SiriusXM Sued for Failing to Provide Podcast Transcripts


PodMov Daily: Thursday, December 16

Episode 557: Your Thursday Podthoughts

SiriusXM Sued for Failing to Provide Podcast Transcripts

SiriusXM’s podcasting companies are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to The National Association for the Deaf. A lawsuit has been filed for failing to provide captioning and transcripts for “the vast majority” of its podcasts, including through its subsidiaries Pandora and Stitcher.

“These are multimillion-dollar companies. It’s time for them to do the right thing and provide podcast transcripts on their websites and apps,” said Christina Brandt-Young of the Disability Rights Advocates. The suit demands both damages and an injunction to force SiriusXM to offer transcripts (and market their availability).

If podcasters needed another sign, this one is red with flashing lights. The largest audio entertainment company in North America shouldn’t have to be sued into accessibility practices. As Brandt-Young said, the initiative “had to start somewhere.” Let’s hope other audio giants pay attention and learn the easy way.

Vanity Metrics vs. Long-Term Podcast Goals

Vanity metrics are a powerful trap. In podcasting, these surface-level figures (e.g., social followers, download records) sound impressive but usually don’t mean much. Writer, marketer, and developer Julian Shapiro explains how to spot empty trophies — and stop wasting time and energy on the chase.

While ‘vanity’ is necessary to build a business, it’s too easy to get hooked. “Your objective is to keep that vanity from leading you away from your real goals,” Shapiro says. “If you’re proud of how many hours you worked yesterday or how many likes your Tweet earned, ask yourself if you’re proud of the right metric.”

Say you’re determined to boost subscriber numbers. With a costly campaign, you reach a new high score that won’t last with underbaked content. Still, it’s natural for vanity metrics to feel hugely important (thanks, internet). Shapiro offers three questions to consider when you find yourself obsessing.

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Party lines: Looking at audio’s wild year, “the numbers tell a big story.” Amplifi Media CEO Steven Goldstein puts them in context, from podcast competition to smart speakers. Will social audio hit it big in 2022? “Not likely,” he predicts, based on the boom-and-bust cycle of Clubhouse.
  • Work study: AIR has updated its Guide to Fair Practice for Audio Professionals. It’s been organized into sections (Compensation, Communication, Working Relationship, Contract Terms, Copyright & Credit, and Finished Work) to help freelancers and employers treat each other right.
  • Sound tunnel: On video apps, falling “down the rabbit hole” happens all the time. Why don’t podcast apps function the same way? Joe Stone of Amaze Media Labs suggests that auto-recommendations are the missing piece. Ideally an app would offer preview clips and voice controls.
  • Internet points: Tomorrow is the final entry deadline for the 26th Annual Webby Awards. This year’s newly expanded podcast category welcomes general series as well as individual episodes, limited series, and features. Find submission details, new categories, and past winners here.

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