Joe Rogan Spotify deal should be a warning to the industry

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

Yesterday's announcement landed like a shockwave in the podcasting world.

Reports put the Joe Rogan Experience podcast at around 190 million downloads per month. It's an absolute juggernaut in the business. The deal is also suggested to be in the order of US$100M. And, until now, it's been posted as both a podcast and a YouTube show.

 
With today's news – let's be very clear – Joe Rogan's show stops being a podcast. Once it goes exclusive, it becomes a show that is exclusively available on Spotify.
 
Why does this matter? Why is it relevant to local audiences and marketers?
 
Podcasts are based on a simple, open RSS distribution system. Apple has offered a near canonical directory of shows since the earliest days of the format – but it doesn't host shows itself, just a listing of those RSS feeds.
 
For any one show, an exclusive deal is no big deal. But as the exclusives pile up, we once again head down the road of dealing with yet another monopolistic player with a tight control over an audience – and, ultimately, another media access problem.
 
While we're in the thick of a debate over Google and Facebook's monopolistic behaviours in news media and how users discover and access content, Spotify is showing its own hand. It purchased Gimlet Media and The Ringer, but kept them open access. Now it reveals it wants exclusive shows that force users onto its platform and to start using it as a unified place to listen to all their audio.
 
Aggregation starts out really great for everybody involved. It *is* easier if my podcasts are right there alongside my music. It *is* nice for anyone to get compensated well for their creative efforts.
 
But Spotify’s track record on paying artists sits on the ‘we do what is legally required’ end of the spectrum, but is very much in the domain of digital cents to the niche fans and big dollars to those at the pointiest end of the scale.
 
Even if a band has a bunch of super fans only playing their songs for months on end, that individual’s $15/month (or whatever fee they pay as a subscriber) goes into a pool of money that gets distributed in aggregate, ensuring that the band they love still gets just the tiniest portion of the money they put into the pot.
 
Not only that, for the free users of Spotify, they are then bombarded with ads throughout podcast episodes they wouldn’t normally have to listen to if they were watching on YouTube or listening via another podcast hosting service.
 
Apple has maintained an open directory of podcasts that's easy to add a show to, and while every other podcast app makes it easy to add any arbitrary RSS feed (and in the process allow for member-only podcasts to exist), if Spotify becomes the dominant podcast platform those same Google and Facebook monopoly issues appear again.
 
Once again, scale becomes the driving force. Local and niche struggles to get that mega scale that drives the ad dollars, and alternative monetisation dries up if you can’t easily carve out your own direct audience relationships.
 
There are new models emerging in podcasting right now. Shows that can run as ‘member only’ feeds, where you get a private RSS feed that stays active as long as your subscription does, and the feed can be imported into any podcast app with just a couple of taps.
 
For now, we’re lucky the ‘canonical’ directory of podcasts lives at Apple. It has happily played custodian to the podcast landscape, erring on the side of disinterest rather than showing any sign of acting as a controlling force. Without that relatively-open-yet-centralised directory the entire ecosystem of podcast apps would struggle as it would ask too much of the user.
 
Podcasts are a bastion of diversity of access points and ease of distribution. They do harken back to an older part of the web. That also means podcast discovery is also still a pain in the butt – I work hard every day to find new ways to find new ears for my own network of Byteside shows. Audio search is still a technical dilemma.
 
Closed systems, centralised access and walled gardens lead to more gatekeepers and less diversity. And, as we've seen in wider news, it hurts the local and the niche more than the global and the populist.
 
We haven’t even touched on the video side of the discussion. Maybe this whole thing turns out the other way around, and Rogan gives Spotify the chance to break the YouTube monopoly on video. Somehow a magical balance of competing services that keeps everyone in check nevers seems to be the outcome.

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Which-50 bought by Boardroom.Media

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Digital content portal Which-50 has been officially acquired by multimedia outfit Boardroom.Media. 

Which-50 editor-in-chief Andrew Birmingham said the purchase agreement was signed late last week. 

The brand and website will be retained as its staff is integrated within the Boardroom organizational structure. 

“We will keep writing the stories we have always written. We will also utilise the Boardroom Media capabilities and incorporate video and other multimedia into our coverage,” explained Birmingham.

“Another change the Which-50 audience should expect is to see a wider range of perspectives in stories. Traditionally we would interview chief digital officers, or CMOs or CIOs in our stories, or founders if they are an emerging business. With the expanded focus expect also to see more perspectives from CEOs, CFOs, HR, risk managers. We always wanted to do this in the past, but lacked the scale to do so.”

The acquisition came months into a pa

Knowing who journalists write for

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

 

Following on from the question of having your contact buckets in order last week, and bouncing off Redrup’s 5 Minutes yesterday, there’s an important issue that constantly crops up in discussions with other journalists about what goes wrong in PR pitches.
 
“Why are you pitching me this? I would never write about this.”
 
The ‘me’ in that sentence is critical. We know why you’re pitching it. It’s your job.
 
But if you treat everyone in your contact bucket as exactly the same – a generic list that tells your client you contacted THIS MANY journalists – then you get a reputation as a timewaster that starts to get filtered into our own special bucket… the ‘Ignore’ list.
 
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3MP radio back on the air

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

The ACE Radio Network has officially reactivated Victoria regional station 3MP.

The network stated that the new 3MP will be an Easy Music station catering to the Mornington Peninsula over 1377AM. It will also be available on Melbourne DAB+, iHeartRadio, and CRA’s RadioApp. 

SEN granted ACE Radio the licence. 

Launching out of Frankston in July 1976, the original station, 3MP Classic Hits, was changed when the Pacific Star Network rebranded it as Classic Rock Radio in 2016.

ACE Radio announcer Emily Canning kicked off the broadcast on Friday night. 

John Vertigan and Julie Strini are hosting The Easy Breakfast, followed by Canning from 9AM to 3PM. Cathy Jubb is on drive and primetime duties from 3PM to 9PM, while Dave Drinkell goes on the late-night run.

Hamilton exits MTV

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Lisa Hamilton has bowed out of MTV Australia.

She will be up for freelance opportunities.

Hamilton had been with MTV since 2013, when she came in as writer for MTV Travel Co. She later moved up to writing for MTV Style and MTV News, and later promoted to VJ and editor of MTV.com.au.

Follow Hamilton on LinkedIn.

5 minutes with Yolanda Redrup

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When she’s not breaking news at the AFR, you might find Yolanda Redrup in the pool, on a run, or chowing down on popcorn while smashing out words on a deadline. Here’s her 5 Minutes with Influencing Tech.
 
What do you do and where does your work appear?
I’m a technology and healthcare reporter for The Australian Financial Review. You’ll see my stories appearing in the daily paper, as well as the Tuesday tech section.
 
Anything else in your career you’ve been known for?
I moderate panels at events and you might also hear me pop up on podcasts every so often.
 
What did you really want to be when you were growing up?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut because I loved space, but I quickly realised that was unrealistic because I hated amusement park rides that went upside down… or really fast. I knew I wouldn’t get through the training. By the time I was in my early teens I’d settled on becoming a journalis

Tilli hosts Triple M Albany breakfast show

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Anthony Tilli has started hosting Triple M Albany’s breakfast show, now named Anthony for Breakfast.

He takes over from Ray Love, who pitched in during the recruitment period but will handle other assignments at the station. 

The move is also Tilli’s first radio gig in four years. He previously aired over on Radiowest in Merredin before leaving to work in the real estate business. 

“Anthony brings so much experience and creativity to the team. We’re so thrilled he’s decided to return to what he does best – entertaining and relating to his audience, while making them smile as their day begins,” said Triple M Southwest group content director Jarred O’Brien.

SENTrack 1593 AM goes live

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The Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) has assumed the 1593AM frequency in Melbourne for its racing station, SENTrack.

The new station is already rolling with a strong lineup.

The Odds Couple with Simon O’Donnell and David Taggart is up at 8AM Saturday with previews of the weekend races, followed by Saturday Trackside at 11:30AM with Jack Heverin joining O’Donnell and Taggart promising punters the latest mail on race day.

The Sunday lineup is headlined by 11AM show Tricks of the Trade.

For weekdays, listeners are treated to Harness Racing Victoria’s Blake Redden and Jason Bonnington from 11AM to 1PM with Talking Trots on Track. Taggart, Heverin, Campbell Brown, and Sam Hargreaves bust up the 1PM-5PM block with Trackside.

The 5PM-6PM block on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, will have Thrill of the Chase keeping greyhound fans tuned in, while Hargreaves and Molly Haines take over the 6PM-10PM slot with The Lids Fly.

The new station also resulted in current

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