Spotify will Terminate Your Account if You Use an Ad Blocker

Spotify has created new user guidelines that will go into effect on March 1, 2019. It is always a good idea to read over user guidelines when you start using a new service, or when the service updates its rules. One thing to be aware of is that Spotify does not want you to use ad blockers.

The User Guidelines portion of the Spotify Terms and Conditions of Use prohibits the following: “circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify service.”

Breaking this rule (or any others) may result in immediate termination or suspension of your Spotify Account. In addition, Spotify “may reclaim your username for any reason.”

As you may have heard, Spotify recently acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor. One can safely assume that the podcasts that are on Spotify will include ads.

Fast Company reported that the use of ad blockers has “annoyed” Spotify for a long time. In March of 2018, Spotify disclosed “instances of approximately two million users as of December 31, 2017” who had been “suppressing advertisements without payment”. In short, this means plenty of people who had a free Spotify account used ad blockers to avoid having to listen to advertisements.

Variety reported in March of 2018 that Spotify was disabling the accounts of users who used unauthorized third-party apps that bypassed the limits of the free Spotify account. It sounds to me like these users basically “hacked” the paid version.

It is possible that Spotify’s crackdown on ad blockers could influence some users to pay for Spotify’s ad-free service. People who love Spotify might decide it is time to pay for the ad-free subscription. Those who cannot afford to buy a Spotify subscription, and who want to use an ad blocker, might start listening to music on YouTube instead.

Enter the My RØDE Cast Competition

The inaugural My RØDE Cast competition has begun! Podcasters are invited to create and submit a 1-2 minute podcast to go in the running to win a share in $150,000 of amazing prizes. You must enter before March 12, 2019.

RØDE put together information about how to enter:

One: Download the starter pack. It has the full details of the competition, as well as a bunch of things to inspire you and help you create an awesome entry.

Two: Create your podcast. It must be 1-2 minutes long. It can be any style – documentary, narrative, chat, etc. – and on any topic you choose. It needs to be recorded as a single stereo audio file, either MP3 or WAV format.

Three: Upload your podcast on the upload page. RØDE will check to see if it meets the terms and conditions and then publish it to their podcast channel. It will then be available for everyone to listen to.

Four: Tell your friends, and get them to vote for your podcast. There’s a People’s Choice prize up for grabs.

The judges include:

  • Mike Dawson – voice, engineer and co-producer of The Adam Corolla Show. He is also a Guinness World Record holder for Most Downloaded Podcast.
  • Jacob Salamon – Co-founder and CEO of WISECRACK, which reaches over 50 million people a month
  • Jordon Lott – Content coordinator at Acast and producer of The Thinkergirls podcast

There are three Prize Packs:

Major Winner’s Prize Pack:

  • RØDE RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio
  • RØDE PodMic x 4
  • RØDE PSAI Studio Boom Arm x 4
  • RØDE XLR Cable x 4
  • RØDE SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit
  • RØDE Podcast Cover Art Design
  • Urbanears Zinken Headphones x 4
  • Blastwave FX Podcaster Sound Effects and Music Library
  • Adobe CC 1 Year Subscription
  • School of 1 Year Subscription
  • Angelbird SSD2GO PKT 1TB
  • Primacoustic London 8 Acoustic Room Kit
  • 16GB microSD card

Runner’s Up Prize Pack:

  • RØDE RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio
  • RØDE PodMic x 2
  • RØDE PSAI Studio Boom Arm x 2
  • RØDE XLR Cable x 2
  • RØDE SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit
  • Urbanears Zinken Headphones x 2
  • Blastwave FX Podcaster Sound Effects and Music Library
  • Adobe CC 1 Year Subscription
  • 1 Year Subscription
  • Angelbird SSD2GO PKT 1TB
  • 16GB microSD card

People’s Choice Prize Pack:

  • RØDE RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio
  • RØDE PodMic x 2
  • RØDE PSAI Studio Boom Arm x 2
  • RØDE XLR Cable x 2
  • RØDE SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit
  • Urbanears Zinken Headphones x 2
  • Blastwave FX Podcaster Sound Effects and Music Library
  • Adobe CC 1 Year Subscription
  • 1 Year Subscription
  • Angelbird SSD2GO PKT 1TB
  • 16GB microSD card

Spotify Acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor

We heard that Spotify was in advanced talks to acquire Gimlet Media. In a surprise move, Spotify announced that it has not only acquired Gimlet Media, but also has acquired Anchor.

The transactions are expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 and subject to customary closing conditions. The terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

With these acquisitions, Spotify is positioned to become both the premier producer of podcasts and the leading platform for podcast creators. Gimlet will bring to Spotify its best-in-class podcast studio with dedicated IP development, production and advertising capabilities. Anchor will bring its platform of tools for podcast creators and its established and rapidly growing creator base.

Gimlet tweeted: “Big news: we are very excited to be joining @Spotify!” It included a Spotify tweet that said “Spotify to acquire Gimlet Media Inc. and Anchor. Read the press release here to learn more about how we’re accelerating growth in podcasting:” The tweet included a link to the Spotify press release.

Anchor posted on Medium an article titled “Anchor is joining Spotify”. It clarifies a few things. Anchor says that it will be bringing Anchor’s suite of tools for podcast creation, distribution, and monetization, to Spotify’s community of more than 200 million global users.

Anchor also said: “If you are already using Anchor to make your podcast, today’s news means great things for your ability to create and build your show. To be clear, the way you create, distribute, and monetize on Anchor does not change. We will continue to operate Anchor’s platform as you know it (but now as part of Spotify!), and in fact will only be getting better.”

Spotify is in Advanced Talks to Aquire Gimlet Media

According to Recode, Spotify is in advanced talks to acquire Gimlet Media. Spotify reportedly plans to pay more than $200 million to buy Gimlet Media.

If this deal happens, it will be the first time Spotify has bought a content company. It will also be one of the biggest acquisitions in the podcasting industry.

It is possible that Spotify is looking to compete with Apple Podcasts for podcast listeners. Recode noted that while Apple is the dominant podcast distributer, it doesn’t appear to spend much energy on podcasts. Spotify has already started promoting podcasts to its 200 million users.

Hot Pod pointed out that Spotify has already started emphasizing a content strategy where it brings “voices in-house, or at least exclusively licenses their content”.

One of those deals involved Amy Schumer. Her comedy podcast 3 Girls 1 Keith is exclusively on Spotify.

Spotify reported that The Joe Budden Podcast brought its series exclusively to Spotify on September 12, 2018. The Apple Podcast listing for The Joe Budden Podcast has some extremely short episodes that direct listeners to seek out the podcast on Spotify.

Jemele Hill’s Unbothered podcast will launch on Spotify in March of 2019. It will be hosted by Jemele Hill and her co-hosts, and will include a rotating cast of guests. It will provide an honest discussion of American life. It appears this podcast will be exclusive to Spotify.

SoundCloud Co-Founder is Stepping Down

SoundCloud LogoEric Wahlforss a co-founder of SoundCloud, announced that he is stepping away from the platform. He has been with the company for more than a decade, most recently in the chief product officer role.

The decision was announced by Eric Wahlforss on January 24, 2019, on Twitter. Part of that tweet says:

…As many of you know, I am someone who loves to build and create new things.

After more than 11 years of building up our wonderful platform for artists, DJs and audio creators, I have come to the realization that now is the right time for me to take a break, reflect and think about what to create next.

So I have decided to step back from day-to-day operations at SoundCloud, and transition into an advisory role for the company starting March 1st…

If you missed the news about this change at SoundCloud when it was originally posted on Twitter, I assure you that you weren’t the only one. I was unaware of it until today, and could not find many articles about it.

Engadget reported that Eric Wahlforss’s departure means that SoundCloud’s original founders will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Co-Founder Alex Ljung stepped aside as CEO in July of 2017, and was later replaced by Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor.

PodX 2019 will be in Nashville

PodX 2019 will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 31- June 2, at the Music City Center. Tickets are available now. PodX 2019 is described as “the podcast convention you’ve been waiting for!”

PodX brings together your favorite networks, podcasters, and podcasts, from true crime and politics to pop culture and storytelling, all in one incredible weekend. Explore the world of podcasts, experience panel discussions and live shows, learn from experts, and expand your knowledge of the evolving art of podcasting, all at PodX.

There are approximately 50 featured presenters listed on the PodX 2019 website. At a glance, you can see a photo of each presenter, their name, and the name of their podcast. There could be more presenters added – and some might change – between now and the conference.

Presenters include:

  • Western Sound – Ben Adair
  • PotterCast – Melissa Anelli, Frank Franco III, and John Noe
  • Mission to Zyzz – Jeremy Bent, Alden Ford, Allie Kokesh, Seth Lind, Winston Noel, Shane O’Connell, and Moujan Zolfaghari
  • Oh No Ross And Carrie – Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy
  • Undisclosed – Rabia Chaudry and Susan Simpson
  • Variety’s Stagecraft – Gordon Cox
  • Always Open – Barbara Dunkleman and Producer Mariel Salcedo
  • Who? Weekly – Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber
  • Crime Writers On… These are Their Stories – Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie
  • The Polygon Show – Allegra Frank, Producer Ross Miller, Ashley Oh, Simone de Rochefort, and Chelsea Stark
  • The History Chicks – Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider
  • CEO of Pocket Casts – Owen Grover
  • True Crime Obsessed – Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle
  • Accused – Amber Hunt
  • Says Who? – Maureen Johnson and Dan Sinker
  • Last Name Basis – Patrick Kondas and Franchesca Ramsey
  • Nancy – Tobin Low and Kathy Tu
  • Creator of Lore, Cabinet of Curiosities – Aaron Mahnke
  • Mother May I Sleep With Podcast? – Nicole Mathew and Molly McAleer
  • Bear Brook – Maureen McMurray, Jason Moon and Taylor Quimby
  • My Favorite Murder – Producer Steven Ray Morris
  • The Hamilcast – Gillian Pensavalle
  • The Bright Sessions – Lauren Shippen
  • The JV Club – Janet Varney
  • Netflix’s You Can’t Make This Up – Rae Votta
  • Girl in Space – Sarah Rhea Werner

“Alexa – What’s Going to Get Smart – NEXT?” Echo In Your Car

The Shire - The Wilkerson Home TheaterThis month marks a year since I lost my Pop, Fred Wilkerson. It was only 10 days before his 75th Birthday and while I’ve missed him ever since, I’ve always been very transparent with my Dad and hence – we left nothing unsaid. I recommend it. One of the things he and I talked about all the way up until he was gone, which I finally adopted hard-core, was the utilization of smartspeakers/devices – in particular, the Echo line of devices from Amazon.

Computer. Zero Bar. Frozen (well, not really)

First it was him calling me at least twice a week to tell me the new commands he’d researched over the last week for his “Alexa.” Then it was the amount of “tasks” and “shopping lists” that they were being kept simply by mentioning something while inside his kitchen, office or workshop. It was finally the realization of the vast majority of his voice-recognition dreams that propelled him through every incarnation of STAR TREK. Walk right in. Talk right up. Get the information you don’t have now, from a kind voice that provides exactly what you ask for.

Mike and Fred Wilkerson - SonOne and PopWhile I didn’t latch on until about 5 months before he died, when I did, it was with both feet. I started with a portable unit – The Echo Tap, that originally didn’t have the availability of a activate word, but had a button on top that you would “tap” (hence the name) to activate, speak what you wanted or were looking for and it would convey information. The value of this one was that it was rechargeable and wireless. From there I got two standard Echo units (second generation) to propel my two retail-based Podcast Studios. They made for perfect support agents for when research was needed, or for down times when it was time to jam to great tunes or listen to the newsy goings-on via a variety of news outlets.

A Home is Where the SmartSpeaker is…

The Wilkerson Home StudioThen came my dance with home automation. The lights were next. We wired (with, no wires ironically) my home studio and home theater rooms. Then came the FireTV add-on elements that allowed me to walk into my theater and say, “Alexa, let’s watch The Punisher on Netflix”, and have the lights dim, the TV come on, and align all the right digital planets to convey the angry barbs, bullets and bravado of one Frank Castle. A like request for Infinity War has become a favored Saturday work time advent regardless of my location.

Short Sleepy Time, a Daughter’s Tether to Grandpa

Next was the Master Bedroom (another standard second generation Echo unit) which is the daily conveyor of “My Morning Playlist” that sets the tone for my day, and allows my daughter to connect with me via intercom-like tech, who also now has her Grandpa’s first generation Echo in her room – custom wrapped literally watching over her as she sings along with Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and the entire soundtrack series landscape of artists on the Toy Story 1, 2 and 3. Then our Kitchen – which features the newest second generation Dot unit, that offers comparatively exquisite sound that’s just right for a room where sizzling omelettes and the perfect Freddie Mercury sound-a-like create a regular stage for an invisible and dazzled audience.

What. Comes. Next?

A notification message, sent to me late last year, provided me with a vision of what’s to come. While the Alexa app has been living on my phone (another something that my Pop foresaw years ago) It’s the literal, mobile connectivity that will be arriving, at a very special price for early-adopters later this year. An Echo device for your CAR is what’s on the way next. One of the last things I remember he and I talking about was that you “can’t take things with you.” Well, in this case – you can, Pop. You. Can.

I’ll have a follow up note about the auto-based Echo unit when it arrives and will enjoy making it another connection to information, details and connectivity that we’ve really never had before. For Podcasters? It’s the next evolution of what we’ll need to pack the punch that radio has had since inception.

Are you utilizing smartspeakers/devices regularly? Have you notice focused growth inside any of the platforms that cater to smartspeaker-centric offerings? Tell me which one and what you use it for inside the comments section below!

NOW Can We Call It Cool? A Perspective on The New Rode RODECaster Pro

The Logitech Over-The-Ear Headset - Circa 2005I have been capturing, editing, promoting, producing and creating live capture facilities where the focus is talking about podcasts since 2005 and guess what? I’ve never required anyone give me a “multi-track series of files” to get any editing, production or podcast-based generation done – ever.
While I know this probably knocks back the sneakers of a variety of you reading, I wanted to first talk about what was, what is, and what shall be in the very near future.
My first podcast in 2005, was recorded as a Windows Media Player .WAV file, created with two el-crappo (that’s an official designation) Logitech, over-the-ear gaming headsets a ton of frustration and more ums, ers, uhs, y’knows and lipsmacking than anyone on planet Earth has ever experienced – as one, single file.
My most-recent podcast, captured just last night (2019), was captured via a Zoom H6, via Heil PR-40s, captured into a single-track .WAV file.
While each featured editing, post-production and an ever-shrinking UmErUhYknow Reel, each of them featured a couple of guys talking, that didn’t generally “talk over” each other.

“Where are you going with all this, Mike?”

I have used probably every device, doo-dad and “what if we try this” that’s been put out to capture podcast content over the years, and recently, a marvel of concept, technology and project completion was release by a company called, Rode. The device is a complete, in-on-simple small console device podcast recorder called The Rode RODECaster Pro. Put as simply as Doc Brown did inside the original Back to the Future feature film when referring to Mary’s camcorder as a “portable television studio”, The Rode RODECaster Pro is literally the central component to anyone’s future, much-portable Podcast Studio. Everything from the mic inputs, to the headphone inputs, to the cell phone inputs, to the optional sound/firing buttons for media files and sound effects, that even saves all of the information locally so that two mics, some cables, and a power source net you a literal, portable podcast studio. It. Is. Amazing. It. Is. Simple. And when it came out, it was resoundingly “hated” by all of the people that thought it was “kind of a good idea” except of course for the fact that it “didn’t record in multi-track.” Well, that’s getting a deployable software fix so – now it WILL capture and provide multi-track for anyone that has one.

NOW can we call this officially a great idea and product?

I guess what I’m driving at the most is that, especially inside an edited program, how often is crosstalk/talking over each other/whatever your team calls it – a giant problem? When you have an interview show that has lots of new guests or perhaps people that just don’t care of they’ve not taking appropriate turns – I guess i can see it. But I’ve literally never had a problem leaning across the desk, or into the teleconference suite speakerphone being used to capture the interview (that’ll be yet ANOTHER !GASP!-creating article) and asking the person to “remember, let’s take turns speaking so that people can hear what point both of us is trying to convey.” It’s one of the largest frustrations I have when reading “reviews’ of the Rode RODECaster Pro. My very brief note of it above DOES NOT DO THIS INSTRUMENT justice, but let’s be plain – this is newfound technology collective magic, for a good price, from an experienced company, in a burgeoning industry, that will be changing the podcast environment.
To whine incessantly because it “doesn’t record in multi-track” is something I just don’t comprehend, especially knowing that “the fix” was coming/will be a software update. There are a handful of other detracting elements (most-notably, that it will only record currently to an on-board micro-SD card – it is small, it is persnickety for those of us with reasonably el-crappo eyes) that just can’t possibly pile up to plunder the potential podcast punch this product promises to deliver.

What’s Your Worst-case Crosstalk/Talk Over Each Other Sample?

So I ask YOU – tell me YOUR “worst crosstalk/talk over each other moment, and why you let it continue so much that you now REQUIRE to have multi-track recordings for say, editing jobs where interjecting some simple direction would make things simpler, smaller, and much more straight forward!
Do it in the comments below!

SquadCast v 1 has Launched!

SquadCast announced the launch of SquadCast v 1. It is their first official step out of beta. SquadCast allows you to “put an end to your toxic relationship with remote interviews”.

It’s about time for remote podcast interviews to not suck so much. Settle down without settling at all with SquadCast.

SquadCast listened to people who provided clarity on what matters most, and what doesn’t, in an audio recording platform. For example, they listened to the San Francisco Podcasters Association, who told them that “audio drift is a huge problem”. This was one piece of advice that made it clear that the post-production experience of editing audio is paramount.

SquadCast v1 makes it easy to:

SquadCast believes you deserve to have a reliable podcasting service in your life. They exist to amplify your ideas and conversations, not hinder them.