Buzzcast is a roundtable discussion about podcasting from the people at Buzzsprout. We'll cover current events and news, podcast strategy, tools we are using, and dip into the Customer Support mailbag to test our podcasting knowledge. If you want to stay up-to-date on what's working in podcasting, Buzzcast is the show for you.


episode 30: Spotify Introduces Podcast Charts + Stitcher Sells For $325 Million [transcript]

In this episode, we'll discuss this week's big acquisition, Spotify's new podcast charts, and the ADA compliance lawsuit filed against Gimlet Media for failing to provide closed captions or transcripts of their podcasts.

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Articles referenced in this episode:

  • SiriusXM to Acquire Podcast Platform Stitcher for up to $325 Million
  • Get discovered with Spotify’s new podcast charts
  • Kahlimah Jones vs Gimlet

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 2020-07-17  40m
00:00  Travis
We have a podcast that we produce for Buzzsprout that consistently is in the apple charts.
00:06  Alban
Wow, brag a lot. I'll be honest, I did not even know that that had ever charted. So I was a co host of that podcast and I
00:14  Travis
had that Alban bump going for it. Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of Buzzcast once again, being brought to you by our respective home office spaces. Kevin, Alban, how you guys doing?
00:31  Alban
Doing? Well. Travis, how are you?
00:33  Travis
I'm doing good. I see. I remembered how much you appreciated this question in the last episode, so I thought you would really appreciate it if I did the same thing.
00:41  Kevin
And last time Alban didn't talk and this time I didn't.
00:43  Alban
Yeah, Kevin. Grace's go like we did this.
00:50  Travis
Well, and I love how we just pretend like we haven't been talking for almost an hour before we hit record. So
00:56  Kevin
well. Thanks for having me. It's an honor to be here.
01:00  Alban
Can we do a little follow up from last week since we're already going into this? Can we do a little like HGTV follow up, Travis? Because we actually get emails into support. They're like, I love like listening along with Travis's HGTV adventures. So are there any new shows for people to watch? HGTV show,
01:22  Travis
this is the first time I'm hearing this. So I guess you could have tagged me in support. So I could have read read these notes. honest, I, so my wife and I have shifted to the crown. So we've that's become our new daily daily bend is we'll watch episodes of the crown, which is fantastic. It's on Netflix, if you don't live in the US. And it's not on your Netflix, you can use Nord VPN or some other kind of IP generator so you can watch the US version, but it's really good. And it's kind of HGTV related because they live in a big palace. With lots of tapestries and stuff like that,
02:06  Kevin
I thought we I watched I saw an HGTV show this week is like the new version of the who's chip and Joanna, whatever their show was called. fixer upper was their shoulder upper. Yeah. The new version, I think is called hometown. Well, yeah, Aaron,
02:21  Travis
that that couple of Mississippi.
02:22  Kevin
Yeah. And for some reason I was on the TV The other day I was walking by so I stopped and watched it for a few minutes. And they're they're pretty good. Like they're very relatable. And the budgets and the remodel seemed to be more in line with normal, you know, American Life. So, anyway, I did see an HGTV show. I watched about 10 minutes of it. And I was like, Yeah, I could see why people watch this stuff. It's pretty good.
02:47  Travis
There's definitely two camps. There's like the aspirational, all I need a summer home in the Maldives, and I'm having trouble deciding how large of a Jacuzzi I need, right. And then there is the pool. We're going to restore This 1920s rant style home and the total budgets like 150 K. Yeah, so there's there's definitely like, both ends of that spectrum.
03:09  Alban
I think it's pretty funny. I saw somebody tweet this once that was like you how blown away you are when your kids like want to watch YouTube videos of other kids playing with toys. You're like, what are you doing? like Oh, it's so boring. And yet and then like we go and turn on HGTV where it's just adults like getting their big toy, which is like a house. And I was like, wow, that's the exact same, like exact same recipe for entertainment.
03:36  Travis
Yeah, are watching, chopped or master chef and imagining what it'd be like if you actually were good at cooking.
03:42  Alban
Yeah, you could just learn to cook.
03:45  Travis
Yeah, but so much more fun to see people get chopped.
03:51  Alban
Well, all right. Well, I significantly derailed this next time. Travis just asked me for like TV show review on the beginning of the episodes and now I'll be a lead in. I have
04:01  Travis
I have a better idea since since apparently we have people that will actually email us when we ask them to send us your ideas for how we should open the next episode of Buzzcast I'll make sure I read all those and we'll choose one, and we'll give you a shout out. That would be fun.
04:18  Alban
Alright, so that'll be our opening question. So do we have any podcasting news? anything happening in the podcasting industry?
04:27  Travis
Well, it seems like some companies with lots of money are getting serious about podcasting. We've been kind of covering these company acquisitions as they happen. And since the last episode, the next big Domino to fall has fallen and that is that the parent company that includes Sirius XM and Pandora and recently acquired a podcast host just acquired stitcher and mid roll their ad revenue arm for 320 $5 million And so now the company that I think Scripps is like the name of the parent company owns, like all those different elements. And stitcher is not just the app they also have in house production. So they did like the Marvel Wolverine podcast. They done some other stitcher premium stuff. And then they also have the the ad arm mid roll, which is probably to my knowledge other than Art 19 probably the most prominent ad group ad buying group where you get signed up with them and they hook you up with with sponsors. And so so it is interesting to see kind of the acquisition process continue this year, and start to see these smaller companies getting consolidated into larger groups.
05:43  Alban
Yeah, just to clarify that Scripps is the company that bought originally bought stitcher mid roll, and earwolf and then brought that together under the Stitcher name. That was like kind of their podcasting segment. I think they do like mostly TV was kind of their bread and butter. They're doing a lot of TV stuff. And then they just did a big, they've done a big push into other areas, their business. At the same time, Spotify was like, we just dropped half a billion dollars and they kind of, I think started going looking around going well. Shoot, we really need more money. If we are going to start competing with the likes of Spotify. Maybe somebody else would be willing to buy, you know, this little portfolio we put together buy this from us so we can stay on our core business.
06:31  Travis
So Scripps was the selling company, not the buying company,
06:34  Alban
right? Yeah, they bought most of this a few years ago. But I mean, it's another big entry for Sirius XM. I mean, I actually think that the earwolf stuff is pretty big. I mean, Iran has a ton of good shows. You sometimes I don't realize like how many good podcasts are put out by some of these networks and then you start kind of flipping through and you're like, you I started scrolling through the page the other day. And I was like, wow, there's just a ton of good shows on here. So erath has done a lot of, you know, interesting things. So Sirius XM has definitely made a pretty big entry into podcasting. I mean, they seem like they are now one of the largest players in the space.
07:20  Kevin
Yeah, I think this is really good. As much as I don't like what Spotify is doing in the podcasting space. Majority of my concerns come from a place of, they're the only ones who are doing it. Right. So they're making massive investments and big moves in the podcasting space. The reason that bothers me is because it seems like they're trying to win podcasting. And I don't want anybody to win it. I wanted to keep growing, but I don't want any one dominant player like what we have in the video space with YouTube. So, Sirius coming in Sirius XM coming in and saying, Hey, we have the resources and we're interested in this as well. That's great. And, you know, we might talk a little bit later about Apple and what they're doing But my concerns about Spotify are not solely based on just Hey, I don't like Spotify for some reason. It's just the the idea that one company is getting way too much power is what's really concerning. So I think this is, again, my personal opinion. I think this is really healthy and exciting for the podcasting space. And good, like having multiple large companies investing and growing. The podcasting space, I think will be healthy for independent podcast creators, right. And it makes it a lot easier to not be cynical but be optimistic. Or maybe cynical is not the right word, but not be pessimistic, but be optimistic that you know the rising tide does lift all boats like this is a healthier way for that tide to rise instead of just one company rising the tide alone.
08:44  Alban
Yeah, Kevin, and I've talked about this before offline, where even if you have a Netflix in a space, you know, one group one thing that's dominant, the existence of a Hulu and then later on a Disney plus and all these other things, actually makes it so Netflix has to pay creators good money for their shows. And for whoever's making these shows, well, when they have the option, when they actually can just start shopping among two or three groups, they get quite a bit better deal. And so, there's been tons of examples of Netflix paying a lot more money or net, or somebody else paying a lot more just because a show is able to be shopped between a few different places. And so now with Sirius XM, and Spotify, you could imagine a future where some of the biggest shows instead of going exclusive to Spotify, for kind of something on Spotify as terms, they might be able to, if they decide that's the path they want to go down, they can kind of shop between two or three big players and make sure that they are paid the fair market value of what they've created.
09:53  Kevin
The other company that I have my eye on that I hope jumps into the space in a big way is Amazon. We talked a couple episodes ago about Amazon expressing an interest in getting more involved in podcasting. And I would be really excited about that, like, you know, apples always been, you know, big in the podcasting space and but they haven't done a whole lot, for better or for worse, they just haven't done a whole lot, even though they have a lot of power and influence, they could do something, but they haven't. And then Spotify started coming on strong in the last couple of years. It's great to see Sirius XM coming in and saying, Hey, we're gonna compete in this space also, in a big way. I would love to also see somebody else like it's, the more we have, the healthier it gets, but I think it gets really healthy, around three or four, you know, and so I think Amazon has a, an opportunity to jump in and say, there's gonna be three really big companies that are kind of competing in the space and making sure it's healthy and good competitions going on. And no one's trying to squeeze out independent creators or do anything that's, you know, treating them unfairly. And so I would love to see Spotify continue their charge and their search as long as we as long as it's balanced and Sirius XM is bringing some balance. I'd love to see Amazon jump in and bring some more balance and again, We don't know, no one ever knows what Apple's gonna do. But I would love to see them do something healthy as well.
11:06  Travis
And Google is the other kind of looming giant that could do something, which is kind of where I would put Amazon and Google almost in the same category, simply because Google, they launched Google podcasts. There's talk that they're eventually gonna fade these out Google Play Music, because they're going to combine the music elements with YouTube Music, and then put the podcast stuff in Google podcasts. If you log into your Google podcast manager, by the way, there is now a new banner at the top that directs you to migrate your Google pod, your Google Play Music podcasts into Google podcasts. So they are at least in their own apps and interfaces trying to shift people in that direction. They could do something but to this point, you know, Google podcasts is an important directory to be in for Internet search purposes, but it's still not a heavy hitter as far as listen volume, but they could they have the resources, they have the capabilities to jump in there and kind of be that that third heavyweight, in addition to Sirius and Spotify, which have just really shown the focus to say we want to be intentional about shaping the future of podcasting and, and how we can grow that as an industry.
12:13  Alban
Well, also you think it's not just that in the Google Play Music and Google podcasts world that they've had stuff to do with podcasts, Feedburner, which, you know, people probably don't think about a ton now, which still has a ton of podcasts are using Feedburner. That's a Google product that they've had for years. You could see them doing some cool things there where they turn Feedburner into something similar to like a charitable or a pod track, where they're actually giving you, you know, stats that you're, you know, if your host maybe doesn't give great stats, you could get better stats from Feedburner. This is not something they've ever shown an interest in, but you could imagine, they could give charts that would be truly universal, because they could be charts that every podcast had access to. there's just lots of interest. Things you could see them doing. And they have a core competency in infrastructure, hosting reliability, and in AD tech. So a lot of the things that everybody is kind of figuring out in the podcasting space and talking about are things that in the past Google has shown to be exceptionally good at, you know, and discoverability really the discoverability and the ad tech or the do greatest things they've ever figured out.
13:29  Travis
So I guess just as a way of wrapping up this segment, another one bites the dust, somebody else got acquired, people are still making moves in the podcasting space. And we are hopeful and optimistic that it will continue to be a place where independent podcasters can thrive and create and make shows that they love.
13:46  Kevin
Yeah, and another one bites the dust mite. Like somebody went down. I don't know that it's bad. Like I mean, Stitcher is, was was they've got a lot of like album said a lot of cool content, different opinions on the Stitcher listening app itself. And who knows what Sirius XM, his plans are going forward, but I don't at $325 million. This is not an acquisition to shut this down. This is an acquisition, that they believe that they can grow and turn into something bigger and healthier. And again, good competition for Spotify. So I think good thing overall.
14:19  Travis
Yeah, so bites the dust. Me being being the same as caching $325 million. I yeah, that may be a better turn of phrase. So the next piece of news that we wanted to cover in today's episode was from Spotify, that they just announced that they're launching new podcast charts that, in their words, offer listeners a reliable destination for finding the most popular shows and trends. So it is very similar to what Apple does with their category charts. So when you set up your podcast, and you're choosing which categories you're in, those are the based primarily from Apple, and Apple uses that to organize their content in their app. Spotify had not had something like that, until now. And their first iteration, it seems like there's going to be top podcasts, which would be similar to, you know, just the top 200 charts in Apple trending podcasts, which could be more like big swings or similar to new and noteworthy, but maybe not with the time constraint that typically Apple puts on those podcasts. And then also the ability to filter your charts based on the country. So right now, you would have to use a service like my podcast reviews, to see reviews from other countries to see chart data from other countries. I know chargeable has that feature as well. So Spotify is putting that directly in the app on the listener side. So you can say okay, well what are the top podcasts that are being listened to right now in Germany, for true crime are comedy podcasts are for, you know, things like that. So yeah, so this is a new feature that Spotify rolled out. I'm just curious what you guys, what do you guys think about it?
16:10  Alban
Well, one of the big positives is Spotify is really, really good at surfacing new music. And I'm always jealous because I'm on Apple Music. And my friends that are on Spotify are constantly sending me like, hey, check out this playlist, hey, check out this music. And I'm like, Spotify is definitely surfacing. Better stuff for you, then Apple is surfacing for me as far as like just algorithmically figuring out stuff I like. And this seems like Spotify stepping is going you know, step in that direction, saying, hey, let's just talk about what the best shows are. And so I'm guessing this isn't just some raw numbers. Hey, this podcast you know, Joe Rogan will always be number one in This American Life will always be number two, that they're doing more than just that it's including other statistic to kind of keep it, you know, a fresh listing. So that's pretty cool. And I love like the filtering by countries. I remember, this is an older one. But I remember when I was on Spotify music, just flipping around, I'd go see what was like, you know, what's the top hip hop in the UK? You know it I remember finding different artists that I probably wouldn't have been exposed to in the States. And so it's kind of a cool thing to just flip around and see what's going on in other countries what podcasts are trending and you can be a trendsetter here in the States, if you start telling people about what's the hot new podcasts coming out of Sweden before it's here?
17:39  Kevin
Yeah, I agree. Spotify has one of their keys to success has been their ability to push new content. And again, traditionally, music content in front of listeners, right. I've had that same user experience that Alban talks about. Again, I'm not on Spotify, but I do hear what people talk about specifically Spotify Premium subscribers. say that all the time, Spotify is recommending great new music for integrate new artists, great new songs, whatever, it's what they love about it. I think it's interesting how that kind of, you know, Pandora came out with that being their differentiator, and I'm saying that we're using the genome project and we're going to figure out the best songs that you're gonna like the news, things that you haven't heard. And then Spotify kind of came on the scene and kind of overtook them very quickly, and started doing a much better job of doing that. So for them to to apply some of that same technology to podcasts makes a lot of sense. I also think there's a there's a parallel with what the like YouTube's success and YouTube's ability to do that, and we call this like in the content world is called discoverability. Right? Like how can technology or machine learning help with discoverability of new content that you'd be interested in? YouTube has done a fantastic job I mean, to the point where it's like a lot of people now are like concerned about it like they bring like we talked was it last episode we talked about rabbit hole podcast.
19:00  Travis
Yes. Okay.
19:01  Kevin
So, I mean, that's a great podcast to listen to, if you want to hear about how good YouTube is at discovering your likes, or what you'd be interested in and keep you locked into the platform and increase your watch time by just bringing you down these rabbit holes of content. Same thing happens with Spotify very effectively in the music world. Again, it's not as concerning because it's just like this song. If you like the song, you might like this one. It's not necessarily Oh, if you have a tendency to believe this conspiracy theory, then you'll like this conspiracy theory. So it's not necessarily as concerning or dangerous. But applying that in the podcasting world is something that has been a struggle, right, it's a slightly different nut to crack because it's it's not that interests don't align as much in the podcasting world is that podcasts are long form content. And so if you see like Netflix struggles with this, because Netflix is more long form content. In order for me to kind of get hooked into something, it's very easy in the YouTube world when the vast majority of videos are like five to 10 minutes. Less, even with music again, like if I listen to a song and it doesn't happen to be something that I love right away? Well, songs are like three minutes, it's not that big of a deal. When you're recommending a TV show, or a movie, or a podcast, you're talking about a much bigger commitment. And so while I might like podcasts x, so then the algorithm thinks I'm gonna like podcast Why? I might not like podcast why in the first two or three minutes, and therefore I'm not willing to sit through 45 minutes to figure out if I really like it or not. And so discoverability in the podcast world is a much tougher nut to crack. I'm interested to see what Spotify can do it, but it's been a struggle. As long as podcasts have been around and get Netflix has the same problem in the, you know, recommending TV shows or movies. You might really like a TV series that Netflix keeps recommending to you. But it doesn't get good until episode three or four. And it's like I'm not gonna sit through three episodes to figure out why Netflix thinks I'm gonna like this.
20:55  Alban
I actually listened to an interview a while back with somebody from Netflix where they were talking about About how they know certain shows people don't get hooked to like episode seven. And they're like, as soon as you hit this episode, we know you will watch this watch the entire season. And then you'll follow it follow the show. And it just kind of an interesting thought that with YouTube, the barrier to entry is so low, it's a minute of content and you're like, Oh, this is good. Subscribe. Whereas just the job that you're trying to get done, right, you know, is very different from TV where you're kind of looking for a little bit higher bar like okay, if I'm going to be committing 10 hours to this TV show, I want to make sure that it's good.
21:37  Kevin
Right now someone who's who's done a really good job of kind of cracking this nut has been Joe Rogan. So Joe Rogan's podcasts are super long, like the shortest ones are two hours, the longer ones are four hours, and typically they land around three. But when Joe Rogan started really exploding over the past two or three years is when he started doing Jerry clips on YouTube. So he would take really interesting like, The most interesting segments of his long three hour interviews with people, and they'd cut eight to 10 minute clips out of those, and they'd start posting them to the JRE where they call Jerry clips or something. Is that the name of the channel? Yeah, and pushing pushing them on YouTube. And those things started getting millions of plays really quickly. And then Joe Rogan's podcast numbers started exploding. And again, we didn't host the Joe Rogan experience. So we don't know. But that's when he really started grunt like everyone, undeniably, and undisputedly put him as the number one podcast in the world, hundreds of millions of plays on episodes that are three hours long, it was like unheard of. And it kind of came out of nowhere. And I think, again, I don't have evidence to this, but I think it aligns a lot with what he was doing with Jerry clips on YouTube, because then all of a sudden, you're, you know, YouTube wasn't probably promoting a bunch of those three hour YouTube episodes, but they were promoting a lot of those clips episodes.
22:51  Alban
Well, I know he was doing like, I don't know, 100 interviews a year or something. And they're mostly pretty famous people. And so he's splitting up instead of saying Do you want to listen to Bernie Sanders for three hours? And for me the answer is no. But Bernie Sanders thought on universal basic income, like, Oh, that's kind of interesting click. And then he hears something. You're like, Oh, this is kind of interesting. Maybe I'd listened to that episode. And it's lowering the barrier to entry. It's, we talk about it a lot with you know, visual soundbites. It's just a trailer for your episode. You know, it's like a little teaser. You're saying, hey, if you enjoy this piece, which is a little bit better suited for the YouTube algorithm, then you may enjoy the full episodes. And I know that's happened with me that I've never like subscribed to Joe Rogan. But I have listened episodes because I've seen a guest and been like, Oh, yeah, I like Steven Pinker. That's cool. Oh, I guess he was a guest a few months ago. I'll go listen to that episode. And so you just kind of find things that seem interesting to you is able to be surfaced
23:58  Kevin
right. We've talked a lot about using YouTube to grow your podcast audience. And I think that's a great way to do it. Oftentimes, I think the message that gets translated is, hey, I want to start putting my podcasts on YouTube. And we say, like, our opinion on that is great, that's a fine thing to do. Just make sure it's real video. So record the video, whether you're doing a zoom call, or if you're in person, set up a couple cameras, record the video and put the video version on YouTube, not just the audio version. And that way, you're serving up real video content to a video platform. And it makes sense and YouTube will actually help you then their algorithm will identify your content as good video content and serve it up and recommend it. It's a effective way to grow your show. Maybe what I want to the three of us to think about and do a little research on is like, maybe we should tweak that opinion a little bit. Maybe it's not about hey, let's just take our entire podcast of 45 minutes because even with somebody like Joe Rogan, that wasn't what kind of put them over the edge will put them over the edge was producing the shorter clips. So fine record your zoom call recorders, your sky calls, but then take find that five minutes segment of gold in the middle of that 45 minute interview and start pushing those things first, and driving people to subscribe to your podcast to hear the full episode.
25:10  Alban
Yeah, I think that's a that's a very good point. And there's so many different interesting segments that come out of podcasts. And they're not interesting to everybody. There's probably plenty of parts of this podcast that people like some people enjoy this part and some people enjoyed the last one. And when you've split it up into a few different segments, then you have three or four different lottery tickets for a bunch of people to you know, enjoy and find what your list you're talking about
25:38  Travis
bringing it back to the Spotify charts. One conversation I wanted to have is about the relevancy of these charts, in terms of measuring like your internal measurements of success, because it's nice when you have like a wart podcast award shows and, you know, cool I got a new and noteworthy cool I got on these charts and they can be kind of become like this is now the standard for what a successful podcast is. which I'm not downplaying how cool it would be if like, you know, your podcast showed up on a chart and had never tried it before. Like, that'd be awesome. That'd be something to celebrate. But how important is it to have these kind of external metrics for keeping you motivated or for giving you something to shoot for? Is that really the thing that is most sustainable or or even the healthiest moving forward?
26:25  Alban
Well, from a podcaster perspective, I would say it's not you shouldn't be thinking like I have to hit those to be successful. We know that's not the case. But you know, one of my friends, her show was just featured in Apple new and noteworthy, and they got a bunch more place. And they got a ton more reviews. And they got a lot of, you know, they got quite a bit more exposure. You know, it's not 10s of thousands of more place, but it's hundreds of more plays. So yeah, I think any of that that happens on its own is great. But that's not like this moment where you've arrived and you're done. And now you feel like, if you didn't hit it, you didn't succeed. There's just like a nice, I don't say it's like a bump for Spotify for actual podcast listeners, it's great because it's hard to find podcasts. And so anything that aids in the discoverability of podcasts is a positive. Because, you know, once people find two or three, they're good, they're going, Hey, maybe there's like six or seven that I would be interested in. And I could kind of flip between them. So I'm all about it. But I really would say your show doesn't need to have 10s of thousands of listeners to be successful. And if that your goal is they have to be on these charts, and you have to have this number to be successful. It's going to be a much tougher road than if you were saying I really think I want to be somewhere like 500 to 1000 true fans for my podcast is a totally different mindset.
27:57  Kevin
Yeah, I'm not the biggest believer in charts being super important for independent podcasters. I mean, I think even the most conservative estimates, we'd probably say that there's about 250,000, maybe 300,000 active podcasts that are circulating the world right now. And when I say active, I mean just kind of publishing on a regular basis, there's over a million total. But let's say 300,000, that you're probably if you're if you're publishing on a weekly, bi weekly, or a minimum monthly basis that you're probably competing with to find new listeners, the vast majority of that I mean, 300,000. And how many of these charts if you had like a full chart set, like Spotify is full charts that Apple podcasts will charts that maybe highlights what 200 250 300 podcasts tops, and so it's to set that as a goal is, man that's a really big, hairy, audacious goal and not one that many people are going to achieve regardless of how good of a job that you do producing your podcast. And so I don't feel like it's a healthy thing to shoot for. I think it's a wonderful thing to celebrate if it does happen to happen. But like Alban said, that's not going to be the difference of whether you're successful or not. We encourage all of anybody who starts the podcast to try to you know, before you start before you record that first episode, figure out why you're podcasting in the first place. So that you have something to measure your success against. And charting. I would say, it should not be on that list. Again, like if you're new york times, if you're earwolf, if you're, you know, whatever Joe Rogan's getting ready to launch some new show or something like that, then your expectation might be that I am going to chart because we're, this is a massive production. If you are a local realtor, and you're saying, hey, I want to put out a message about what's happening in the real estate market in my town, then charting should not be on your list of goals.
29:49  Travis
And one last thing that I wanted to just throw out there in the conversation about charts and how relevant they are and how much you should care about them. We have a podcast that we produce for Buzzsprout That consistently is in the apple charts. So how to start a podcast. The first podcast that we ever launched, is constantly in the the apple podcast charts. I think today, as of today, it's in it's number 22. And the How to chart will, which will put it in the top 100 of the education podcasts. But it's probably the first time you ever hearing about it, because we don't even really talk about it internally. Like that's not something that we say, look, this podcast is finally successful because we're in the apple charts.
30:33  Alban
I'll be honest, I did not even know that that it ever charted. So I was a co host of that podcast and I don't even know about it.
30:40  Travis
had that Alban bump going for it. So we internally don't even see charts as like a milestone to vet whether we should keep doing something or not, or whether something was successful or not. Because it's just not something that you can predict. It's not something that you can count on. And even if you hit the charts one day, it doesn't mean That that is going to lead to ultimate sustained success, the hundred, the thousand true fan model, really serving your core audience. That is what consistently has turned out to be the better focus and the better strategy for independent podcasters.
31:18  Alban
Alright, well to wrap up, we're going to do our this series of podcasts legal talk where we jump into the top lawsuits in the podcasting industry. There's one that's kind of interesting to us that I thought it'd be interesting to highlight is Jones v. gimlet. This is an ad a lawsuit where somebody is suing gimlet who produces tons of podcasts, asking them to comply with Ada to provide closed captioning for their podcasts. So I don't think my like very rudimentary reading of this is it's probably not super likely to be successful, but it raises a lot of interesting points around accessibility and what podcasters should be doing. We talked about transcripts a lot, but what we should be doing, as far as, you know, serving people who are hard of hearing or deaf, wanted to hear your thoughts on it.
32:13  Travis
Well, and for those of you who don't know what a DA stands for, it's referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was something that was passed here in the States, essentially saying businesses need to make their services available to people with disabilities. And the big thing was like, if you have stairs leading up into your place of business, you have to have a ramp that's ADA compliant. So people that can't climb stairs can get in, or buildings need to put elevators in so people can go up and down.
32:39  Kevin
So this is I think, I think one of the reasons that platforms sometimes win over protocols and when we say platforms and protocols, let's just easier way to think about that is like why does an ecosystem like YouTube end up winning in the video space over like an open protocol of sharing video online, and well, and one of the reasons is is things like this, when you're in an ecosystem where things are open, it is up to the individual creators to solve problems like this and address problems like this, which is why as a participator in the open podcast ecosystem, Buzzsprout makes things like transcripts available to creators, but it's still dependent upon the creators using those tools to apply transcripts to their episodes. And we can talk about in a second, the slight difference between transcripts versus closed captioning. Now, when you look at a platform like YouTube, they don't have a choice because they've gotten big enough, where they would be a target for a lawsuit if they didn't provide some sort of good accessibility features across the board, whether it be for you know, for any disability. And so when you upload a video to YouTube right now, whether you provide captions or not, or you provide a transcript or not, they've had to build into their platform, the ability for the platform to create those automatically. Now, they might not be perfect, but they're, they're doing something and then they're providing craters and ability to go in there and correct them and make them perfect. So why Buzzsprout is a big believer in transcripts and we provide the tools is because if we don't figure this out as an open community, then we're gonna have problems like this where lawsuits are getting filed. And sooner or later some of these are going to start winning. And platforms are going to start emerging, I think and platforms that provide solutions to like, like this, like Spotify would probably provide a solution like this, and it would strengthen their platform. So the solution is not for this to like lose in court, because the reality is that this is a good thing. transcripts are good and making your podcasts accessible to more people is good. The solution is that as a creator community, we have to develop tools that make it easy to be able to provide these things. And then as creators, we have to understand the importance and value of it and create them. But we have to as we build and expand upon these open systems to remain open. We have to be doing the right things. And so I look at a lot of other podcast hosts and have conversations with When we see them in person or online, and I asked him the questions like, why are you not providing transcript tools to your podcasters? And why are you not putting this message out there that it's important thing for them to be doing and making it easy for them to do it, and make sure it's affordable for them to do it. Because if we don't solve these problems, somebody is going to come along and solve them. And the barrier of entry of doing it in an independent way, in an open way is going to start to become too high for us to be able to compete with the platform. And then when the platform wins, then we've got that whole mess of problems that we talked about all the time that like already exists in the Facebook world, in the YouTube world, where you're playing in there on their ball field, so they get to set the rules. So that's a long way of me saying, gosh, if you love the open podcast ecosystem that exists now and being able to control when you publish and how you publish and not having to play by the monetization rules of someone else, then we need to look at things like transcripts and closed captioning and accessibility of our content. And we need to be serious about it. And we need to be on platforms. where we need to be using tools that allow us to do these things? Because they're the right thing to do not just should I be doing transcripts for the SEO benefit? Whether that exists or not, doesn't change the conversation around? Is this the right thing to be doing?
36:14  Travis
Yeah, I don't have anything to add to that, Kevin. That was well said. So I guess I'll pivot to the difference between transcripts and closed captions. So transcripts is literally just like a page, or a document that has all the words that you said, and they can be organized in different ways and edited and formatted in different ways. But essentially, that's that's what it is. It's just the printout of all the words. So a closed caption would then be you're reading the words as they're being said in real time that it's in my in my defining these things correctly.
36:47  Kevin
Yeah, think of closed captions when you're watching TV. And as the people are speaking, the words The words are timed up. the written word is timed up with the audio and video. Same thing can exist in the podcasting world. So if you're listening to this podcast right now, thanks About the ability to whatever podcast app you're in switch into closed caption mode or lyrics mode or whatever a lot of music apps do this now you switch into lyrics mode. And it's highlighting the lyrics as the music's hitting that point. That is a better experience than transcript. Well, that's a different but in most cases, better for people who are hard of hearing versus fully deaf. So fully Deaf is no hearing ability at all, there's no benefit for them to be playing the audio while it's being highlighted. a transcript is a good solution for them. And on the technology side, we have the ability to do both with the same file. So with a closed caption file, you can ignore the timestamps and just display the text and where the transcript file typically doesn't include the like the fidelity of timestamp for us to be able to do a closed captions. So what we've done on the Buzzsprout side is we've said hey, anytime we import a transcript in the higher fidelity that transcript the better for us, and when we say like fidelity, we mean the number of timestamps, and the ultimate goal is to have a timestamp associated with every single word. But we don't always get that depending on how you transcribe your podcast. And a lot of people write their own transcripts. So they include very little timestamp information at all. And sometimes none. What we're trying to do is collect the highest quality transcripts possible so that but at a Buzzsprout level, we have the data. And then as podcast apps start incorporating and using this, we can provide them the highest fidelity versions of transcripts possible so that they could then display a transcript and or a closed caption solution, depending on, you know, the functionality of the app.
38:30  Travis
Yeah, and I'll leave a link in the show notes to an article where we walk through exactly how you can add transcripts in Buzzsprout. If you've never done it before, it's super easy to do. But that wraps it up for this episode of Buzzcast call to action today is to send us an email at with ideas for how we should intro the show in two weeks. And then if we choose your segment topic will give you a shout out and we'll talk about whatever you want to want us to talk about. But that does it For us and we'll catch you in the next one.