spoken audio content, because there is actually so much text content out there. So this is definitely an interesting avenue. The other avenue that you know, given the AI hype, that I'm curious to see what will happen is, of course, ai generated podcasts. So I have some opinions on that.

Sam Sethi:

Let's hear them. What's really interesting is I was reading the GitHub last night for the podcast namespace and one of the proposals is look, should we start to tag AI content? You know AI voices and AI transcriptions and so again, tell me what you think, giving your background.

Kevin Smith:

Yeah, I think. Well, with respect to that, I think it makes a lot of sense because in the future, it will be more and more difficult to differentiate between AI generated voices versus human voices. Now, I think there are various aspects to the AI generated podcasts. Again, if you look at podcasts, they're very different genres actually. So one very big genre is the fictional stories genre, and this is an area that we're not focused on at all, but I do see in this area a lot of AI generated content probably coming up in the future, be it just the voice or even the text. And then there's the area of the podcast that we are most focused on, which are usually the interview style podcasts. So you have a guest on and you actually ask this guest questions and you're interested because this person has done or is doing something that's somehow relevant to you or somehow interesting. One of the best examples that actually comes to mind is a month ago, something Jeff Bezos was on the Lex Friedman podcast. This was the first time I've ever seen or consumed a long form interview with Jeff Bezos, and this is a very interesting opportunity to get to know the person because you know the soundbites. I personally have read books about him, so you know the frameworks like working backward, so I'm aware of that, but I've never heard him actually formulated in his own words and you can sort of learn how he thinks, and this is something that will not go away. This cannot be replaced, in my opinion, by an AI generated avatar, even if it's an avatar of Jeff Bezos. This is an area that I don't see going away, and this is also the area that we're most focused on.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I mean CNET last year, which had been bought by private equity companies, started putting out AI post generated content. I mean it was factual, news based content. There was no inflection of voice, there was no need for an opinion, and I guess in that format, yeah, an AI generated news driven information audio feed is fine. I mean it's like just tell me what's happening and if you can make it shorter, faster, quicker, I can consume this better in a way where I don't have to read it. I can be, as you say, on your bike or walking the door, but why does it matter? Do you think about labeling? Can't we, as human, tell the difference between what is an AI generated content format and a human generated?

Kevin Smith:

So I mean the AI generated voices already today are very, very difficult to differentiate from human voices. Sorry, I just checking.

Sam Sethi:

Kevin, you are really human, just just asking that very, very quickly. Well, who knows? Yeah, but go on.

Kevin Smith:

Yeah so so anyone who's not that familiar with this topic, I recommend checking out this UK startup called 11 Labs, and you can Just try out a couple of voices on their website. Or just to mention another startup called wondercraft AI, also located in London, I believe they allow you to very easily turn your blog post into a podcast, and the results are really, really amazing, and I believe we are now currently in this phase where, if you're really familiar with the voices and you work a lot with them, you can sort of still Hear what's going on, but for someone who doesn't know what's happening, they would never believe that this is a generate yeah, I first came across it with the script many years ago, about three, four years, guys, in many years ago.

Sam Sethi:

Four years ago feels like like a lifetime ago, but it wasn't. And yeah, they cloned my voice. It was pretty, pretty average, I think. Now it's pretty close to to actually hard to detect. I mean, I think if I did the what I call the wife test is that me or is that the AI? She might fail as in telling which is good or bad, I'm not sure. But again, with all of this AI coming in and with this development, I mean again, what else does snip want to do with it? Are you going to take AI In a different direction within SNP? Because Fundamentally, once you've got to where you are, you know you've got a podcast, you can take an element of it, you can library, you can share it. I'm trying to just understand where to snip then develop itself. Mean, you're not going to do voice cloning, so what else are you going to be doing with it?

Kevin Smith:

Yeah, maybe I can actually give a bit more background of what we actually already doing today. So our focus as an app is really helping listeners get the most learning out of their podcast listening. So this functionality of saving these best insights, that's our most important feature. We call this snipping by the way, I didn't mention that earlier. That's also where the name comes from, snipped. But there are many other things that we do to help users. So the first thing that happens is actually when an episode comes out, we process that episode, so we Transcribe it, we identify the speakers, we break it down into chapters. Each chapter gets a title and description. So this actually already helps the user get an overview of what's happening in the episode and where to maybe dive in, especially some of these episodes. You know, if you're listening to three hour conversation with Elon Musk, maybe you're really mostly interested about Tesla and you're not interested about space exploration, yeah, and the next thing that then happens is when our users start snipping the moments that they find most interesting. We actually, in the app, show which moments have been highlighted the most. So you can compare this to kindle highlights bought for podcasts, and what that allows you is if you've listened to a podcast. Actually, right now, if you have a podcast that you've recently listened to, you know, oh, there were some great insights in there. You can go to snipped today and check out what did the community highlight the most and, with a couple of clicks, save these insights to your notes as well. A very interesting area that we've that we also do various activities is in the discovery space. So, as you know, there are so many podcasts out there. As we discussed earlier, I believe there will be even more spoken audio content in the future that will be published via the ISS feed. So it gets more and more difficult each year to actually find the best episodes out there, the best shows. So discovery is still a problem, and what we've implemented in the app is we have a for you feed where you can discover the best moments that people have snipped, and that's actually then the way through which you discover a great episode, a great new show, simply by seeing. I here's a moment where somebody snipped, going back to Jeff Bezos episode why Amazon forbid PowerPoint presentations, and if you find that interesting, then you deep dive into the full episode. Can I follow you on snipped, as in?

Sam Sethi:

I was just thinking. Kevin's just listened to a great interview with Jeff Bezos. He snipped something. I might not see it in my for you feed, but what I actually just want to do is actually follow do three cool people like you who might be snipping away, and I just want to see what you're doing. Can I follow an individual within the application rather than having a stream of information given to me?

Kevin Smith:

Yes, so what you can do in the app. If I snipped something, this is not automatically public, so by default, this is private Because, again, our main focus is on you. You're saving these insights for yourself, but if, if you think this is something that other people would be interested in, you can actually post it in the community and other people can follow me to see what I've been posting. So I hope that I'll have a new follower. You will know I'm very keen to.

Sam Sethi:

So that's a great point segment. Actually, where would I get snipped from and how do I get it?

Kevin Smith:

Yes, snipped is available on Android and on iOS, so you can head to the respective app store and just search for snipped. Snipped is spelled S, n, I, p, d, so just one P and no E, and you can get started like that.

Sam Sethi:

And the premium version. Again, is that an in-app purchase or is that an on-store purchase directly? So that's an in-app purchase and in-app subscription that you can get.

Kevin Smith:

It is optional, as I mentioned earlier. The free version of the app you can. You get all of the standard podcast player features with, of course, unlimited listening, and you get all of these AI features that we have for two already processed episodes per week. So if you only listen to two episodes per week, you can just stay on the free version, as mentioned earlier. If you're someone like me who listens to a lot of the content, you're listening to A lot of podcasts all the time you can get the premium version and that gives you access to all of the AI features of all of the episodes that we've ever processed, which is more more than half a million podcasts by now. And you even, on top of that, get a budget of 15 hours a month where you can choose to process any podcast that might not have been processed automatically yet. Wow, ok.

Sam Sethi:

OK, kevin, thank you so much. I look forward to trying it and following you on SNP Congratulations.

Kevin Smith:

Thank you, Sam. Thanks for having me and I look forward to engaging with you on.

James Cridland:

SNP. Kevin Smith from SNP. That was. That was interesting and I think there's certainly something there in terms of AI generation for those clips.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I mean, the thing I liked about it was, you know, what they're doing is taking discovery to another level. So they're saying, look, you're in that mode of listening, you want to make a note of something. Well, how do you do it? Pen and paper is not going to work if you're out and about or in the car, so just tapping your headphones is a really nice way of being able to make a mental note at that time point, and then the AI does the work for you. What I did think about when I was interviewing Kevin was, you know, I interviewed Oscar a few weeks ago as well about Fountain 1.0. And Oscar was talking very heavily about how clips within Fountain is, you know, a great way to expose or discover new episodes, new podcasts, and how they use that clipping within a sort of activity stream. Now, it then made me realise that one where Fountain is going is user generated clips, and what SNPT is doing is user invoked but using AI to generate. So I think SNPT has actually got a really cool way of doing it. I've used Fountain and I know they've improved it a lot, and those clips then become very important with discovery. But I think the way that SNPT does. It means that I'm only doing that, tell me from this point here, and then the actual software does it. So yeah, very interesting that I think both of them are focusing, though, on that micro discovery capability.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I mean, you know, every couple of weeks there's a new company which is out there making clips from podcasts and hoping that that will fix the discovery issue. I'm not convinced, but I think if you make it as easy as possible to share clips and SNPT appears to be doing that the best then you know perhaps there might be something there so certainly worthwhile taking a peek at. And you know interesting that they haven't got any podcasting 2.0 support as yet. But you know, if they were to lean into it a little bit more, then perhaps that might give them a little bit more competitive difference to some of the other things out there.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I mean, one of the things they are focusing on goes back to Colin Burns prediction as well. They're going to be using AI to do translation, so they transcribe every episode and they then use AI for discovery of clips and etc. Or SNPs in their case. But in 2024, they are going to be focusing very heavily on non English speaking languages. I think that, again, is very interesting in using AI translation as a mechanism. So, yeah, a good use of AI there, I think. Yeah, no, I think that that makes a bunch of sense. And talking about Fountain, as we have done.

James Cridland:

they've been doing a lot of research on AI. Have done they've been doing some nice stuff, haven't they over the last couple of weeks? Yeah?

Sam Sethi:

I think it was called a rewind and I thought this was really cool for a Moscow and the team over there. They basically put out a bit of data, I suppose, about what people have been doing with boosts and streaming sats and etc. And showing everyone how you know over the year what you've paid out or what you've received. Adam Curry, supported with 4.4 million sats, he boosted 3.5 million sats and he streamed just under a million sats. So you know nice numbers there and I thought it was what's 4.4 million sats then in real money, oh, £1,593 or $2,000.

James Cridland:

Yeah, $2,000. So that's what he has been to other shows from that one app and obviously he uses a bunch of different apps. That's right. Yes, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes so I mean I thought this was great.

Sam Sethi:

and again, Fountain you know we were talking about Alex's company earlier, putting about $185,000. Fountain have put $120,000 into other podcasters' pockets, so that's quite good as well.

James Cridland:

Yeah, that's fantastic. And, of course, just one of the apps. Adam Curry reckons that there are 18 apps that do value for value now, and so, yeah, I think that's a really good number.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I think it was stop inserting ads. Inject pure value. Boosting is loving. I wish I could do an Adam Curry voice. I can't, but there you go. So yeah, I think that's a great thing that you know again Fountain has done, and I think Rewind was a good use of data. Other people have been paying out money, though. James.

James Cridland:

Yes, indeed, we heard about Alex Sanfilippo's company, Podmatch earlier on, but also Audio Boom paid over $50 million to podcast creators in 2023, they said they achieved 1.5 billion downloads. If I could be bothered, I would work out how much money they make per download. That's always an interesting number, but there again, they release that, I think in their financials anyway and the podcasting 2.0 show, Chad Farrow. Sir Chad Farrow ended up doing some quite nice data crunching. He's basically listened to every single podcasting 2.0 show, written down all of the donations that Adam and Dave have read out and calculated that over the last few years it has earned $70,000 in donations, plus a further $38,000 in micro payments. So that's a pretty good number. I was interested that micro payments, that's, the SATs, was so much smaller than the PayPal, than the Fiat coupons, as they call them. It's about half the size, but there again, you know it's still early doors in terms of streaming SATs and things, but yeah, that's not a bad number, is it?

Sam Sethi:

I'm wondering whether he is calculating streaming SATs into that. Actually, james, because I'm thinking that's purely boosts, because I don't know how he would get the data for streaming SATs.

James Cridland:

Well, yeah, you do make sense. Yeah, yeah, so perhaps that's just. Boosts is $38,000. And the $70,000 is PayPal and stuff like that as well. There again, marco Arment, I think, gives him $500 a month and I know that rsscom have been very generous as well with thousands of dollars in, so but even so it's a sensible amount of money. I hate to think how much podcast index costs to run, and I always find it interesting having a look at the OP3 data where you can actually have a look at how much it costs John Spurlock to run OP3. I'm a little bit concerned that it may be losing him quite a lot of money at the moment. So you know that's always fun to have a look at as well. But you'll find that at OP3.dev and if you scroll down then all of his costs are in the open at the bottom of the page, so you can actually see how much it costs. But to run the entire OP3 system in December costs $714. So you know, $700 per month, three year, that's it's not massive, but it's not, you know, small change either.

Sam Sethi:

Yes, it's too easy. Look two Google shares and he's done two Google shares. Come on, john. He wallpapered one wall with Google shares. He didn't know what to do with them.

James Cridland:

Well, there you go Right. Let's have a quick look around the world and good news from the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation, who are saying that podcast listening is up 34% on the BBC Sounds app, which isn't necessarily everywhere. What that might say is that they've managed to successfully bully more listeners to download the app rather than have a listen through OpenRSS. I don't know, but anyway, newscast was the most popular podcast in BBC Sounds in 2023. Actually, not much change from 2022 either, which seems to show that actually, you know, the evergreen shows are the ones that still continue working. It's interesting seeing that and trying. Digital has done something quite smart with Amazon Smart Speakers. I said Amazon Smart Speakers when I recorded this earlier on in the week because I didn't want to read out Alex, madame A, because that would have been Madame A.

Sam Sethi:

That's how I used to get around it. Yes, exactly.

James Cridland:

But yes. So apparently how it works is you can ask your Smart Speaker for more information on the ad you've just heard, or even, you know, to ask to add the product to your shopping cart. I'm not quite sure how they sell you a Casper mattress through Amazon, but nevertheless I'm sure that it's a doable thing. I think you very much point out that that's not necessarily particularly new. There's a company in the US called InStreamatic which has done similar for quite some time now. In fact, didn't you do some mobile, clever, mobile interactive things? Isn't that one of your LinkedIn boasts?

Sam Sethi:

Yes, I used to write smart plugins. I used to work with a guy called Charlie Cabery and a few other people in the industry looking at all the ways that Alexa would work and how we were going to do this. And what a waste of time. No, genuinely what a waste of time.

James Cridland:

Oh yeah, exactly. It comes back to a really good article that John Spurlock shared just before the Christmas break, which I carried in the Pod News newsletter as well, basically saying why audio never gets viral. It never gets viral because we're listening to it while we're doing other things, and so expecting somebody to stop, you know, doing the dishes or whatever, and to talk to their Smart Speaker and say, actually, could you give me more information on the colour of that mattress? I don't think it is a thing, but it's always nice to see companies you know, blindly assuming that it might be at some point in the future.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I mean just on a very quick tangential. The idea originally was that Alexa skills would actually enable you to, you know, have a plug-in model like the iPhone. And then they actually made it so that one Alexa skill could hand over to another Alexa skill. So you might say, I want to get a book of restaurants, so you use one Alexa skill, and then I want to get a taxi there, so you get your Uber, and then you get something else. Right? All of those were supposed to happen. None of that worked properly. So, and then the actionable ads which, you know, a friend of mine, Charlie Cabry, was working on, was basically radio stations will play it on your Alexa while you were listening, but guess what? You had to log in. So if you listen to Talksport Radio here, in the UK every five minutes. will you please sign up to blah, blah blah, because they need to know who you are and where you're based and none of that works because people go no, I'm not signing up and logging in and blah blah.

James Cridland:

And I think you know the interesting difference between the Alexa model, which was that you have to install a skill, so you have to, you know, talk to your smart speaker and get it to install kind of an app for you. The Google model was a little bit different in that you just said, you know, if you wanted to, you know, order a pizza. There was no installing a Domino's skill, it was just a you know G, talk to Domino's and it would then connect to the Domino's app on the speaker. But guess what, nobody did that either. So you know, I think it's interesting. They are talking at the moment about Google Assistant being integrated with Google Bard so that in the next couple of weeks on Amazon phones you'll be able to converse with the full AI you know system through Google Bard on your phone, and I think that that's going to be really interesting. And it was fascinating seeing what my daughter was doing. She was asking, she asked Google Assistant what her favorite color was and the response was according to Wikipedia. And then it read a bit of a Wikipedia entry about colors of the rainbow and my daughter said no, what's your favorite color from the rainbow? And of course Google Assistant had no opinion about any of this. I'm sure that you know. If you were to ask Bard, there will be. You know there will be some opinion that you know. Well, let's do it. What's your favorite color? I can't spell favorite Fave or it color Question mark and let's see what Google Bard answers. As a large language model, I don't have the capacity to experience preferences like humans do.

Sam Sethi:

Tell me when it's interesting in 2029 or something. No, the thing about the Alexa skills thing. The other thing, last couple of bits, was Google actually made each individual skill. I don't know what Google called them. A red action was a vegetable action, so you couldn't have two actions of the same name. No, no, no, no, no. Alexa decided or Amazon decided that no, I could have my skill called capital FM, or I could have my skill called Pog. News Daily. And it would clash with the existing one. There was no registration of skills, so that was the other thing. But chat GBT have now done the same thing. So if you look at chat GBT, they've got a plug-in model where I don't know what they're calling their skills. Fundamentally, you can now have the Uber skill talk to the top table skill talk to the other one. So I don't know whether that will make it any better, but you can see what everyone's trying to do. They're trying to create little pockets of knowledge that can hand over interesting knowledge from one person to the next, to the next to fulfill your action. But so far not good.

James Cridland:

Yes, good luck Jordan. Yes, good luck Triton. Sorry for pissing on that bone for a while.

Sam Sethi:

Right, let's do some good news. I think We've done too much bad news in this show. Congratulations to Jake. From Message Heard. A few weeks ago, or at least a week ago, there were six years old. So congratulations, Jake and the team.

James Cridland:

Yes, that's a good thing. Now if you want to win some awards. The nominations are now open for the UK's ARIES, which is the Audio and Radio Industry Awards. Tons of awards out there, and I happen to know because I've been updating the Pod News Directory, which is a new thing that we've not properly launched yet, but you'll find it at podnewsnet slash directory with many, many, many award ceremonies from across the world and gosh, there are so many of them. But yes, if you are a UK audio company, you should be entering the ARIES. It's well worth doing. A bunch of events happening. Of course, ces is just closing off. Todd Cochran, friend of the show CES.

Sam Sethi:

Is it still going Jesus, please?

James Cridland:

Yes, exactly Exactly, is it still going? But well, todd Cochran, friend of the show, kind of is there. So that should be a good thing. But not just CES, but also PodFest in Orlando, which is in the next couple of weeks. The speaking schedule of that has been made available and that should be a nice thing. Also happening is the OnAirFest in Brooklyn at the end of February and various other things, and of course we will both be at podcast movement Evolutions, or I should properly call it Evolutions by podcast movement. That's towards the end of March and you and I will both be there doing this very show on stage. So that's going to be a thrill.

Sam Sethi:

So they get to see the warts and all. They get to see the warts and all when we do this on stage live, do they Actually? We've been quite good live. Actually, it's been quite smooth so far.

James Cridland:

Yeah, yeah, no, I think we were all right really. So you're also speaking with Mark Asquith?

Sam Sethi:

Yes, so that should be good. Yeah, Heather Ozz. Good Mike Dowell. So yeah, it'll be great. We're talking about micropayments and monetization.

James Cridland:

Excellent. Well, that should be a marvelous stuff, and I will be at Evolutions. I am the first speaker of the entire event in the big room, so, looking forward to that, I am warming up for a big Hollywood personality. I know who it is, but I can't tell you who it is yet. But yes, so I'm looking forward to doing that. There will be a surprise special guest as well, which I haven't even told the podcast movement about yet, but that should be fun. More puppies, no, no no puppies. I don't think. No, puppies are a proper podcast movement thing. Evolutions don't do puppies. And then finally, of course, the podcast show in London is happening at the end of May and there are more events, both paid for and free, at Pod News. Virtual events are events in a place with people. If you're organizing something, you should tell the world about its free to be listed. Podnewsnet slash events.

Speaker 2:

The tech stuff. Tech stuff On the Pod News Weekly Review.

James Cridland:

Oh, yes, it's the stuff you'll find every Monday in the Pod News newsletter. Here's where we do all of the tech talk. Yes, we've got quite a few things. Let's rattle through some of them, shall we? Sam?

Sam Sethi:

Okay, so Dave Jones, the pod sage friend of the show, has been working on a activity pub bridge. Now I was like well, what's an activity pub bridge? It's basically a way for you to put in a activity pub address or a mastodon address, and you can then find the podcast related to it and follow it. So I thought that was really interesting, james. What did you do with it? Yeah, tell me more.

James Cridland:

I think one or two. You can follow this podcast, for example, on activity pub, which means you know mastodon or other apps that talk with mastodon and other things. Our rather complicated address is 1-3-3-0-7-0 at appodcastindexorg. It's a bit messy, but that does mean that you can follow this particular podcast on there, and so whenever we release a new episode, it will automatically, within a minute or so, send a message out to your mastodon app, or whatever it is that you're using, and you can have a listen to the podcast directly from there, which is quite neat. If you are, by the way, on mastodon, then updates at podusenet will also find us if you search for that. So, yeah, I think that's a smart trick and I think it's something that you know, activity pub being used for lots of things now, so quite neat to see that there.

Sam Sethi:

The way to find that 1-3-3-0-7-0 number is to go to the podcast index search engine and type out the name of the podcast, and then it will actually give you the podcast index number, which is what you need to just plug in. So again, I'm sort of trying to work out what the value is. It's a great trick and, well, no trick's not the right word, sorry, dave a great piece of coding, but the challenge is why would I want to follow on? Mastodon? I'm no offense, I'm just trying to think when all the apps have now got push notifications within them, why are you going to have another place? I mean, unless you're one of these people who likes just getting lots and lots of notifications, I can't quite see what you do.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I mean, it's another place, it's another choice, isn't it? I mean, I did find, you know, I was using mastodon you know, suffering from the jet lag that I've been suffering from over the last week and looking at the mastodon, all of a sudden there's a mastodon account called Podcasts Live or something like that, and it shows you brand new podcasts which are just going live so you can have a listen to them going out live. And there I was at five to six and there was BoosterGram Ball going out and I thought, oh, brilliant, I'll go and have a listen to that. So you know, that isn't necessarily something that I would have allowed Fountain to bother me with, but the fact that it was on mastodon, it was just another thing. So, yeah, I think it's a nice thing if you want to follow that. So that's a good thing. What else is going on? Siriusxm has a new streaming app. That's exciting. So there, if you're in the US or Canada, you can end up using that.

Sam Sethi:

Now, James, there was a couple of other things I wanted to do. One was the Content Link, which is part of the live item tag. There's been an enhancement to the proposal.

James Cridland:

Yes. So this is a new tag for RSS that allows you, as a podcaster, to say my podcast is available on Spotify at this address, or my podcast is available on iHeartPodcasts at this address, and there have been a lot of proposals to do this. The reason why it might be useful is, for example, if your podcast is available on YouTube Music on a particular YouTube address. There's no clear way at the moment of matching up a RSS feed with a YouTube channel. Youtube didn't think far enough ahead to make that easy and simple. But it would be quite nice, wouldn't it, if you wanted to push people the way of YouTube and stop them from subscribing to the RSS feed in YouTube Music and start them subscribing to the YouTube channel to be able to signify that somehow in your RSS feed if that's what you want to end up doing. So this is essentially a way of doing that. It's a way of linking to your show on lots of different platforms. Nathan Gathright has done a really nice enhancement to a standard as well. As you know, there have been a bunch of these in the past as well, but yeah, I think that that's a helpful thing for some podcasters that just want to make sure that all of those links work. It only really works if lots of people are using it. But yeah, if people start using it, then I can absolutely guarantee that the podcast pages will be using it. So, yeah, it's a worthwhile thing.

Sam Sethi:

Now, one of the other proposals that came out pre Christmas was from RSS Blue and Fountain. It was for a thing called a publisher feed. Now it was a separate feed that would enable publishers to put the full slate of what they're doing. I guess it's there for discovery purposes. So if I listen to this show, maybe, james, you have other podcasts that are in your slate that I might want to know about. So you've implemented this already in your feed, so tell me how you've done it.

James Cridland:

Yes, I've kind of implemented it, although I rather hope I've implemented it correctly. But anyway, it's a list of shows which are available. So theoretically you should be able to signify to a podcast app if you like shows from this particular publisher. Then here are all of the other shows. Now you might be thinking that sounds a bit like Podroll. Well, podroll is just shows that we would recommend. So we recommend the Buzzcast podcast in this RSS feed, for example, because we're sponsored by the good folks at Buzzsprout and that will be the right thing for us to do. So we've got so you know, that is a bit of a different thing to a publisher list, and a publisher list will just list, you know, all of the shows that we make or all of the shows that New York Times makes, and so on and so forth. I think what's interesting about it is that if both the RSS feed and the publisher list link to each other, then you've got something which is a bit like a claiming thing. It does prove that the publisher list is owned by the same person as the podcast itself. So there's a little bit of security there. That sort of helps in there as well.

Sam Sethi:

So, being me, we actually implemented this as so in Truefans actually, so we can now read your feed as well. So we tried it yesterday, but we can also do this for all other publishers as well. So we did it in the same way. James, you and I did pod roles, if you remember. So you implemented a pod role, if you remember rightly, and we then read your pod role and then displayed it on this show's page on Truefans, and then what we did was we created a mechanism that allowed people to create a local pod role in Truefans, but if you then wanted to, you could overwrite it from what was in the RSS feed, because that's the feed of truth. So anything that was local would be overwritten by what was ever in the feed, and that led, I think, to other companies then implementing pod roles, and I'm hoping, in the same way that you doing what you've done and we doing what we've done at Truefans, that others will now go ah, seeing is believing, as I say, and people can now see what a published feed looks like, and maybe then other hosts or other people will self roll their own publisher feed into their own RSS feed and we'll get more of this Another way of discovery, I guess.

James Cridland:

Yeah, no, I think you know I mean, the more of these, the better to play around with. And yeah, I think that makes a bunch of sense.

Sam Sethi:

Just one thing, I mean, I'm just going to say it. We also implemented host leaderboards. Nothing great there and we implemented something, though that might be interesting. If you create a playlist in Truefans now, james so, and then somebody listens to your playlist, you get 5% of all the streaming sats that go through that playlist. So, oh, very nice. Yeah, we're using value time splits or wallet switching to enable you to get money into your wallet and then, when the show's playing, it plays streams and 95% and the 5% goes to you. So, yeah, I think you know again, we feel that time and attention of users should be rewarded again.

Speaker 5:

So that's something we've done, yes, more of that to come in 24, I'm thinking.

Sam Sethi:

Anyway, now let's move on. I don't know if this is John Spurlock's app or John has just pointed to it. There's a new app called the Cooler FM that has been launched. Yes, and it's not John Spurlock's app.

James Cridland:

It's an app that he is aware of because they have submitted their user agent to a list on GitHub. It's quite interesting, it says on their website podcasts are a lonely experience, even though millions are listening. Imagine an app that brings everybody together. Cooler is the place to gather around your favorite pods apart from the use of the word pods, which you can't stand. Yes, you know, it's a cooler like a water cooler and stuff like that. It's only available on iPhone at the moment, so not available on Android, but I'll give it a quick go. Worth a peek. Not quite sure who's behind it, but it does look quite smart.

Sam Sethi:

Anyway, I thought it might have been John's, but I think it's a hat tip from John, so anyway, another one that came out that you could try, james, on your Android is the Olby Firefox extension. Now it's available, but it's Android only. So if you wanted to use the Olby plugin, it will be available, so yeah.

James Cridland:

Yes, so this is because Firefox on Android can now deal with all of the extensions, or as many, or a bunch of extensions, a bunch of browser extensions, so, but of course there isn't really such a thing as Firefox on iOS, because Apple doesn't let you have a web browser which is anything other than Safari, you know, in a skin. So therefore it won't work. But yes, so I could theoretically install Alby onto Firefox.

Sam Sethi:

I haven't, but I could, ok well, sorry for you to try that Now. The last one is you. You sent me a link or no? You didn't send me a link. You sent everyone a link. Who listens, read the pod news daily. I felt it was like personal to me because you know it was so nicely said. It's called umbilical. It's a set of tools for podcast PWAs. I looked at it and I'm trying to work out what to do with it. Do you have any ideas?

James Cridland:

Yeah, I mean it's a useful set of tools that help you to write a progressive web app, so to write a nice app for a mobile phone that works just the same as any other app. But in order to do that, you need to fiddle around sometimes with RSS proxies, with, you know, with a thing to watch out for, you know, for podping events, you know when a new episode has been published, and all of that kind of stuff, and so, basically, umbilical is this set of tools to make that PWA easier to build. So you know that might be useful, for, I mean, you know, I mean you've kind of fixed most of the of those issues for yourself anyway, but that might be quite useful for other people who are thinking about making themselves a nice funky looking podcast player as a, as a as a web app on a mobile phone. Yeah, no.

Sam Sethi:

I think it's worth looking at. We did look at it closely, as you said, we fixed a lot of it. But again, who's behind umbilical who? Who produced it?

James Cridland:

Um, it's a name that I don't recognize, but the name is AE Groomett. Is the name of the person whose GitHub it's actually on there there is the should be a way of actually viewing that person's profile, but frankly, I'm not quite sure how you do that. Oh, yes, there we are. He doesn't give his full name, it's just AE Groomett. So wherever he's based, he's or she or she. Yeah, no, it's definitely a. He, I'll tell you that much. Oh, okay, but yeah, so we're wherever they're based. He has also produced a couple of other things around you know, something to do with Docker and something to do JS, javascript, but, yeah, umbilical appears to be his thing. Um and um, yeah, and it appears to be very much uh 148 commits so far. So he's working long and hard at it, but it might be useful to you if you're building a progressive web app. Talking about progressive web apps, that's how I access Albi on my Android mobile phone. And why do I uh? Why am I interested in Albi?

Speaker 2:

because of this Boostergram corner corner corner on the pod news weekly review.

James Cridland:

So when I got the uh notes from Sam the producer earlier on, it said boosts none and I thought that can't be right.

Sam Sethi:

I thought it can't be right either, but I'm subtle and where I look is just such a mess now, so I can't find stuff.

James Cridland:

Well, there you go, I've I've grabbed them from a helipad and we've got a bunch of them. So, um, uh, we'll rattle through some of these, because this is going to be another one of those long shows. Nick, from Fountain, uh, 10,000 sats. Happy new year, james and Sam. Thanks for keeping us informed in 2023. Well, happy new year to you too, nick.

Sam Sethi:

Then we got one well a row of dicks, 1,101 sats from, uh, mia Maltils, kyren, Appreciate putting that all together. Guys, must have been a lot of effort. Thanks for inviting me to share my thoughts, and I'm looking forward to a big 2024 for all. Indeed, kyren, yeah, and I'm looking forward to having a cold beer with you sometime in Brisfagus.

James Cridland:

Indeed, yes, that was talking about our um predictions from all of our friends, which was a couple of weeks ago. Matt Cundall, 5,150 sats. Thanks for everything this year and all the best in 2024. He puts together a very good podcast. If you're interested in Canadian radio, which at least two people are oh, probably one of those is Matt, but anyway, it's called the Sound Off podcast and it's very good. So thank you, matt, and I much appreciate that 10,000 sats from the pod father himself.

Sam Sethi:

Adam Curry, boosting for the opener. Give that kid a job. I'm guessing that's your daughter. I was. I was shouting out the same sort of thing as well. Yes, very good voiceover artist. Get a room. Yes.

James Cridland:

It was quite fun to do. So it was, yes, yes, what I typically do when I'm recording a podcast for Christmas Day and I am recording the podcast for you know, actually on on Christmas Day is I'm sticking there and I'm, yeah, yeah, I've basically got a great big, you know. I'm basically hoping that I can make the podcast sound a little bit more exciting. So I get my, my daughter, to record a little bit of it. She last recorded it about three or four, three years ago I think, and now, now that she's 11, it does sound slightly different than when she was considerably younger. But, yeah, it was quite fun to have her on. This is a bit of it, if you missed.

Speaker 5:

Dave Jackson announces his podcast of the year, the latest from my daddy's newsletter at podnewsnet with squadcasts to record remotely in studio quality.

James Cridland:

I mean, you know, there she is with the sponsor credit and everything.

Sam Sethi:

You're out of a job, james, so yeah, well, maybe I am, who knows?

James Cridland:

Brian D O'Leary sent us a hundred sats, which is nice. No message, but that's nice of you, Dave Jackson. 1000 sats. Would love to hear why James left a medium. Yes, I used to be on medium. I am no longer on medium and I wrote a ton of weird and wonderful scripts to pull all of those medium posts over onto my own personal blog. And the reason why, Dave, is that it's my own personal blog and I can do with it whatever I like. So that's probably it. He also sends another 2000 sats and says, reiterating what John said to Sam. I'm not quite sure who John is, but Libsyn.

Sam Sethi:

So John, yes, john, the CEO of Libsyn. Ah yes, dave just mentioned it in his podcast Future of Podcasting, which I listened to, and he just simply said that they're looking internally into creator. I'm not putting Dave into a position of committing to what they're going to do, but clearly it's good to hear that they're having at least conversations at Libsyn about supporting the podcast 2.0 namespace.

James Cridland:

Yes, they've said internally that they will look, says Dave Jackson, but nothing has been confirmed. Creativity found there's a new, new listener. Thank you, 150 sats like the true fans name. Oh, yes, this was when you revealed the fact that pod fans change its name to true fans. I do get muddled, he says or she says, by all the pods and cast name companies out there. The challenge is in getting listeners to use a 2.0 listening platform instead of Apple and Spotify. I hope you're right in your predictions. Love the show this year along with Buzzcast. So I had a fun time hearing both sides of the sponsor gate story. Yes, that's when you very much upset our main sponsor.

Sam Sethi:

Yes, that was close. Indeed, we've got 69.69 sats from Bad Care Advice, chad, bad Career.

James Cridland:

Advice Chad.

Sam Sethi:

Oh, that's it. Yes, yes, yes, I wish I could read. That's early, it's very early, sorry about that. Sending a boost in response to your sad puppy plea for more sats. Next one will have to be earned by sharing the hottest of goss and the juiciest of deets, so OK, so we're going to have gossip corner now, jane oh gossip corner.

James Cridland:

That sounds like a yes, something that will keep the lawyers happy. Let's not do that. A row of ducks from Gene Bean. Thank you, I loved the gauntlet throwdown related to OP3 just now. This was me calling Todd Cochran a chicken for not sharing his new media show numbers. I think he thinks that I'm asking him to share his geek news, his geek news central numbers. I'm really not. I couldn't care less. But the new media show numbers I think he should and I think, if nothing else, if he was to enable OP3, then, if nothing else, he would be able for the next year to moan on about how OP3's numbers are rubbish in comparison to his blueberry stats, and that might be a fun thing. Blueberry just released a bunch of new stats. They've copied Buzzsprout in releasing monthly stats. What was very strange is that, unlike Buzzsprout or Libsyn, spotify achieved less than 2% of all downloads on the Blueberry platform and isn't even listed in the top podcast apps. Really strange. You'll find that linked from Pod News on Wednesday. And still more stats 10,000 stats from Music Mama, true fans yes, that's all it says yes, that's Julie Costello.

Sam Sethi:

She was pushing me to change the name because music people didn't like the word pod fans. So yes, true.

James Cridland:

Yes, there you go, Another row of ducks from the OLD podcast, the Optimum Living Daily Podcast Network. Thank you for the mention in Pod News today, james, wishing you a happy holiday season and new year. This is not me bribing you for more mentions. Well, it succeeded anyway, justin. Thank you for that, and the prize for the lowest amount of stats that we have ever been sent goes to Oscar Meri from Fountain, who managed to send us three little lightning bolts as a message with one sat. I mean, you know that's not even trying, is it really?

Sam Sethi:

That's hopefully him slipping on the keyboard, and then he's about to send us a million stats later. You know he was just short of six zeros. That's all it was by Oscar. It'll be coming. I feel it in my bones.

James Cridland:

Yeah Well, oscar, you get an ironic one of these If you get value from what we do. The Pod News Weekly Review is separate from Pod News. Sam and I share everything from it and we really appreciate your support so that Sam can afford to fly to Los Angeles. So you can become a power supporter at weeklypodnewsnet and support us with your credit card Thank you to those that do that every single week or you can support us with Sats by hitting the boost button in your podcast app. Podnewsnet slash new podcast apps will help you find a new app and frankly, I should be calling it podnewsnet slash modern podcast apps, which apparently is the new thing. Oh, is it? So? There we are. Modernpodcastappscom is where you'll also find that information. So what's happened for?

Sam Sethi:

you this week, Sam. Sadly it's my father-in-law's funeral. So, yes, that's what has happened this week. That's basically it. Let's move on, James. So what's happened for you?

James Cridland:

Well, I spent the last couple of weeks going to Iceland and the UK. I did notice loads of podcasts being advertised across London. It's very good if you happen to own basically all of the billboards and you also run all of the podcasts, so Global doing a fantastic job there, although I did see a BBC podcast being advertised as well. So exciting. It excited the dog as well, so that was good. One weird thing about Iceland and I was completely unaware of this is that during the New Year's Eve celebrations, everybody goes absolutely mad in the centre of Reykjavik, sets off fireworks all over the place, but then there's this silence between about 10.30 and 11 at night, complete silence, as everybody literally everybody in Iceland watches a TV show. That is a very famous TV show. It's a satirical comedy. It looks back at the year in Iceland, whatever's happened in the year in Iceland, and literally everybody watches it. It gets a 90% share and no fireworks go off. So there's this eerie silence for half an hour while all of the Icelanders are watching this TV show and then, as soon as the TV show finishes, bang, all the fireworks go off again. Very, very strange thing. Live broadcasting, alive and well. Yeah, so that was fascinating to end up watching.

Sam Sethi:

I used to have that happen to me. So I used to live in Denmark, in Albor, and in the time I lived there, this is the 80s, and they only had the news and then, unbelievably, james, an episode of Monty Python. So it was six o'clock news, then one episode of Monty Python. The TV would then go off. So there was no TV either side of this. It would just come on for the news. One episode of Monty Python then go off. So what would happen was everyone would go and watch that and then, as soon as that had finished, everyone would go back onto the street again and go to the ice cream parlour to go and play tennis. It was very weird, nice yes.

James Cridland:

Well, there you go, stories from Denmark and from Iceland. Who would have thought it? And that's it for this week. Thank you so much to Kevin Smith from Snip'd, and you can also listen to the Pod News daily and subscribe to the Pod News newsletter. For all of these stories and much, much more, you'll find that at podnewsnet.

Sam Sethi:

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

Speaker 2:

Get updated every day. Subscribe to our newsletter at podnewsnet Tell your friends and grow the show. And support us. And support us, the Pod News. Weekly Review will return next week. Keep listening.

James Cridland:

This is our new. Our new New Year's resolution of doing a nice short show. Sorry about that.

Sam Sethi:

Clearly. Well, no, actually, let's be fair, that was three weeks worth of news, right? Yes, that was fundamentally the reason.

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