Megaphone Gives Spotify Unprecedented Access to Podcasting Data


PodMov Daily: Thursday, November 12

Episode 318: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Hi everyone, welcome back from the break. Your favorite daily delivery returns!

Megaphone Gives Spotify Unprecedented Access to Podcasting Data

Spotify is spending $235 million to acquire the podcast platform Megaphone. The listener data that comes with the deal, however, is the real prize. As Ashley Carman of The Verge observes, “This could have repercussions […] for how much Spotify knows about listener behavior both inside and outside its platform.”

For the first time, Spotify is selling third-party access to its Streaming Ad Insertion technology. “Owning a hosting service also gives Spotify unprecedented access to data about other networks’ shows,” Carman writes. Download, performance, and listener details will be used to more efficiently dominate the market.

Traditional ad targeting can’t compete, and listener privacy is just one casualty. “That’s the through line in all of Spotify’s deals, forcing people to use its service for access, whether that be access to ad technology or certain shows,” Carman says. “We all might end up having to use Spotify whether we like it or not.”

The Apple Podcasts Chart is Broken. It's Time for a New System.

According to Podnews editor James Cridland, rankings in Apple Podcasts have been manipulated beyond function. “Many podcasters are now discussing whether there is a new algorithm being used in the Apple Podcast Charts,” he says. “I suspect that it’s simpler: the charts are now just being saturated by cheats.”

For as little as $5, a ‘professional cheat’ will give your show an artificial boost. Kevin Goldberg, the founder of Discover Pods, is one of many to document the trend. “Advertisers, don’t base your rates on chart rankings,” he insisted back in 2018. It's grown into a huge whack-a-mole problem perpetuated by bad faith.

Podcasting needs a truly global replacement chart, Cridland says. “A way to compare your own product with someone else’s is a powerful creative stimulus — just look at follower counts on Twitter.” (Twitter is also how a cheat tried to pitch services to Podnews. The screenshots are worth a thousand words.)

Buzzsprout: The Next Generation of Podcast Transcription

At Buzzsprout, innovation means progress. High-quality transcription and distribution should be simple. The new Transcription Toolset does just that. Not only do transcripts make your show accessible for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, there’s no better way to amplify your reach.

Transcripts make your content easier to find and repurpose, from social media to video. Buzzsprout’s intuitive tools offer four ways to add them: Temi integration, Descript integration, uploading an .srt file, or writing your own. With Buzzsprout, your definitive transcript is also included in your RSS feed. 

Transcripts within the RSS feed makes it easy for podcast apps, directories, and aggregators to access them. Currently distributing over 46,000 transcripts through RSS, Buzzsprout has been collaborating with the Podcast Index to benefit the whole space — building smarter tools for a better future.

There is the flash in the pan, the sudden success. But continued success is dependent upon tremendous attention to detail.

Here's what else is going on:

  • End game: It’s time to rethink the value of post-roll ads, writes Bryan Barletta in Sounds Profitable. Podcast listeners reliably skip those last five minutes of content. “Nobody wants to buy or sell post-rolls as they’re currently defined in podcasting, so let’s stop kidding ourselves.”
  • Quiet please: Buzzsprout explains how to isolate and remove background noise using Audacity. “The trick is to apply just enough reduction to remove the background noise without negatively impacting the rest of your audio.” Screenshots clarify the process from start to finish.
  • Go lucky: Comedian Josh Gondelman’s game show podcast, Make My Day, is full of his signature pep talks. “[It’s] fun for me to create a context for other people to be the most delightful, funniest, most natural versions of themselves,” he tells’s Emily Baron Cadloff.
  • Bonus round: Acast and Patreon will soon enable podcasters to publish member-exclusive episodes across different platforms. A show’s Patreon supporters (who pay a monthly pledge) can now access paid content through any podcast app that supports secure RSS feeds.

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