Podcaster Tips

The Era of Podcast Exclusives — What is Considered a Podcast?

By Rob Greenlee, Co-Host of and Coming Host of Spoken Life Show with rob.greenlee at gmail com

Rob Greenlee, VP of Content and Partnerships, Libsyn

Many are saying that we are in an a time of change and we need to be open to new innovations in the podcasting industry. Is it possible some of these new ideas may change podcasting in ways that may slow or harm the medium that has had such a strong and consistent run of growth over the past 18+ years.

Podcasting was originated 18+ years ago around the idea of open distribution that gave the potential of reaching as many listeners as possible. For most of that period of time it has been assumed that to be consider a podcast by strict original definition, one must distribute via an RSS feed to many listening platforms and go to where audio listeners and back then video viewers were too.

The idea behind podcasting was to create an eco-system that is open and filled with new innovative ideas from software developers, content creators to do their craft in a way that was not limited by gatekeepers or large companies trying to control the creative process and to large degree the distribution of the results of that creative process.

Exclusives is and has been an old media construct to create control and monetization for the platform and has been less about what is best for the creator and in most cases the listening or viewing platform or network is the only beneficiary of exclusives.  See quote below.

“What I also think it means is that broadcasters, or production companies can probably be too quick in making things exclusives. Hiding them away when they aren’t significantly famous doesn’t probably generate you that much value.”

This topic of podcast exclusives has been evolving since the very early days of podcasting. Over the many years podcasting is still dominated by the RSS feed, but has more recently started to shift to the model of RSS feeds being optional. That makes one go hmm, what is going on?

In a growing number of examples more recently these exclusives have meant shutting down the use of RSS feeds and Spotify’s Anchor podcast hosting platform has made generating an RSS feed an optional ask and not a default function.

See quote below from Spotify’s Anchor platform head Michael Mignano in a post earlier this past spring of 2021. This post explained the reasons for this change are that it gives the content creator greater control over the distribution of the audio content, but this change at Anchor also has the unsaid benefit of getting Spotify exclusive shows on its platform for FREE in exchange for Free hosting as their automatic ad insertion monetization strategy never reach scale.

Greater control over which platforms ingest, publish, and monetize creators’ content
“As more and more new audio platforms emerge and look to capitalize on the growing audio space, it’s important that creators have control over which platforms are aggregating their content from the web (and in some cases, building their own businesses on top of creators’ content without their consent). Currently, when a creator launches a new podcast on most podcast creation platforms (including Anchor), the platform automatically generates an RSS feed and publishes it to the open web. This published RSS feed makes it possible for any platform or website to ingest the RSS feed, and display and even monetize the content. This can happen without explicit permission from the creator. As part of our distribution update, we will only generate an RSS feed if the creator explicitly wants one (and we’ll present clear options on how to do so at the time of publish). This will ensure that each creator can explicitly choose to publish their podcast with an RSS feed (therefore enabling any platform to ingest, display, and monetize that content) rather than it happening automatically without the creator’s consent.

If you’re already an existing Anchor creator and would like to opt out of your RSS feed being published and available to be ingested by any platform, you may reach out to us at any time to request we change your distribution settings to your liking.” 

Quote from Spotify’s Anchor platform head Michael Mignano

I do like the message and idea of giving content creators more control and we are emerging into a time when content creators or podcasters need to value there work more and limiting access to it is one approach as Spotify Anchor is driving here, but doing it through a platform like Spotify may not be the best approach for most podcasters that are looking for growing an audience and potentially monetizing. The history of Anchor is not one with a solid history of generating consistently publishing podcast shows with growing audience, but has been a platform full of podfaded shows.

Most shows created on the Anchor platform have exploded the false perception that the podcasting market is flooded with millions of new successful podcasts. Many now feel like it is too late to get into podcasting because it is too crowded and the truth is it is just not too late.

Podcaster Tips

Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces Recording

I wanted to make this a very quick post about the advanced audio recording equipment you need to record both sides of the audio in Clubhouse, and Twitter Spaces.

First off you need the correct recording interface to connected and have a two-way audio communication to your Apple iOS device as that is the only mobile operating system that currently connects with Clubhouse, you have more options with Twitter Spaces as it supports iOS and Android today.

iRig 2  - $39.99

Zoom PodTrak P4 4-input for Clubhouse/Spaces/Podcasting - $199

RodecasterPRO - $599

TRRS Cable 6 foot - $7.30

Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter - $7.99

Here is are the most common audio interfaces/mixers that enable you to do high-quality two-way audio with your iOS device and your XLR connected microphone.

Podcaster Tips

What is the State of the Podcasting Industry in 2020? What is ahead in 2021 Q & A?

By Rob Greenlee

(12/18/2020) Podcasting globally is growing fast in all aspects and is increasingly diversified around gender, ethnicity, and race. We are seeing innovation and talented people entering the podcasting medium in many areas now that is becoming increasingly less about speaking into a microphone to host a podcast show and increasingly around the business of podcasting.

Podcasting has been increasingly upping the quality game of content development. The listening platforms are competing for users by pushing the envelope around discovery metadata for search, production and marketing support, full transcriptions, and monetization. 

Advertising revenue is up less than expected prior to COVID, but is up still and will continue to grow and accelerate into late 2021. Reaching $1 Billion+ in ad revenue will take longer than many have hoped and filling more podcasts with spots that are valuing podcast ad inventory whether it is baked in host reads or prerecorded dynamically inserted talent reads with higher CPM’s is key.

Privacy and changes to Internet protocol IPv6 are going to continue to have an impact on digital advertising and will hold back podcast advertising as long as we rely too much on IP targeting and selling IP’s of listeners to re-target advertising. 

Global listening, content creation, monetization from all parts of the world is key to the rapid and sustained growth of the medium.

What have been the big podcasting stories over the last year?

Global growth and expansion initially started many years ago by Apple iTunes Podcasts and has seen gradual and more recent faster expansion by listening services platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Gaana, Amazon, and iVoox. The expansion to new listening platforms around the world is not done yet.

Content production companies like BBC, CBC, ABC Australia, and many other smaller audio creation companies like SoundCartel in Australia and Kelly & Kelly in Canada have shifted from radio audio to podcast audio production services.  

Who has benefited the most over the past few years in the podcasting space?

Benefits from podcasting are varied and are dependent on podcasters’ goals and achieving those.  I am not sure that I can say who specifically has benefitted the most from the growth and development of podcasting over the past few years, but can comment on how many have benefited. 

I do know that many people help their work careers, grow their personal brands, grow a business, gain direct revenue from donations, earn paid subscriptions, and build advertising revenue with a podcast in their life. 

Many think big corporate podcasting and the largest audience podcasts have benefitted the most. This assumes that podcast monetization, VC investments, and mergers and acquisitions are the most important factor in who has benefitted the most, but all these advancements and attention has helped independents and corporate podcasting which sometimes can be independent podcasters.

The line between corporate podcasting and independent podcasting is getting less clear as so many individuals build teams around their productions as well as big companies. 

What are the chances an independent podcaster can become successful in today’s podcasting world without being part of a network?

I believe this has not really changed much since the early days of podcasting.  As long as podcasting remains dominated by independent creators and the industry keeps supporting opportunities for those types of creators then it will be a 16-year-old new medium that continues to offer a level playing field. 

It is true too that larger companies and networks are getting more attention than ever before.  That increasing attention, size, and cash resources are driving increasing success for some of these companies. It is also true that the numbers of employees and money resources do not guarantee success in the podcasting space. 

Successful content can come from anywhere in the podcasting or media space and larger companies can have some advantages in the market and market forces are helping to increase the advantage to larger listening, publishing platforms, but content creation is still where the medium is a blank canvas of opportunity as the cost of quality audio production is continuing to fall.

How successful can an independent podcaster really be as part of a network?

That is a key question in today’s podcasting space is a podcast that is part of a large network really an independent podcast.  I think it is if the content is still wholly owned independently by the creator.  

Some networks have owned and operated podcasts where the talent is hired to produce the podcast, but independent podcasters affiliated with a large or smaller network own all the rights to their content, but still can potentially get support from a network.  

I consider the podcasts that the hosts still own all the rights to be independent podcasters.  I think the definition of what an independent podcast has been confusing for many to understand as some have judged some shows as not part of the indie side of podcasting when they really are independent podcasts while being part of a big corporate media or podcasting company. 

I believe quality cream rises to the top in podcasting and all a podcast needs to do is spark word of mouth sharing in its listener base and it will grow over time if trust and value exchanges are created in people’s lives. 

Has the measurement issue been solved?

We have solved the measurement issue as much as we can at this moment in time. 

The future of podcast measurement is facing some very large challenges in the near future as we struggle to obtain client-side listening data, the very limited path to listener opt-in tracking, internet protocol (IPv4 to IPv6) technology, elimination of the cookie, and growing privacy-related global legal restrictions change and develop. 

As we face all the above challenges, we must always keep in mind that podcasting has been rooted for 16 years in being mostly a non-commercial medium that is free, open, and accessible. 

Is important to continue to recognize the trust-building that is rooted in the history the medium has in protecting listeners’ privacy. This trust-building has resulted in strong ROI via host reads ads without violating listener privacy.

Has the discovery issue been solved?

The discovery issue has never existed in the way it has been commonly understood. Many complain that podcast discovery is the core issue behind why their podcasts have not grown in the audience they have as fast they would like. 

The discovery of podcasts can certainly be better, but most of that issue falls on the backs of the podcast creator and how well they have developed the topics and program, show marketing and promotion, website SEO, and their efforts to inspire the audience sharing to others.  

Best advice you could give someone thinking about podcasting today?

I mostly give the same advice today as I have years ago. The opportunity to succeed in podcasting has not really changed.  It just takes planning and goal setting, focus on relevant content, good sounding audio, an aggressive distribution, and a promotion plan that connects with listeners.

What will happen in the future in the podcasting space?
The podcasting medium will keep steadily growing in all areas in the near and long-term future. It is up to all of us to evolve podcasting in a way that preserves its roots as a trusted and level playing field for all to contribute and participate.

Rob Greenlee He is the Former Chairperson of The Podcast AcademyAmbies Awards and was inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame in 2017. His career started around offline and then online marketing. Then on radio in 1999 and podcasting on Sept 15, 2004 with the first nationally syndicated radio show, “WebTalk World Radio Show”. He currently co-hosts the “New Media Show,” a weekly audio and video podcast that streams LIVE at Connect with Rob at rob.greenlee(at)gmail(dot)com.

He is available for podcast interviews and other media opportunities here –

Podcast Podcaster Tips

Is a New Podcasting Industry Association Needed Again?

By Rob Greenlee, VP, Content and Partnerships,

You might be asking a simple question of Why? Yes again, we have been here before and it was called the Association of Downloadable Media (ADM).  It was a grassroots started organization formed by some of the larger players in the podcasting space back in 2008.

Now ten years later and much maturity in the market has occurred, but most new people to podcasting will not have known this history.  It is also true that it does not matter now much what happened in the past, but what we do now going forward.  I agree with that thought, but some lessons can be learned from that experience to make an organization work this time.

The ADM was mostly a failure by most measures with group in fighting and backroom closed door communications in efforts to control the efforts of the group, but some good came out of it and we did set some very basic measurement standards that has carried the overall podcasting industry till the more recent efforts by the IAB Podcast Metrics Working Group to establish v.1 and more recently IAB v.2 Podcast Metrics Standards.

The thought is to create and industry group that can collaborate to create more standards in the industry around advertising formats, best practices around dynamic ad insertion and programmatic ad buying.   The large brands and agencies need some whitepapers with examples of successful advertising campaigns.

As we see host/talent read ad spots converge more with programmatic buying platforms we will see revenue grow in the podcasting medium.

Clearly we also need to keep working on audio playing client side metrics to realize the complete picture of listening from downloaded podcast audio files.

This new unnamed podcast industry association would enable everyone to come together around growing the listening side of the podcasting industry with the potential of co-op online and offline marketing and promotion.

I have a proposed name for the new association and that might be “Professional Podcast Association” (PPA) or “Global Podcast Association” (GPA).  Please reach out and let me know if you have any other ideas about this proposal – rob at robgreenlee dotcom.