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Can You Survive Podcasting's Chaotic Era?
Episode 721st July 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

With technical problems and goofy business practices plaguing big

Evo Terra:

podcast tech, the whole of podcasting is feeling more than growing pains.

Evo Terra:

It's starting to resemble an identity crisis.

Evo Terra:

Your job?

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Survive it.

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Today's episode is brought to you by the Advancing Podcasting

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community at advancingpodcasting.xyz.

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Because why would I do anything normal?

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It's a special community just for listeners and readers of

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Podcast Pontifications and as populated by like-minded working

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podcasters just like you who also want to make podcasting better.

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You're already listening to the show.

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So why not extend the conversation and your influence

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on the future of podcasting?

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Join us today at advancingpodcasting.xyz.

Evo Terra:

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

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It's weird out there in the podisphere.

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And I'm not just talking about the pandemic or even the massive wave

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of consolidation that's happening amongst podcasting companies.

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I think we're actually in a chaotic era of podcasting.

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Allow me to explain.

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Podcasting has gone through a series of mostly stable periods for the

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last seventeen or twenty years, depending on how you count, where

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really nothing significant - well, I won't say nothing significant.

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I'll say nothing much happened.

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Now, please, I understand we certainly have had our inflection points.

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But those inflection points of podcasting have tended to center around

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advances made by big podcast tech.

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Mostly Apple, but by no means always Apple.

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Sometimes big publishers have done really big things and even sometimes

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music streaming services, oddly enough.

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But with few exceptions, the tectonic shifts we've seen in podcasting over the

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last nearly, or has been, two decades have tended to better podcasting overall.

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Now, of course, yes, there were certainly localized areas of

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both disruption and destruction.

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I'm thinking the early days of podcasting when iTunes entered the market space

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and literally decimated, if not outright destroyed, indie podcast listening apps.

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That entire market collapsed almost overnight.

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I'm also thinking of when popular shows have been getting swallowed up

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by some of these big podcast companies, either locking them behind paywalls

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or just simply made exclusive.

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But overall, when these things happen, you might be disrupted, your world

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might be disrupted, but overall, podcasting in total tended to benefit,

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or at least stay mostly constant.

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But all that changed recently.

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Now the dominant forces of podcasting, I'm talking about specifically

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Apple and Spotify, seem to both be moving away from, if not actively

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being hostile toward, podcasting.

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It's been four months since Apple broke the entire podcasting ecosystem for

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themselves, and that means all of us.

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Apple right now seems to be running on little more than momentum.

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Rather than fixing it, or even offering up an "Our bad"

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apology, they're staying silent.

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And if you watch the news, you're seeing their talent pool get siphoned away.

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Spotify vis-a-vis Anchor is laying bare its plans to completely

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disintermediate every part of podcasting that they, Spotify, do not own.

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That's a little chilling.

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We have social audio or these drop-in audio platforms, starting with Clubhouse,

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but now spreading out with Plurk-like infection to Greenhouse or Firehouse

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or whatever the next house or room or side may look like or sound like.

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These platforms are seducing podcasters to create this much more ephemeral,

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and much more lower quality, content instead of their podcasts - or as

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they may think, in conjunction with their podcast, as some are doing.

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That's all weird.

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Makes you ask the question, "What's next?"

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Which I get asked quite a lot.

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What's the future of podcasting?

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Well, as I try to answer it, it's always hard to answer that question.

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But with this much chaos that we're all swimming in right now, everybody who tells

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you what the future of podcasting is, is guessing more than they normally do.

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History can only get us so far when things are this weird.

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And I assure you, they are very weird right now.

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The question is really what can you, the working podcaster, do about it?

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So you can ride this chaotic era all the way out until we reach stability

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or some semblance of stability, whatever that looks like, or for

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however long it lasts because there will be another side to this chaos.

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It won't always be this chaotic.

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I think there are three things that you should do.

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realize that there is no one coming to save us.

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The big companies that did all those shifting previously for

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us, they're now looking inwards.

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They're trying to pull the best parts of podcasting out of podcasting and into

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their own closed orbit and ecosystem.

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So what we do as podcasters, whether you consider yourself an indie podcaster or

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not, it's on us either collectively or individually to take care of ourselves.

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We can't wait around to be rescued by some big tech as has happened before.

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This is where we live today.

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diversify your assets.

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Leaning into the first reality that there is no big company coming to save us,

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don't put your eggs in a single basket.

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Unless, of course, that is you are extremely, really well-compensated for

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putting your eggs in any given basket.

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Hey, as you know, I think there's no such thing as selling out, only

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the prospect of selling too cheaply.

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So if that works for you, great.

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But if you're not getting fully compensated from these platforms,

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then it's up to you to kind of do the opposite of what they're doing, maybe?

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Like first thing, stop spreading links and promoting apps that really only

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benefit these mega-corps that really helped usher in our chaotic era.

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Try out new things that look interesting.

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By all means, try out new things that look interesting to you, but

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don't get enamored by the quick "results" that you might see there.

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Evaluate everything that you do for the long haul.

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Will I still be doing this six months, six years from now?

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And how will this help this thing I have created?

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Diversify.

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Play.

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hold on for dear life, baby.

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Look, we have over four million podcasts out there right now.

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That's enough.

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That's enough diversity to survive an extinction level event or

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a near-extinction level event.

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'Cause whatever happens during this chaos, it's not going to be good for a lot.

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But we can make it.

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We can make it through and whatever comes on the other side, we can, I don't want to

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say rebuild because that's the wrong way to think about it, but we can certainly

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survive and figure out what the future looks like after this chaos is over.

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Or, at least has shifted into a way to where it's a little more stable for us.

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Every little bit of things you can do as an indie podcaster can help.

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Like for example, if you get value out of the content I'm providing

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to you, you can show me your support by buying me a coffee.

Number three:

Yes, BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra.

Number three:

Support all the things that people in podcasting are doing

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that make podcasting great.

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Make sure you're supporting only the companies and only the services

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and only apps that really are there making podcasting great.

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And then, as I said before, hold on, diversify your assets, and

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realize no one's coming to get you.

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We'll make it on the other side.

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That's it.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.