Over the next year, as podcasting grows from 46 million active listeners to an estimated 57 (Edison Research), there are several new players in the podcast distribution game that we’ve been watching. Ranked in order from most interesting to meh. While we don’t feel there’s any call to action just yet, here are the ones on our radar.
- Spotify. If you open the mobile app for Spotify, one of the top 5 icons you will see is labeled “shows.” “We’re a daily companion for music fans," Spotify's vice president of product, Shiva Rajaraman, said. “That shift has not changed. That said, music fans increasingly want more than just audio in various moments. We’re following that need. We’re not too sure yet exactly what that means.” MOST INTERESTING: Spotify’s algorithm for listening, called Discover Weekly, finds you new content similar to what you already like. Applying a better algorithm to podcasting so you can discover new cast similar to ones you already listen to would be awesome!
- Audible. While there are only a few new things that have us excited about podcasts on Audible, we’re most excited about how many new podcast users Audible will bring. I know a lot of people who use Audible to listen to books. Yet, so many of them have never used podcasts. This will be a seamless introduction. By integrating long and short form cast into their app, it’ll be easy for someone to flip from a book to a podcast in a few clicks. MOST INTERESTING: The podcast or show section will allow Audible to offer freemium content (then up-sell users to a paid $14.95/month). They are also rolling out short-form audio of text-based articles. Chosen and read by Audible editors. So you may see a section of an article from The New York Times delivered as a podcast.
- Google Play. Google announced last fall that it would bring podcast to its Google Play music app, however, it’s hard to be too excited about it, because Google doesn’t seem very excited. Ha. MOST INTERESTING: Much like Spotify, your music, podcast, and radio streaming are all in one app.
Again, I don’t think there is any need to distribute through these platforms just yet, however, I do think there are a few takeaways. First, there’s still no punishment for distributing your podcast on different platforms. Minus SoundCloud (the non paid version), no one can see if five or five thousand people listen. Secondly, I think we’ll start seeing distribution services for podcast. As in, you upload your podcast to one place, and they distribute to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, etc, etc. Currently, you have to register your RSS feed on all of those platforms. While this isn’t difficult or time-consuming, services like SoundCloud and Libsyn will gain competitive advantages by allowing easy, one-time registration for multiple platforms. Lastly, this is version 1.0 of podcasting. With every new competitor, iteration, and improvement, podcasting will gain more listeners and more momentum. I can’t wait to see 2.0!