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The Case For Making Private Podcasting Data Public
Episode 6713th January 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:08:35

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For as public a medium as podcasting is, a lot of information about

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specific podcasts is private.

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But private doesn't necessarily mean secret.

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How different would podcasting be were we more forthcoming?

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

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On Monday's episode, you learned that PodInbox's voicemail for

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podcasters service is making all voicemails left for podcasters public.

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Now that seems, at least at first blush, a rather radical thing.

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And it is, which is partly why I'm attracted to it.

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I mean, radical thinking and I go hand in hand.

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But as you ponder the merits of how you personally feel about making

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feedback listeners give to your show public, which, by the way, already

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happens via reviews, I want you to think a little wider than that.

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I wonder what podcasting would look like if more currently private

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information were made public.

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Or, better stated, how the podcast industry would change

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if there were more transparency.

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Let's take the obvious one first - audience size.

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What would happen if the relative size of a podcast's audience were

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made public for all podcasts?

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Podcasts just starting out who have single digit listeners - you know, your mom

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- and podcasts made by mega celebrities that have audiences in the millions,

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possibly, and every podcast in between.

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That number, the size of the audience, as a matter of public record is weird, right?

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If you were curious how big an audience a show attracts, you could just look

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'cause it'd be right there on display.

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Radical, right?

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Not as much as you might think.

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You can already see the size of an audience for just about any person

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or brand's social media accounts.

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You can easily look to see how many followers a YouTube channel has.

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Anyone can see this.

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And by the way, the size of a podcast audience is already an open secret.

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Any podcast that has advertising representation publishes how many

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people they reach on a monthly basis.

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So there's no real reason we're keeping this information a secret other than

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there isn't a good, universal way to calculate and present the data.

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Are we tracking downloads, people, what?

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That and pride, obviously.

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Speaking of advertising, what if we roll that in with other forms

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of monetization and play around with the idea of making public the

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total income and expenses of a show?

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Okay, that's a bit more controversial because now we're getting into

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someone's personal finance.

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But remember, this is just a thought exercise here.

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Also consider that publicly traded companies are required by law to

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publish their financial information.

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Now, ignoring the huge administrative burden that would place on podcasters for

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a moment, it's interesting to ponder how we'd do something similar in podcasting.

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I also want you to keep in mind that podcasters like John Lee Dumas

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and Pat Flynn and other podcasters either are or have been doing

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something like this for quite some time now but for their own reasons.

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And in this mythical world where I think all serious podcasters might do

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something similar, I think that would paint a much healthier view of reality

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around the profitability of podcasting.

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There's one more idea I have on what's private today that we

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could make public in podcasting.

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We need to publicize the credits for a podcast and podcast episodes.

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The credits as in who brought this show to you?

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Yes, of course, the host much as I'm the host.

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And I recognize for a lot of indie, one-person shows the host might be the

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only person who deserves credit and therefore that problem is already solved.

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But on balance, it's probably not just the solo podcaster who deserves credit.

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In some cases, yes, but certainly not in all cases.

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We should be thinking about giving credit to whomever or wherever the theme music

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for a podcast episode was collected from, even if that music was fully licensed.

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We should be giving credit to whomever proofed your outline, or maybe

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someone used as a sounding board.

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Those people are integral to the way your podcast functions so

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why not let them get some credit?

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And for podcast productions where a whole slew of people are involved,

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give all of them the credit.

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Here's where this gets really cool.

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Because podcasting is digital, those credit mentions can stack up for

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each of the entities listed, showing just how deeply interwoven and

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interconnected the people are who make podcasting, not just the people with the

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microphone in their face like me, but everybody, how connected we really are.

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Podchaser is doing this today, and there's a brand new tag in the namespace

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recently finalized, which also does this.

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We already have some working models to accommodate this.

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My hope is that in the future podcast hosting companies better integrate

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either with Podchaser or using the tag to get these credits

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more easily added at the time of episode creation or at least episode publishing.

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Before you paint me as some weird anti-privacy loon, I assure you, I am not.

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I am not saying everyone should dox themselves by posting their home addresses

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or social security numbers online.

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I know there are far, far too many terrible people who prey on others and

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I am in no way suggesting that anyone drop their guard from any real threats.

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But with all deference to those with those issues, I think that some data points in

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podcasting could be done more in public to the betterment of all podcasting.

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With that, I shall be back on Monday 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.