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hello! Apologies for the late post, I’ve been busy preparing for the Hot Pod Summit. I promise it will be worth it! We are preparing a great lineup for 2024. We’re still working on our invitation list – if you’re interested in attending, let us know here.
It’s about that time when yucky media people like me come out with predictions for the next year. Nick Quah publishes opinions from across the industry today vulture, Yesterday, The Podglomerate’s Joni Deutsch had an article for Nieman Lab with her predictions. I highly recommend checking out both!
Today I don’t have predictions so much as stories that I keep a close eye on. Let’s join in.
Talent is ready for renewal
Many of those big-money, multi-year deals announced in 2020 and 2021 are coming up for renewal in 2024. Companies spend millions of dollars (or, in the case of Joe Rogan, hundreds of millions of dollars) to snatch up top podcasting talent. Now, they have to decide: Was it worth it, and would it be worth it to play that game again?
As media companies become more stringent in their spending, it is easy to assume that we will never see these minimum guarantee deals again. But celebrity chat shows, for better or worse, have endured. The lacquer is still untouched, smartless Bigger than ever, and Apple just named Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ podcast show of the year. One agent told me that despite the doom and gloom of the industry, their clients have had a year of growth. These hosts have audiences, and audio companies must pay to maintain them.
This doesn’t mean everyone will get an upgrade or that renewal will mean the same deal as before. Arrangements in which the minimum guarantee is small but the revenue potential is high (such as with Trevor Noah’s Spotify deal) may become more common.
And after all not everyone can get a renewal! It’s hard to see how Spotify wouldn’t fight for Rogan or SiriusXM wouldn’t pay to keep Ashley Flowers. But maybe that’s a lower priority for Dax Shepard. chair specialist Apple ranked ninth on Podcasts in 2020 and was overtaken by Spotify in 2021. Since then, it has lost its popularity, and Spotify decided to distribute it on all platforms earlier this year (which the company has not done with two of its biggest stars, Rogen and Alex Cooper). Today, chair specialist Ranked 30th on Spotify and 118th on Apple. No doubt about it, but I would be surprised if he gets another $50 million deal.
Regulatory changes in Europe
Some long pending technical regulations in Europe are going to come into effect next year. It has been supported first by Spotify, which has spoken out against Apple’s control over in-app payments for subscriptions and audiobooks. But if things don’t turn out the way the EU intends, it could create a more competitive audio industry overall.
In 2022, the EU adopted the Digital Markets Act into law, which prevents “gatekeeper” companies (Apple, Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, ByteDance, and Microsoft) from employing practices that derail smaller tech companies. Is. There’s a lot involved, but one of the key principles is to restrict companies from placing their own products and services on places like search (Google) or marketplaces (App Store). Those companies have until March to comply with the new law.
This could potentially be great for Spotify’s bottom line. This could also make it easier for audio startups to compete in the open market. The actual impacts in the US next year will be minimal, if anything. But if the next great audio company can emerge in this new landscape, the podcast industry may have something to gain in the long run.
More AI (duh)
This year, I saw a clear change in the industry’s attitude towards AI. When I left for maternity leave in April, people (including myself) were really nervous about what innovations in AI technology would mean for podcasting, especially when examples mostly came in the form of completely AI-generated podcasts. came in joe rogan ai experience, When I came back in September it seemed like people had reached a level of AI acceptance.
I don’t think this means that we’ll see a lot of significant podcasts that are completely AI. Instead, I think it means we’ll see AI creep into podcasting in subtle ways. Voice cloning technology is getting better and is being used by studios like Dear Media, like ElevenLabs Credible: Coco Barthaman Story and for the Vox Media Podcast Network land of giants‘Season on Tesla. Spotify’s new tool that automatically translates podcasts into other languages could be a game-changer for scaling shows. And there are probably a million other ways to use it that I’m not thinking of because my brain doesn’t work that way.
If earlier this year I believed that robots would destroy all media jobs (still a possibility!!), I am more hopeful that there are ways in which AI can be deployed that Doesn’t fundamentally change the core of the podcast.
One year for reconstruction
I know you already know about this, but a lot of people were laid off from their jobs this year. It has been devastating to see talented producers, engineers, and advertising professionals wasted due to companies coming into podcasting without a solid strategy. Unfortunately, some of them won’t be able to wait for those jobs to come back and will move to other areas. But some will persist and create things that will move the industry forward.
I want to be clear, this is not a replacement for good jobs that allow people to live their lives while doing good work (and, you know, have health insurance). But without being under the thumb of corporate overlords who demand another true crime show or randomly throw programmatic ads in or impose (and then change) metrics, people in podcasting will innovate. Maybe that means funky show concepts that would never be approved by SiriusXM or Spotify. Or it could mean alternative business models and ownership structures. Or maybe we’ll even get the long-awaited solution to podcast search.
This time last year, things were (rightfully) looking bleak. And people have every right to feel cheated by companies that invested money in podcasting and then dropped it after a few years. But I’m hopeful that 2024 will bring good things to podcasting, though perhaps not from the people or places you’d expect.
Are you thinking about anything heading into the New Year? Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.