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episode 40: Unraveling a Podcast Mystery in Lake Stevens, Washington + What Happened To Apple Podcasts? [transcript]


In this episode, we investigate why so many podcasters are seeing downloads from Lake Stevens, discuss the sudden drop in downloads from Apple Podcasts, and answer listener questions from the Buzzsprout Facebook group.

Links from this episode:

  • Reply All Podcast - Episode #53 In The Desert
  • Buzzsprout Platform Stats for November 2020
  • Buzzsprout Blog - Podcasting Terms and Definitions
  • Buzzsprout Blog - How to Get the Best Sounding Audio for Your Podcast
  • Learn more about Magic Mastering


Check out our new Buzzsprout merch store on Cotton Bureau.

Subscribe to the Buzzsprout YouTube channel to watch gear reviews, software tutorials, and podcast strategy videos.

Review Buzzcast in Podchaser to let us know what you think of the show.

Buzzsprout's Dynamic Content tool now allows you to save multiple clips in your Dynamic Content Library and track how many downloads each clip receives. Learn more on our New Features page.


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 2020-12-04  40m
 
 
00:00  Kevin
I mean, if you want to
00:00
test it out next time you get on
00:01
a plane, whoever you're sitting
00:01
next to ask them what they're
00:04
listening to, as soon as they
00:04
put their earbuds in. And then
00:07
like every five minutes, ask
00:07
them what they're listening to.
00:12
And then when they get off the
00:12
plane, follow them, and keep
00:15
asking them what they're
00:15
listening to. And when every
00:17
time look at their phone and
00:17
say, Well, what website are you
00:18
going to? And then if they get
00:18
an Uber say, hey, do you mind if
00:21
I hop in your Uber with your
00:21
share nuber and then keep asking
00:24
them what they're listening to
00:24
what they're doing on their
00:26
phone, and keep writing it down.
00:26
Or you go I think we've
00:34
discovered the number one city
00:34
for podcasting in the world.
00:40
Lake Stevens, Washington, was
00:40
brought to our attention by
00:44
someone in our Facebook group.
00:44
And they asked the question, why
00:51
do I have so many downloads from
00:51
Lake Stevens, Washington, my
00:53
podcast and started people
00:53
started checking their stats,
00:56
and everyone is getting lots of
00:56
downloads from like Stephens
00:59
pug, or like Stephens,
00:59
Washington for their podcast.
01:02
And the question is, is this a
01:02
huge town? Is this a town where
01:06
people are just all they're
01:06
doing is going to coffee shops
01:09
and listening to podcasts?
01:09
What's happening in Lake
01:11
Stevens? And I feel like we need
01:11
to take a trip out there and
01:15
investigate.
01:16  Alban
Okay, so it's definitely
01:16
not the population. I had to
01:20
look this up Lake Stevens,
01:20
population spiked in the 2000s
01:24
to 21,000 people, and has since
01:24
then grown to 33,000. We're
01:30
looking at 33,000 people live in
01:30
Lake Stevens, Washington. And
01:35
yet somehow, they account for
01:35
something like 3% of podcast
01:40
place. And we're seeing that
01:40
across all these podcasts. I
01:44
mean, somebody posted, hey, this
01:44
is kind of weird that I'm
01:47
getting a few downloads here.
01:47
And is this thread the Facebook
01:51
group? It's like 100 comments of
01:51
people chiming in with their own
01:55
stats where this small town is
01:55
super over represented.
02:00  Travis
Yes. And Buzzcast is no
02:00
exception. So I was curious, how
02:05
affected we were, by this deep,
02:05
vast semi government conspiracy
02:12
to listen to everyone's
02:12
podcasts, and Lake Stevens,
02:15
Washington is the number three
02:15
city for Buzzcast over the last
02:18
five episodes. So you have
02:18
Atlanta, which you know, it's
02:21
big city, you got Jacksonville.
02:21
So all of us and our spouses and
02:26
friends that listen to us talk
02:26
and then like Stevens is right
02:29
there underneath that.
02:30  Alban
Atlanta in Jacksonville
02:30
make perfect sense. We live
02:33
close to Atlanta. Buzzsprout is
02:33
based in Jacksonville. And we
02:37
know a lot of podcasters here,
02:37
so that makes sense. That's
02:40
number two. Okay, so what what
02:40
is this? There's, there's a
02:43
bunch of comments in here. And I
02:43
think the reason this thread
02:47
stuck out to me is because it's
02:47
hilarious. There's, you know,
02:51
people are going out some
02:51
conspiracy theories. There's
02:54
armies of people listening to
02:54
podcast, 24, seven under Lake
02:58
Stevens. I don't know if there
02:58
even is a lake there. But
03:01  Travis
there isn't like there.
03:01
I did check.
03:03  Kevin
Why would they be under?
03:03
It's so much easier to be on top
03:05
of
03:06  Alban
it. It's a conspiracy
03:06
theory. It doesn't. It has to
03:09
feel true. It doesn't have to be
03:09
true.
03:12  Travis
Where else are you gonna
03:12
hide that many podcast
03:13
listeners, Kevin?
03:14  Kevin
I think I have to hide
03:14
them. There's nothing illegal
03:17
about listening to podcasts.
03:17
There's air pod on a pontoon
03:22
boat and listen than it is to
03:22
get in the submarine. Okay, so
03:26  Alban
we've got some theories.
03:26
I think we've got to figure it
03:29
out. So what could this be?
03:30  Travis
So my favorite theory is
03:30
that there is an army of podcast
03:34
listening robots that are trying
03:34
to find surface popular podcasts
03:41
for the future social media
03:41
podcast listening Mecca
03:46
platform, that the giant that
03:46
Facebook and Instagram and tik
03:51
tok will collaborate on.
03:52  Alban
I've got a theory, there
03:52
was actually a reply all about
03:55
this. He has listened to a file.
03:55
Yeah. There's a episode recently
03:59
about a family that bought a
03:59
house that like every month,
04:03
people show up, and they're
04:03
like, Hey, is my phone at your
04:06
house? Like I lost my phone and
04:06
the doc says it's at your house?
04:10
Yeah, it's actually a really
04:10
good episode, they end up
04:13
finding out, it's all these IP
04:13
addresses that were not actually
04:17
assigned to the correct
04:17
location. They're all just kind
04:21
of assigned down the road
04:21
somewhere. And so because of
04:25
that, all the GPS lookups are
04:25
kind of messing up. And they're
04:29
just kind of saying, Hey, we
04:29
don't know exactly where it is.
04:31
But it's, maybe it's this house
04:31
is doing the best guests it can.
04:36
So is there a chance we're just
04:36
seeing a bunch of Miss assigned
04:40
IP addresses that are showing up
04:40
inside of like Stephens?
04:45  Kevin
Yeah. This that's the
04:45
most plausible explanation. So
04:49
in Lake Stevens, Washington, if
04:49
you do a Google search, you
04:53
search for Lake Stevens,
04:53
Washington data center or AWS,
04:56
you'll find that there are a lot
04:56
of data centers their first one
04:59
right reason or another, I don't
04:59
know all the reasons that go
05:03
into choosing a good location
05:03
for a data center. but
05:05
evidently, that checks a lot of
05:05
boxes. And there are data
05:08
centers there. So I imagine it
05:08
looks like Google has some data
05:12
centers there. Amazon has some
05:12
data centers there. And there's
05:15
a lot of other Colocation Data
05:15
Centers, which are just like
05:18
third party data centers, where
05:18
people who have big computing
05:21
networks put a lot of computers.
05:21
And one of the things that data
05:24
centers do is they get there,
05:24
one of their responsibilities is
05:28
handing out IP addresses to
05:28
local ISP, local internet
05:30
service providers. So if you get
05:30
your IP address from whoever,
05:36
Comcast, or xfinity or
05:36
brighthouse, or spectrum, or
05:39
whoever you get your cable modem
05:39
from, or I don't know what other
05:43
types of internet there is, but
05:43
whoever you get your internet
05:46
from, they're going to assign
05:46
you an IP address, they get
05:48
those IP addresses from other
05:48
places. And the main place that
05:50
they get them is from data
05:50
centers, or like tier one
05:53
internet providers. Once those
05:53
addresses get handed off to
05:57
them, they're supposed to
05:57
register them with IP address
06:00
location databases, so that we
06:00
know that these IP addresses are
06:05
now being handed out in
06:05
Jacksonville, Florida, or
06:08
Atlanta, Georgia, if they don't
06:08
reassign the geolocation of that
06:12
IP address, or there's a delay,
06:12
because we just got a whole new
06:15
block of them and we switched
06:15
everybody out. And there's a
06:18
delay between handing out those
06:18
new IP addresses and updating
06:21
the databases, then what you're
06:21
gonna get is you're gonna get
06:24
the old address, and the old
06:24
address might be the datacenter
06:27
address. So Huh, that's the
06:27
theory that makes the most sense
06:31
to me, which is that lake
06:31
Stevens, Washington, for
06:34
whatever reason, is handing out
06:34
a bunch of IP addresses. And
06:37
there's some lag or delay or
06:37
negligence on behalf of the ISP
06:42
and updating the location of
06:42
those of those IP addresses as
06:45
they're distributing them to all
06:45
of their customers.
06:48  Alban
So this theory,
06:48
originally came from Ashley
06:51
Hackett and the thread who said,
06:51
hey, there's an Amazon
06:54
fulfillment center. Wait,
06:54
there's actually an Amazon
06:57
server there. And that that
06:57
sounds pretty plausible. It's
07:03
still kind of crazy, though.
07:03
It's only 30,000 people. And how
07:07
do they have these like, all
07:07
these were houses and they're
07:10
say like, the number one data
07:10
center in the United States is
07:13
in a city of 30,000? People?
07:17  Kevin
I don't know which
07:17
question they answer your
07:19
question about how many people
07:19
does it take to run a data
07:21
center? I don't know. But
07:21
probably not that many good is
07:25
good. A town of 30?
07:27  Alban
Why are you
07:27
got you the question?
07:30  Kevin
That was a weird off the
07:30
wall question. Yes, I think the
07:33
town of 30,000 could support a
07:33
data center. And I think it'd be
07:36
really glad to have it. You
07:36
don't need a lot of people to
07:38
run a data center, they just
07:38
need to keep the power on the AC
07:41
running. Here's the other thing
07:41
that I discovered in my
07:43
investigation is that this seems
07:43
to be a pretty recent anomaly
07:46
that we're finding, like if we
07:46
go and look at all of our
07:49
episodes, like Stephens
07:49
Washington is very low on our
07:51
list. But if we look at like our
07:51
last five episodes, like
07:54
Stephens pops up to number
07:54
three. And so what I think
07:56
happened is that one of the data
07:56
centers and like Stephens
08:00
recently assign, like, gave out
08:00
a whole bunch of IP addresses
08:03
all over the United States, or
08:03
potentially the world. And the,
08:08
the geo lookups on those IP
08:08
addresses haven't updated the
08:10
databases yet. So they're all
08:10
still registers like Stephens.
08:13
But I think over the next weeks
08:13
or months, they're going to
08:16
start to fall into the correct
08:16
cities.
08:18  Travis
And that does make sense
08:18
because Tom made sure that they
08:22
like actually dug into the our
08:22
stats platform to make sure that
08:25
they were legitimate. And these
08:25
are all legitimate podcast
08:29
episode downloads, right. So
08:29
it's not a bot spoofing
08:33
something and fooling us into,
08:33
you know, showing a bunch of
08:36
downloads that didn't actually
08:36
exist. These are real people.
08:38
They just happened to be pulling
08:38
the download into a device that
08:44
has an IP address without a
08:44
location attached to it. So it's
08:47
defaulting to an updated
08:47
location. Right. Yeah. The the
08:50
factory setting, right, the,
08:50
whatever the original IP address
08:54
came from.
08:55  Kevin
Yeah, that's close
08:55
enough. What's happening? Close
09:00
enough summer.
09:01  Alban
Well, I guess that makes
09:01
sense. I'm actually I want to
09:04
hear this though. Is there
09:04
actually somebody there? Like, I
09:09
know there's 30,000 people but
09:09
like, do we actually have
09:12
listeners in Lake Stevens? If
09:12
you are a listener in Lake
09:15
Stevens, we want to hear from
09:15
you. And we need boots on the
09:20
ground to figure out this
09:20
conspiracy. Kevin has an idea.
09:22
He thinks it's this data center
09:22
thing. Who knows? I think there
09:25
could still be a conspiracy.
09:28  Kevin
That's totally fine.
09:28
You're from Lake Stevens,
09:30
Washington. And you drop us an
09:30
email at support@buzzsprout.com
09:34
and you have a shipping address.
09:34
That is Lake Stevens Washington,
09:37
we will ship you some Buzzsprout
09:37
swag.
09:39  Alban
Wow. That's actually
09:39
that's a pretty good way of
09:42
getting this data and then you
09:42
will be our boots on the ground
09:45
as we investigate this
09:45
Buzzsprout is now could actually
09:47
have an investigative
09:47
journalism. Our
09:50  Kevin
of the show you live in
09:50
next episode as you walk around
09:52
and talk to people about all the
09:52
podcasts they listen to. I mean,
09:55  Travis
I've been saying for
09:55
months, we need to start a
09:57
Buzzsprout True Crime podcast.
09:57
This could be This could be our
10:01
entry point, guys.
10:05  Alban
This kind of goes back to
10:05
one of our listener questions
10:07
this week, Georgie asked, How do
10:07
you know who your listeners are?
10:10
And specifically, if you wanted
10:10
to reach a person to input from
10:15
them? How could he actually
10:15
reach them? So I've got, we've
10:20
got two answers, one of them is
10:20
the marketing, the sleazy
10:25
marketing answer that I can give
10:25
you. And the and then we can
10:28
give you like the ethical
10:28
Buzzsprout answer, the sleazy
10:32
marketing answer is something we
10:32
don't do. But there's services
10:36
out there, like clearbit, I
10:36
think is probably the number one
10:39
in the world that basically
10:39
collect all this data about
10:43
people. And then you will feed
10:43
them the data that you know,
10:47
like, Hey, I know this email
10:47
address, or I know this IP
10:50
address, I know this info. And
10:50
then they connect it with the
10:54
larger profile that they have.
10:54
So I'm sure clear bit right now
11:00
is kind of they understand this
11:00
whole lake Stevens conspiracy
11:03
thing better than anyone else,
11:03
because they see all of their,
11:06
they're actually saying, Oh, we
11:06
know the person isn't in that
11:08
location. And yet, that's where
11:08
their IP addresses. That's
11:12
actually one of the reasons we
11:12
we would never use clear bit and
11:14
why we don't Buzzsprout show
11:14
things like gender, or age,
11:20
because to get that data, you
11:20
pretty much have to hook up with
11:23
one of these companies that does
11:23
kind of all this creepy building
11:26
profiles on people. So if you
11:26
ever get a host that gives you
11:30
that info, that's how they're
11:30
doing it, what's the ethical
11:34
answer,
11:34  Kevin
the ethical answer is to
11:34
talk to your audience on your
11:38
podcast, and ask them to connect
11:38
with you in one way or another.
11:41
So go to your website, fill out
11:41
my contact form, you can set up
11:45
a speakpipe page where they can
11:45
leave you a voicemail, you give
11:49
them your contact information to
11:49
find you on social networks,
11:51
what whichever ones you're on.
11:51
And Twitter is a very popular
11:54
one you can find me at Twitter
11:54
at and you give them your
11:56
handle. And so that's a that's
11:56
the easiest way. And then you
12:00
can get more complicated if you
12:00
want. So like, you can start
12:02
collecting email addresses on
12:02
your website, or through what
12:07
other ways are there I don't
12:07
know, I guess websites the main
12:09
way to collect email addresses.
12:09
But yeah, collect email
12:11
addresses, start sending out an
12:11
email every time you launch an
12:13
episode. Or if you have
12:13
questions for your audience, put
12:16
a questionnaire together and
12:16
link to it from an email that
12:19
you send them. So there's very
12:19
easy ways to connect with your
12:22
audience. But it usually
12:22
involves like the ethical way
12:25
involves asking them if they
12:25
would like to connect with you
12:28
and then giving them
12:28
opportunities to opt into that,
12:30
to choose to connect with you,
12:30
as opposed to you being a
12:34
sleuth, or hooking up with a
12:34
personal information company and
12:37
trying to find out information
12:37
about them that they didn't
12:39
necessarily want to share.
12:39
That's we don't really recommend
12:42
that we recommend inviting your
12:42
audience to connect with you if
12:44
they choose to,
12:45  Travis
or driving to like
12:45
Stevenson and knocking on their
12:47
door and saying, hey, you
12:47
listen, my podcast.
12:50  Kevin
Demons are where most of
12:50
them are Anyway,
12:52  Alban
what podcasts are you
12:52
listening to? It's very
12:57
interesting to me how we've
12:57
gotten into this world where
13:00
there are certain things that
13:00
are acceptable online, that are
13:03
totally unacceptable in real
13:03
life. I mean, just imagine, if
13:08
you pulled this clear bit stuff
13:08
in real life you like, we're
13:12
driving down the road, and like,
13:12
you saw somebody, and he took a
13:17
picture of them, and you
13:17
uploaded it to a website, and
13:21
learned everything about them
13:21
their address, their phone
13:24
numbers, their emails, and then
13:24
you went up to them and said,
13:27
like, Hey, I know you're, you
13:27
know, you have this medical
13:32
condition, like when you want to
13:32
buy this medicine from me. And
13:35
like, they'd be like, wow,
13:35
you're an insane person. Like,
13:38
that's totally inappropriate.
13:38
And yet online. This is like
13:42
totally fair game, you get one
13:42
little piece of info about
13:45
someone and then it's like, oh,
13:45
yeah, just connect it up with
13:48
their profiles. And go ahead and
13:48
try to sell them whatever, you
13:53
know, junk you have.
13:54  Kevin
Yeah, I mean, if you want
13:54
to test it out, next time you
13:56
get on the plane, whoever you're
13:56
sitting next to ask them what
13:59
they're listening to, as soon as
13:59
they put their earbuds in. And
14:02
then like every five minutes,
14:02
ask them what they're listening
14:04
to. And like, start reading. And
14:04
then when they get off the
14:08
plane, follow them, and keep
14:08
asking them what they're
14:11
listening to. And when every
14:11
time look at their phone, say
14:13
well, what website are you going
14:13
to? And then if they get an Uber
14:16
say, do you mind if I hop in
14:16
your Uber with your share nuber
14:18
and then keep asking them what
14:18
they're listening to what
14:20
they're doing on their phone,
14:20
and keep writing it down.
14:26  Travis
If you ever wondered
14:26
what pepper spray felt like, you
14:28
will probably find
14:30
that flavor.
14:34
So in the last episode, we
14:34
talked about our new global
14:39
stats dashboard. So when you log
14:39
into Buzzsprout and you go to
14:43
your stats, you can see your
14:43
downloads, you can see where in
14:46
Lake Stevens people download
14:46
your podcast. You can see trends
14:50
and stuff like that. Well now we
14:50
pull all that information from
14:53
all of our Buzzsprout podcast
14:53
and show it across the entire
14:57
platform. So you can see as a
14:57
snapshot month over month, how
15:01
podcasting on Buzzsprout is
15:01
growing, the apps that are
15:05
moving up and down the charts,
15:05
you can see the number of
15:09
episode downloads, you would
15:09
need to get into certain ranges
15:12
of podcasts like top 50%, top
15:12
25%, stuff like that. And so
15:17
being December 4, when you hear
15:17
this podcast, we now have the
15:20
November stats up. So just
15:20
wanted to go through some things
15:24
that you'll notice that are
15:24
different than October. And, you
15:27
know, we'll just kind of see how
15:27
these different apps are sorting
15:31
themselves out. I mean,
15:32  Alban
there's one massive
15:32
difference that stuck out to me,
15:35
the day that I looked at the
15:35
stats and that Apple podcast
15:40
percent dropped. So in in
15:40
October, we were saying Apple
15:45
podcasts makes up 47% of all
15:45
plays for Buzzsprout. And then
15:52
we actually ended up saying, oh,
15:52
a November it's only 32%. So
15:56
they dropped 15%, which was 10
15:56
million place. Yeah, that that
16:02
really jumps out to me is enough
16:02
that I wrote Tom and was like,
16:06
Hey, I think there's a bug
16:06
because there's no way that's
16:08
true. What What happened there?
16:11  Kevin
So point of clarity, when
16:11
Alvin says plays, he means
16:14
downloads? And that's a question
16:14
that we get, oftentimes, too,
16:18
and we don't have to go super
16:18
deep on it. But we do use those
16:21
terms interchangeably.
16:21
Sometimes, although they could
16:24
mean something different to you.
16:24
And so to a lot of people ask,
16:29
like, How do I know, if somebody
16:29
actually listened, we don't
16:33
actually provide that data at
16:33
Buzzsprout. To get that data,
16:36
you need to log in to your Apple
16:36
podcast Connect account, or your
16:39
Spotify account or your Google
16:39
dashboard thing, Google podcast
16:43
dashboard. When we talk about
16:43
downloads, we mean downloads.
16:47
And sometimes we say listens
16:47
replays, but it's all downloads
16:50
to us. Because that's the data
16:50
that we get. We know, when
16:53
someone requests your episode
16:53
from our server, and pulls it
16:56
off. We don't know if they're
16:56
streaming it live, and listening
16:59
to it as it's downloading, or if
16:59
they're downloading it to us and
17:01
later, and if they do download
17:01
to listen to it later. We don't
17:04
know if they actually ever
17:04
listened to it. So for the
17:07
purposes of this conversation,
17:07
let's just say we're going to
17:09
talk about downloads. And if we
17:09
accidentally say player listens,
17:12
just know that we mean
17:12
downloads. So the numbers
17:15
dropped significantly for Apple
17:15
podcasts in November, when we
17:20
ran our November numbers, and
17:20
the reason for that is that we
17:24
have decided to change what
17:24
we're considering Apple
17:27
podcasts. So when it when an
17:27
application, whether it be a
17:31
desktop application, or a mobile
17:31
application, or anything
17:33
requests an episode from our
17:33
server, it tells us a little bit
17:36
about itself. And Apple podcasts
17:36
does a really good job of
17:40
identifying itself very clearly.
17:40
It says, Hey, I'm Apple podcast
17:44
app, I'm running on an iPhone.
17:44
This is the version of the
17:46
iPhone that I'm running on. This
17:46
is the version of Apple podcast
17:49
app that I am. And I would like
17:49
this episode. So we know very
17:52
clearly that that is Apple
17:52
podcasts. Now there's a bunch of
17:55
other apps that also request
17:55
episodes from the servers that
17:59
look a little bit like Apple
17:59
podcasts. But they're not
18:02
clearly saying that they are
18:02
Apple podcasts. So they'll say,
18:06
hey, this request is coming from
18:06
someone on an iPhone. And we're
18:09
going to use apple core media to
18:09
make this request, which is an
18:12
API that's built into iOS. And
18:12
so that all that stuff looks
18:17
very much like a typical typical
18:17
Apple podcast request, except it
18:21
doesn't say, I'm specifically
18:21
Apple podcasts. And so up until
18:26
November of this year, we said,
18:26
Gosh, that looks so much like
18:29
Apple podcast, it's almost
18:29
identical, that we're just going
18:32
to go ahead and call it Apple
18:32
Apple podcasts. But the more we
18:36
looked into it, we're like, why
18:36
would somebody have an app that
18:39
almost looks like Apple
18:39
podcasts, but is not Apple
18:41
podcasts? It must be something
18:41
else. And so doing some
18:46
investigation and looking at we
18:46
decided we're not going to call
18:49
it Apple podcasts anymore,
18:49
unless it's clearly 100% saying
18:53
it's Apple podcasts. And when we
18:53
made that change, the numbers
18:57
dropped significantly.
18:58  Alban
These are still downloads
18:58
that are happening on iPhones,
19:02
or iPads, some device, but we
19:02
don't know exactly which app
19:06
they are. It's using kind of the
19:06
underlying infrastructure that
19:10
is in the software.
19:12  Kevin
Right. So if you scroll
19:12
down the list of apps, you'll
19:16
see other applications that we
19:16
know are iOS only Apple only,
19:20
like overcast. That isn't an app
19:20
that runs on iPhones and I don't
19:25
even know if have an iPad
19:25
version but we know it's Apple
19:27
only. And you cannot be running
19:27
on the Android device. You
19:31
cannot be running that on the
19:31
desktop computer. Again, unless
19:34
you're like hacking it to pieces
19:34
or running it through an
19:36
emulator or something. So that
19:36
is always coming through and
19:39
it's it's identifying itself
19:39
very much like Apple podcasts,
19:42
but the difference is is that it
19:42
says this is overcast, and I am
19:46
coming from an iPhone and I am
19:46
using apple core media and all
19:49
this other stuff. So if there's
19:49
like 10 criteria, nine of them
19:52
are identical to Apple podcasts,
19:52
but one is different. And that's
19:55
the name of the app. Apple
19:55
podcast is on Apple podcasts and
19:58
overcast is on overcast there.
19:58
Some where if there's 10,
20:01
checkboxes, if they check nine,
20:01
and then the 10th, one is blank.
20:04
And so we have been wrapping
20:04
them into Apple podcasts and
20:07
just saying that's our best
20:07
guess it looks a lot like Apple
20:09
podcasts. But the reality is,
20:09
it's probably not, you know, and
20:14
so that was, it's been a tough
20:14
decision for us to make. But if
20:17
we really want to dig into
20:17
accurate stats, and try to be as
20:20
accurate as possible, every play
20:20
that we've ever seen from Apple
20:23
podcasts, oh, we says it's Apple
20:23
podcasts. So these other
20:26
providers who are putting out
20:26
numbers, and they're saying that
20:29
Apple is still doing 50 plus
20:29
percent of total downloads, I
20:33
don't, that's not the data that
20:33
we see. Right. And so, I mean,
20:36
we're not trying to blow the lid
20:36
off of, you know, uncover a
20:39
story or conspiracy to make
20:39
apple look bigger,
20:42  Alban
or conspiracy or
20:42
whatever.
20:44  Kevin
We're not trying to do
20:44
that we're just trying to
20:46
present the the most accurate
20:46
picture that we can based on the
20:50
information that we have. And so
20:50
what we're seeing across the
20:53
Buzzsprout network, is that it's
20:53
really not in the high 30s, or
20:58
40s. It's really like the low
20:58
30s of requests that we are
21:01
getting, specifically from apps
21:01
that identify themselves as
21:05
Apple podcasts, well,
21:06  Alban
we'll definitely keep you
21:06
updated. You know, this whole
21:09
project of putting out these
21:09
global stats is our way of
21:12
trying to be transparent and
21:12
say, here's how we see the
21:15
statistics changing and trying
21:15
to talk through, you know, the
21:20
complexities of it, I saw one
21:20
person with the, you know, when
21:25
they saw the lake Stevens stuff,
21:25
they said, Well, you know, this
21:27
makes a little bit harder to
21:27
trust my stats, and I totally
21:31
sympathize with that. Because we
21:31
feel that way sometimes do you
21:35
know, we're constantly testing
21:35
and trying to figure out why do
21:40
these IP addresses look weird?
21:40
Why are these user agents, not
21:44
what we'd expect with these
21:44
device types, and we're trying
21:48
to get all that together to give
21:48
the most accurate data possible.
21:51
And what that sometimes will
21:51
mean, is taking a turn, when we
21:57
go, Hey, you know, now that
21:57
we've got a more clear picture,
22:02
this doesn't look like Apple
22:02
podcasts easy answer would have
22:04
been just to delete the October
22:04
page and pretend like that never
22:07
happened. Though, we want to be
22:07
transparent and say, This is
22:12
actually a pretty big shift in
22:12
our mindset. I mean, I until a
22:17
few days ago was thinking, Apple
22:17
podcast is still near half of
22:22
downloads, it's 47%. And now I'm
22:22
looking at it going, Wow, Apple
22:26
puck is closer to a third, when
22:26
Spotify is a quarter. Spotify is
22:31
actually very close to Apple,
22:31
especially when Joe Rogan just
22:36
went exclusive to Spotify. I
22:36
mean, next year, the year after,
22:39
I would not be surprised to
22:39
Spotify called Apple podcasts,
22:42
especially when I'm seeing data
22:42
like this.
22:45  Kevin
Yeah, I think what I
22:45
would ask people to trust is
22:49
that if you're a Buzzsprout,
22:49
customer trust that we are doing
22:53
our best to give you the most
22:53
accurate information possible.
22:56
And if we get to the point ever,
22:56
where we say, Hey, this is a
22:59
more accurate way than the way
22:59
we're doing it before, then
23:01
we're going to make that change.
23:01
Like regardless of what it does
23:04
to the numbers of regardless of
23:04
of how that looks, we're going
23:08
to always err on the side of
23:08
being the most accurate that we
23:11
can. Yeah. Now that said, we
23:11
don't have all the information
23:16
that we would like we would love
23:16
for every time somebody
23:19
downloads something from a
23:19
Buzzsprout server for them to
23:21
properly identify themselves and
23:21
tell us, this is the app. And
23:24
this is the version and this is
23:24
the iOS, and this is the correct
23:27
location, and all of that kind
23:27
of stuff. But we can't make this
23:29
stuff up, we have to just take
23:29
what we get. And then try to
23:33
decipher it as best we can. And
23:33
we have some very smart people
23:36
who are working on that and work
23:36
on all the time and consult with
23:39
other people in the industry who
23:39
are also working on the same
23:41
things and trying to solve the
23:41
same problems, and so on. This
23:45
is why we say when you look at
23:45
podcasts, that's it's part
23:48
science, and it's part art. And
23:48
anybody who says it's all
23:51
science, and the numbers should
23:51
match up exactly regardless of
23:54
who you host with. Well, that's
23:54
that's just disingenuous. In a
23:57
perfect world, it would be all
23:57
science, but it's not a perfect
24:00
world. And app developers can do
24:00
whatever they want and send
24:02
whatever they want. And then we
24:02
have to do our best to interpret
24:05
the data that we get. And we try
24:05
to be transparent with that. And
24:09
so look at your stats and enjoy
24:09
them from what they are looking
24:13
at them at a macro level, not a
24:13
micro level. If you start seeing
24:16
players show up from a location
24:16
where you didn't know you had
24:19
any listeners say, hey, maybe
24:19
I'm growing a fan base there.
24:22
But also remember that I might
24:22
not be maybe the location data
24:26
is outdated. So I'm gonna watch
24:26
it for a couple months and see
24:28
how that changes. And if you're
24:28
Apple podcasts play start to
24:31
drop down. Well, maybe that's
24:31
because we're doing a better job
24:34
of clearly identifying who is
24:34
Apple podcasts and who is not.
24:37
And it doesn't mean that your
24:37
podcast is failing or that you
24:40
need to make changes to your
24:40
content, it just might mean that
24:42
we're getting better information
24:42
or we might be getting worse
24:45
information. And again, that's
24:45
the art part and and trust that
24:49
we're doing our best to support
24:49
our customers and give you the
24:51
best information that we can.
24:51
Anytime there's an update, we're
24:54
always erring on the side of
24:54
accuracy and the best interest
24:58
of our customers.
25:02  Travis
So some other questions
25:02
that we got in the Facebook
25:04
group this week. One of them is
25:04
from john Cal, who said,
25:10
essentially, when should you
25:10
monetize? I've seen a lot about
25:13
how to monetize a podcast, but
25:13
not the when some podcasters
25:17
seem to start right away with
25:17
Patreon, etc. Other say it's
25:20
best to wait until you become
25:20
more well known. What What
25:23
should you do? So, and I think
25:23
this is actually a really
25:26
important question, you know,
25:26
because the how the strategy
25:29
The, the the actual doing of the
25:29
monetization, that's certainly
25:33
one thing. And we do talk a lot
25:33
about that. But the one question
25:37
is also really fascinating. What
25:37
do you guys think about? Is
25:40
there like a magic moment where
25:40
it's like, you've crossed this
25:44
threshold? And now is the time
25:44
to start monetizing? Or how do
25:47
you think about it?
25:49  Kevin
I think podcasts are I
25:49
mean, they're your thing. So
25:51
it's whenever you're comfortable
25:51
whenever you want to do it. I
25:54
don't see anything wrong with
25:54
launching your podcast and
25:57
asking people to support you
25:57
right away, which whichever way
26:00
you want that to happen. You
26:00
know, it could be, you know,
26:03
support me by just sending me
26:03
feedback on this episode. What
26:06
did you like? What did you not
26:06
like? How did I sound you want
26:08
me to have more get like, help
26:08
me with the format of the show,
26:10
just drop me an email or go to
26:10
my website or do something like
26:12
that, that's supporting your
26:12
show. And again, you can take
26:16
that further, you can say,
26:16
support me with money, if you if
26:19
you can. And there's some great
26:19
links in Buzzsprout. Linking out
26:22
to different ways to do that,
26:22
you know, there's PayPal and buy
26:24
me coffee, and Patreon and
26:24
everybody else and they all have
26:27
their own way of making money
26:27
off of people who send you
26:29
money. So research them and
26:29
figure out which one's going to
26:32
work best for you. As far as
26:32
when you like, want to start
26:36
trying to do affiliate
26:36
marketing, or sponsors, again,
26:39
totally up to you your choice,
26:39
there's not a magic number in
26:42
terms of I have to have this
26:42
many downloads per episode
26:44
before that is, it can work?
26:44
Well, let me say it this way
26:49
there is in terms of your
26:49
property, if you want to start
26:51
approaching sponsors who are
26:51
going to pay you up front. But
26:54
for affiliate marketing, there's
26:54
not, you can start anywhere. And
26:57
I always encourage everyone to
26:57
do that to start with affiliate
26:59
marketing, because here's the
26:59
thing, if you're not successful
27:02
in affiliate marketing, then
27:02
you're not going to feel good
27:04
about selling sponsorships.
27:04
Because this we hear this often
27:08
is that somebody has a podcast
27:08
and they're doing affiliate
27:10
marketing. And they're saying,
27:10
but I'm not making any revenue
27:13
from my affiliate stuff, well,
27:13
then you have to try either
27:16
different product, or you have
27:16
to try talking about it in a
27:18
different way, or talking about
27:18
a different location in your
27:21
show, maybe you've been doing it
27:21
as a pre roll, and maybe it
27:23
should be a mid roll. Or maybe
27:23
it should be a post roll. Or
27:24
maybe it should be all three,
27:24
maybe it shouldn't be as much of
27:27
an ad should be more
27:27
testimonial. So try to find a
27:31
product that you actually
27:31
personally use and love and can
27:33
talk about authentically. But
27:33
you have to experiment with that
27:38
and figure out how to make money
27:38
on affiliate marketing before
27:41
you can go sell a sponsorship.
27:41
Because if somebody buys a
27:43
sponsorship with you, like it
27:43
Buzzsprout bought a sponsorship
27:46
on your podcast, and we paid you
27:46
$500 and you're going to talk
27:48
about us, we're going to figure
27:48
out what the return on that was,
27:52
we're going to say okay, well,
27:52
we need this many customers from
27:54
that buy in order to buy again.
27:54
And if we don't get that, then
27:58
you know, that's just a one and
27:58
done deal for us. And any
28:00
company is going to look at it
28:00
the same way. anytime they buy
28:02
an ad or sponsorship, they want
28:02
to see return on it, obviously,
28:06
So figure out how to do
28:06
effective sponsorships how to
28:09
provide value with affiliate
28:09
marketing, affiliate marketing
28:12
is you as the podcasters. taking
28:12
the risk, I'm not getting paid
28:15
anything for this upfront, I'm
28:15
going to go ahead and talk about
28:17
this product that I love. And
28:17
I'm going to try to get some
28:19
people from my audience to love
28:19
it as well and make a few
28:22
purchases. And when they do, I'm
28:22
going to get a small commission.
28:23
Once I'm doing that, well. Now I
28:23
have the confidence to go out
28:26
and sell a real sponsorship
28:26
because I know I can drive
28:28
value.
28:29  Alban
I think my answer to this
28:29
is I would try to make sure that
28:33
my podcast was monetized from
28:33
the beginning, but maybe not
28:37
through ads, and maybe not
28:37
through listener support. But
28:40
through, I actually have a
28:40
theory of the podcast and like
28:44
why I'm doing it that actually
28:44
is going to provide me the hosts
28:49
some value. So maybe I should
28:49
give some examples. So I'm
28:53
talking about there. If you're
28:53
trying to break into an
28:55
industry, and you're new in the
28:55
industry and you want it you're
28:59
basically networking with your
28:59
podcast here interviewing a lot
29:02
of high level people in your
29:02
industry, that is monetized that
29:06
at least maybe it's not
29:06
monetized is getting money, but
29:09
it's doing something for you the
29:09
host, and it's getting you
29:13
results that will move you
29:13
forward in your career. Or maybe
29:17
you're trying to get some new
29:17
customers. And so the way you
29:21
get customers is by talking
29:21
about your business or at least
29:23
about what your business does.
29:23
That's probably actually pretty
29:26
similar to what we're doing on
29:26
this podcast. We're not selling
29:29
Buzzsprout here, but we are
29:29
talking about the industry. And
29:32
so we're naturally attracting
29:32
people who are interested in the
29:34
industry, and then are kind of
29:34
being exposed to our brand. It'd
29:39
be kind of silly for us to right
29:39
now be running ads in the middle
29:42
of it. Now let's talk about our
29:42
sponsor, you know, and put
29:45
somebody else on here. I really
29:45
like that way that if when
29:48
you're thinking of your podcast,
29:48
kind of looking at what are my
29:51
goals, and a lot of the goals
29:51
are monetized to an extent and
29:57
if it is mana if it is going to
29:57
provide value, then I would
30:02
focus on getting that value out
30:02
of it. If what you really want
30:06
to do is your book podcast, you
30:06
want to be able to interview
30:09
some of your favorite authors.
30:09
Well, maybe you don't have to
30:12
put ads on it until it just is a
30:12
no brainer to start putting ads
30:16
in and make some money. Maybe
30:16
you don't stress yourself out if
30:20
what you're getting is I get to
30:20
have conversations with some of
30:22
my favorite authors. This is
30:22
fantastic.
30:25  Travis
Yeah, that's really good
30:25
feedback. Alvin, I think
30:27
whenever somebody asked me this
30:27
question, or whenever I ask
30:30
other podcasters, how are you
30:30
monetizing? Or what if? What are
30:34
things that you try that have
30:34
worked? And what are the things
30:35
that you try that hasn't worked?
30:35
Some of the common feedback I
30:39
get is that ultimately, the
30:39
success of whatever monetization
30:42
strategy you choose, is highly
30:42
dependent on how off putting it
30:48
is to your listeners. And so so
30:48
this goes back to the reason why
30:53
host read ads are more
30:53
successful, then, dynamically
30:57
inserted ads that Geico records
30:57
and gets to you is because one
31:02
is just like a straight up
31:02
interruption in what you wanted
31:05
to listen to. It's like I did
31:05
not click on your episode to
31:07
listen to GEICO, I clicked on it
31:07
to listen to you. And so you
31:11
reading that same ad on Geico
31:11
his behalf is one step closer to
31:16
the content they were expecting.
31:16
And so the more integrated you
31:18
can make, whatever your strategy
31:18
is, into your podcast, the more
31:22
successful you will be, make
31:22
sure that you choose the
31:25
products that your listeners are
31:25
actually interested in. Make
31:28
sure that the way you deliver
31:28
that monetization strategy
31:31
actually feels like you're
31:31
giving to them, which is why
31:34
affiliate marketing is so
31:34
powerful, because you're like,
31:36
Hey, I use this stuff all the
31:36
time. I love it. And so I
31:39
recommend it to all my friends.
31:39
And I consider you, my friends,
31:42
if you listen to my podcast, so
31:42
I want to recommend it to you.
31:45
And if you use this link, then
31:45
it'll help the podcast. But then
31:48
as far as timing, my stock
31:48
answer is wait six months after
31:50
you launch to start thinking
31:50
about monetization. Because
31:53
there are so many things you're
31:53
trying to figure out when you
31:55
first get started. You know,
31:55
it's like, how do I get my
31:57
artwork? Exactly what I want? Do
31:57
I really have my episode
32:00
structure locked in? Do I have
32:00
interviews scheduled have I
32:03
figured out how to manage my
32:03
editing workflow and all that
32:06
kind of stuff, there are so many
32:06
things that you're trying to
32:07
figure out. Adding monetization
32:07
on top of that is just one more,
32:12
you know, pebble on the pile.
32:12
And so it is helpful to kind of
32:15
figure things out, figure out
32:15
your lane that you want to stick
32:18
with with your podcast and
32:18
really dial that in, and then
32:22
start thinking about different
32:22
monetization strategies.
32:28  Alban
Alright, so we've got
32:28
another question from Jonathan,
32:30
who basically is asking for kind
32:30
of a primer on, you know, all
32:35
these technical terms for new
32:35
podcasters. He's specifically
32:39
asking for us to talk about
32:39
normalization, verse loudness,
32:43
normalization, what is the
32:43
decibel? Why is true peak
32:48
negative one decibels? I
32:48
personally have a question, why
32:50
are decibels, even negative
32:50
numbers? What is compression? We
32:55
have a blog post on point for
32:55
this. But is there any of this
32:58
that you could speak to Travis
32:58
or Kevin? Sure,
33:01  Travis
yeah. And the definitely
33:01
the best thing to do is go and
33:03
read the blog post, because that
33:03
will give you the best answer
33:07
for some of these. And these are
33:07
very nebulous ideas. And so
33:12
even, like, as someone who
33:12
practices these effects and
33:17
editing techniques, it's still
33:17
pretty out there sometimes, just
33:22
on a surface level, there are
33:22
some things that you do during
33:25
editing that are best practices
33:25
to make your podcast sound good.
33:29
I mean, that's, that's just kind
33:29
of the basic answer. So
33:33
normalization, the normalization
33:33
effect, for instance, makes all
33:37
of your audio clips around the
33:37
same volume. So if you have one
33:41
person that's recording quieter
33:41
than another, you apply
33:44
normalization to both of them,
33:44
and you set the the loudest
33:48
part, the true peak at the same
33:48
level, then after you apply that
33:52
effect, they should sound like
33:52
they're at the same volume. And
33:55
so that's just a good practice
33:55
thing to do. When you're editing
33:58
your podcast, compression does
33:58
something similar, it reduces
34:01
the difference between your
34:01
loudest near softest portions to
34:04
make it sound more well rounded,
34:04
more pleasant to listen to, and
34:09
less harsh and jarring. So it's
34:09
just a good thing to apply. And
34:13
for all these things, there's
34:13
not really like hard rules about
34:17
what you have to do or don't
34:17
have to do. So the long answer
34:20
is, go read our blog posts that
34:20
will link in the show notes
34:24
outlining what all these terms
34:24
mean. And then the short answer
34:26
is, luckily for you, you don't
34:26
have to have a PhD in audio
34:29
engineering in order to take
34:29
advantage of these effects to
34:32
make your podcast sound better.
34:33  Alban
Speaking is someone who
34:33
like enjoys technical things and
34:37
is on this podcast and works for
34:37
a podcast company. There's quite
34:42
a few of these that I could not
34:42
answer. And so that's why I'm
34:45
passing it off to Kevin and
34:45
Travis because I'm looking at
34:49
going yeah, until I started
34:49
poking around about it on Korra.
34:54
I really didn't know why
34:54
decibels were negative. And I
34:57
always thought that was
34:57
interesting and I heard all
34:59
these different types of normal
34:59
I think there's an old post on
35:02
the blog as well that Kevin did.
35:02
There was basically just like,
35:06
Hey, here's the seven effects
35:06
you need to know, as a
35:09
podcaster, to make your audio
35:09
sound good. You don't have to go
35:13
figure everything else out.
35:13
There's just, this is a really
35:18
advanced technical field that we
35:18
do not need to all understand.
35:23
If you're doing a podcast, you
35:23
really shouldn't have to get
35:27
into all this. And I'm, I'd be
35:27
pretty surprised if even people
35:30
like Joe Rogan are doing it as
35:30
well. So you don't want to get
35:34
too deep on it. If you want to
35:34
just improve the sound quality.
35:38
That's why we put out magic
35:38
mastering in case you really
35:42
want to take that next level.
35:42
And yet you don't want to get
35:45
super deep on all this techie
35:45
stuff, then you can just turn on
35:49
magic mastering.
35:51  Travis
And then one more
35:51
question, which is related to
35:53
Jonathan's question about
35:53
explaining technical terms with
35:56
editing. Alicia wanted some
35:56
advice on how to edit and or
36:01
equalize multiple recordings. So
36:01
if you have multiple people
36:06
recording for a podcast, you're
36:06
recording at different times,
36:09
and you bring it all into an
36:09
episode. How do you adjust the
36:11
sound levels to make it all?
36:11
Sound like, you know, this makes
36:15
sense. This was all one concise
36:15
episode, right? So
36:19  Kevin
one, one person is not
36:19
super loud, and one person's
36:21
very quiet. Precisely.
36:23  Travis
And so you would do
36:23
normalization, if you're going
36:26
to do it manually, I wouldn't
36:26
really start to go down the EQ
36:30
rabbit hole. I edit podcasts
36:30
literally for a living. And I
36:34
very rarely even dip my toes
36:34
into EQ because there's so many
36:38
ways you can screw it up. My
36:38
suggestion would be if you have
36:41
that problem, use normalization.
36:41
To set your your tracks to all
36:46
be the same volume level, make
36:46
sure that you have loudness
36:51
targeting turned on on your
36:51
final export before you upload
36:54
it to Buzzsprout or use magic
36:54
mastering, which actually takes
36:59
normalization to the next level,
36:59
where it does adaptive leveling.
37:03
So how does the adaptive
37:03
leveling work with magic
37:05
mastering Kevin?
37:06  Kevin
So what adaptive leveling
37:06
does instead of like
37:09
normalization would just take
37:09
the audio overall and adjust the
37:12
whole section of audio that you
37:12
have selected, and adjust it to
37:16
match the true peak settings or
37:16
whatever normalization settings
37:19
that you have adaptive leveling,
37:19
takes it every time, there's a
37:22
significant change in the audio
37:22
so like between one speaker in
37:25
the next or between the speaker
37:25
and background, music or
37:27
anything else, and it takes each
37:27
one of those individual segments
37:30
and adjust them to the target
37:30
settings, which and with magic
37:33
mastering we have pre programmed
37:33
in there. So it's just more
37:36
precise, instead of doing it on
37:36
a large segment of audio or your
37:39
entire episode. It's it's
37:39
cutting it into hundreds or
37:43
thousands of tiny little pieces
37:43
and running it individually.
37:46  Travis
Right, because you could
37:46
have one loud outburst in the
37:49
middle of the episode where you
37:49
like sneeze into the microphone.
37:51
And if you apply normalization,
37:51
it's going to take that one
37:54
spike, and that now becomes your
37:54
truth peak, where the rescue
37:58
episode could be much quieter.
37:58
By contrast, whereas doing the
38:02
adaptive leveling with magic
38:02
mastering would take care of
38:04
that.
38:05  Kevin
And there's there's tons
38:05
of tools that some make that
38:07
easier to do than others. I'm
38:07
not super familiar with
38:11
Audacity. But I know that
38:11
there's lots of tutorials,
38:13
including on the Buzzsprout
38:13
YouTube channel to do
38:16
normalization in Audacity and
38:16
look those up. And then we use
38:19
Hindenburg and Hindenburg makes
38:19
it very easy. They have a
38:21
setting that says like as you
38:21
bring audio into your timeline,
38:24
it can automatically sort of
38:24
normalize it for you. And again,
38:28
you don't want to get into any
38:28
of this stuff, then turn on
38:30
magic mastering and just let it
38:30
happen. Awesome. Well,
38:33  Travis
thank you so much for
38:33
sending us your questions. If
38:35
you're not yet a part of our
38:35
Facebook group. Go ahead and
38:38
join. We're always engaging in
38:38
they're always interacting in
38:40
there and thanks for listening
38:40
and we'll catch you in the next
38:43
one podcasting