Why There’s No #1 Podcast Platform


Editor’s note: The Daily will be off Wednesday through Friday of this week. We'll be back Monday, November 1 with your morning headlines, resources, and tips.

PodMov Daily: Monday, November 1

Episode 532: Your Monday Mix

Why There’s No #1 Podcast Platform

“How can Apple and Spotify both be ‘Number One’ (when we all know Apple is)?” That question is at the center of the “kerfuffle” over Spotify’s recent claim, writes Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. Data from Edison’s Podcast Consumer Tracker, like all measurements in podcasting, shows part of the truth.

“The short answer — they both sit atop very different ladders,” Webster explains. “If you want to measure downloads, Apple has been and continues to be the leader. But the Spotify platform is preferred by more people.” He kindly breaks down the three most common objections expressed on Twitter and elsewhere.

In other news from the Podcast Consumer Tracker, 49% of weekly listeners listen to at least one “truly independent” show every week. (Define as those that “write their own paychecks and are not part of a large network.”) For “weird and wonderful” niche shows, the audience is big and encouragingly steady.

Indie Podcasting’s Cost-Over-Quality Problem

It’s become far too difficult for indie podcasters to finance their work without sacrificing quality, says producer and consultant Nick Hilton. Especially for polished documentary work, there’s no structural support: “The actual craft of making a small, perfectly formed documentary podcast is being beaten by the business of it.”

Documentary podcasting is wildly expensive. “We can safely assume that all of Spotify, Audible, BBC, NPR, NYT etc are dealing in six or seven figure budgets,” Hilton writes. Self-funded projects have to rely on subscriptions or advertising, neither of which work well for a limited series format — no matter how brilliant the quality.

As a documentary maker and co-founder of a podcast company, Hilton observes that upfront marketability has become a prerequisite for existing. “When you have a system whose biases pressure independent podcasters into diluting their idea, chopping it up, refrying it with other content, then you have an issue.” 

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The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Group chat: This Wednesday at 12:00 CT, Acast will host “Aclass: Indigenous Voices.” Guest-curated by Mi’kmaq lawyer Pamela Palmater, two conversation sessions will focus on Indigenous experiences in podcast creation, storytelling, and navigating industry careers. Free registration.
  • Side dishes: November has begun, and so have holiday-themed episodes and social posts. ’Tis the season to stop using “ ’tis the season” to start your holiday messaging, says Holly J. Morris of NPR Training. She offers media creators some well-worn patterns to avoid (and what to do instead).
  • Honestly though: The FCC has honed in on predatory advertising practices in podcasting. Lindsay Harris Friel of The Podcast Host suggests creators be extra careful about the truth in their testimonials: “When you agree to the host-read ad, ask the company to let you try the product, at no cost.” 
  • Business casual: Podbean’s Corporate Podcast Summit is coming up Tuesday, November 9. Held on LinkedIn Live, the streaming event will feature focused talks on branded podcast strategy and internal podcasting for learning and development. Free registration, 11:00 am- 1:30 pm ET.

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