Why SoundCloud Makes Me Nervous (and why it should make you nervous)

Sinking SoundCloudDid I just hear someone scream ICEBERG!?

A few stories and actions have recently come out that are reinforcing my nervousness about SoundCloud. The first thing I don't like about SoundCloud is they change the name of your file. That is such a small potato that has come out.

SoundCloud Lost 29 Million Last Year

According to an article on Tech Crunch SoundCloud lost 29 Million dollars last year. To date, SoundCloud has disclosed a total of $123.3 million in funding. That includes a Series D round from earlier this year of $60 million from Institutional Venture Partners and the Chernin Group. The Series D round of funding valued SoundCloud at $700 million.

 

How does something that is losing money get valued at $700 million?

 

A financial times article stated that talks with the major record labels have stalled.

An article on vice.com stated that “SoundCloud's revenue was $14.1 million in 2013, up 40 percent from the year before. But its operating loss was $29.2 million, up 100 percent. This means the company lost more than double what it made in revenue last year. ”

The reason according to the article is “Our overhead base has increased faster than our revenues.”

You think?

Must've been all that money you paid to get your Podcasting tool out of its three-year beta.

It could also be that (based on a financial times article) people uploading 12 hours of audio every minute. That can get expensive.

Trying to Go Legit – No Win Situation

The CTO of SoundCloud has stated that they plan on launching a subscription service, but the more money they bring in, the more important they get the major labels to come to an agreement.

DJ's who have been mixing music and doing mashups are finding 70% of their music removed from SoundCloud. This is due to their beefed up security to removed music that has not been licensed. They are trying to work a deal with the Major Labels. While they signed a deal with Warner Music Group (WMG) which has a 5% stake in the company. There is still Sony and UMG are threatening to sue.  So they are stepping on their current users trying to make the changes needed to get the major labels on board.

UPDATE: Sony pulled their music 

Good luck with that. Don't they say it takes 10 times as much money to bring back a customer than to get a new customer?

UPDATE: 8/30/15 Apparently Soundcloud is moving too slow are and is being sued by the British Music industry

But What About Their Pretty Player?

People kept saying, “But it's so easy to share.” Well recently they removed the ability to share on Facebook. Do they direct people to YOUR website? Nope, they send people to THEIR website.

In a recent post a representative from SoundCloud stated:

Thanks for getting in touch. In response to recent sharing issues on Facebook, we have implemented a change so that links shared to Facebook will not render into players, but will rather click through straight to your track's page on SoundCloud to play there. This way, we can provide a much better experience for your listeners, and putting your profile and sounds front and center gives them more opportunities to engage with your sounds.  ( I added underline and boldness for effect).

For the record when you share a file from Libsyn.com on Facebook it turns into a player (get a free month at Libsyn using the coupon code sopfree).

 

Goldilocks and the Three Podcasters: Finding the Perfectly Balanced Podcast

This article originally was published in Podertainment Magazine last year.

Over the past few months I’ve met a wide variety of people in different phases of their podcasting journeys. They represent the different phases that we see in podcasters, and I thought I would help you understand the pros and cons of each.

threebearsThe Planning to Plan, after the Planning is Done Podcaster – Too Cold

I’ve done surveys for a book I’m working on and people have stated that have been planning their podcast for YEARS. Years? Yes, Y E A R S. This is insane. At some point you have to press record. It doesn’t matter what you do, eventually you will hate your first episode. Award winning podcaster Mignon “Grammar Girl”Fogarty hated hers so much she re-recorded them. You can’t get better at something if you never start. Bottom line: we all have to start somewhere.

Keep in mind that successful podcasters such as Cali Lewis of geekbeat.tv, and the before mentioned Mignon Fogarty both quit their first podcasts. Then they started a second podcast that fit them better (and went on to achieve great success).

This “eternal planning” person is trying to get to the perfection in their head. They won’t do their podcast without spending 1000s of dollars on the top of the line equipment. They need that perfect song to be their intro. Meanwhile none of these items make any difference without the content to capture people’s attention. Yes, you need to be listenable. Your audio shouldn’t be painful to consume. Your video shouldn’t hurt my eyes. But there are a lot of successful people who started podcasting, and tweaked their show along the way.

While I appreciate this “Planning Podcaster,” they need to press record.

 

The Ready, Fire, Aim Podcaster – Too Hot

too_hotThis person is the direct opposite of the planning podcaster. They had an idea. They purchased the top of the line equipment. They sound proofed their room. They bought a DSLR camera for YourTube promotion videos. They had a logo created. They had a custom jingle written. They even bought an “On the Air” light to hand outside their door.

Now they just need to figure out what they are going to podcast about.

This type of behavior is often found in those who have heard about a few podcasters making a really good living. They see all their expenses as investments. They start to count the days when they will get to quit their day job.

All they need now is a topic…

While I love the enthusiasm of this podcaster, they have the horse WAY in front of the cart.

A different version of this podcaster is the one who fired up the laptop computer (hey it has a built in microphone!) and pressed record. They didn’t check to see if anyone else was using their name. They found some free media hosting, or (God forbid) decided to use Blog Talk Radio. They don’t understand a thing about RSS. In fact they don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t care. They just know they want to start a podcast and they are ready to go.

They make their podcast album art using Microsoft Paint (and it shows). Their first impression is so bad most new listeners barely make it through the episode without hitting stop. They spend 18 hours a day obsessing over their stats.

While I admire their courage to jump into the deep end of the pool, this is the person who later finds out their RSS feed is being held hostage, has run out of storage space and bandwidth on their media host, and will basically lose a large of their audience as they will need everyone to resubscribe to their podcast.

 

The Perfect Pace Podcaster

paceThis podcaster took a few weeks to plan their podcast. They “sharpened their axe” by determining who will be consuming their content and what content that consumer wants to hear/see. They took a few days to check some forums ( or their friendly neighborhood podcast coach) and found out that instead of thousands of dollars you might be able to start a great sounding podcast for a few hundreds bucks (or less). They have written down 10 topics for their first 10 shows (and found they do have enough material. They put out some money (but not a ton) for professional looking artwork. They had an intro and outro produced. In the end they spend about as much money as a parent purchasing an Xbox for their child’s birthday. They put out (about) $30 a month for all their website and media hosting. They realize that this is still cheaper than a 18 holes of golf with a cart.

They know that the best time to start a podcast was 2004, and the second best time is today. That podcasting is not a get rich quick game. They know that the first step is creating great content for the audience. They know that they will be talking to nobody at first, and more than likely will lose money on their podcast when they first start. They are doing it for the love of their topic. They are doing it with the hope of changing their world. They do it to add sunshine into someone’s life who might very well be on the other side of the planet. They do it to boost their business brand. They have a clear path where they want to go, and have defined what “podcast success” looks like. They are the perfect mix of passion and logic, and are on the road to podcast success.

Dave Jackson has been helping people launch successful podcasts since 2005. His podcast “The Morning Announcements” has been downloaded over 1 million times. He speaks at media events and is the author of the book “More Podcast Money” He runs the School of Podcasting (www.schoolofpodcasting.com) and wants to help you with your podcast.

Ready To Tap into 10 Years of Podcasting Experience?

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A New Microphone Will Not Grow Your Audience – Throwing Money at Your Podcast

I saw a post on forum that asked, “I am looking to upgrade my equipment and set aside 500 dollars to do Audio/Video. Any suggestions?”

To this I reply:

atr2100I feel there is no One size fits all. Also keep in mind, that if you're audio sounds good – new equipment won't bring you more subscribers. For example if you use something like a Audio Technica ATR2100 and you upgrade to a Heil PR40. Will it sound better? Yes. Will it sound $240 better? No. However, if you have a Blue Snowball/Yeti and you switch to a ATR2100 you will probably sound noticeably better as the ATR2100 is a dynamic microphone and all Blue microphones (that I am aware of) are condenser and pick up much more room noise.

Likewise a mixer is another piece of equipment that you may not need. If you're doing a solo podcast, and you add your music in after the fact, you absolutely do not need a mixer. Now a mixer can help shape your voice, but you can also do that in software post-recording. If you have multiple people in the room with you, or you are mixing in music live as you record – then you NEED a mixer.

Lastly, what is the current problem? You may be obsessing over a noise that nobody hears. When I had launched my first podcast I OBSESSED over my fan noise. I added noise gates and all this stuff, and I swear I could hear it in the recording (listening to the recording sitting right next to the computer with the fan noise….) In the end if it did get on the recording, the only reason I heard it is because I had pushed my headphones so far into my head, and I was listening at 2 in the morning when nobody was awake and the house was quiet. Finally, someone wrote in and said, “Dave I have no idea what noise you are talking about (as i would mention it in my podcast – great content) I don't hear it, and I do wish you would move on. So in the end we all freak out over our audio quality when in reality it may be something that is so small its basically silent to the average listener. I know I had an episode this year that I had bumped some knobs and I did have legitimate noise in the episode. I was listening to it while driving on route 480 going to work. I couldn't hear it over the noise of the cars around me.

In general, I feel its hard to create a podcast that sounds so bad I wouldn't listen to it. That typically consists of someone using a condensor microphone, sitting two feet away, and then their music is loud/soft and I'm constantly having to adjust the volume knob on my player.

If you have any questions, let me know. I'm over at the School of Podcasting, and I can help you figure out if you need new gear. If you do need new gear, then by all means please check out www.bestpodcastinggear.com as that is my Amazon store and all proceeds go do help me pay off my students loan.

 

Email Your Audience Your Show Notes Automatically: MailChimp

For those looking to have their audience receive an email when a new show is posted, here is how to set it up in MailChimp.

You can have up to 2000 people (that's alot of subscribers), and send up to 12,000 emails in a month – for free. Check out Mailchimp.com

I get a small reward for mentioning MailChimp. You will see in the video I am a customer.

Social Media Marketing Society Registration Closing in Two Days

Social Media Marketing Society

 

Michael Stelzner the man behind Social Media Examiner is launching the Social Media Marketing Society and I just joined (see receipt above). Here is why:

1. I love Michael's podcast and he always provides great content (they have a sample video on their website – it's great – on Googly Analytics.

2. It's going to save me time. Instead of doing Google Searches and hoping I find information that's not outdated, I know Michael is always on the leading edge (Without being on the bleeding edge).

3. This is a community. So I can network with people looking to market their message (maybe potential clients, but I'm not going their to spam).

4. I'm going to bypass the hurdles. Michael teaches what WORKS. He gives you the behind the scenes info on why something worked.

5. It's $1.33  day. Every day I spend at least $1.5 on soda. I can give up soda and drink water. It's better for my physical health, and it's better for the health of my business.

When you join the Society, you’ll receive three original training sessions each month that are timely, tactical and expert-led. This means that you’ll have the ongoing training you need to implement all the latest social media marketing tactics that matter. Plus, you’ll be able to network with fellow marketers just like you.

If you're interested (and want to check out their demo lesson) click here.

They close the doors on June 30th, and won't open until next year (so if you're going to join, now would be a good time – don't miss out). JOIN NOW.

 

 

Behind the Scenes of Who is Listening to Podcasts

New Podcast Stats From Edison Research

A new Edison research report has come out on who is listening to podcast showing how podcasting is continuing to grow.

49% have now heard of podcasting

33% have listened to podcast

17% Have listened to a podcast in the last month.

Listeners are now 50/50 Men/Women

The Smartphone has had a HUGE impact on podcast growth.

Biggest Age Groups Listening to Podcasts:

20% 25 – 24

17% 35 – 44

15% 45 – 54

15% 18 -24

15% 12-17

12% 55 – 64

6%  65+

10% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last week.

Podcast Listeners Have a Profile on 

77% FaceBook

66% Google +

36% Instagram

35% LinkedIn

33% Twitter

28% Snapchat

27% Pinterest

17% Vine

14% Tumblr

60% use social media several times a day.

Maron and Obama Break Single Day Record For Most Downloads in a Day 725,000

On Monday of this week President Obama was interviewed on the WTF show from Marc Maron (no Marc did not do his traditional f-bomb dropping into). It was a cool interview for many reasons.

It seemed both men were somewhat nervous. The President seemed stoked to be in the garage, and Maron was audibly nervous (who wouldn't) at the beginning of the interview. By the end it seemed like tow dudes having a chat. There was no agenda and bullet points to hit. It made the President very human. According to Libertated Syndication (Libsyn.com) who hosts the files for the WTF podcast, this interview broke the record for the most downloads in a single day. Here is the information from the Libsyn press release.

PITTSBURGH, PA – June 24th, 2015 – Liberated Syndication (Libsyn), a worldwide leader of podcast hosting, distribution and monetization, today announced that download requests on the Libsyn network for the WTF with Marc Maron interview with President Obama reached well over 725,000 in the first 24 hours more than doubling the previous record for the first 24 hours of an episode launch. The episode reached the 1 Million mark in under 48 hours also a record on the Libsyn service. Libsyn congratulates Marc on this historic interview for podcasting and the record breaking numbers on Libsyn.

The interview was a home coming, in more than one way, for the President. The first was his mention that Marc’s garage was just a few miles from where he attended college and the second was a homecoming to Libsyn. Prior to the 2008 presidential election the President had a podcast account on Libsyn during his successful campaign.

“At Libsyn, we are honored that both the President and Marc chose Libsyn as their podcast hosting partner.” stated Rob Walch, Libsyn’s VP of Podcast Relations. “Today we are also extremely proud to provide a world-class podcast hosting solution that was easily able to handle the historic number of requests for the WTF episode of their conversation in Marc’s garage.”

Libsyn continues to be the leading podcast hosting and distribution solution with over 25,000 podcast shows on the Libsyn Network. The results from the past 48 hours punctuate the design philosophy behind the service and demonstrate the scale of the Libsyn Network.

Marc’s interview in his garage with the President of the United States of America validates the cultural importance of podcasting in general and Marc’s show specifically. Marc represents everything that is great about podcasting and we congratulate him on this historic and industry changing interview and for the record breaking number of download requests for this episode.


Liberated Syndication (Libsyn) is the world’s leading podcast hosting network and has been providing publishers with distribution and monetization services since 2004. In 2014 Libsyn delivered over 2.6 Billion downloads. Libsyn hosts over 2.5 Million media files for more than 25,000 podcasts, including typically around 35% of the top 200 podcasts in iTunes. Podcast producers choose Libsyn to measure their audience, deliver popular audio and video episodes, distribute their content through smartphone Apps (iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8), and monetize via premium subscription services and advertising. We are a Pittsburgh based company with a world class team. Visit us on the web at www.libsyn.com.

You can get a free month at Libsyn using the coupon code sopfree

 

The Mystery Show – All Icing – No Cake

mystery_ShowThe first episode of the Mystery show (the third show from Gimlet Media) who are the people behind The Startup and Reply All podcasts is now available. I love Startup. It has a story about a company and follows them for weeks. Recently Startup sent the first episode of the Mystery show down their feed. I listened and what follows is my opinion. It's only an opinion.

Don't Hire Your Friends

I've heard this before, and I lost a friend once who hired me and later (after not being paid) I left and that was the end of our friendship for a while. Alex Blumberg mentioned how he's known the host of the Mystery Show (Starlee Kine) and has worked with her over the years. Objective? Maybe not.

The Empty Safe

The show opens with a story (complete with sound effects and dramatic music) about finding and old safe and opening it to only find it empty. The host knows what its like to have anticipation that leads to – nothing. This is how I felt about the mystery show.

Where is the Hero? Where is the Hurdle?

Typically a story will have a lovable hero who needs to overcome some obstacles. In this podcast, I guess the host (who we just met) is the hero. She is going to solve the mystery. The mystery? Her friend (here we go again with friends), once rented a video from a store only to return to the store the next day and finds it had vanished.

Let me cut to the chase: I don't care about this. 

With Serial, it was a life and death situation. With Startup, it is a story that intrigues me. I want to know how the company is doing. There are circumstances that pull me in. With this episode of the Mystery Show, I could care less.

Is it weird? Yes.

Do I care? No.

What's the worst that could happen? You get a free copy of a bad movie. Oh the humanity!

According to their website, this is the description of the episode:

Laura rents a video. When she tries to return it the next day, the video store is gone.

Painting A Story

I listened and they tell stories with descriptive words. They paint the picture for the theater of the mind. With this podcast they mix in music into the background. It's icing with no cake. They record live conversations. I understand that you like to solve mysteries. If all the mysteries are like this one, I would tell you to get a better hobby.

The fact that it is a real conversation that's been recorded doesn't make it good.

They interview someone I don't know at the 11 minute mark who likes a foreign film. But HEY he's a REAL NEW YORKER. Listen to that accent. The film made him cry. OOOH it's a story, but it has NOTHING to do with what happened to the video store. By let's focus on the stranger talking about how he never married. Please, let's so do some quick psycho analysis as well.

Do they not have an editor?

Wait, I'm going to quote Fellini so I appear well read and smart.

The fact that these are real people does not make it really interesting.

At the 15:35 mark she explains how she is looking for clues by watching the bad movie (really? logically this makes NO sense – the store closed because of something in the movie?).

But that's OK, here comes some fun Charlie Brown type music to transition into the next obscure segment.

Thanks For Pointing Out the Obvious

Then they point out that two “chic flicks” have similar plots. Really? I'm no genius, but if you tell me that many chic flicks end in a wedding, or the man and the woman finally get together and walk of into the sunset, I don't think that's a mystery.

The Big Revelation

They find the owner who explains how the store went out of business. In the end her friend was crazy, or someone is telling a lie. So it ends a bit like Serial (with conflicting facts), except I cared about that story. I care about Alex and Dating Ring. I never cared about the video store. It's in the past and has no bearing on the present. Serial happened in the past, but it has meaning (the dude is still in jail) in the present.

You Don't Have To Release Everything You Record

I'm really surprised this was the first episode. You want to lead with your BEST stuff, and this is the best? Well, I won't be a subscriber. It's just my opinion. You can check it out here

You can check out Startup (I recommend going to the begining and BINGE Listening) HERE

I really wanted to like this show, but this episode leaving me asking my phone, Really? Let me know what you think below.

Smart Podcast Player is 25% Off

Pat Flynn's Smart Podcast Player is 25% off through Thursday at 9 PM PCT (use the coupon code 3daysonly). This is the player that is mobile friendly, easily cusomtizable, and the only player (that I know of) that allows you to player episodes faster online. It works with any feed (Libsyn, PowerPress, SoundCloud, Spreaker, etc). You Simply enter a feed and put a short code on your page and the player appears. If you want to use it on a single episode (for posts) you can do that as well.

I am using on my Clammrcast page to spotlight back episodes

If you want to test it out, there is a free version now, it you want the ability to customize there are multiple plans to choose from. You can pay $12 a month or $97 a year (that's before the discount code).

It is pretty slick .

Check it out

How to Start a Podcast

How a Podcast Is Born [Infographic]

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