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Apple Podcasts' Switch To Streaming Will Decimate Downloads [S3E92 - CORRECTED]
Episode 9210th March 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:08:35

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When Apple switches away from auto-downloads, it will be up to

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hosting companies to keep the chaos at bay by providing podcasters and

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advertisers a better understanding of the true size of our audiences.

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

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In case you hadn't heard the news, this Apple iOS 14.5 beta just

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keeps a on giving amazing things.

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It's going to, if the beta version is to be accepted and believed,

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Apple Podcasts will no longer automatically download podcast episodes.

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That is both fantastic and terrifying because without the auto-downloads,

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Apple's numbers, the number of times Apple Podcasts downloads

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your podcast's episodes will drop.

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Yep.

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It will drop because right now it's automatically downloading.

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That's not going to happen any longer, and this will cause, what I feel will

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be, the second big shakeout since the 2.0 standards were adopted by

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almost every podcasting host that mattered back in the summer of 2018.

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And at that time you may remember, if I will take you back to the olden times

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of summer of 2018, you might've seen a significant drop in your download numbers.

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Some of the bigger shows reported up to a 50% drop when we switched to IAB

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standards, which was just simply a better, more accurate tool of measuring downloads.

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Well, we're going to see that again.

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Will it be 50%?

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I don't know.

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Here's a quick tip of the tech side, just to what's happening here.

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When anyone, I want to say subscribes, when someone follows

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your podcast on Apple Podcasts, it automatically downloads the episode.

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Next week, if you release an episode, it'll download that one, as well.

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And the week after that, it'll download it.

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At some point in time, Apple will stop downloading, Apple Podcasts

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will stop downloading episodes if the person who follows the show has not

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listened to one of those episodes.

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But for a while, it just keeps downloading.

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Now, Spotify, when you follow, when someone follows your show on

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Spotify, it doesn't automatically download it just simply downloads a

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file, streams the file, if you will, when someone requests to play it.

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It looks like that's what Apple is switching to.

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Now, because of that difference in behavior, Apple automatically

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downloading, Spotify only downloading upon request, that's why Spotify

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doesn't rank as high in the charts, if you will, or show up on the radar

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as high when we're tracking downloads.

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But when we look at reach and usage and other sorts of metrics, well, that's

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when Spotify winds up beating Apple.

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Those days might be over when Apple turns off automatically downloading

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episodes later on this month.

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I can't imagine any world where your stats and my stats aren't impacted by this.

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We will see a drop in the number of downloads, which will be reflected

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in our podcast media hosting company's dashboard for our podcasts.

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If we're selling advertising on our show, that means our available

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advertising inventory will also drop and then be reported back to

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those advertisers who give us money.

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What are we going to do about this?

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Wow.

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Decimating, literally, this might be the time you could use

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the word decimate downloads.

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If we're lucky, it's only going to decimate downloads.

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But it's not like I've not been warning you that this was coming.

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Look back in the history.

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How many times have I railed against the usage of download and our insistence

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of this metric, which is really just about computers talking to other

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computers, and yet we're holding onto them like it's something amazing?

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It's not.

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So I'm not terribly surprised by this.

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Now, if you are supported by advertising, if advertising brings a significant amount

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of revenue to you, I apologize in advance for the rough weeks/months ahead of you.

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It's going to be very difficult to try and convince advertisers to give

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you the same amount of money for less.

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And you're really, they're getting less, they're perceiving less.

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They're getting the exact same thing in reality, but now they're looking and

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going, oh, all of these downloads before - apparently I went from 50,000 downloads

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a week to 20,000 downloads a week, or whatever, the number 30,000 or 40,000.

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The difference between those two are the ones that were automatically

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downloaded and never, ever listened to.

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Then it's not terribly surprising.

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I've been in the ad game for a long time, and I know that advertisers constantly

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demand more things from publishers, and if you're selling advertising

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on your podcast, you're a publisher.

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They want more stuff.

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But now if you're not selling advertising and you just see your ads drop - big deal.

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So what?

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Your audience really hasn't changed, just the lens that you're looking at

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them has been corrected, if you will.

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You're still, it's still the same people who are consuming your content mostly.

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So you just now have a more accurate picture of that.

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This is just like 2018.

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You didn't quit podcasting in 2018.

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You might've thought about it and you may think about it

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again, but it's not a big deal.

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Now, where I think the real opportunity comes is the podcast hosting companies.

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Podcast media hosting companies that you and I both use to showcase

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our products and get them out there to the world, they can step in.

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They now have an opportunity, well they've had the opportunity, but now

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there's an opening and a window for the opportunity and they can now step

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in and give us much better data about the actual, true, real size of our

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audience that is not based on downloads.

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They have all the tools at their disposal.

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Technically speaking for a second, armed with user agent

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- what device is downloading.

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IP address?

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Where's the location.

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And the referring URL - how did they get here?

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Those three things together will allow a smart podcast hosting company to

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revolutionize their dashboard and tell you the thing you've wanted to know forever.

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What's the size of my audience?

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I can't quite tell you yet who's listening or how many of those listen, but they

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can tell you the size of your audience.

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And that'll be really cool when they can do that.

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There's a lot we do not know yet about this move Apple is making.

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And also remember this is a beta version.

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It is possible they could change it before it actually goes in production.

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But I can't figure why they would do that because not

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auto-downloading means less bandwidth.

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Puts them more in line with other audio consumption apps, less room on your phone.

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So I think it's really happening.

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So see what your peers in the podcasting space think about this.

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Share this episode with them to give them a heads up to let

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them know big changes coming.

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I think we'll all get through it together.

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Now, if you loved this early heads up and aren't totally defeated by the message

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I just gave to you, please consider going to buymeacoffee.com/evoterra,

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and sliding of virtual coffee my way.

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That's always nice.

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That's it.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.