PodMov Daily: Wednesday, June 15
Episode 666: Your Midweek Update
What’s It Like to Co-host a Podcast With AI?
One host of Late Night with Robot is Ana-Marija Stojic, a certified human comedian. The other is an artificial intelligence bot. Its ‘real and imagined’ personalities lead to strange and entertaining conversations, writes Wanda Thibodeaux in Code Like a Girl. About 75 episodes have come out since March 1.
AI guests so far include Homer Simpson, Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Cleopatra, Oprah Winfrey, and Jesus. Stojic blends education and comedy, offering a behind-the-scenes “debrief” of each episode for curious listeners. The show’s AI technician even answers their questions about the technology.
Listener requests are common. Stojic delights in the weirdness, but takes the experiment seriously. “AI personalities can act as a highly advanced mirror,” she told Thibodeaux. “It can show people themselves.” Late Night doesn’t appear to have a feed but is available to stream on Beams and Spotify.
Major Platforms Keeping Ad Revenue at the Top
Podcast discovery has become exponentially harder since 2019, and giant platforms aren’t helping. “The likes of Spotify and Amazon have the incentive to give their own productions more prominent placement in the app,” writes Alex Webb of Bloomberg. Ad revenue, and visibility, stays at the top.
Webb sees a familiar threat emerging: “The risk for independent podcasters is that the platforms imitate the approach pioneered by social media companies.” Long ago, Facebook promised brands and public figures a “vast audience,” but then tweaked the algorithm to heavily favor paid promotions.
In fact, Spotify has been running a similar scheme on the music side since 2020. Discovery Mode is a ‘marketing tool’ that gives artists a bump in the algorithm – in exchange for reduced royalty payments. Their rates are already so low ($0.003 to $0.005) that it takes about 250 streams to earn $1.
The federal government continues to push back. Members of Congress wrote to Spotify’s CEO in March: “For artists of diverse backgrounds, who often struggle to access capital, the premise that they must now pay in order to be found by new consumers on Spotify represents an especially serious problem.”
While podcasting doesn’t operate on royalties, the competition for ad revenue leaves creators in a related bind. You need a large audience to sell inventory, which first requires exposure. “Unless something drastic changes,” Webb says, only the biggest fish will enjoy the projected $4.3 billion in 2024.
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Here's what else is going on:
- Curtain call: The first round of PM22 speakers is out. This week’s update has 10 sessions, featuring experts like Jay Clouse (Creative Elements), Jay Wujun Yow (The James Altucher Show), and Rebecca Lavoie (Partners in Crime Media). Plus, Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi of Fireside return.
- Pitch perfect: “What CAN We Podcast?” from Pod People is coming up on June 29. A professional podcast pitcher will discuss what makes a standout pitch and how to get it in front of the right eyes. Next, attendee groups will create their own pitches and vote on the best to win an expert 1:1 session.
- Justice department: The latest issue of “Starting Out” is an inside history of the Gimlet Union. Organizing committee members spoke with producer and reporter Alice Wilder, detailing what led to their hard-won victory in March 2019 – while their podcast company was being bought by Spotify.
- Talk show: Pinna is claiming the first voice-activated interactive podcast format. The subscription children’s platform has launched Yes No Audio, an adventure series where “listeners will be prompted to verbally answer yes or no to decide on their escape plan as they work against the clock.”