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  • Writer's pictureAidan G

Todd Cochrane: More Podcast Questions Answered

Updated: May 31, 2023


Todd Cochrane is a guest you might recognize. Last time he was on the show, in October 2019, we kept things fairly light. This time, however, diving straight into the deep end on the technical side of podcasting: RSS feeds, micro payments, Podcast 2.0, and what the future might look like for podcasts. If you're a creator who cares about the computer mumbo-jumbo that goes on behind the scenes, this episode is for you.


Todd is the team leader at Blubrry, a podcast hosting platform that's breaking new ground in terms of what your platform can do for you. Of course we go into more detail in the episode, but here's an overview. Blubrry is partnered with Descript, meaning Descript users can publish edited episodes directly from the app. It also features programmatic advertising, and as of August 21st, something extra unique: built-in transcriptions that can be activated from an embedded player. Seriously next-level. And the best part is, the team is still developing and expanding the project every day.


We also discuss a commonly asked question in the podcast world- What is Podcast 2.0? Or Rss 2.0, whatever you'd like to call it. You've probably heard this term a lot if you're involved with podcasting, and Todd gives an incredible rundown that's much too long to repeat here. But in summary, it's less of a replacement for the current systems, and more of a way to bring them into the future. You won't need to worry about drastically changing the way you upload podcasts. Think of it like going from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Same system, but with more features.


For more about the future of podcasting, I'd also highly recommend Podcasting 2.0, hosted by Adam Curry and Dave Jones. It's all about new developments in the podcast sphere, and if this episode felt like an appetizer for you, Podcasting 2.0 is the main course.


You should definitely keep up with Todd, too. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook for more updates as Blubrry continues to grow and evolve.

 

Transcript:


Tara Sands (VO) 00:00:01

The Sound Off podcast. The podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill... Starts now.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:10

We last had Todd Cochrane on the program back in October of 2019. Todd answered my podcast questions, things like, why does every new company call themselves the Netflix of podcasting? And is iHeart really number one, like they claim? And is the RSS feed in danger of going away? Well, today I've got a new round of questions that get a little more technical and a little more into the weeds of podcasting's future. Possibilities, and future possibilities, things like micro payments and Podcasting 2.0. And yes, I'm going to ask once again why companies keep hinting at doing away with RSS feeds, and we'll make an attempt to unpack why they would want that. We're also going to hav e a discussion about privacy, namely your privacy. As a podcast creator and as a listener, Todd Cochrane heads up the team at Blubrry who have released no fewer than five upgrades and add ons to their podcast product. If you're interested in podcasting, Blubrry is a great place to start. Todd Cochrane joins me from his home studio somewhere in the radio listening vicinity of Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:17

Do you have a lot of Canadian clientele?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:01:19

A fair amount. It's probably largely US, Canada, UK, as far as the English speakers go, then Brazil is big, really. We kind of hit it. We're having an influx of people from France. People are leaving a certain podcast provider there and moving to us. But we're moving a lot of people. It's shocking how many people were moving off a certain other platform that's out there. People kind of woke up and said, well, maybe I need to rethink what I'm doing. So I think podcasters are starting to it's what I call it called graduating. They kind of get to a certain point and they're like, maybe they should own my brand. And that kind of triggers them to go looking and everyone trades people around, but we're moving a lot of people up a free platform. I'll just leave it at that.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:16

You say that a lot about owning your brand, and especially when it comes to owning your website and the importance of it. And it's something that I have to reiterate quite often to people. So what does it mean to own your brand?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:02:29

Well, in today's age, it goes further than just having your own dot com, because it used to be, that was it. Have a Squarespace page or Wix or a WordPress site, but there's been some entrance into the space that lets you easily create a podcast page with your RSS feed and map a domain to it. And Google really doesn't consider that. Your dot com that considers the syndication page and they rank it lower than where you host your media or maybe have your hosting page. So what really means- what it means to own your brand is to have a point of origin where the initial blog post for your content originates. So if you use a hosting provider as others and you get a media file, that media file when you publish your first blog post or podcast post, however you want to say it, that should originate on your website, it should originate over on your hosting platform that you may be using. Because then really what Google really looks at then is point of origin. And not necessarily again from the media file, but a really point of origin from the post. So if you're posting on your hosting provider first and then duplicating that on a secondary site, which then would be your.com, you really are not owning your brand. So owning your brand really means originating that post on your website. And I believe people should own their feed. Other people will argue with me that that's not important. I think it is at this point. To really own that entire stack, the.com the feed and then where that media file lives is really kind of arbitrary at this point. It doesn't matter. But from a Google perspective, and again, growing a podcast is multifaceted. It's not just owning your brand and posting on your website. But for years now, Google has been improving the way they look at where content originates, the source, building trust in a source. So you want to build trust on your.com because here's the challenge. If you're posting on a website provider. A podcast providers website. And you're intermixed with let's say. 1000 shows. And just one or two of them linked to a site that might contain adult material. Or maybe it's a malicious page. And these things happen if you don't watch your outbound links even on your own website. Then all of a sudden the authority of that website goes down as a whole and it will recover once that's cleared. And oftentimes whoever the hosting providers will probably get a notice within a couple of weeks and we'll clean that out. But you are then stuck for a couple of weeks or a month, the regaining authority back, even though your page had nothing to do with that. So when you can control everything on your own.com, you don't have to worry about except for your stuff, linking to correct pages and being the source of that content. I think it's really important. And over time, this is not something for a brand new podcaster, but when you're at 110, 2030 episodes in and you've got rich show notes, then Google starts to take notice. But if you're just writing a headline and one sentence for show notes, well just go host wherever you want to host because you're not helping yourself. Even if you have your own.com.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:06

They got a whole rash of announcements that you've made and I think the one that's already been made and that's out there is just a simple one. But it's one of the things that really is going to help podcasters have a chance to really landing some advertising and that's sales profile sheet that gets created. I can't tell you the number of times I've asked podcast host, is there something we can do to create something that really is saleable? And I really love this sheet.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:06:32

Well, Lena, my CTO, we had thought about this a long time ago, but mid last year she was like, we have a place in our Slack channel, which is basically an idea farm. She had come up with this and I kind of really stuck in my brain. And we just spent two years rebuilding the platform and when we got done with that rebuild, it's like, how can we really live this mantra now? Publish, analyze, grow would be succeed, monetize, whatever inspire, whatever action word you can think of. And really it's always about grow, help me grow, help me grow, help me grow. And being a show that has a podcast media kit is not always about money. It could be about gaining interviews. It could be about just establishing yourself. And what that media kit allows you to do is number one, you choose what you want to make publicly available. And number two. You can run a listener survey so you have true listen demographic data on that sheet to give those that look at that one sheet the ability to understand at a glance. Really 30 seconds looking at that page. What this shows about. How often does it post. What type of place is it getting. What type of engagement. All those things and then tied into the demographic profile is really just the goal. There was those that want to monetize can use it as a standard media kit. And those that are maybe having some guests that wants to come on can show it. It's not for every show because and what we did is we didn't make this page indexable. Unless the podcaster puts a public link to it, then it's all over the Google pick it up and index it. But as long as they're careful on who they share that with via email or messenger or however they're going to communicate where that link is, then Google won't pick that up and actually index it. So it can stay private even though it doesn't require a login. But yeah, I'm pretty proud of that particular piece of product and we're going to do more of this. We're looking really at everything is under the microscope of how do we get podcasters actionable information to help grow their shows to succeed. We really look at that. It's not always about the money. It's all about, is this going to help a content creator? And I think, as you see what we're announcing over the next few days, that is a big part of that.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:14

And it's pretty exciting for people in podcasting. But we have a large radio audience who really don't understand why podcasting doesn't have demographics. And attribution, oh, I want to sell adults 25, 54 and why it has been difficult for podcasters to have that information and it all comes down to privacy.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:09:33

Well, it's really multifaceted. Number one, our listeners subscribe to a public open RSS feed, essentially, that doesn't require a login. Now, if they create an account over Spotify, spotify has that information, but the podcaster doesn't get any of it. If they subscribe on Overcast or Pocket Cast or use one of those apps, there's no login required. They just download the app and get going. So the demo data that other providers like Pandora and Spotifying, those have access to, just because they have all this information from their customers as part of their sign up process, not available. So the question podcasters have asked for a millennia is, who's listening? And oftentimes they think they know. They think, okay, I've got a majority of ladies, I think 18 to 20, 518 to 35, whatever. Maybe they're single moms. They kind of have an idea. And for years we've made available for free part of the Blueberry services. It's a simple twelve or 13 question survey. They get you those basic male, female, household, household income with kids, no kids, married, all that basic stuff that someone is going to need to get a basic demographic. We're not asking them what type of makeup do you like? Or what type of cologne? We're not asking those questions. We're asking pure demographic data so that at least from that standpoint, they get a base of who their listeners are with that information. Then maybe then they can develop a more in depth survey targeting the folks that listen to their show. So again, it's just a quick way to collect information and we're going to have it set up so that you can actually set a date range. So if you make a change, let's say you do a survey this year, you want to do next one next year, we're going to set up so you can look at that data by date range. Okay, this is the responses I've seen over the last six months versus what I've seen two years ago, so that people can see how their audience has changed over time.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:40

Blubrry now has programmatic offerings, and I think in the last year or two, we've seen a lot of podcast hosts jump into the programmatic. I don't want to call it a game because it is a serious business after all. So Blueberry is in with programmatic. But I also want to point out that you have had dynamic audio insertion for many years as well. So I think a lot of people might want to know what the difference is.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:12:05

Yeah, so sometimes it's even get confused by podcasters. I had a podcaster yesterday. I want to add the search into my hosting plan. What kind of ads do I get? And we go back to no. It's a self serve platform. It's typically used by podcasters. They have advertisers, they can set up a premium mid post role. They can do that through audio insertion. And it's provided as a software, as a service on the platform for pro hosting customers. And typically, it's not only used for advertising, it's used by nonprofits. They may be wanting to promote something for a short time, they put a preroll on, or they're promoting other shows in the networks. We have networks. They're using it purely as a cross promotion tool. They're running different promos on different shows and inserting that and then changing up basically the assets. So that is really the ad insertion portion is a SAS products offers a service they can add to their hosting for their content. Now, we draw a line here. Programmatic advertising, in fact, those are using the ad insertion platform cannot have programmatic at the same time. Those two systems currently don't intermix well. And so you either are running your own ads or you can opt in to run programmatic advertising here. Now, we've worked with a partner called Soundstack, and we actually have had six months because we had some significant discussions with them about making sure podcasters were getting appropriate ads and their content. In our initial release, we excluded categories like cannabis, gambling, politics, any type of adult content. Just basically, I think there's five or six categories and they're on our information page, basically, of those categories we initially excluded out of the gate. Now, when we go and do another release of the program advertising, the podcaster will be able to go in and turn those categories on or turn other ones off. And we've done. A number of shows have been on test and we've been collecting. What are we hearing, what kind of ads are we hearing? We're hearing everything from information about getting a COVID shot to Microsoft ads to Geico. We've heard the whole bevy of advertisements as a preroll, 32nd preroll. So five years ago, I don't think programmatic was mature enough or in a place that would allow a content creator to have confidence to let them trust us to run ads on their show. Now, here's the deal. The podcaster doesn't get to pick the ads that run it's done real time. These ads come in literally, they can change minute to minute, region to region, day to day. So what I hear on my show in Michigan and what someone hears on my show in California will more than likely be two separate, different ads. So there's just no way, and this is often done by computer bidding. Now, the vendors are vetted and reviewed and all that stuff before their ads are allowed to go live. But there's a lot of ingestion points with Sound stack, and we've worked really hard with them to make sure that this is going to be something that a podcast is not going to call me and say, what are you doing? That's the call I don't want to get. And actually, I told Sounds Tech I said, if that happens, we're having an immediate I got you on speed dial because we want to make sure that the podcasters are happy with this. Now, with that, the CPM rates are going to run five to $15 is what we're seeing in Africa, then run 1314 here in the last couple of months. And more importantly, it's not 100% fill. You're going to get about an 80% bill in the early. When a podcaster starts, the ad volume will ramp up over time. And what it largely is because vendors that are buying against that content are not only looking for brand safety, they're also looking to make sure that the consistency of the show. So over 60 days, volume will increase on the shows to opt in. And again, it's an opt in. They choose to participate, don't have to. Can turn it on with a simple click of a switch.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:18

So just to give people an idea, I got excited because I was in Spain and I have a podcast on Megaphone, and I started my own podcast and a Spanish ad came out. I don't know what it was for. I don't know Spanish well enough to know what the product was. I do know that I got paid for that spot in Spain and in Canada, I had a Canadian ad run in that spot exactly, which is actually an advertiser that I've sold to directly. And I wish I could tell people. I think you've said many times on the New Media show that the best way to monetize is to sell the ad spot yourself. If you can talk about your relationship, because I think this is about relationships and the one you have with GoDaddy that you've had for many years. And I think this is the ideal podcast monetization advertising relationship.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:17:09

That's where you make the most money if you choose to go this route. For me. And again, advertising now is kind of crazy in the host endorsement space. It used to be the advertiser would buy 90 days worth of ads or six months. Now they're buying a month at a time, and maybe they're buying four or five episodes or two episodes. And it can be a little bit of an administrative headache for a content creator to remember when they're supposed to run. What that said, the relationship I've had with GoDaddy is really based on one thing performance. Now, I work with the buyer every month we have a discussion, some often email, sometimes it's a call. How we did, where we're at, do we need to improve, do we need to change the deal? Whatever it may be. But in the end, it boils down to performance. And my situation is a little bit different than most podcasters because I know that I got enough new podcasters coming in. Listening to the show that I'm able to sell to them. Where the folks have been with me for many years. Or maybe not buying a GoDaddy product on a regular basis. But because I've had a show for so long. People have left and come back and then reuse the codes again. Now I only get paid on new customer acquisitions. I have to meet a certain minimum each month to make sure the deal continues to be renewed. And I've been renewed now since June of 2005. There's no other relationship like it in the podcasting space. If anyone can replicate it again, I want to hear how they did it. But GoDaddy just basically I still have to meet my numbers and that relationship has been worth a considerable amount of money overall this time. So again, it's a relationship. There was things that were done early in the relationship with one of the prior founders or with the founder. He did some stuff that today would absolutely in. The world we live in would have been devastating. Then it was pretty bad. Now it would be devastating. Things like going on African safari and shooting in Elf, that type of thing. And even back then, I went back and said, hey, what are you doing? You're killing me here. And I was basically went on the show and had my own commentary, talking negatively about what had happened. And so they understood from a marketing standpoint that they had to be good stewards as well. And they changed their complete company vision. I think if you think back to GoDaddy and Danny Kapatrick and being a representative for them for many years, the advertising was pretty hot, heavy, and now they made a complete shift, as they should have. And now they're there. Let's put it this way, there's no more hotness to GoDaddy ads. And they're a good partner and we've been with them a long time, so we've evolved over 17 years with them. So not many content creators can say that.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:19

So we both waited on Twitter when it came to podcaster being purchased by a cast. You took the approach that you're taking your material off there. I'm in the wait and see category and we can discuss chartable as well, which has been purchased by Spotify as well. Yeah, so I feel it's a bit of a trade. I'm going to give you my RSS feed and in return you're going to give me back some information about it. And we can debate all day whether or not that information is useful. Sure, but what is the danger here that I'm missing?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:20:57

Well, it's a situation where I believe very strongly and Blueberry has adopted GDPR globally or CCPA compliant. We believe very strongly in listener privacy. We don't want listeners remarketed to they've already opted in all over the place. Why add podcasting to that piece? The difference is when I go to Amazon, if I go to Google, I opt into their terms of service. I say, yes, I'm dreaming to buy stuff on your platform. In exchange, you're going to track what I search for and look for. And you're going to present ads to me. That's part of the deal we do and we sign up for. We may not know that in the 800 pages of print, but that's essentially what we've assigned for. We've agreed to those terms of services. When a podcast listener subscribes or follows the show, there's no such transaction that says, hey, we're going to track you and use that information to market to you with the purchase of charitable and podcasts to Spotify. They did not do that because that was a business that was making a huge amount of money and will add a huge amount of money to their bottom line. Sure, it's going to add some money, their bottom line, but in the end, it's about the data. What are they going to do with that data? How are they going to market that data, the data that's being collected, what are they going to do with it? Same thing with podcaster being bought by Acast. It's the same scenario. What is Acast going to do with the data that they've got from podcaster? So as a podcaster, like you said, you have to weigh the decision, is the value I'm giving these platforms about my listeners, is it worth the exchange and am I okay with potentially my listeners being I'm saying this is going to happen. I'm just using example, is it worth the exchange of my listeners potentially being remarketed to? And again, I'm not saying they're being remarketed to. It's not clear what a cast is going to do with that. I think it's two things with Acast. Number one, they're going to continue to poach shows. They're going to say, okay, these 25 shows are at top of their game, let's go get them and we'll get those 25 shows and we're going to bring them over here and we're going to monetize them. So they're probably using it a little bit for an intelligence collection on the podcast themselves. So my situation was I don't want them knowing about my show or shows that was my personal prerogative. Blueberry customers can do whatever they want because it's their shows. We don't tell podcasters what to do, how to build their shows, anything. It's their babies. But personally, I was of the opinion I don't use Charterable, I don't use Pod sites. And if I pull my shows off Pod Chaser, then that's just less data that someone else is going to collect because I'm protecting my brand. What if someone decides, well, that genre of content Todd is doing is really rocking. Let's go create two or three shows to compete against him in the same genre and target his audience because of this acquisition and start poaching my listeners. There's all kinds of scenarios that can happen and it's not all just privacy related. That's what drove my decision.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:29

Yeah, and I was a little surprised by your decision because I thought, oh, it's podchaster. This looks like it's the IMDb.com of podcasting. Doesn't this look like fun? And it seemed well intentioned and simple and I could credit the people who contributed to my podcast and put them up there. We have about six people who help put this podcast together every week and it just looked neat and tidy and I never really thought, oh, yeah, this could be used nefariously against me.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:24:59

And maybe it's not nefariously. It's again, it's data. So what are they going to do with the data? And part of it was, I love the podcaster team, don't get me wrong, I love that team and really proud that they got an exit. I really am. So don't take that the wrong way, but I don't have a good relationship and the industry doesn't have a good relationship with a cast because of the fact they've stopped spamming, ironically, several months before they closed this deal. And I think part of it was, oh, we're going to get ready by this deal, we have to stop the spamming because it's going to look bad if we're spamming and announced this deal. That's my hypothesis that's Todd's thought. So if that purchase got them to stop spamming, okay, they are notorious for this or trying to poach. So now, is this the substitute? We got podcast, we got all this data. Now we can go one on one. We don't have to do a blast. We can pick the top 50 in each category and go after them individually. That is part of what I suspect. But they could have done this on their own. They didn't have to buy podcaster. But what they did is they took that data off the table. No one else can get to it.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:16

Now, what I really look forward to every day in podcasting is a company coming out and saying how RSS is really killing podcasting, because the following Wednesday, I can't wait to listen to your show for you and Rob to go off for 1 hour about this thing. So explain to me again how RSS is allegedly killing podcasting.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:26:39

It's not, but for listeners, they don't care. They just want to listen. And I think we'll keep that in context. The listeners just want to listen to content where they want to listen to it. Currently, the primary distribution method for podcasts is through open RSS, where no one controls the feed, no one controls the distribution. The platforms that decide they want to have podcasts on their platforms can and can compete head to head with everyone else. So you've got the Amazon, the Pinopoli, you've got all these different groups that have added podcasts to their platform. And the reason they've been able to do that is because of open RSS. Now, obviously, people are signing deals. Rogan did and others have gone over Spotify and Man I clap, clap, clap. And anyone can get $200 million that took that check, too. Let's just be kind of frank, but at the same time we've got the ability to continue to maintain an open ecosystem with no gatekeepers and way. My passion is so heavy on this. You have to go back to the beginning, 2004. The only way you are getting distributed on anything beyond your website was a big fat contract, lots of legalese, and you got wrapped up and you were owned and controlled and your media often was, why did you do that episode? We don't want this type of content. So there's handlers. So really, ultimately when podcasting came into the existence in 2004 and took off the way it did, it was because we could basically say, we don't need you establish media, we don't have to ask you permission. We can have our content go everywhere. Everyone takes it for granted now, and it's good that they do, but we have to keep remembering that anytime someone says RSS is bad, it's because they have an agenda. I have an agenda at Blueberry. I have an agenda to sell hosting accounts. That's my agenda. Nothing more than that. We want to bring customers and we want to help them succeed. That's my agenda. But at the same time, we're content creators and we know the value of being able to keep that distribution going.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:56

So when I hear that RSS is not good for podcasting, what I really am hearing is that RSS is not good for our podcasting plans in our particular company.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:29:09

That's right, yeah. When a company turns off RSS feeds automatically, you have to request an RSS feed on a podcasting platform. You can kind of see the agenda.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:19

So what happens if Spotify says, okay, we want you to upload your content directly to us. We're no longer going to be accessing your RSS feeds. What do you do? What would you tell your clients?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:29:30

I expect that I think the clock is ticking. They're under massive financial pressure. My prediction is that their free hosting platform days are numbered and people that want to be on Spotify will have to go direct and basically they'll incorporate that platform into Spotify and that will be a separate place that you'll have to publish your show. They may not abandon RSS feeds, but I wouldn't put it past them because as far as ingestion from external shows, they've done some interesting things over the years. Everything to their benefit. And a number of us were made there. We basically ran customer support for Spotify podcasts for a year at least, when they ramped up. So there's no hard feelings here. Smile, smile. But they want to own a bigger chunk and it's okay again, as long as the listeners get content where they want to get it, they can do whatever they want to do. But we'll see. We'll see what happens over time.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:32

What if YouTube asks the same and they make an announcement at Podcast Movement saying, we want you just to. Upload your audio and we'll handle your audio instead of linking into our RSS feeds.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:30:42

Now, what I think that has high potential. But again, if you think about YouTube, what is YouTube done? There's a lot of politics on YouTube. You have to be a very good YouTuber to be in the good graces of YouTube. Otherwise you're not found unless you can drive traffic there. So often people are saying now you got to be on YouTube, you got to be on YouTube. Well, I challenge you to go and just take any category in Apple podcasts and look at the top 100 shows and Google them on YouTube and see who you find. Tell me if it's important for your show to be on YouTube. I'm of the opinion it's great to be on there, but I don't feel that you may get some discovery, but the average podcaster is going to have limited, I believe I might be wrong, limited benefit of being on YouTube. I'm on YouTube, been there for years, but I still today get limited benefit of being on YouTube because I see my YouTube views. It's nothing compared to the podcast.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:48

I feel immense pressure, though, when I hear people like Tom Webster and Jeff Fiddler when they link it up and say people say they get all their podcasts from YouTube.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:31:58

I think there are big shows, big podcast on YouTube, big shows. So I don't think the average consumer now fully, again, they don't care what the technical description of a podcast is. They think they're listening. Joe Rogan, he's technically no longer a podcaster. He has a show on Spotify and they consider it a podcast. Listeners don't know the difference, nor they shouldn't, because they don't care. They just like, listen to Joe Rogan. But just based on what I've looked at, what Dave Jones and our system Point OS looked at, and others, again, YouTube is a great place to be. I'm there because I want potential people to listen to the show over there. It's a great discovery place, potentially. So I think it's what you put into it too. So I think it's work just like any other, just like doing your own blog post. But again, these are great distribution points. In the end, when I'm doing my show, I want to say come back to geetneycentral.com, come back to new mediashow.com, come back to podcastinsider.com. That's moonbase alpha for the show. That's where the show originates and that's where I have my funnel and I have my social interaction and they go out from there. And also it's a great discovery vehicle. So again, I don't poopoo having a show somewhere, but I don't think there's as much value to the average podcaster as what is being implied. And that's my opinion.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:23

In just a second we talk micropayments. So rather than dabbling with like PayPal and patreon and buy me a coffee, Todd will explain about Satoshi and value for value. Yes, we're going to get deeper into it. He even offers to help get you earning by checking out the Fountain app. And we're also going to talk about some of the exciting things around transcription. Speaking of which, we've posted a link to the transcription for this podcast along with a link to the Fountain app on our website, soundoffpodcast.com.


Sarah Burke (VO) 00:33:55

Transcription for the Sound Off podcast is powered by Poddin. Your podcast is an SEO goldmine. We help you to dig out. Start your free trial now at Poddin.io.


Tara Sands (VO) 00:34:02

The Sound Off Podcast.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:07

What is rss 2.0?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:34:07

It's the expansion of the current spec. It's basically making things, giving additional features. Probably by the time the show airs, we have already announced they have RSS 2.0, implemented a transcript tag, and we added transcript capability to Blubrry some time ago. But what that really means is, okay, so I get a transcript in the Rss feed. What good is that? Well, the only good it really is, is once that transcript file is linked to a closed caption file like an SRT or VTT or BRT, I forget the two extensions. And we've built a player that has closed caption support. So now, because you have a closed caption capable file in the transcript tag in your RSS feed, if you're a Blubrry customer using our new modern player, you basically will have the ability when it's on your website to click closed captions and a little box will open up in your audio player and you'll have closed caption for your podcast. This is the first time this has been done for podcasting. It's an accessibility thing that we've added to the platform, and it's the thing I'm probably one of the most exciting things that we announced, the podcast movement is this new feature and it's automated. So if a content creator is signed up with our transcription service that we've added, as soon as they hit publish, the media file goes over to the transcriber, comes back as the specific file, we drop it in, and the player will play the show. The transcript now or the closed caption now. If they upload a text file that isn't transcript or closed caption capable, we'll just show a transcript link in the player and they'll be able to click it and download it. If they have nothing, then the player will be blank. So it'll be on the player itself. It'll have nothing if nothing's in the transcript tag, it'll have an actual downloadable transcript if it's an actual just plain text file or PDF, and if it says SRT or VTT capable file, the closed caption button will show up and when you click at the bottom will drop out of the audio player and show the closed caption. That's part of podcast 2.0. We wouldn't have been able to do that without it. There's other things like chapters, there's now value for value. There's this new term going around, boost, being able to get crypto. I mean, there's some of it out there ways, and it's a 3% product, but we're going to be adding more features so that we can educate the 97% if they want to implement some of the stuff on their shows. Again, the value for Podcast 2.0 is threefold creators and the people that are making the apps. There's some repair that goes on with an app called Fountain. If you make a donation, they add 1% to your donation for them and 100% goes to the podcaster. There's a little processing fee through the Satoshi network, and believe me, we don't get into that. We spend a whole hour on that topic alone. But it is just one of those situations now where we're looking at new ideas. And the Podcast 2.0 community is which now accompanies about 70 different apps and platforms that are participating to really help creators and expand a specification that has not been touched literally in 15 years in any significant way. We had additional tags for years, but because it was a Blubrry thing, no one wanted to adopt them. So we donated four or five tags. And this is getting technical, but it's basically made of data that's in the RSS feed that outlines something, location of the show, lays out alternate enclosure tag. There are all kinds of crazy things that are being done that once tied to apps and different applications. So imagine you're on Pocket Cast and you make a comment about a show and you pick up the Overcast app, and that comment shows up on Overcast as well. Then you have the ability as a podcaster to build community through an ecosystem that allows your comments to go across all apps. So that way you don't have to load six different, seven different apps to communicate with your community. That's part of the Podcast 2.0 initiative, so things like that. But again, we have to get adoption and as a hosting provider, we're going to start adding additional things to basically kick along, say, hey, we're supporting it, everyone wants to come out and join the party.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:44

So there's a lot of pressure on podcasting hosting companies to upgrade their services to get this stuff in. So, for instance, I'm big on transcription. I added it six months ago. We're using Potentio for this and we think they're a good company that supports this stuff. And the onus is going to be on me to connect with my host here, which is Art 19, to say, hey, Dan and Sean and Roddy at Art 19, when are you going to start to do the RSS 2.0 so I can get my transcriptions in here? And do you think, like hosting companies, they'll add this on one by one? So the location tag will come at some point, and then the transcription tag will come at some point and it's just building blocks, right?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:39:29

It is. It's building blocks. And the primary reason we went with this closed caption function on the player was several big, big companies got sued for not being accessible. Now I heart they're big, a lot of money, easy target. They create a lot of audio on the web. No closed captions for that. So as a hosting provider, I said, okay, we have the ability and the technology to provide this. Let's provided it's up to the podcaster if they want to opt in and provide this to their host. But at least from a hosting provider standpoint, I've made this available so that they don't have to go out and outsource this somewhere else and find a solution. It's right in the platform. Podcast. Hosting today is commoditized. There are 25 or 30 different hosting providers. So it's really now the hosting of the media is really the last thing that people even think about. It's about the additional layers of stuff that we provide that adds value for being their host. The reason they pay us $20 a month to host with us, or 40, or whatever it may be. My perspective is, again, we are focused on really three keywords helping them publish, analyze, and grow their show. So how do we help them grow their show? Well, all of a sudden, this podcast, it's on Blueberry that may be about some abstract topic, is the only show that has a closed caption for the hearing impaired. And guess what? They're going to get a boost because that show is hearing impaired capable. And they're going to get that audience because we've made it easy for the hearing impaired to actually do just like on television, be able to follow along. They can't hear it, but they can see. Now we'd like to have where people are laughing and those types of things that are showing up into the transcript that we're not there yet. So at the base, we're at least providing the ability to have closed caption on your website.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:29

So you did touch on it, and we won't take an hour to talk about satoshi's and all that stuff, but value for value. So you've made an appearance on this show. I'd love to send you a little something. I have no idea what I'm doing. I never thought I'd ever get into cryptocurrency. You mentioned the fountain app, too. Where do I start with all this? How do I get you paid?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:41:48

I think the fountain app is a great place to start. You listen to the show. I don't know how they're doing this, but you earn satoshi. And what a satoshi is, is 1,000,000th of a bitcoin. So I think right now, 10,000 satoshi is like a buck. Yeah, I think 10,000 satoshi is about a dollar. So you will earn I don't know what the earn rate is on fountain, but you actually learn to listen. So you don't even have to set up any place to buy bitcoin or buy, you know, convert. You don't have to worry about any of that. To begin with. Just by using the app, you earn some and you'll be able to donate those back to the shows that you like. I got 50 Sat 6 hours ago from someone called the Basset podcast from the Fountain app. And I can actually tell, for those of us that are kind of geeky, there's a dashboard. We can actually see the donations that have come in. And as a matter of fact, yesterday during the new Meta show, as I was playing it, there a boost, they call them, a boost came in and there's a peeping sound and it fired. And everyone on the show heard the PPU, and we were able to read the donation that had come in from a listener. So it's micro payments, and here's where the difference is. All right, I've got a PayPal link on my website, I've got cash app, I've got demo, I've got all these modern ways to get money, right? The PayPal link people can subscribe and give me $2 a month. It's the same as I almost like buying a coffee type of deal. They've got patreon. We have all these different ways, but really, there's no way to send a micro payment. No one's going to send in PayPal $0.50. That's dumb. To send $0.50 via PayPal, you get eight up in transaction fees. The podcast will probably end up with a dime. So the micro payments in Satoshi, which will convert to Bitcoin, which you can convert Bitcoin to money. On my Bitcoin account. I personally use Coinbase. There's lots of them out there. And I had a bunch of stats that come in. I essentially converted them back to Bitcoin and transferred them into my PayPal account was like $100. So it is not easy currently, but it is possible to get that money back into hard currency. Again, this is not for the faint of heart at this point, but RSS.com just added an interaction with Get Albie. So podcasts over there can immediately start earning income on their shows. We'll probably do an integration with them as well. Again, these are all baby steps, but I had this mindset for a while. I'm not billing for the 3%, I'm billing for the 97%. But the 3% is where the edge is at. It's where people are experimenting and doing cool things. So my thought process was, let's add some stuff for 3%. We'll educate the 97%, maybe we can move the 3% to the 25%. And if that's the case, and podcasters are getting used to this, they're starting to talk about it, then the tools will get better, it will be easier to use. Some folks are very against crypto. Now, let me just be straight. I do not invest in crypto. I think it's more risky than stock market, and we've obviously seen that. And if you invest in the stock market, you're risk there, you can lose every penny. So if we go into this saying that this is a mechanism like PayPal to be able to get some money out of donations from audience members and not look at it as this big evil finance thing, but as an actual way. And basically you do have to declare earnings that come in off of bitcoin. So you basically can use this as a way for people to submit donations or use Cash app, use Venmo, use PayPal, whatever you want to use. But again, these micro payments and no one's controlling this. This is another thing. You can't have your PayPal account closed, you can't have your Venmo, PayPal can close your account, venmo, Cash app, they can all close your accounts if they think something shady is going on. This is basically almost foolproof and it's decentralized from that aspect.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:08

So I come from a family of stockbrokers and I think my grandfather would tell me that if you couldn't buy a pack of gum with cryptocurrency, you probably shouldn't get too involved in it. However, I'm beginning to hear, especially in the podcast space, that there's some real social value to being able to send some money to Pot News if you get something valuable from them or to you guys at the New Media show. And to have that thanks come back, it's great social value.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:46:37

I'm getting more comments coming in via Boost than I do via email, so it's really easy for someone that's listening to a podcast episode and this is what's actually happening. People are in fountain and say, oh my goodness, and they hit the lightning button and they put their boost amount in 500,000 SATS, whatever it is, and said, love your comment about this. Here's an example, here's one that came in. Hey guys, love the show. A long time listener, first time booster puppy, appreciate the show and all you are doing may have to switch away from Lives in to Blueberry if you get rolling with inputting podcast, two point by the way. Still waiting for so they just went on and on. Your character limited, I think 256 or something like that, but this was like a response to something we're talking about in the show and we don't get those types of emails rarely because it's interactive, it's immediate right in the app. So social value? Yes. And he sent me 15,150 stats at buck 50, so it's beautiful. It's only about 50, todd. Well, there's about 50, there's $2, there's $2. So about $20 for the last episode. So that's more than some people earn in advertising.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:47:58

Podcast movement's coming up. New Media Show going to be doing a live stream again. Are you making any other appearances? Got a booth?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:48:07

Yeah, I got a booth where you have a ten x 20 and we have a flat screen up there showing off the new stuff we've introduced at Blueberry over the last year. But I think the thing that we're most excited about is the four announcements that we've made prior to podcast movement. Number one, the integration with Pod Rocket and providing educational materials to podcasters. The integration with the script. A lot of other podcast companies are integrated with them. The only difference is the bonus of using Blueberry is when you use the script with Blueberry and it sends over your media file to us, it also sends the transcript that goes right into the transcript tag and you're going to be able to have that show up on your audio players. The closed caption third piece, obviously is the programmatic advertising launch. And again, the integration with the audio player with closed caption. So I think we'll be talking about all that plus everything else that we've done. And again, we burned down the old interface. We actually took dynamite to it and blew it up and spent really two years rebuilding the entire platform from scratch.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:11

Did you get any blowback from listeners? Because it seems like at any time you move someone's cheese, there's always one or two.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:49:20

And believe it or not, we had big survey responses. We had probably close to 1000 people give us feedback. And of those feedbacks that we got on the new platform launch, we probably took 20 of those ideas and put them immediately. They went right to the top of the dev stack and implemented changes or enhanced something. And what it really did is I tell my support team track support tickets and where the pain points are. Pain points used to be on boarding. We don't get any of those emails anymore. Pain points were, how do I create my first episode? We don't get those anymore. It's just certain things that were hard for podcasters to do and we spent a lot of time and a lot of meetings. Some of them were feisty in making the decision. But I think the best decision we made was we hired an outside UI developer that was actually a podcaster. They had experience. And her name is Kristy Hollywood. She's out in Salt Lake, Utah. Great UI developer designer, and the new Blueberry was really largely her and my in house graphics employee Aaron Hope, who does all of our current graphics and UI work. So she set the basis and those two work together. And we're really proud because to be honest with you, things were kind of looking old and not the case anymore.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:50:43

We've got me excited for Podcasting 20 and I'm also I can't believe we got nearly to the end of the show and we didn't even talk about a company trying to become the Netflix of podcasting. I think we're past that.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:50:55

Yeah, I think we are. I think what we're going to see is there's a lot of commercial interest now with all the money that's coming. Spotify spent nearly a billion dollars. Think about that on podcasting. Amazon and others have spent a lot of money. I think there's more acquisitions coming. I think Amazon's got a target. We talked about it on the new Me show yesterday. We have to remember as a podcasting space that 90% of the space is made up of independent content creators that are at their kitchen table, in their garage, at their friend's house, in a closet, in their spare office, creating content. And they are the ones that make up the core of this community. They don't have commercial support, they don't have producers, they don't have a team. Those are the ones that we want to help bridge. And Tom Webster wrote a great article about this. It sounds profitable a couple of weeks ago about programmatic advertising being the bridge. I've always said that small content creators just need something, whether it be email from their listeners, giving them support and saying thank you for the content, to a little bit of money coming in to show value for their time and bridge them to the point where they can afford to hire someone to help the producer show some edit, someone to do social. I've been lucky enough that I've recruited people within my audience to do some of those jobs. And so it's like they've aligned. They've grown up with the show, they've listened. My executive producer from my personal podcast is like a brother from another mother. He thinks the way I do from a content standpoint. So when he's doing show prep, I come in. Very rarely do I ask any of the things that he's picked because he thinks he's listening to show so long, he knows what I talk about. So it's one of those things where I was able to have money, earn enough money to be able to pay him a couple of $100 he costs every month by paying a regular hourly salary. And it's not slave wages, it's a decent wage. And he does a couple of hours of show prep that are required for each of my shows. Saves me that time. Most podcasters can't do that. So if we can get them some money, some bridge money, to get them to the point where they've grown the show to be sustainable, I think that's key. But again, advertising is not the only thing. There's a dozen different ways to get support, so it's just one of many methods.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:53:27

We've long agreed that Anchor is podcasting cemetery, and they have been for quite a few years. So do you think they get folded into Megaphone or do you have another prediction where you think it goes because Spotify is not marketing it very hard.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:53:40

I think they get pulled it into Spotify, I think Anchor goes away. Megaphone will be where they'll send the shows that are doing well on Spotify or the shows that they license, like Rogan. I don't know how Rogan publishes the show, but he's got to have some method within the Spotify platform to do. I don't think he's doing it on Anchor. So we'll see what's going to happen over there again, they're under tremendous financial pressure. And if we go into recession and money tightens up, of course, the latest financial information this past couple of days, it shows. We might not go deep, but we'll see. They've got stockholders to contend with and they spend a billion dollars. They need to make something happen. If they don't, if products aren't making them any money, guess what? They're going to go away. And right now I have a pretty good idea of what Spotify is spending a month. And it's a rounding error for them on anchor. So maybe it's not an issue. Maybe it will be around for a while, but time will tell. And whatever their agenda may be, again, we all have agendas, but we'll see if some other people come into space to start buying up more stuff, time will tell. But again, hopefully there'll be enough of us left to take care of the independent podcast creators.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:54:57

How much does Spotify represent for downloads from Blueberry?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:55:01

Oh, it's low. It's no more than 7%.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:55:06

Yeah.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:55:07

And some are higher. But I think what it also is, Blueberry attracts content creators that are in this for the long haul businesses. Our persona of listeners is really people that are truly focused on building a long, sustainable show. The shows that started Blueberry are at Blueberry a long, long time. We still have a lot of failures out of the gate just like everyone else does. But those that get started and go stay with us a long, long time. Return rate is very, very low, whereas some of the others in the space that have higher percentages on Spotify are actually attracting a little bit of a different demographic. But those shows from what we've seen in our data, are short fuse. Their turn rate is really high. So those companies have to spend an incredible amount of advertising money to basically keep up for the people that are leaving to keep their revenue growing. So it's really based upon creators, the type of creators are using each platform. And we really worked hard to track those that really don't want to do too much. Just have a landing page that's fine as well. So we put some time in there to make sure we satisfy that demographic of content creators as well that don't think they need a website. But again, I say oftentimes to be able to start that way, two, three months in they're like, oh, I should do this. And we have a way to graduate them into office, solitary landing page into their own because we give every customer free WordPress site that gets a hosting account.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:56:37

Every time I listen to the new media show and you talk about how you don't have a lot of Spotify listeners, I'm like, I think I'm your one.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:56:44

Well, a new media show, it's almost like you're one of few that listen on Spotify. And I think that because we have podcasters listening to the show. Most podcasters are using some podcast app.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:57:00

So over my shoulder is a degree from Acadia University, and over the other shoulder is the blank spot. You can see where the PhD from listening to the new media show is supposed to go. How do I get it, and how much more do I have before I graduate?


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:57:14

Well, why don't you create the certificate for me and get it designed and donate it to the show? And then we'll use that, and Rob and I will sign it and you get it sent back. I think you've been listening long enough. You've got your PhD in podcasting.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:57:28

I don't think so. After all this Podcasting 2.0, it hurts my head, too.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:57:34

We had a big team meeting last week where I brought the team in from all over the country, and I said, we're going to talk about Podcasting 2.0. And privately, we had some people come in and talk to us about that. Well, not privately. You can put it on the show. But my team was really like, some of it is a lot. It is. And again, we have to get it so that it's for the person that doesn't know how to left click their mouse. We've got to get it to the point where they can execute on this and not have their brain fog over with, like, what am I looking at? It's got to be easy.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:58:08

I feel I'm years away from the PhD still.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:58:11

Maybe me too.


Matt Cundill (Host) 00:58:13

Todd, looking forward to seeing you at Podcast Movement and all the announcements. This is exciting stuff. And thanks for catching me up on Podcast 2.0.


Todd Cochrane (Guest) 00:58:20

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.


Tara Sands (VO) 00:58:22

The Sound Off podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Social Media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the soundoff media company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.



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