How Podcast Criticism Pushes the Industry Forward


PodMov Daily: Monday, September 28

Episode 294: Your Monday Mix

How Podcast Criticism Pushes the Industry Forward

In a recent Tweet seeking expert commentary on Nice White Parents, a high-profile reporter said, “I wish podcast criticism was a thing.” Galen Beebe corrects the record in the Bello Collective: “I have been writing, editing, and publishing podcast criticism for four years, and I am tired of hearing that my work doesn’t exist.”

As an editor of Bello, Beebe details the wealth of ongoing podcast criticism and why it’s regularly overlooked. “We believe that podcasting is not a trend or a bubble, and that thoughtful critique is essential to the medium’s development,” she writes. Context within a larger landscape builds legitimacy, and that's nothing new for podcasts.

Within the industry, the ‘boom narrative’ (that podcasting is the next big thing) is tired and out of touch. “The myth that there is no podcast criticism is just another version of the same story,” Beebe says. “It basically says “In order for podcasts to really make it, we need criticism […] The criticism is here. We’ve made it.”

Scout FM, Apple's Latest Podcasting Acquisition

Apple earlier this year bought the startup Scout FM, which created personalized, radio-style podcast ‘stations.’ As reported by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, “The app determined a person’s interests based on listening history, inputs of their preferences and suggestions form artificial-intelligence based software.”

Apple shut down the app after the quiet purchase. John Koetsier of Forbes speculates that we've already seen the game plan. “This is oddly analogous to what Apple is currently delivering with music,” he observes. “iOS 14’s Apple Music app offers a completely custom ‘radio station’ that has become my perfect DJ.”

If Apple Music can do it with 60 million songs, this could be a discovery solution for 30 million podcast episodes: “An Apple Podcasts powered by Scout FM’s AI technology for surfacing relevant and interesting podcasts and auto-playing them continuously would help you find new voices on topics you care about.”

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Cashing out: Wondery is exploring a sale for at least $200 million, reports Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg. “That’s double its valuation when it announced a fund-raising round in June 2019.” The podcast company behind Dr. Death has seen revenue rise 75% over last year.
  • Later, gator: Even quick podcasting breaks require careful execution, says Jennay Horn of We Edit Podcasts. “If you don’t want to lose your listeners or have your show’s momentum come to a grinding halt, you need to have a plan in place before hitting the pause button.”
  • Round two: How should the trailer be titled for a new season of your podcast? Rehmatullah Sheikh of Pacific Content explains how to build anticipation when “it’s not an introduction to the show, and you’re not starting from scratch.” (Also, why to avoid using the word “trailer.”)
  • People's choice: Hysteria lead host Erin Ryan tells about the ongoing evolution of the hit podcast. Crooked Media gave Ryan free rein to develop the politics and comedy show in 2017. The result was downloaded over a million times in its first two months.

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