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Is A Top Placement In Spotify's Podcast Charts Worth The Price? [S3E112]
Episode 11215th April 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

The most popular podcasts on Spotify are now on public display.

Evo Terra:

Getting your show listed on that page could be a huge boon.

Evo Terra:

But are you willing to pay the steep price?

Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

Evo Terra:

Spotify has now made their podcast ranking charts available via a public webpage.

Evo Terra:

It's the same data that you've been able to access before by logging

Evo Terra:

into the app on your mobile device and I think on your desktop as well.

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But it no longer requires you to be logged in to that device

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or that system or that service.

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It's now on public display.

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You just go to the website, which of course will be linked

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in the episode details here.

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Now, it's a pretty clear and very bold push by Spotify, who has been very

Evo Terra:

clear and very bold in their push into podcasting since 2019, further solidifying

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themselves as the authority in podcasting.

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"This is THE public available ranking."

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That's what they want all of us to buy into it.

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And if not us, that's what they want the general public to buy into.

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"We are the arbiters of what is top and most popular."

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So should you and me and every other podcaster out there, the working

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podcaster, should we play along with this?

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Well, maybe.

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Let's talk about the way this chart works.

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Charting is always kind of a gray box.

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We know a little bit about what all goes into the ranking factors

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and algorithms but not everything.

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According to Spotify, they've given us some good data.

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Or good information, I should say.

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They say that getting a show ranked, or also an episode,

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they do top episodes as well.

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Getting a show and/or episode ranked is basically a factor of two things.

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One, how many followers that show has on Spotify, and number two, the number

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of times somebody plays an episode or that episode of that particular show.

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But now, so again, that's size of the audience and play activity.

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But let me repeat, only on Spotify.

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Number of followers of that show on Spotify.

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Number of plays through the Spotify app.

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Spotify only knows Spotify data.

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They know a lot of Spotify data.

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But it's only their people.

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Only Spotify users influence the Spotify podcast ranking charts.

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Now, that's some 350 million people who use Spotify on a regular basis.

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Only about 25% of those are avid listeners to podcasts, or even at all

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listeners to podcasts based on some info Spotify gave us a few months ago.

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So 25%, that's around 80 million people.

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That's a pretty large sample size.

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That's a lot of people listening and because it's such a large sample

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size, that's why when you look at Spotify's top podcast rankings

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and compare them to Apple's top rankings, they're fairly close.

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I didn't see any outliers.

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I didn't spend a lot of time digging, but they looked like the same shows

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were there just in different positions, you know, plus or minus five or six.

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They were all at around the same thing.

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Broadly speaking, same as Apple charts.

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So they're probably as accurate as Apple's charts, which also, by the way, only track

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activity done through Apple Podcasts.

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Alright.

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Clearly what the podcast charts want us to do is two things - push hard

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to get there, and a lot of people are going to say, hey, push hard to

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get there because you're going to get a whole lot more people downloading

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your show if you're on these charts.

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And I don't know that I can argue for or against that, but I just want to

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say that the person that these charts serve, first and foremost, is Spotify

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and Apple Podcasts or anybody else who comes along and makes a ranking.

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The primary benefactor of these ranking charts are the organizations

Evo Terra:

doing the ranking themselves.

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And that's very clear.

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That's not me going, oh, what an amazing thing.

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Look, the way you get better rankings is by convincing people to follow you and

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listen to your show on that platform.

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That's it.

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It's the only way you can do it.

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So clearly the more you push to get on top of that ranking, that means

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you're causing more people to listen to you on that device and follow you

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on that particular app and service.

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That's what they want you to do.

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It's them.

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They are the benefactors, not necessarily you.

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Maybe if you make it to the charts, but it's the benefactors

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of millions of podcasters.

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We have millions.

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Well, more than a million podcasters, let's say, telling all

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their friends, oh my god, switch!

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Start listening on this app!

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Big deal for that app.

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Not so much a big deal for that podcaster.

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I have two predictions that are going to come out of this new Spotify ranking.

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Well, I guess three.

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Number one is they're not going to be the last one.

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Expect lots of different app services, apps, directories to come out with

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their top rankings, because why not?

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It benefits them, like I said.

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Okay.

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That's number one.

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Number two is we'll see chart monitoring services.

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We already have chart monitoring services.

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They are now going to incorporate Spotify's data.

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So you can subscribe via email and get a notification every day that

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your podcast goes up and down the charts, or when it finally makes an

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appearance on the charts, if it ever makes an appearance on the chart.

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There will be services out there.

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Scrape this page and report back to you, the podcaster, how you're doing.

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That's an easy guess.

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Number three prediction is maybe by the weekend, we'll start getting spam

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emails from people saying, "I can get you to the top of the charts on Spotify!"

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That's what happens when you have rankings.

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There are people out there, unscrupulous people out there, who

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will find ways to manipulate it.

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And this one's relatively easy to manipulate.

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Make an account, attach it to a SIM card in a country that has really

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cheap phones and really cheap data rates to do various things.

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We've seen it before with Apple Podcasts.

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We'll see it again with Spotify.

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We're going to see people out there gaming the system, so expect some change on

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those charts as gamers jump in the system.

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Anyhow, what does all this mean for the average podcaster?

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Or not just the average podcaster.

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95% of podcasters.

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I don't think it means all that much, in all honesty.

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You got to remember, these lists are top level only, and they're

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dominated by shows that have big followings already on Spotify.

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That's a lot of work to bust through that.

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I'm talking several tens of thousands of dollars worth of a marketing plan.

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If you've got a marketing plan for your podcast that includes several

Evo Terra:

tens of thousands of dollars to promote your podcast, then you should

Evo Terra:

absolutely get in touch with Spotify.

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They would love to help you break into the ranks because when you spend

Evo Terra:

all that money, you're going to tell people, listen to the show on Spotify.

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Doing branding for them, of course, they'll spend money.

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Apple will do the exact same thing.

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Remember, these charts benefit the chart makers more than anyone else.

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The only thing you might consider is where Spotify shows up in your

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listing on your website of "Follow the show on these platforms."

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Or you maybe you still say subscribe to the show on these platforms.

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Where does Spotify show up?

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Now, I moved Spotify to the first place earlier this year?

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Last year?

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I don't remember.

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Go to podcastpontifications.com and you'll see the list of all

Evo Terra:

the places you can subscribe.

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I've got Spotify listed first because of the moves they're making in the space.

Evo Terra:

They're clearly trying to dominate.

Evo Terra:

I wanted to make sure that I get that attention first and foremost.

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Not really promoting them, but just having it there as the first

Evo Terra:

option, just in case somebody doesn't recognize the other icons on the page.

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So here's an idea for you.

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Do the same thing, but not to me.

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Visit the homepage of a friend of yours in podcasting or somebody you want to be

Evo Terra:

a friend of yours in podcasting, visit their homepage and see where they list

Evo Terra:

the Spotify follow/subscribe/listen button, and then send them a link

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to this episode and say, here's why it's important for that to be first.

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Maybe you'll become that person's new best friend.

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Converse amongst yourselves about the best way to promote without doing

Evo Terra:

that much promotion for Spotify.

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It's extending the olive branch.

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Always a nice thing to do.

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And if you like the ideas that I had to say here on the program, please

Evo Terra:

go to buymeacoffee.com/evoterra, and slide a virtual coffee my way.

Evo Terra:

That's always nice.

Evo Terra:

No shows on Friday for me.

Evo Terra:

So you enjoy your weekend and I shall be back on Monday with yet

Evo Terra:

another Podcast Pontifications.