The Podcast Owner's Manual 23rd January, 2023

How are podcasts consumed and promoted in 2023?

Where do we listen to podcasts? How are we promoting them, and what are our thoughts for the future of podcasting?

Podcast listener engagement study

A sample of 264 people aged

  • 18–25 = 13.6%
  • 26–35 = 42.8%
  • 36–45 = 18.6%
  • 46–55 = 17.0%
  • 56–65 = 7.2%
  • 66+ = 0.8%

completed an online questionnaire. The majority of the sample was

  • male (51.9%)
  • 43.2% were female

Where participants were listening:

  • 50.8% resided in the United Kingdom
  • 51 (19.3%) in the rest of Europe
  • 47 (17.8%) in the United States of America
  • 32 (12.1%) in the rest of the world

According to the study, we listen

  • outside when its light. Not bothered about cold
  • Indoors when its warm, incl at home
  • in the evenings
  • with moderate background noise
  • when out walking in nature

How does this match up to you?

High income podcasters favour email, blog posts and LinkedIn over quick visual networks

Most people understand that posting on social media doesn’t directly translate to an increase in downloads. They know it’s important to be there, posting, interacting, and engaging, but are slowly learning that time spent doesn’t correlate to increased downloads. I think there’s actually a lot of opportunity in cold (and then hopefully warmer) outreach.

— Arielle Nissenblatt, SquadCast

How many downloads should I be getting?

According to a recent mini-survey by Capsho, the sweet spot is 250-500.

Video podcasting in 2023

Youtube is great for talk show podcasts, but it likely won’t take off for other genres like narrative documentaries or fiction. At the end of the day, as a podcaster, it’s important to stay true to audio, in addition to understanding other platforms like Youtube — not every podcast can be adapted naturally into video and that’s okay!

— Bella Ibrahim, Marketing Director, Kerning Cultures


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Full episode


Where do we listen to podcasts? How are we promoting them, and what are our thoughts for the future of podcasting?
Hi, mark here, and you are listening to the podcast Owners Manual, your handy guide to Taking care of your podcast and yourself. I hope you are well. So today we are looking at sort of three. . First off, we've got a study about how podcast content is consumed. Uh, we've also got a state of podcast marketing.
Uh, there's a little sort of report thing that came out and a couple of thoughts. Mine and some, uh, some other people who get paid the big, uh, the big bucks to talk about podcasting in 2023 and beyond. So with that, let's get cracking.
So this study then is a sample of 264 people aged, uh, between 16 and 66. Uh, I think judging by the numbers, they got one person who was 66 plus. Um, so the, if you want a bit of a breakdown of the numbers so you can get an idea of the methodology, uh, then you can check the show notes. I always think that kind of thing's useful to put in because it then gives you like a sense of like, what are the biases of, of.
Study, you know, so you've got roughly ish, a 50 50 split between male and female participants. Definitely skewing more male, um, uh, and then towards, um, female and non-binary. So, you know, with, with those two, sort of making up the, making up the difference, um, half of the participants were in the uk. Uh, and then with the, the rest coming from Europe.
The US and the rest of the world, again, in ever decreasing numbers. So we're mostly sort of UK focused here, which I think, uh, which I think is, is okay. I think we are reasonably representative of, uh, of a listening, uh, public. So let's have a look at where we listen. So current. According to these 260 yard people, we listen outside when it's light.
We're not bothered about whether it's cold or not, but we, we wanna be outside, uh, in rural spaces, in, in, uh, interestingly enough, uh, and when it's light, so we don't tend to be listening to podcasts out in the dark. Which is, which is interesting, , um, indoors, we listen when it's warm, uh, and that also indoors may include home.
There's a small amount of people who talk about listening at work, but there's a lot of listening that happens generally indoors and in the home. Uh, a lot of listening happens in the evenings, so most people, be it weekend or weekday, they are, people are listening, uh, in the evenings. And this, I, I, I think is interesting.
I, I, to be honest, I think all of this is interesting for different reasons. Uh, but this next one, people are listening to podcasts when there's sort of moderate background noise. So that might be the sound of other humans. It might be, I guess, a bit of travel. and I think that is useful when, cuz one of the things, I don't bang on this particular drum as much as I did previously because a lot of what I'm doing now is, is um, it's, it's slightly higher level than the individual episodes.
But one of the things I do talk about is making sure that the audio levels are sort of punchy. So that they, they punch through, um, because we know that people listen in a variety of different environments. Uh, previously of course, it would be a lot more commuting than, than it is now. But still, if people are in co-working spaces or, or, or, or cafes even, uh, or other areas where there might be a bit more noise, then we, again, we wanna remain mindful of that.
make sure that our audio levels are well level, um, so that people aren't constantly having to adjust their volume and fight with the, with the ambient noise around them. Uh, and as I said, out walking in nature, um, rural spaces, uh, is, is where people like to listen when, when they're outdoors, which I kind, kind of, kind of jives with with, uh, what's going on for me actually, is I, I take my daily walk, uh, and I take podcasts with me, um, and it takes me about 15 minutes and then I'm, I, I get to a park, uh, and I'll, I'll have a bimble round there or there's a, another sort of.
Area that I go to that's a, a bit more leafy and green. I'm very lucky where I live, I've got about three parks in, uh, uh, in good working distance. Uh, and so a lot of my listening happens then. Um, but it's also weirdly, um, yeah, I, I think the evening thing, what, what they didn't get into this study, which I think would be interesting, is looking at the activities that we are engaged in.
Cuz I reckon a lot of that will be, , what do you think? And that it's, I'd love to know actually, like, not just what you, you think of the study, but how much of that jives with, with how you listen to podcasts? You know, I have a routine with one of the shows that I listen to. I dunno why it's this particular show.
Um, partly it's because it tends to drop on a, on a Saturday, uh, or a Friday night and, and Saturday I'll run myself a bath and I'll listen to a show called She Podcasts, which is two women yelling at each other. Uh, occasionally they talk. Microphones and things, but most of the time they're just yelling at each other about really interesting things, but being very effusive about it.
And I really enjoy just sort of getting, you know, spend, spending my time with, uh, with lc and Jess. Um, so, you know, that's, that's one outlier, but, uh, yeah, like, let me know market Like how, how are you listening to podcasts at the moment? Um, and I think. Using this data again, I think it helps us think a little bit more mindfully.
Like if we can really, like I was helping someone, uh, this week with the launch of a, of a new show, think about exactly who that listener is and really kind of try and picture and create this real solid picture. The listener, um, and, and create that person. Create that person and think about where they are, what they're doing, how they're listening to the show, what stuff is around them, because I really think that helps when you get, uh, uh, address the microphone to actually consider like, What have they got time for?
What have they not got time for? What's going on around them? What might make them press pause, you know, and, and put their earbuds away and think, ah, I'll, I'll finish that later. You know, I've got things to do. So that's, that's our study if you, if you want the details, um, You'll find it linked, uh, in the show notes.
Uh, so next up then, we are looking at the state of podcast marketing at the moment. So this was a, a little, basically a little, uh, lead magnet if you want the actual source of it without having to sacrifice your email address. It's just a Google, uh, it's just a, a PDF on a Google Drive. It is linked in the show notes.
But it's, it's produced by a company called Cap Show, um, who I'm going to talk about, I think possibly next week. Uh, cause I've been having a lot of fun with ai, um, and some not so much fun with AI . Uh, and I wanna talk about where it's useful and where it isn't. Um, and so CAP show have a thing where they're, they're, they're.
Promote themselves at the moment. Uh, and so they've got a bit of a lead magnet going on, which is, it's got some interesting things about the current state of how people like us, podcasters like us, are promoting their shows. So they use this term, um, of high income podcasters now, um, What my interpretation of that is, is that not necessarily they're, they're not talking about a direct income from, you know, advertising or whatever.
It's not an income that is directly linked to the number of downloads. It is a person that is sort of doing all right for themselves, um, and has a podcast. So that's people, you know, for the most part. I, I don't think. Speaking out of turn, when I say it's, you know, it's us because we're not necessarily on the breadlines.
I'm not saying any of us is rich. Um, but we are at the point where we've sort of learned a lot, uh, throughout our time and now we're thinking about how we can give back. Right. That's kind of my interpretation of this and, and I think some of that actually does sort of, It does ring true with, uh, with what they're saying in this, in this little collection of things.
So, uh, one of these, uh, statements that, that we, I've sort of grouped all this together really under the theme of we go slow and I think that is important. Podcasting is a slow medium, especially when it's done right. That makes it tricky for a lot of things, is one of the reasons I'm sort of moving away from this whole, I'll help you make 12 episodes and.
You know, we'll go, we'll see what happens from there, because I actually don't think that's that helpful. Um, that's why, like I was talking about, having this strategy session with someone this week to get a long-standing, long-lasting podcast set up. Not let's have a crack for 12 weeks because you're not gonna learn much.
So it's, it's all of this is kind of in support of that. So, um, From, from this report. High income podcasters favor, uh, email, blog posts, and LinkedIn over, uh, quick visual. Uh, this is my editorial anyway, over quick visual networks like Instagram and TikTok, which I think again, uh, I think is, is, is true, right?
Most of what we do tends to be promoted on, on the likes of LinkedIn, um, because. Maybe we don't have time, or a lot of the conversations that we have don't necessarily, I mean, none of us is making a True Crime podcast, right? None of the conversations we have necessarily lend themselves to something that you can put in a, a, you know, a quick TikTok video and, and, and for it to make sense.
Uh, so this is a quote from Ariel Lisen Black, who is, uh, the community manager at SquadCast and, and has been, uh, a big brain in podcasting for, for quite some, most valuable. Uh, sorry. Most people understand that posting on social media doesn't directly, uh, translate to an increase in downloads. Right? That, that back, back to me editorializing again, that's a really key message, right?
I'm gonna sort of, I'm gonna do that thing and I kind of hate it when people do it, but I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna repeat that cuz I think it's worth noting. Most people understand, and I hope that's true, that posting on social media doesn't directly translate to an increase in download. They know it's important to be there, posting, interacting and engaging, but are slowly learning that time spent doesn't, uh, correlate to increased downloads.
I think there's actually a lot of opportunity in cold and then hopefully warmer outreach. So my reading of that is, is, you know, something that, that I've, I've talked a lot about is. Especially over the last couple of years, the sort of spray and pray of here's a LinkedIn post with, or a, or a tweet with, uh, the latest episode.
Here's a link to it and here's some details or even what we talked about on this episode, and then an audiogram, and then we put the link in the comments like, The reason those don't necessarily translate or don't necessarily convert, download has nothing to do with algorithms. It's not because LinkedIn or Twitter doesn't like you linking, um, it's because people are in a different mindset when they're scrolling.
You know, I'm a big podcast listener. It takes me a lot. If I'm scrolling LinkedIn as I do often, it takes me quite a lot to. Stop what I'm doing and go, okay, I'm gonna listen to this, this podcast Now after a while, I will think, you know, after seeing sort of a few messages, I'm more likely to, to think, oh, okay, what is the show not about?
And then I'll go and check it out in my podcast app rather than clicking a link from LinkedIn, going through to the player and listening to it. Then I can't remember the last time I did that. I have done it in the past, I'm sure many of us have, but it doesn't happen all that often, and I think we, we sometimes have this expectation or this hope that letting people know, Hey, this new episode is.
Is going to translate to people listening to it. And I think it's more, again, going slow. It's more about that long game of, did you know I had a podcast? I think you'd really like it. It's in, it's continuing to reinforce that message. So by all means, we can talk about the latest episode that we've got, but not with the expectation that it's gonna result in downloads.
The expectation is that over time we're reminding people and introducing to new people, Hey, did you know I have a podcast? It's really good. I think you'd. So that's, that's sort of, uh, my, my read from, from there. Um, we, uh, attribute our success, uh, a according to this study, to, uh, email, uh, to ge uh, guesting under the podcasts and to LinkedIn.
And again, I think as Ariel sort of alluded to at the end of her quote, that's about that cold or warm. One of the things I talked about ages ago and, and I I bring up every now and again, is the idea of throwing a ball to to, to an individual and, and calling them out by name. So if you have a podcast that has a small number of downloads, we are actually gonna talk about the apparent sweet spot for the number of downloads.
By the way, I could have led with that, but I didn't wanna do a clickbait thing cuz I know it's something that people ask. Um, but if, if. You have a, you know what you would consider relatively small number of downloads and you wanna grow it. One of the first things that I talk about is finding an individual.
Again, it comes back to this single person finding an individual that you can tap up to say, Hey, I made this for you, basically, right? I made this episode. I think you'll like it. Let me know what you think, because. That's how things start. That that's how you introduce things. You know, we, we have to do the stuff that doesn't scale.
We have to do this individual outrage as I have to. I, I think, you know, it's, it's massively beneficial if we do. Um, and typically, uh, we are active on seven marketing channels, which feels like a lot, but I guess, you know, if you are, if you are talking. a blog. Is one a newsletter? LinkedIn, maybe some Instagram guessing on podcasts.
I mean, that's five just off the top of my dome, you know? Uh, there, you know, there, there, there are probably others that are perhaps I haven't thought of there. Um, you know, obviously there's LinkedIn and oh, uh, like TikTok and Twitter, but yeah, I dunno how many of us are, are doing that. Uh, but, uh, apparently we want to be on more channels in the future, which is, which is, uh, scary.
That seems to be spreading ourselves rather thin. But, uh, I think that's the thing, right? We, we have these aspirations. We, we want all these things, but we do not have the time . We absolutely don't have the time to be in all of these places. And therein lies the rub, right? Therein, uh, is very much the, uh, the, the difficulty.
Um, alright, let's have a quick look at. Let's talk about these download numbers then. So, big question that lots of people have. It's completely understandable question. People wanna be able to benchmark their success against others. How many downloads is a good number of downloads to get? And it's always been a really tricky question to answer because the podcaster's favorite answer, it depends.
Um, because it, it really does, you know, if you, if you think about. If you've got a show for billionaires, and it's about wealth management, right? I'm, I'm being legit. Like if you've got a show that helps really wealthy people manage their money, then you don't need, well, if you've got. 20,000, uh, downloads per episode.
You've probably got a bunch of people may, maybe there's an aspirational thing there, but perhaps your business, you only want to target people who've already got, you know, uh, seven figures or, or eight figures or whatever. So if you are getting 20,000 downloads per episode, You are getting too many downloads because those people aren't your target.
So there is absolutely, you know, uh, it, it really does vary on, on, on the show. And I, I never like to, I don't like giving numbers because I'll be honest, they are the numbers that we end up with our, almost always short of what people think that they deserve. And of course, they. . Um, and that's because, again, this is a long game and it takes a lot of work, but all of that said, uh, the, the target number is apparently the sweet spot, not the target number, but the sweet spot is between 250 and 500,000 downloads.
I'm kidding. It's not. It's between 250 and 500 downloads per episode. That feels hopefully for some achievable for others, you're like, cool. Right. Fine. You know, uh, I've got a one or two shows that I think I've got there, , uh, my, you know, my, my, my own stuff. Um, but it, you know, again, it took time and that number's gone down because I haven't been putting out enough episodes because, uh, reasons.
So, yeah, 250, between 250 and 500 seems to be the, the sweet spot in terms of this is what, so this is the number that, again, these high income podcasters determine as a success. So again, that's why I'm confident that we are not talking about people who make a high income from directly from their podcast, because they wouldn't typically have enough downloads.
Get that kind of number. Not always, not hard and fast all but with the, you know, the, the, the sort of data that they're gathering here. Uh, I don't think that that would be the case. So we are talking really about, it gets into the kind of Dunbar's number I think if, if I'm honest. So Dunbar's number is the, uh, the sort of optimum number of people that we can effectively keep in our, in our head.
You know, it's, it's kind of the ideal size of a community and it's, it's, it's around 150. I. I dunno if that's one of those things that's now been disproven or it's changed or whatever. But that's my understanding. Right. And it, it feels like if we're, if we're above that, then we we're, you know, we've got a nice little, because we're always gonna get a number of people who aren't super engaged in the show.
They don't reply, uh, or they, they don't comment when you ask them to. They don't necessarily follow links. They're not signed up for the newsletter, all that kind of stuff. But if we can start to work towards 150 people who are kind of committed, who are fans basically, then we, you know, to, to, to, to, uh, quote, uh, Merlin man.
Then you've got a stew going. You know what I mean? . So yeah, 250 downloads is kind of, that's a nice little benchmark to be aiming for if you're not already. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about video. Uh, there's gonna be a lot more, I think, talk about video in the coming months. Um, I think the, the, so the, the consensus at the moment is that, uh, video is a good thing to pursue, but we all know that it takes a lot of time, um, to, to produce and expense as well, you know, cause you've gotta get the lighting right.
It's, it's a. Harder to make that really crisp, good quality video than it is audio because for a start you've still gotta do all of the audio things on top of some things which are slightly contradictory to video. You know, for me, I've got a great big rig in front of my face. It's got microphone and a boom arm.
Um, So you are not really, you know, yeah, yeah. I'm fine. You can see my face, but like, not that much of it because there's a great big microphone in front of it and I'm really close to it. And so, um, because that's what makes it sound the, the goodest. So there are several challenges there, but it, it, it's, it's more than that.
Um, and as we've talked about, I'm not gonna go off on a, you know, I'm not gonna go off King. Um, , but I'm not bullish on video in the way that other people are. Purely because, and it's, this is not a, um, it's actually nothing to do. Like, it's, it's not a judgment. Right. It's not a, it's not a judgment on the quality or, or anything like that.
It's simply that my focus is around helping people use their voice to build trust, and that means putting us in. It means the audience putting us in their. And doing other stuff, and us being part of that journey. When you are on a YouTube video, there's a couple of things that are happening. Either they're watching you intently and not doing anything else, which is weird.
It's not weird, but you, you know, it's, it's, it's a different kind of thing. Or they are. Maybe kind of listening to us with half an Ear, but they're doing something on another screen, which means they're probably paying less attention to you, I think. Anyway, this is an, this is anecdotal, but I, I think people are paying because I, you know, I, I, especially with younger people, I do speak to younger people and I know how younger people, um, access media and there's a lot of that and there's a great value in people just sort of putting on YouTube and even long videos effectively for the company.
And I absolutely. You know, there's people who put on these, these Twitch streamers or, or, or you know, big YouTube streamers who, who will just sit there for ages. And I actually, I get, I understand the value in that and it's a very different kind of relationship and, and not always, I think a healthy one.
And so I think for building these healthy relationships where there are boundaries, but where. Again, the listener takes us, puts us in their pocket, and then takes us with them. You know, I take, you know, I hope it's not, I hope I'm not overstep overstepping them up when I say I take Elsie and chess in the bath.
You know what I mean? Like, I listen to them when I'm having my bath. I listen to Merlin man when I'm, um, doing the laundry. . Um, I listen to my brother and m uh, my brother, my brother and me in the adventure zone. While I'm cooking. I listen to, um, lots of different shows that I don't normally habitually listen to.
When I'm out on my walk doing research for my newsletter, I'm folding these shows into my life in a sort of healthy way. And so that's where my focus is rather than let's either have all of your attention. Right now or much less of it because actually you are distracted by another screen. So that's my kind of thing about why I'm not so bullish.
It's not because I don't think video is good. It's not because I don't see the value in video or that I don't wanna get into it or that I think it's a distraction. And I may have said that before and, and I think I, I would be being, you know, perhaps a bit glib if I, if I said, you know, that's honestly what I think.
Um, but for the kind of work that we are here to do, which is to basically build, is to create love affairs. That's my, my whole take on this is basically it's about growing these little seeds of love. And, and I think we do that more effectively with. Um, there's a, a, a nice sort of line that, that actually gave me a little bit more thought on this, which I appreciated from, um, one of these sort of, what's podcasting gonna look like in, in 2023.
Uh, it's put out by Pacific Content and, uh, again, is linked in the show notes, but this is a quote by, uh, Bella Ibrahim, who is the marketing director at Kerning Cultures, who I will admit, I don't know who that is, but I read this and I thought, oh, that is a take that I. I think it's useful to, for us to think about.
YouTube is great for talk show podcasts, but it likely won't take off for other genres like narrative documentaries or fiction. At the end of the day, as a podcaster, it's important to stay true to audio. In addition to understanding other platforms like YouTube. Not every podcast can be adapted naturally into video, and that's okay.
A lot of what I help people with is effectively talk shows. They're very different. The, I tend to help people with the kind of shows where the Guest is a vehicle for the knowledge and the insight and the wisdom and the stories that they have to tell rather than the Guest being the pull, right? So if you think about Diary of a CEO, Right.
Huge, huge podcast. He's number one in the uk, la The lad's not off my screen. He's everywhere. It's Steven Bartlett. He's everywhere. But that is very much a sort of celebrity. , um, star driven show. You know, he's, he's interviewing Richard Osman and Davina McCall, neither of whom are CEOs. I mean, um, Richard Osman successful TV producer.
So in terms of business, you know, he's got some nows I, I don't know about Davina McCall. Um, , but you know, they're not, what I would say is c e o Father. So that is very much, it's a talk show. It's, it's Stephen Bartlett gets to be Michael Parkinson. I'm gonna date myself there, . But you know, that lends itself to YouTube a little bit better or to, to TikTok because they can clip out these emotional moments where someone says something sort of revealing, and that's all fine, but, Again, because what we're doing is a little bit slower.
It's about these stories that people have. It's about the experiences that they're sharing, and it's less about the star power. And I know like a lot of us, we bring on people who we revere in our, in our spheres of, of influence, right? Who are, who are big, you know, who are, maybe it's an author and I've, I've done this myself, like an author that I've read that I'm like thrilled to get on and feels like a.
But it's not the same thing. Um, and so that's why I kind of appreciated, uh, the, the, the point in this, uh, in this quote here from, uh, from Bella, is that we need to think about what's suitable and what's useful. Now, there is this whole thing of we can take the audio from a, from, um, a podcast episode, slap a bit of artwork on top of it, and throw it over to.
and that's fine. And, and, and in terms of, you know, the advice has, has previously been just be everywhere. And, and that includes YouTube because that's how people consume podcasts. But I don't think that's how they consume every kind of podcast. And again, I don't think that's how people will consume our kinds of podcasts.
A Crowdcast or, you know, a webinar or something like that. Absolutely. Something that's maybe. Where it's maybe a bit more of a tips and tricks kind of video or, or session. You know, I've, I've done a few of those last year. Like I, you know, I sit on a Crowdcast or a LinkedIn Live or whatever, um, and it's about what do you know, um, and what are the, the quick tips and, and that kind of stuff.
And, and I think that kind of lends its, it's itself quite well. But when we are talking about stories and talking about experiences and learnings and, and those kinds of, , I think it's a slightly different kettle of fish, and now I'm in danger of repeating myself, hopefully. You go. And I was gonna say, hopefully you get my drift.
And if you disagree, then please like, I, I wanna hear, I wanna hear dissenting voices as well, like, uh, yeah, let, let me know what you think. Um, so the last sort of thing I will end on is, uh, podcasting could be in for a Rocky 2023. So this was a post that came out, uh, it was either earlier in the year or late last year.
And it was, it was on one of these industry magazine things. And I kind of wanna address it because someone sent it to me, uh, a couple of weeks ago, sort of in good faith. You know, you, you occasionally get people who'll do a thing and it's a bit of a, it's a bit of a, sometimes it's a bit of a tactic of, I've seen a LinkedIn article that's vaguely about something that I know someone is interested in, so I'll send it to them because then we can start a conversation and I can sell them my, my.
That happened to me. No shade, no lemonade. I get it. That's fine. But that's what happened, right? Someone WhatsApp to me and and said, I read this and thought of you and just linked to it. Uh, and then, and then said, do you know I've got a book out Right. That happened, but I, I, you know, I'm bringing it up because people will do this to other people.
People will say, you've got a podcast. Have I, I saw this article. What they mean is they saw the headline. They didn't read it, but they saw the headline that said, podcasting's in for a Rocky thing in 2023. Right. I'm not denying that that's the case, but I think what's I. Is to contextualize that argument or that, um, chicken whittling if you, if you like, because it's a, it, it's written by people with an extraordinarily narrow view of what podcasting is.
It is written by people essentially for whom podcasting started in around 2018 when Spotify started making their big acquisi. For, for many people, that's where podcasting began, and that's their understanding of the medium. As a quick reminder, the term was invented in, uh, 2004 and, uh, iTunes, uh, as it was then brought a podcast directory into, uh, existence in 2005.
And that's, that's Apple, right? So Podcasting's been a thing, very much a capital a, capital t a thing since 2005. But there's been, you know, it comes in ebbs and flows. People have talked about the death of podcasting and the, the whatever. Podcasting is back. Podcasting was back in 2008 or nine when Mark Marin invented podcasting, um, with his talk show.
Uh, podcasting was back in 2014 when Serial invented podcast. With, uh, with cereal. Great show by the way. Like again, no shade, like fantastic shows, but the narrative around it was Podcasting's Podcasting's here, podcasting's back Podcasting is the thing. And that's where we started to see the money kind of coming because it was such a huge hit.
2018 podcasting is Back because then Spotify by Anchor and Gimlet, and Gimlet was one of these NPR style companies that make NPR style shows. You know, the, the narrative stuff. Um, and that's when things started to get crazy and that's where we really started to see this bubble and lots of people sort of trying to hop onto that bubble.
And my particular take is, I had a podcasting business. I'm not just talking about me, but as, as a contextualizing thing. I had a podcasting business in, it started in 2016 and I have one now, and I think I'll have one. Um, when the party, when, when, when the kids, when the sort of cool kids, not necessarily the cool kids, but when the party kids, when the party bros have drunk all the beer and eaten all the pizza and left.
And gone to the next thing, which might be video. Uh, it, it's probably ai, you know, it, it, it, it could be something else. Wherever those people go to the next trend, we will still be here because the fundamentals of what we do do not rely on what they have to offer. What they have to, well, not even offer cuz they, they, they don't offer us anything.
They haven't offered us, offered us anything. Um, what they have done. is again, just, you know, if, if you, if you think of, and I'm just possibly slightly using kind of American terminology here, but if you think about, you know, like a house party that, that a kid throws, you know, high school sort of house party and all the jocks turn up and it's like, who invited the jocks?
and, and it's, it's, it's, it's now interesting because they've brought a load of people. The now the party's much louder. So we're making a ruckus and people from other places are going, what's going on over there? That sounds like an interesting party. And they're coming to check it out, right? The neighbors are coming out o over.
Thank God our parents are away for the weekend. Right. Um, so I, I promise this is going somewhere. So the, you know, everybody's turning up to our, to our house party. , and you know, it's because the sort of, the, the, the Jocks brought us, brought, brought all these people because they made such a, such a racket.
And so everybody wants to know, oh, you know what, what's going on there? Now they're playing House of Pain, jump around and everybody's, you know, jumping up and getting down. Um, , it's getting away from me. It's fine. I'm gonna bring it back. Can you tell I don't edit these anymore. I'm having fun. That's, you know, um, yeah.
So that's all fine. The party rages and the party rages and the party rages and the, the, the beer gets drunk and the pizza gets eaten, and then those guys are like, Well, we wanna, you know, we're, we're ready for the next party. Everybody else is like, oh, I think I'm ready to go to bed, or, you know, I've gotta go to work tomorrow or whatever.
And the jocks are like, nah, it's, you know, they're crushing beer cans on their tops of their heads and they're ready for the next one. Right. They're ready to go to the next rag. And that's fine. Right? Because that's what they're into. They will follow the next, where the next party is and like, absolutely.
Good luck to 'em, cuz they'll continue to have a good time. I just, I, what I hope is after they've brought all this noise and all this interest, I just hope they don't make too much of a mess. And I, I mean that like legitimately, I mean, I hope that when that does die down, and I think it will, and by this I'm talking about mostly to do with the various proliferations of True Crime podcasts and um, short run series and mergers and acquisitions that are happening and every celebrity having a podcast where they interview every other celebrity that's got a podcast.
All of that stuff, which has all been happening over the last sort of four-ish years, four to five years. When that starts to settle back down again as we're starting to see, because you know, and I, I wish this on no one, but there are lots of redundancies. Um, there are contracts that people are, are looking at now and going, you know, these didn't meet our expectations.
Spotify's finding that a lot. They set way too high expectations for some of their shows, and they're now finding that those expectations are not being met and they're blaming the hosts. They're blaming the people who make the shows rather than Spotify who were over eager and over. They're now saying, we paid a lot of money for this show.
And it's like, yeah, you paid too much. I, my hope is that when all of that does sort of fizzle, that there isn't too much of a mess, you know, made on the carpet, right. That we, we can clean up and we can continue the work that we're doing and I think we will, I think we will continue now, whether we see that happen this year, whether we see that mass exodo.
Of the, the, the frat, the frat people. I won't gender it, but you know what I mean. Like when we see the jocks leave, I, my my hope is that we, we can carry on and I, I think I, I genuinely think we can because we've been making these kinds of shows since before cereal existed. Podcasting is built on these kinds of shows, and again, that's why I have this sort of, I take a slightly dim view of this, not myopic, but, uh, very tunnel vision esque view of the industry because they only know that ad supported area of it, which is not our world, right?
They only know that's that area that is, it's supported by, not even like Squarespace, but like, you know, like McDonald's and, and, and you know, various other things and all of these sort of, um, ads that get stitched into podcasts. When, when we're talking about the scale that we're talking about and the audience sizes that the people are fighting over that you know that that's not.
I think it's, it's, I don't even know if it's 1% of the actual podcasting industry. And what irks me, and while you can see I've got it, uh, all excited is they call that the industry. And that sort of, that does kind of wire me up. It's because, well, what am I doing then? You know, what, what have we been doing for the last, uh, I can't do the maths, but the last what, 14, 15 years?
Um, it's not the industry. It is. It's, it's a frat party or it's not even, you know, we have been holding the party for the last 14 years. Um, and uh, you know, so that's sort of, that's sort of my view. I, I take that with, with as much as many pitches of salt as you need to. But my, my sort of, my point is you will, and I'm sure you'll see more than, because of course where we are at the moment, we.
Deeply troubling economic times depending on, you know, who you read with either in a recession or we're nearing a recession or it's not gonna be a recession, but, but you know, the fact that people are talking about the R word means, you know, this is the time for people to think conservatively. Um, and so you are going to see more of these kinds of stories and you are going to see stories that say podcasting
And I just, I kind of want to remind you. If, if I haven't already driven the point home too much that when they say that they are only talking about a tiny, tiny percentage of shows and yes, these are shows we listen to and enjoy. Right. I, I absolutely, I enjoy the kinds of shows that are made here, but they're very different from the kind of shows that we listen to where.
We learn, you know, we learn something about how to improve our business or how to create a happier work environment or what Buddhism can teach us about. You know, it's, it's those kinds of things. We're gonna continue to deliver this deep knowledge and insight and, and build these relationships. We're gonna continue to do that because none of those shows are building relationships, cuz that's not, they're, they're, they're there to entertain.
We are here. To make connections. We are here to build, create love affairs. And so that, I think is always gonna continue. And with that, I will bid you Aju. This has been an absolute pleasure talking to you again. Um, I hope that you are. Cool with this sort of semi-live to tape format. Um, I, I'm enjoying it.
It's not, you know, I, I spent a year being very distilled and very sort of nuggety and value-packed and, and at the end of the day, that's not who I am. I mean, I, you know, I'd like to think I'm packed with value, but there's also a lot of stuff around and I like to have fun and I like to do all these things.
So. Alright. Um, we'll check in again next week where I think we will talk about ai. Um, but uh, or just before I do leave you. A quick mention of Vocal Brew. Um, do pop along to the next one, which is in February. Uh, it is the third Wednesday in February, I believe. Uh, and we are going to be talking about ways that we can build more efficiency into our workflow.
Um, it is in fact the fourth, uh, February. So it is, uh, February the 22nd at 7:00 PM gmt if you want the details. Vocal is the website to go to. Do come along because, uh, we, we did it in January and it was, it was a lovely, such a warm group of people that turned up to help set an intention for their podcast in 2023.
We're gonna talk a little bit about that. Um, uh, but, but really we're gonna focus on what are some ways that we can bring more efficiency into our workflows. So that we can get more time to do the things that we wanna do, um, and, and still make a quality product. So with that as ever, uh, links to everything you'll, and you can drop me an email mark
It's been a real pleasure and I will look forward to chatting with you again next week when we will cover ai. Uh, and if you've got any, uh, any thoughts on that, any tips or any tip-offs for. And send them along to me, Thank you so much for your time. Speak to you again very soon. Take care.
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The Podcast Owner's Manual

My weekly podcast combining tips, tricks, and tip-offs to help you and your podcast thrive.

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