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In The Future, Podcast Discoverability Will Be Specialized
Episode 1420th July 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:11:52

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Podcast discovery isn't broken.

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It's just not one thing.

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And it gets a lot easier to improve podcast discoverability when a

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podcast listening app specializes in just one type of content.

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So how's that going?

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Four years ago, I tried to look eight years ahead, imagining what podcast

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discovery might look like in 2026.

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Now, I have no idea why I used eight years instead of 10.

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I don't, I don't count in base eight.

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But regardless of that oddity, I thought I'd take a look back and

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see how my prediction - although it really wasn't a prediction - is now

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trending halfway through that timeline.

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And the answer is a mixed bag.

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Well, a bag with exactly two things in it - to my knowledge.

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You see the future I envisioned then was that podcast listening apps would

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evolve and that a wave of apps would become available to us that, rather

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than offering more, offered less.

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At least less choices when users of those apps were looking

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for their next podcasting fix.

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Specifically, my future vision was one where a number of specialty podcast

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apps would exist containing, or perhaps only promoting, podcasts of a

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particular genre or vertical or flare.

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So for instance, if you, like me, are a fan of podcast that's fictional,

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fiction podcasts, you'd be able to use a podcast listening app that was

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focused exclusively on fiction podcasts.

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And when you opened up that app for the very first time, you'd see

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a curated selection of shows that fit the genre fiction podcasts.

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So no Rogan.

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No The Daily.

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No Conan.

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No anything else that wasn't podcast fiction.

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It does what it says on the box, allowing the app then to be tailored

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to accommodate that very special, specific niche of podcasting.

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And in the case of listening to podcasts that are fiction, I can tell you that

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listening experience is quite different.

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But so are other types of listening.

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I mean, think true crime, for instance, still a huge category.

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And there are plenty of people out there who only listen to true crime podcasts.

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So an app that curated only true crime shows and then organized its design

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and functionality to make listening to that type of podcast perfect, I

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mean, with that kind of attention, it should, in fact, lead to a far

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superior listening experience, right?

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I mean, heck I think even a smart development team could find ways to

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optimize the experience of discovering and listening to long form interview podcasts.

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Another could be working on optimizing and finding, and listening to as well,

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sports related podcasts while another starts unpacking the messiness that is

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the society and culture category, which I equate to the junk drawer of podcasting.

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So that's what I predicted.

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How's that coming along halfway through my completely arbitrary timeframe, hmm?

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So far, I'm aware of two podcast listening apps that have gone down

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the specialization route, tailoring their app around the needs of listening

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to a very specific type of podcast.

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The first one is called Apollo, which says it is "A library of 7,500

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or more shows on the only open RSS podcatcher designed just for fiction.

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With new shows added every day and playlists curated by audio drama creators.

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Plot your escape into the world of audio!"

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And yes, the app is in fact customized to fiction podcasts.

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So they, the developers and the designers of the app, can do things

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like correcting the sort order.

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You always wanna start with the first episode of a fiction podcast,

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not the most recent episode, right?

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They also can isolate out bonus episodes from the show's main content feed.

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They also have actual fiction podcast curators who are curating

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the lists of shows you can listen to.

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These, these are all things that make sense on this highly specialized app.

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But look, it's not gonna work universally on apps that have, well, everything.

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The second is Maps.fm.

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Now, full disclosure, I am on the advisory board for Maps.fm.

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Maps.fm is customized not to a particular genre, you might be thinking of the

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places and travel section of the society and culture messiness, but instead they

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categorized by the podcasts, either at the episode or the show level, that

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are about a very specific local area.

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Not produced from that area, but actual episode content that is specifically about

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something in that very specific area.

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Now, in a couple of weeks, I'm going on vacation to Ireland.

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And I've no idea what I really should be doing when I'm there, but using

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Maps.fm's helpful map-based view of, like, Dublin, for example, I can zoom in

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and find episodes about an attraction or a neighborhood or, or a bit of history

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that's pinned to a position on the map.

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I'm not having to rely on rotten search bar experiences for general apps.

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No, I just zoom in on the location I'm interested in, go a little

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tighter and see the little dots for where episodes appear, episodes I

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can listen to right there in the app to learn about that particular spot.

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It's a brilliant design.

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Now, there are probably other specialized listening apps I don't know about

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that have already come up there.

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But I really, really wanna know about those apps.

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So please, if you have a suggestion of a podcast listening app that

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intentionally limits the content that they index and they give a customized

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experience that's not possible in a one-size-fits-all podcasting listening

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app, please let me know about that.

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So how do I feel about my prediction that wasn't really

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a prediction halfway through?

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Pretty good.

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I think, I mean, we're still four years away from 2026, so there's plenty of

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time for more of these to be developed.

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So you should keep your eye on the app space.

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And when you hear of one developing that covers your particular genre or area

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of focus, I suggest getting to know the developers, see if they're into letting

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you help shape the development of that.

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With millions of podcasts available, not episodes, entire podcast shows, we need

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apps like these to not only make for better listening experiences, but also

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to provide an alternate discovery system.

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Here's to the future.

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With that, I shall be back next week 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.