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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Sam Sethi: PodFans, Podnews Weekly Review and River Radio

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Sam Sethi is setting out on his biggest adventure yet. The host of Podnews Weekly Review and former programmer at Windows and Netscape, is launching Podfans; part of a new wave of podcast apps you can find here on the Podnews website.

Over the last few years, podcast shows like Podnews, Pocasting 2.0 with Adam Curry and Dave Jones, and shortly after The New Media Show with Rob Greenlee and Todd Cochrane, began to talk about ways to improve the technology involved with podcast delivery.

Podfans Sound Off Podcast Cundill

Think of things like sending money straight to the host or evenly amongst hosts, being able to follow along with captions, listening live when the show goes live, listening to podcasts created in your neighbourhood, and chapter markers so you don't have to scan every 15 or seconds for the part of the show you are looking for.

During the Episode - Sam sent me some Sats... and also streamed some as well. He summarizes the activity in this LinkedIn post.



Sam Sethi 0:00

Sorry. Sorry, my wife. Yeah. Yeah, I've got the car keys in my pocket. Sorry ma'am, my wife's, my wife's looking at me. Where's the car keys? Sorry. So going back.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 0:19

The Sound Off Podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.

Matt Cundill 0:30

One of the things I love about podcasting is all the possibilities. For those who are regular listeners to a podcast from the Sound Off Podcast Network, you may have heard this before.

Mary Anne Ivison (Voiceover) 0:42

This podcast supports podcasting 2.0. If you like this show or getting value from it, hit the boost button now. If you don't have a boost button, you can get one now at new

Matt Cundill 0:55

Today I'm going to be speaking with Sam Sethi, who co hosts the podcast weekly review along with James Cridland. He's also the creator of one of those new podcast apps called Podfans. Now, most of you listen to this show on Apple podcasts or Spotify. I know because I see the data, but have you checked out what's available at new podcast There are apps available to show you things like when a show is live. They let you see transcriptions or captioning or you can even send some funding in the form of satoshis or boosts. Sam is in the process of launching Podfans, a new podcast app which is going to support those aforementioned things and more. Now speaking of SATs and Satoshis. I want to thank Dave Jackson, who has a great show called Ask The Podcast coach. He's using one of those newer podcast apps called Castamatic and he has the app set to stream some satoshis in my direction for every minute he listens to the Sound Off podcast. Thanks so much, Dave, and thanks for the 5000 SATs. Now, Sam Sethi joins me from Cookham, England. Long before you involve yourself in in radio. you worked in tech.

Sam Sethi 2:02


Matt Cundill 2:03

And you go right back to the early 90s. And Microsoft and Windows 2.1.

What was windows 2.1 C yeah, I can even remember the C bulk of it.

What attracted you to tech and computers?

Sam Sethi 2:16

The only stones was I left the army as an officer and typical English army officer not knowing what to do next I had to skills, kill people or shout not really of, often asked for. So they all send you into the city to be a stockbroker and sat at a desk watching screens go red or blue didn't appeal to me at all and so they sort of stuck me in a corner with this sort of massive, great big computer and said, go and create a trading system on that. So somehow, I enjoyed doing that and that was the beginning of it, yeah.

Matt Cundill 2:49

It was funny how it all comes full circle, because as we get into talking about podcasting, 2.0 that's pretty much where we're going to be headed.

Sam Sethi 2:57

Yeah. I mean, I'm very, very bullish on where I think this is all going. And I think he's just waiting for people. I've been here before, and we'll talk about it in the podcast when I was at Netscape, you know, I remember sitting down, its called a browser, it starts with http. Yes. That's the URL. No, there's no search engine. People looked at me like I was talking Swahili and now when I say it's a micro payment is called a Satoshi you need a digital wallet and people look at me go, what's he talking about? I have no idea. And yet I can see the natural hockey stick of growth because it's a solution to a problem we actually all have, and it works. And when you've got those two parts, a solution that's actually fixing a problem and that actually does what it says on the tin, then I think you've got gold, and it's just a timeframe then

Matt Cundill 3:47

My gateway to the internet, the first time I got on it was Netscape. You may have a few tales to tell about, working with Netscape and when you go to tell somebody yes, http colon, backslash, backslash. There's always a contingent of people who are like, okay, well, how do I make money from this? What were those monetization questions? And did you even have any answers? Or did you just say this is really a gateway to marketing and a bigger world?

Sam Sethi 4:12

I don't think anyone knew we were all blind leading the blind whether it was there was a brilliant guy called Mike Homer, who was the marketing director for Netscape. Sadly, he died very young, but Mike Homer was the guy who could foresee RSS. He was the guy who worked with the tech team guys to come up with RSS. I know everyone says it's Dave Winer. It wasn't Dave Winer. Dave Winer took what Netscape and enhanced it, give him that credit. At the same time, Mike was the first one to create a portal. So he worked out for Netscape that there was going to be a portal that we could put news into and you could start to put basic products into right. And that was his vision that was beginning to evolve and I think that the monetization, of course Microsoft ran with that idea and created MSN. And then of course, we saw all the other people suddenly Ting Ting Ting, ah, there's money in this hill, right? Let's get some e commerce, we have pets harass me had everyone else in the world and obviously, that's how I think it evolved, but yeah, genuinely I don't think anyone really understood how you're going to monetize this.

Matt Cundill 5:22

So I'm having a Netscape flashback. I believe beside the bookmarks, there was an opportunity to subscribe to the RSS feed exact and anytime somebody updated their website, it would show up in I think, maybe a sidebar.

Sam Sethi 5:37

Like little push notification, actually, yeah.

Matt Cundill 5:39

Yeah and I was supposed to be really, really excited that the website had been updated, and that I could go and consume the new content that was put on there.

Sam Sethi 5:47

Yeah, and I think that was the original concept of it, it was going to be a data transport layer, which RSS is and you remember, the Google screen reader for RSS, which everybody in the day had, right and it was brilliant, because you could consume loads and loads of different websites through a sort of very flat file, in effect, like a spreadsheet, and then dip into it by clicking through it. And again, when that die, you know, I think a lot of people will very unhappy. And that's when I think RSS itself fundamentally first time round died as well.

Matt Cundill 6:20

And I hear you talk about this on your show quite often with James Cridland and that's something like Internet Explorer that comes along podcast apps, but things like Netscape go away, a search engine, like Alta Vista goes away, and then it gets taken over by Google. And then once they're gone, a lot of the smaller little components that made it great also disappear along with it too and we miss those things.

Sam Sethi 6:47

We miss comfort because we learn how to do things on the web in the way that we want to do them. So whether it's the best way of doing it, it's the way that we train our mind. And when we we don't like change, humans don't like change particularly. It puts us out of our comfort zone, it makes us have to think through our frontal cortex rather than the relaxed. Oh, no press one press 2,3 oh that's the job done. So yeah, again, strangely, after Netscape I was the marketing director for a company called CMGI out of Boston, CMGI owns 60 of the first original startups, AltaVista was one. Now vo to Rome, the list goes on. And their goal was to create a synergistic platform. So the sum of the parts would make it greater than the whole. And CMCI was the first billion dollar valuation on the internet and that was because it was just buying up all these companies is a combination of a VC and an incubator, and it sort of had this sort of sausage factory idea of will buy in a startup will, will enhance it through the services that we offered, and then chuck it out the front door for for extra value. So again, early days of the web.

Matt Cundill 8:01

We could really use an Alta Vista right now in Canada. We've got this problem with Google in the news.

Sam Sethi 8:06

Well, I don't think it's Google in the news. I actually think it's Canada and its politicians, but that's where I think the problem lies.

Matt Cundill 8:13

And I heard you discuss that on your show and you're both exactly right. And you've seen this before, by the way, you've seen it happen in Spain, you've seen it happen in in Australia, where the government has this overreach and thinks they can just send the bill to Facebook and Google but leave Twitter out of it for whatever reason, and sort of stick these companies with the bill and that's not really how the internet works.

Sam Sethi 8:32

And I think you have to ask Mr. Murdoch, why he's probably instigating this through lobbyists. Really, that's where I think the actual pressure is coming from because he sat there going, I once had advertising and I had billboards and job boards and classified ads, and I had all this revenue coming in and was worldly and I had millions of people reading my rubbish, and then suddenly, no one's reading my rubbish and at the same time, I'm not making any money from it. So who's making all my money? Oh, that's those guys over there called Google right? I want some of their money. And, you know, fundamentally, either it's dumb politicians or good lobbyists. I don't know which way you go. You're convincing people that yeah, it's the fault of Google.

Matt Cundill 9:13

So my first introduction to you was pod land, which is now the podcast weekly review. When did you first meet JamesCridland? And why'd you start the show?

Sam Sethi 9:22

Very interestingly, I met James because pre COVID. I decided stupidly, that I Why wouldn't we put on a podcast festival? Why don't we invite Kara Swisher, James Cridland and a whole bunch of really leading edge podcasters coming to an event? Nobody knew who I was, but guess what they all said yes, thank god. So we put on this online event which I'd never done. We used a platform called Hoppin, which went through COVID from zero to 7.7 billion and only this week, we heard that hoppin CEO has stepped down and the value of the company has gone but during COVID it was getting VC money. In daily, basically and his valuation went through the roof. Anyway I did that platform, James kindly said he'd come on and do it. And then afterwards, I looked at Pod News Daily and I said, James, do you want to sort of extend that from three minutes to maybe an hour? And I think it was 30 minutes. I promised him in the beginning, but it's gone a little longer these days and strangely, he said, yeah, I'd love to. And I thought oh, great, okay. And I promise you, if you go back to Episode 123, or four of pod land, it is car crash radio, or car crash podcasting, we didn't know what we were doing in terms of was he going to be the expert was only going to ask the question, which way was the I've taken the role of the dumb questionnaire. And I've let James to be the goat expert, podcaster and it seems to work for us.

Matt Cundill 10:47

I like the fact that you can still put in these long form interviews, and you're both, I think, interviewing to your passions. So, for instance, you reached out to Rebecca Senalis and had this wonderful conversation about podcasting is path in the last 10 years that you were clearly passionate from the article you read. And at the same time, James had an interview recently with Christopher Lydon, who was one of the original podcasters, who started 20 some odd years ago, that's up for debate, we can have that debate forever. But I love how the show's evolved in that direction.

Sam Sethi 11:23

Yeah, I mean, we've got a structure to it. We think it works. I mean, I think is one of those that I've said to James, we should go back and always review it. and I think we will, just to make sure that you know, we haven't become comfortable and stuck in our ways, and that there's a better way of doing it. But yeah, we are reaching out, we think to whoever we think in the news that week is making the news. That's the goal of it. Yes, obviously, James has gone back in time today, Wiener and as you said, other people. But generally, if you listen to the ones that I'm trying to do, or we are looking at who's in the news, so next week, we've got somebody from Descript coming on, because Descript got a brand new version coming out, that's going to be amazing, according to them for podcasters. We'll wait and see whether it's amazing. But again, we booked that person on, because they're going to be in the news for certain in a couple of weeks.

Matt Cundill 12:17

I know that because I got three emails this morning, inviting me to the new version of the script. I don't even I don't even use Descript . I used it once and I decided I much preferred to edit the sound rather than the words.

Sam Sethi 12:28

Yep, on the reverse, but I'll give you a thing. Hey, Matt, I'm not very good at editing. I'm basically good enough, but not good in either better, better people at doing that than me.

Matt Cundill 12:40

So I'm not very good at production and mixing. So I have somebody on staff who does that because again, like you mentioned about your first few episodes, they're not always the best. And my first four episodes are a complete car wreck as well.

Sam Sethi 12:53

But that's the way you learn, right? I think that's a brilliant way I've got an expression, which is go ugly early and that used to be my nightclub tactic can find the ugliest girl and then go early. But reality aside from that, go ugly early for me really means, you know, just get on with it. You can procrastinate all day and wait for that perfect moment where you can go out there in the world and be you know, told by other people what worked and what didn't know, I firmly believe that.

Matt Cundill 13:21

Why is everybody unhappy with their podcast app?

Sam Sethi 13:24

I don't think people are I think what it is, is people don't know what they don't know. That's the problem. So in a world of podcasting, if all you ever use is Spotify, and Apple, well, it works, right? You go on there, they're all their updates, you click in it is ready to download, it's ready to stream happy days. What you don't know is that finding podcast discoveries hold on those platforms. But you don't know that it's hard because you don't know there's a better option. You don't know that interactivity is a problem. I want to give feedback to the creator, but I can't do that on those two platforms. I can't leave a comment. I can't zap more or like something I can't put a rating when he can on Spotify by any chance. So discovery, interactivity, and being able to give back a small micro payment instead of a heart or like or a thumbs up. But if you don't know that that's available elsewhere, then you're not unhappy. You're just in the dark, really about what's available for you as a broadcaster.

Matt Cundill 14:28

Maybe the question was oddly phrased in that I'm assuming that everybody's going around going by man, this podcast app sucks. I'm working off three podcasts app. So when I'm in the car, I like to use Apple, except for if I want to listen to a show that is live like the new media show with Todd Cochran and Rob Greenlee. Now, I want to use the fountain app so I can access it live. But inside my home, I use Spotify because I want it to connect to my smart speakers. I'm running three apps. I'm downloading shows all over the place my phone's getting a little bit full I'm not here to say that I'm unhappy with these apps because they're doing what I want them to do. But why can't I just have it on one app?

Sam Sethi 15:06

Well, the answer is you can't have it on one app and and you know, strangely, that's something that I'm working on. But again, look, fountains a brilliant app, Oscar's a mate of mine, we have a lot in common in the way that we think about the future podcasting. I think what he's doing and implementing for fountains great. And he's putting all these new features like the live item tag, which is the one you just used to do listen to live shows. He supports this thing called micro payments. Satoshis. And, you know, he's got some great ways for discovery and interactivity, like creating little clips or leaving comments called boost. No, Oscar is doing a great job. He's even got car pay working as well. So there is a lot of good out there, fountains leading the charge from the new podcast apps, and good on Oscar for doing that. But there may be other people who do it, I sort of like him myself a little bit, you know, we had MySpace and Friendster before Facebook, I like to think that I'm the one coming from behind in the tortoise and the hare race. And, you know, I might be the tour toys with my app, you know, developing it and getting it right. But I hope that in the long run, it's the one that you will choose, or other people choose because it offers all the fixes to what you just described.

Matt Cundill 16:21

So here you go, you're going to be jumping into the podcast app space with Podfans, I'm very excited for it. I'm so excited, I went and I'm registered, and I'm on a waitlist. And you've also got this thing where your slug and by the way, like a lot like blue sky does it. There's lots of apps that sort of slowly release, and you've worked in this space for so long, and you've been a part of the tech funding of it all. How do I expedite my myself to get my hands on this app?

Sam Sethi 16:53

Basically, I'll be doing it straight off. It's not it's not a problem. In fact, probably all of that was my fault, Matt, we probably open the doors, a fraction too quick for people, we had a load of people come onto the waitlist. And when they came on, we realize that we've made mistakes in the admin, so we deleted a few people. So I'm gonna check, we may have just deleted your waitlist entry and I'm just being honest and if that's the case, I'll ping you back and say, just hit the whitelist entry and I'll push it straight through. It's weird building software in an I believe in building it in public. So I put out a lot of what we're doing very, very early. And sometimes when that happens, you go, Oh, we have to roll this back or something's not quite right. And that's what happened. We, we went a little bit too quick on getting people onto the waitlist, and then realized that there was a couple of issues. So we rolled it back and in the process, we had to delete some of the list and then restart it. So apologies if you're one of those, but I will check.

Matt Cundill 17:57

I actually just registered just before this.

Sam Sethi 17:59

Okay. I will make sure then you're in in a second.

Matt Cundill 18:03

And I'm happy to report that I do have a get Alby wallet.

Sam Sethi 18:06

Excellent. Let me explain a couple of things. This is this is one of the hardest things for me to do, which is pod foundry. I think we talked earlier about me being at Netscape, getting people onto the web and explaining the terminology, we're in that same boat. It's a micropayments. Satoshi wallet. The reason we're letting people on who have an old B wallet first is because it's half the battle has been done. If you already know what the Alby wallet is, and you know what a SAT is, and carry on to the platform and then trying to understand how value for value works, and how zaps and boost work is a second part of that vocabulary learning curve. But you don't then have to learn both of those sides. Whereas if you come on and you don't know what a wallet is, nobody would have sat it oh, my God, and now gonna learn about value, no far too long a learning curve. So we're being selective on our waitlist, about who comes in and who doesn't and that was part of having a waitlist. Now, why bother if if all you're going to do is let everybody in and that was a reason.

Matt Cundill 19:04

I can totally understand why you're doing it. I'll look at an example of squad cast, which we're recording on right now. They put out their 5.0 version and it came out with a couple of bugs. But when it gets to people's computers or their phones, you just don't really know how it's going to react and the next thing you know, you've got, you're gonna spend the next year and a half trying to clean up all the little things that are involved with the program.

Sam Sethi 19:29

So one of the things we've learned in the process so, again, stepping back we've built it to be a progressive web app. We don't want to be an iOS app or an Android app, why there is a potential problem. I'm not saying there is a problem, there's a potential problem that Apple is going to wake up to the idea of micro payments, and then suddenly realize that you've got a monetary system in your app, and they're not going to allow you in they've already booted out one app called Damas. Most of the podcast apps who are iOS with them Micro payment, or keeping their heads very, very, very low at the moment, but I didn't want to risk the 30% tax that Apple imply for every app if there's any micro payments and so we're a progressive web app, that just means we work on the desktop. And then when you shrink it down to whatever screen size, we shrink down to an iPad, or an iPhone or an Android. And with that capability, we also looked at how can we make this easier for people to use, we realized that again, we had stepped back a little bit to go forward. So we've created this week, a feedback app, which is both a bug report and a suggest new ideas feedback app. But what we've done to make it slightly different, is we actually give you SATs micro payments, for every time you report a bug or every time you suggest an idea, we have an opinion that your time and attention is valuable. And therefore we're going to value it by giving you back sets for what you give us. And I just literally released before this show an hour before the first ever blog that enables you to write a comment called a boost. So a comment with a payment or as app. It's the first ever one that's using the new micro payment system. But we're using your standard Alby wallet, the one you just described, because it all works in the system. So yeah, we're building features around the desktop and feedback loop. And then I think next week or the week after we released the mobile and then after that we've got a whole bunch of beta features that we want to release.

Matt Cundill 21:35

So I guess I'm really excited about this app, because you've taught me through your time on what was Podland and now the Podnews Weekly Review, teaching me little things like I get Alby and it can sit as a Chrome browser extension and here's the fountain app and look. So I walk myself through the steps of sending people and I've sent you guys a couple times. micropayments. I sent you guys 5150, I think a few months ago, and I'm sorry that neither one of you got the Van Halen reference, I had to explain it to you.

Sam Sethi 22:05

Sorry can I point out on the soul boy, no idea what was going on there.

Matt Cundill 22:11

And that was really my first step to, you know, the form of micropayments. As we've walked through this monetization, how do we monetize our podcast, we've got the ads, we've got programmatic ads, but people sometimes skip through them. And then we've got subscription, you could have a subscription and apple, but there's 30%. And I think largely, not everybody wants to subscribe to a podcast and pay. I don't want to make a conclusion here, but it feels like a bit of a bust.

Sam Sethi 22:39

But it's like paying for your gym membership. You know, you pay in advance, then do you go everyday? Do you use it twice a day? Or do you use it at all, right? The subscription is pay in advance the Chinese buffet model, eat all you like or eat nothing and I think we're all a bit tired of subscriptions. You know, I've got a Netflix, I've got a Paramount. I've got an Apple, I've got Spotify. I mean, how many more subscriptions do I want?

Matt Cundill 23:02

Why are micro payments complicated?

Sam Sethi 23:05

Let's take a step back again, when we were at Netscape, one of the things that Marc Andreessen has written about, is that he wished he'd created a micropayment system, a way of paying small amounts to creators as a way of rewarding them and he didn't. So in the absence in web 2 data, we created hearts, likes, thumbs up, claps, right? Go to the bank with a million likes, doesn't really do much for you, you're not going to get a mortgage, we're not going to get a car loan. So what did creators do? They put advertising around their content. We had blogs with ads, if you remember, and your blog roles and all these sorts of things and then Mark Zuckerberg said, no, no, no, we'll give you a platform for free, don't pay for it. You put up your content for free, we'll give you a platform for free and we're going to take all the money from your content, and we'll get rich ergo go Twitter, Facebook, etc. Well, fast forward to today and what you have or whoever he she it or they was Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. So we no one knows who they are. But 100,000,000th of a Bitcoin is a SAT. That's the micro level of it. So this is great. You know, somebody might be listening to this podcast and going, Matt, I am loving what you're talking about and I want to give you 1000 SATs. Now, initially, well, when you did your first 5151 I am sure that there was a well, we've seen it so often people going sending one sat with the word. Did you get it? Did you get it? Because they just don't know it's going to work? It's the same as when when people started doing Zoom called, are you there? Can you hear me? Are you there? And it's that sort of affirmation. It worked. I can't believe this is working. It worked. And so now we're beginning to see people putting larger amounts. But what micropayment allows you to do is a peer to peer direct between you and the creator. So there's no third party in the middle, it's real time it just happened. So if I want to give you one SAT, I do if I want to give you a million SATs I do. And it's instant from my wallet to your wallet. And there's nobody in between. And the value for value model, which is what Adam Curry promotes, is fundamentally a bit like going into a shop to buy the shirt you're wearing. It's got a price tag on it, you take it off the hanger, you go to the counter, and you choose to pay either the price on the tag or you barter. Well, we're all too posh to barter. So we wait for the sale, or we don't bother at all. But digitally in a value for value world, you can barter you can say, you can say this podcast is worth 100 SATs per minute, it's an hour long. So that's 6000 SATs, which is probably $1 and a half Canadian dollars, not much if I want to give you value, but I'm not going to listen to the whole show. So why do I pay in advance for the whole show? No. So what we've done and what others have done is created a per minute payment model, which means that you can set a value per minute of 100 SATs per minute and if I consume 10 minutes or 20 minutes, I just pay for what I consume and that's the new model. So the new model is a value for value model where the creator sets a price, the listener agrees or changes that price. And it's paid per minute on what you can see. And that works. Not just for podcast, but it works for music, as we've seen. Audiobooks, video, in fact, anything digital.

Matt Cundill 26:29

Now I know you might be thinking, is there any radio talk in the show? And the answer is yes. Yes, there is. Tell me about River Radio.

Sam Sethi 26:38

Okay, so one of the things I am is naturally curious. That is that is just mind leaning in life and probably about eight years ago, somebody came to me and said, look, you used to be Microsoft's professional presenter used to stand up on stage and release products and do the old hello, good morning, and welcome to my and all that was great. And they said, do you fancy doing a radio show with us? Never done one of those. Great, I'll do an 80s radio show and it's cheesy and it's funny, and you played Shalimar and you played Michael Jackson. But I promise you after 10 times playing it, it gets a little bit repetitive, but the entrepreneur in me suddenly decided that I didn't want to play music, I wanted to interview great guests. Those great guests weren't all living in my village or near where I live, they happen to be across the pond, they happen to be in another part of the country. So I managed to go into the radio station and actually hook up a Zoom call when no one was doing zoom. This is pre everyone knowing about Zoom. And I can live link a Zoom into the studio now. Everyone was like, how you doing that? That's amazing, right. And that led to me starting sound talks technology, which was one of my own podcasts. But the entrepreneur in me wanted to do more, I wanted to be on a bigger broadcasting network called DAB I wanted to do different ideas with the radio station. And the owners of the one I was on didn't want to do it so I left and started my own radio station. I had never built a radio station, I didn't even know how to do it. So I sat down and I basically worked it out. And I built a radio station with 40 presenters. But what was unique was we created every radio show to be one hour long. And that was because we wanted them to be podcast first. I always call it podcast first radio. So the idea is that it's an hour long show about wine about parenting about local events, and it was hyperlocal content. So you weren't going to be talking about Canada and, and maybe talking about Guatemala, you were talking about the villages around where we broadcast what was going on. So we wanted local people to listen to the radio. But we also wanted the content to reflect that. And so I managed to work with a company down in Australia called Whisker, who Spotify bought. And we managed to take the live feed and the minute the show finished, they converted that through a series of processes into a podcast and we got cover art and titles and off it went and it was brilliant. So we have this amazing way of basically doing what we're doing now Matt, but physically actually broadcasting it live to cars and kitchens and Alexa's and web and mobiles and whatever. But the goal was really to convert that into a podcast and have that available and what was missing, this is going back a couple of years was micropayments and Alby and again, even if it was available a couple of years ago, as I said, I think the learning curve right now was a little early. So imagine trying to go on the radio and go hey, thanks for listening to the show. Now if you really liked what you just heard, why didn't you boost that and give us, no no one would have done it. So it was too pressing too early in the cycle but I will go back and take the pop bands platform and all of the mechanisms and convert that back into river radios platform when I think Mark is ready to understand that model.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 30:05

Transcription of the Sound Off Podcast is powered by the Podcast Super Friends, five podcast producers who get together to discuss podcasting. Sharpen your podcast and creation skills by following the show on theSound Off Podcast, YouTube or Facebook page. The Sound Off Podcast supports podcasting 2.0. So feel free to send us a boost if you're listening on a newer podcast app. If you don't have a newer podcast app, you can get one at new

Matt Cundill 30:37

How about podcast hosts? I see some are knee deep into it and others are sort of just dipping their toe in the water. If I were to ask Megaphone, for instance, their involvement probably get a very standard response that we're looking at it. But then we look at like, Captivate and Blueberry who were diving straight in. Which ones are going to be the ones who are going to get involved with this?

Sam Sethi 31:02

Well, I think there is a good smattering of hosts that are doing it. You've mentioned three, I mean, there are others. And the thing about it is what you'll see is that the features or functionality of this new Podcasting 2.0 , commenting interactivity, search engines, micro payments will become the competitive advantage over the others. Right now, as I said, we're crawling along the bottom, we're just beginning to see our heads rise and suddenly people will get this message. When they do they'll look around for which host provides most support for the features and functions and it'll be you know, James talks about it a lot. You know, we're seeing anchors, numbers dropped, we're seeing Megaphone still going up. But we are seeing a lot of people jumping around from house to house, finding them once they weren't. You know, this week was a milestone for three reasons, actually. So the first one was, who you mentioned, suddenly, they provide all of their users, their podcast creators with a micro payment Alby wallet and one of their podcasts is suddenly there's something called a split. So a split is basically a programmatic way of saying I've received 1000 SATs from a listener, but actually, there's two hosts on this show. So we get it 5050, right. And it's just automatically done programmatically in the admin. Well, they were the other 50% of this podcast and wow, they were like, we can see now how we can get in the money flow. So that was one thing. So hosts begin to see that actually giving their users wallets and maybe having 1% or 2% of the money that that podcaster receives might be an extra revenue stream. Secondly, is one of the biggest providers of something called IPFS. Again, I apologize for the terminology, but it stands for the Interplanetary File System. In English that is a distributed file system. Think of the original web Napster, Limewire Skype, it was all a peer to peer distributed file system before web two centralized everything and what we're seeing is this distribution again, going back threads as a distributed platform. Mastodon is a distributed platform, so we are beginning to distribute back out again. Anyway, this week, Adam Curry's new podcast called Boostagram Ball and James's Podnews Daily, put themselves on the IPFS. Net and that meant 20 or 30, people were hosting segments of their podcast. But when you were I listened to it, it magically brought it together as one stream. And what happened was each of these little nodes that were hosting a little part of each of those podcasts was getting a micro payment. So okay, so let's think hosts are now got an alternative way of getting paid with micro payments. People storing content have Adam played Boostagram Ball, this podcast where he had for the first time real time music coming into his podcast, and listeners were paying the artists directly, not the way that Spotify does it where you put music up and then it goes to the licensee and then it gets its distributor and then it goes to Sony and EMI and then eventually the artist gets nothing of nothing of nothing left. This was direct to the artist from the listener as the program played. So one of the artists Ainsley Colette said I made $144 in that show, and from one song played, I made $26 from 60 streaming platforms in the traditional way. So music artists, again, that story will reverberate more people will started to understand that there's better ways of monetizing your content and so we're beginning to see slowly great story of how micro payments actually direct between the creators and listeners is actually much more lucrative for the creator than the current models that exist today.

Matt Cundill 34:54

I'm really excited about that because for the last 20 years, you haven't been able to play a song on a podcast and I think a lot of people have noted that, it's one of the things that holds podcasting back as people think a podcast, it's just going to be a lot of talk, well, now we can put some music in it and now we've just solved the problem with micro payments of reimbursing artists. The old model was really simple. If you play a song, we're gonna send you a letter for $10,000.

Sam Sethi 35:23

Exactly. Yes. And I have a radio station and we have a PRS license. We have a Ofcom license in this country in the UK. And so I can legally play it in the car, and I can legally play it in shops and whatever and I can broadcast. But we took the shows, turn those into podcasts with music, stain them stuck them up onto Facebook, and they were down in 30 seconds because Facebook went, sorry, no that's a copyrighted piece of music and I go what, no, no, no, there's the license. I've got a license to do this. Yeah, but only in the UK. Okay, well can geo fence me? No, we can't do that. So literally, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, boom, and you're straight back down again. So you can't do it.

Matt Cundill 36:04

When it comes to Podcasting. 2.0. I hear lots of great ideas. We can have a transcription tag, geo local. What about going live? And it's like this giant laundry list and I've heard you and James on your show talk about you like things more than James does, and vice versa. But I think with POD fans, you're trying to take the initiative to include it all. I mean, that's a lot.

Sam Sethi 36:26

Yeah, we've included 25 of the latest or the newest features. In fact, that's all of them. When I said about creating Podfans, I wanted it to be a great podcasting app 101. You have to consume the right RSS. Allow the user quickly to find what they want and play it that is the end of. Forget about the micro payments, forget about everything else. The core one I want object to visit plays podcast. But the meta data around it is what is going to help people discover more and more podcasts. So the first thing that I really love is you would have seen it in Apple, you know, the the avatar of the host and the guest in the podcast, but that's proprietary to Apple. So the person tagging this open ecosystem within the podcast namespace meant that I could see your face map, I could hear your voice in the podcast, but maybe I've never met you. And so suddenly, now I can put in a face to a name. And maybe you've got three podcasts. So now I can click on your face and suddenly, oh, yeah, there's Matt's three podcast, discovery, I didn't know how the other team out amazing I'll give those a go because I love the one you're on. So the person tag is a really sent political, the transcript target brilliant because transferring the audio into a written word, A is good for accessibility, but B, for others who want to just look up very quickly into a search in the transcription. But again, we're building things like keyword search. And let's say Matt, your name comes up on someone else's podcast that you didn't even know about. You can have an alert that Sunday, hey, my name came up in that what's what's going on, go to the podcast, listen to the audio, bang, you know, like a Google Alert. You might want to take a transcript and create a tag cloud, you might want to take a transcript and do other things with it. So these are not enhancing the podcast. They are wrapping functionality around the podcast to make the podcast more valuable.

Matt Cundill 38:26

There was a web function by the way that did that with transcription many, many years ago, but it was just solely web based and of course, it's going to be so nice to have it in an app like yours. I put my name and I found out that Dave Jackson was saying things about me.

Sam Sethi 38:39

Hopefully nice things.

Matt Cundill 38:41

It was my introduction to him. It was the if it was not nice things.

Sam Sethi 38:45

Oh, really?

Matt Cundill 38:46

But he was right. So I'll give him that.

Sam Sethi 38:49

He's such a nice man. I'm amazed.

Matt Cundill 38:51

Yeah, yeah, it was great. For anyone who's not going to be interested in micro payments or starting a wallet and get Alby. What's going to be in Pod fans that they are going to love.

Sam Sethi 39:02

If they don't want any of that, then the discovery engine the search engine itself on its own. So most search engines are just title based. Now I can search for the person tags, I can find you I can search by country, I can search by keyword or category. So there's that's one thing. The other thing is you want to create playlists. Great, we've created a really simple way to create a playlist, you just have a button, I want that episode that episode that episode, create a playlist, save it, bang, it's done. Share that with friend, whatever. Again, while you're looking at the transcription, it'll highlight the words as the audio is playing. So again, if you just want to follow along, you can. Those are the sorts of non micro payment, things that we're adding that we think you know, again, just value add services, they don't enhance the podcast, particularly in the sense of we're not making the audio sound better or we're not making the hosts and the guests sound better. That's their job, but we're building things around it. The other thing that I think's really interesting is, you know, we allow you to create clips in real time. So let's say somebody just heard what you and I were talking about, and then want to create a two minute clip and share that on to Twitter, or x as we should call it, or onto Noster onto another platform like LinkedIn, you can do that. It's just there as a tool in front of you. So they're all non monetization, value added tools that are available in pod funds, if you just don't want to pay micropayments.

Matt Cundill 40:30

And one of the great things about getting involved with with an app like this is the feedback. I think, for years podcasters have sat at home, and what do you get for feedback? Well, a rating and review on Apple, and maybe somebody will send you an email or tweet at you or something. But there's a whole world inside that app of people who can be liking or talking to you.

Sam Sethi 40:50

Yeah, one thing with rating that we've done is you can't rate a podcast unless you've listened to a certain amount of time of it, we find it really weird that you can go into app or not listen to the actual podcast and still rate it. You can go on to Spotify and listen to 10 seconds of the podcast and then rate it. Well, there's no way you can write anything with that little interaction with it. So we've set a bar which says you have to least listen to, I think 10 minutes is the current limit and then after that the rating buttons turn on. But before that you can't rate anything.

Matt Cundill 41:24

It's terrible to put pressure on you by asking this question, but when do you think the whole thing will be rolled out? And you can go good, we're done. It's all rolled out, or when you're doing something like this, is it just something that is a continuum.

Sam Sethi 41:36

There is a continuum element to it. Again, I was talking to Dave and Adam last night about this brand new technology called value time splits, which is how this music works. So as you're listening to a podcast, something comes in like think of it as like a URL on a website, something comes in on the audio stream, and then suddenly the payments go off, then they come back when the music's finished and it goes back. That's quite complex. But there's many other things you can do with that. So in terms of features, they will always be a continuum in terms of opening the door and not having a waitlist, I think that's more likely the the right answer. I think what you're hinting at is when when will the waitlist be gone? When will we be ready to just have people use the platform, right. And that's really when we have the mobile element ready. And what I love about it is I'm not trying to rush this out the front door. So I think we've got a rock solid platform now for podcasting, but it's desktop only. I think the feedback platform we built is going to be critical for getting people to give us some rock solid suggestions and bug reports. Because you said earlier, every platform, every laptop, every phone is going to be different. So we don't know what other software is there, what breaks is what doesn't.

Matt Cundill 42:49

And I'm not putting pressure on you. I'm just trying to get in the mind of-

Sam Sethi 42:56

He broke me people.

Matt Cundill 42:59

I'm trying to get in the mind of an entrepreneur and somebody who's who's got this idea and wondering, okay, well, what does the runway look like? I wanted to say, I'm very excited for this you've taught me a lot just by talking about this every week on your show about micropayments. And about, you know, Satoshis I didn't really know what they were. So between you and the New Media Show, I've began to come around on this stuff and, and learning and hit a few bumps along the way, which is how I guess we all learn.

Sam Sethi 43:26

Yeah and I've got a 93 year old father in law, when COVID hit. We thought how we can actually see this guy, how are we going to make sure that we stay in touch. You know what he learned Zoom, he learned how to turn it on and click and hit the right buttons and make it work and it became second nature. I think people as I go back to my earlier answer, you know, people aren't thinking as a problem. They just in the dark of what the next stage of the web is. And god help us if we can get rid of advertising and we can get rid of all of these things and we can make real money from our fan base. Look, Kevin Kelley was the guy that really inspired me and I don't know if you've read his 1000 true fans blog, but if you haven't, I highly recommend looking it up and reading it. And he simply said if you can get 100 pounds per month paying you 10 pounds a month, there's 100,000 pound business right? If you're Joe Rogan, great, you've got a massive audience sticking out very happy days and guess what Spotify is paying you anyway, a massive amount of money. But most people are on that long tail of podcasting. $25 CPM rates mean you have to have 1000 people. No one's getting that on the longtail but you're still passionate about your podcast, you still would like to make a little bit of money because that pays the hosting costs or whatever. So now if you just say to the, you know, we say on Podfans, look guys, you know, if you realize what we're doing, give us a little bit of money. It's small. So if I said 5151 That's probably 30 cents, right? 40 cents maybe. And that's great and we love it. That's not the point. The point is, it's a gesture of value that you decide to give us because you appreciate what we're doing. And if we roll that up into everybody who listens to the show, then we'll make more than that $25 CPM rate with a smaller audience, but a more engaged audience.

Matt Cundill 45:17

So you'd be able to answer this question. If right now I decide that for anybody who sends a boost on this particular episode, how can I split that with you?

Sam Sethi 45:27

So very simply, you create me in the splits as a guest. So when you go into your splits, so Okay, let's take a step back in the RSS feed that you have, there is a block called the value tag, block. And inside that you set, if you've set it up, you've set yourself up as the host and the current split may be 100%. So everything goes to you are on this episode, not at the what we call the channel level, the podcast level, but at the episode level, you can go in and put an additional split just for this podcast that says, I want to give Sam 5% or Timpson whatever number you want. And so on the boost that comes in for this episode, what it will do is it look at the rule in effect that's in your RSS for this episode into hey, Matt says 90% goes to him 10% goes to Sam, job done. And I've got both of your wallet addresses the lightning address. And this is this the other thing Matt, that I think again two years ago when I first tried to get my head around this, by the way, I didn't get it when it first started, right. It wasn't a you know, instant Eureka I've got this, this is easy. Now I'm scratching my head houses were what what was this thing? How do you do it? Look, a boy said to you now Matt, what's your email address? You would just reel off Matt at something right? And I'd go great. And I'd go into my email app and I just type out matter whatever. Click a button. I don't go Matt, tell me what your IMAP for addresses. Tell me how you route it. What's your exchange server look like? How do you none of that matters, I just need an address and then magic happens through the capability of technology and routing. Well, now with wallets, my wallet addresses Sam, a get Yours might be Matt at Alby. I don't know, he may well be something else. But it's something along those lines. What is yours by the way?

Matt Cundill 47:21

Is it a shame that I can't tell it to you right now. But it's sitting in the description of this podcast.

Sam Sethi 47:25

So it'll become second nature for you to know that though. So you'll say hey, look, if you want to send me some SATs, just send it to Matt and get people will go to the Chrome plugin, or they'll go to Podfound or go to a Fountain or pod verse or cast automatic or whoever they'll type in your lightning address. That's what it's called not an email address. It's called a lightning address and I just simply say, that's the address, that's the amount I want to send, hit send it and it's gone. I don't need to know your public key and your private key and your node address and all these things. But in the beginning, year or two years ago, that's exactly what I mean. It's no and so we're hiding that complexity.

Matt Cundill 48:06

The answer is

Sam Sethi 48:10

There you go. I literally could. Well, okay, I'm gonna do that. Okay, just to prove it. Only you will know this, Matt.

Matt Cundill 48:17

I've never accepted payment from a guest to be on the show.

Sam Sethi 48:20

Right, so my Matt Cun- h double l?

Matt Cundill 48:22


Sam Sethi 48:24

I,L,L, @ and if I hit continue, and I'm saying I'm gonna give you 1000 SATs it confirmed that has now gone to Matt and you will see it in your wallet right now.

Matt Cundill 48:41

Outstanding. What a world.

Sam Sethi 48:43

Yeah nd I think that's what when people see it and the penny drops, people go, oh, my God, did you just do did you just did that and it worked. And I didn't need to know that complexity of everything that happened. But that complexity now is gone. It's hidden. It's under the floorboards. You don't need to understand that.

Matt Cundill 49:02

Are you going to Podcast Movement?

Sam Sethi 49:03

Sadly, I'm not I'm in Catalonia next week with my family and the Brits tend to take August away. So we tend to go abroad or do something but I will be in LA for Podcasts Evolutions, and I look forward to seeing you there if you're going to be there, Matt.

Matt Cundill 49:19

Sam, good luck with Podfans. I'm looking forward to it and happy to give you feedback in exchange for a few Satoshis

Sam Sethi 49:25

Thank you very much, Matt. And thank you everyone who's listening try it just go to, get on the waitlist. We have people coming on board and yeah, we'd love to find out what people think we may be totally wrong man. Maybe actually barking up the wrong tree you know know.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 49:43

The Sound Off podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill, produced by Evan Surminski, edited by Chloe Emond-Lane, social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at


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