Spotify Adds Podcast Star Ratings, Buys Whooshkaa

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PodMov Daily: Friday, December 17

Episode 558: Week Download Complete

Spotify Adds Podcast Star Ratings, Buys Whooshkaa

Spotify will roll out a five-star podcast rating system over the next few days. Listeners can rate a show after hearing 30 seconds, and a show’s average score will be shown publicly once it reaches 10 ratings. Apple Podcasts’ long-held metric no longer belongs to Apple Podcasts, and calls-to-action just got messier.

“We’re making it easier for listeners to decide when to try out a new podcast that might be their next favorite,” Spotify said in the announcement. (Replace when with where to save some time.) The company even provides podcasters with intro and outro scripts so they can “finally encourage” listeners to leave a rating.

Meanwhile, the Australian company Whooshkaa is Spotify’s latest acquisition. It now has “specialized technology that allows radio broadcasters to easily turn their existing audio content into on-demand podcast programming,” explains Sarah Perez of TechCrunch. Under Spotify, radio is either on-demand or at risk.


Better Sound Design for Listeners with Hearing Loss

JN Benjamin, an audio producer with auditory processing disorder, hears lots of sounds that other people may not pick up on. Although hearing loss “may, on the surface, look like the opposite,” the challenges when it comes to podcast listening are similar. Zoe Pickburn of Wired explains how sound design can help.

“In a rich audio drama or highly produced content, a lot of things could be going on in the soundscape. Which of those are actually adding value, and which of those are just getting in the way?” Accessibility experts stress the importance of quality sound production, with very little competing sound underneath.

Most podcasters know that transcripts and clear speech are a must. Beyond that, “Get someone who doesn't know the script to listen through and check the balance between foreground and background sound.” Familiarity with our own projects can make it tough to tell how they’ll be perceived by a world of new listeners.

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Love and success, always in that order. It's that simple AND that difficult.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Pickle jar: Producing this year’s best-received celebrity podcast takes weirdness, talent, and risk. Storytime with Seth Rogen owes much of its trippy, cinematic charm to Richard Parks III, the creator of Richard’s Famous Food Podcast. For Timber, Skye Pillsbury has the story of a match made in heaven.
  • Toy story: Transom’s gift guide for audio creators is time-tested and hype-free. Jeff Towne recommends a range of microphones, software, and all devices in between. Podcast gear isn’t everything, but these picks “can make your life easier, and let you concentrate on telling the story.”
  • Solo flight: SoundPath’s next live seminar series, “When Your Podcast Team Is You,” begins on January 10. The five-session intensive will be led by Roifield Brown, creator of How Jamaica Conquered the World and podcasting instructor at UC Berkeley. Registration is $625 for non-AIR members.
  • Only human: How does your writing sound out loud? Sound designer Benjamin McCulloch compares a script to sheet music or a recipe. “Great writing will take you toward the final result, but the user will experience the voice that embodies your writing.” A synthetic voice is a risky choice.

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