Apple Unveiled Apple Podcast Subscriptions



Apple unveiled Apple Podcast Subscriptions, a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favorite creators alongside millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts.

Starting in May, listeners in more than 170 countries and regions can sign up for premium subscriptions that include a variety of benefits curated by creators, such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series. Listeners will be able to enjoy premium subscriptions from independent voices and premier studios, including Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, to leading media and entertainment brands, including NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and many more.

Also next month, listeners will be able to discover channels, which are groups of shows curated by creators with unique titles, descriptions, and artwork. Just as they can with shows, listeners will be able to browse free channels, which make it easy to find more shows from their favorite creators, as well as paid channels and channels that provide additional benefits for subscribers.

With iOS 14.5, listeners can access a redesigned Apple Podcasts app featuring an enhanced Search tab that provides quick access to Top Charts and categories. Apple Podcasts also features beautiful new pages for every show and episode to make it easier to follow, listen, and share. The new Smart Play button helps listeners automatically start episodic shows from the latest episode and serialized shows from the beginning of each series. Listeners can also now save individual episodes, which are downloaded for offline playback, making it easy to bookmark podcasts to listen to later from Library.

The new Apple Podcasts for Creators website helps creators learn more about podcasting, stay informed about the latest news and features, and explore in-depth guides with best practices. Starting today, all creators can access an updated Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard, which has new features that make it easier to manage shows on Apple Podcasts, including the ability to edit metadata, schedule and manage show availability, organizing shows into channels, manage multiple users and roles, and learn how listeners are engaging with their shows through new performance and metrics and visualization tools.

From Apple Podcasts Connect, creators can enroll in the new Apple Podcasters Program, which provides access to all the tools needed to build and distribute premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts.


SiriusXM Acquires Mars’ 99% Invisible Podcast



Sirius XM announced that is has acquired 99% Invisible Inc., the Company owned by Roman Mars, the creator, host, and executive producer of the groundbreaking 99% Invisible podcast. The acquisition brings the acclaimed podcast host and his team to SiriusXM, where they will continue to operate 99% Invisible, the podcast What Trump Can Teach About Teach Us About Con Law, and develop new podcast projects.

99% Invisible will become part of Stitcher, the pioneering podcast company SiriusXM acquired last year as part of its goal to build the best home for podcast creators. With the addition of leading podcast platforms Stitcher and Simplecast, along with industry-leading ad tech company AdsWizz. SiriusXM has developed an ecosystem that podcasters can rely on to create, distribute and monetize their work, as well as gain access to SiriusXM’s broad talent relationships and make up use of the promotional power of its SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher listening platforms.

“I have made a career by telling stories about what’s right in front of us, and in this case, it is the opportunity to grow and create with SiriusXM,” Mars said. “This journey, which started more than 10 years ago on public radio, is a testament to the power of storytelling, the incredibly talented 99pi team, and the dedicated army of ‘Beautiful Nerds’ who we are fortunate to call our listeners. I’m incredibly proud of what we helped build at the Radiotopia network, the non-profit collective I co-founded with PRX, and look forward to the work we can do at SiriusXM.”

Based in Oakland, Mars launched 99% Invisible in 2010, an independently produced – and Kickstarter supported – radio show and podcast that exposes the unseen and overlooked aspects of design, architecture and activity that shapes the world. 99% Invisible has been downloaded more than 500 million times, and Mars has been named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People.” Over the years Mars and his team have branched out beyond the flagship 99% Invisible, launching the successful Articles of Interest, According to Need, What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law and Judas and the Black Messiah podcasts, while also releasing a New York Times bestselling book, The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

“In our tenth year of being an independent production, I began looking to evolve the show in new and exciting ways. While we explored a number of potential homes for 99% Invisible, I want to be with the company that launches new projects, and Stitcher provided us a unique opportunity to focus on the art of creating, developing and producing content we know our listeners will love, while freeing me of constantly thinking about the business of podcasting,” Mars said. “Moving forward, the entire 99% Invisible team will have the resources and support to pursue the stories we want to tell to an even larger universe of listeners. We could not be more excited to be joining the Stitcher family at SiriusXM.”

The 99% Invisible podcast will be available broadly and across SiriusXM’s multiple audio streaming services, including the Stitcher, Pandora, and SiriusXM apps. 99% Invisible joins other iconic, acclaimed and original podcasts whose home is SiriusXM, Stitcher and Pandora, including such popular shows and series as Office Ladies, Comedy Gold Minds with Kevin Hart, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, WTF with Marc Maron, LeVar Burton Reads and podcasts from Marvel Entertainment, and prestigious documentary and narrative projects such as Heaven’s Gate, Unfinished, The Dream, Sporkful and Hidden Brain

“We want to be home to the most creative producers working in podcasting today, so we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Roman and his team to Stitcher and SiriusXM,” said Megan Liberman, head of talk and podcast programming for SiriusXM and Stitcher. “SiriusXM built itself into North America’s leader in audio entertainment by attracting world-class talent. Bringing Roman and his team here is a natural extension of these efforts, and they will serve as a pillar as we continue building the most attractive home for podcast and audio creators.”


The Podcast Academy to Honor WTF With Marc Maron with Inaugural Governor’s Award



The Podcast Academy announced that its Board of Governors will bestow WTF with Marc Maron with the Governors Award which recognizes a podcast or individual for the compelling impact they’ve had on the industry. Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald will accept the top accolade at inaugural Awards for Excellence in Audio (The Ambies) on May 16. The ceremony will be streamed LIVE on YouTube, Twitch, and other platforms from Los Angeles, CA at 5PM PT/8PM ET, with a pre-show starting at 4:30PM PT/7:30PM ET.

“‘WTF with Marc Maron’ has been a trailblazer for the medium since its inception and represents what’s unique about the industry,” said Chairman of the Podcast Academy, Donald Albright. “As co-creators, producers and owners of WTF, Marc and Brendan have served as global pioneers for podcasters big and small, both in front of and behind the mic. The Podcast Academy is humbled to honor WTF with the first-ever Governors Award.”

Maron and McDonald added: “It’s a genuine honor to be recognized by our peers as a major influence on the podcast medium. The show has evolved into what it is now through our persistence, creativity, discipline, and curiosity. We’re grateful for this recognition and the freedom that podcasting affords us.”

WTF with Marc Maron, which is an independently-produced podcast, changed the landscape when it premiered in September 2009. With more than 600 million downloads since then, the podcast helped define the medium and continues to reach millions of listeners twice-a-week. The show’s landmark episode with President Barack Obama broke podcast records and garnered worldwide acclaim when it was released in 2015.

Marc has welcomed comedians, actors, directors, writers, authors, musicians and folks from all walks of life to WTF. His probing, comprehensive interview style allows guests to express themselves in ways listeners have never heard. WTF has featured amazingly revealing interviews with some of the world’s biggest personalities including Stacey Abrams, Mel Brooks, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawerence, John Legend, David Letterman, Sir Paul McCartney, Eddie Murphy, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Bruce Springsteen, Dick Van Dyke and Kate Winslet, to name just a few of the more than 1,200 guests who have appeared on the show.

The Ambies celebrate excellence in podcasting and elevate awareness and status of podcasts as a unique and personal medium for entertainment, information, storytelling and expression. This year, the ceremony will highlight 164 nominees across 23 categories and is sponsored by Amazon Music (Gold sponsor), PRX (Silver sponsor), Tenderfoot TV (Silver sponsor), and Wondery (Silver sponsor). The official pre-show is sponsored by Adobe. The full list of 2021 nominees may be found here.


Outlier Podcast Festival 2021 Takes Place in May



Outlier Podcast Festival will take place on May 27-28, 2020. The Festival is powered by Focusrite and is a two-day virtual podcast festival led by OutlierHQ. The festival will focus on podcasters and creative storytellers and will provide outliers in the podcasting community an intimate opportunity to collaborate with both indie talent and industry giants.

The Outlier Podcast Festival will bring the same unique and engaging experience you have come to expect from Outlier events to the comfort and safety of your own home. You’ll have the opportunity to question the experts during panel discussions, listen in during live podcasts, and join the conversation with other media storytellers.

You can register for the Outlier Podcast Festival now for a General Admission ticket. It is free to attend. Sales will end on May 28, 2021.

Speakers include:

  • Laura Cathcart Robbins: Producer and host of The Only One In The Room.
  • Arielle Nissenblatt: Founder of Earbuds Podcast Collective.
  • Christian Barsi: Founder of Avant Haus Media.

Libsyn Acquires Podcast Monetization Platform Glow



Liberated Syndication Inc. (Libsyn) announced the acquisition of Glow, a leading podcast monetization platform that enables podcasters to build membership programs and generate listener-supported revenue. Glow’s membership technology, which includes private feed distribution and subscription billing, will allow podcasters on Libsyn’s 75,000+ podcasts to benefit from new monetization features and tap into significant new revenue streams.

Libsyn will integrate Glow as part of its hosting and monetization platform, in the future making it simple for customers to begin generating membership revenue in addition to leveraging Libsyn’s existing hosting, analytics, and monetization product suite. Libsyn-hosted podcasters will be able to easily experiment with and charge for premium content, accept secure payments and distribute the content to listeners in their podcast player of choice. They will also have the option to accept donations from listeners, using the same seamless Glow payment system.

“Libsyn saw the potential of podcasting before almost anyone else, and once again, we are thrilled to be at the forefront of a wave of podcasters who will generate revenue largely from their listeners,” said Libsyn President Laurie Sims. “As shown by our recent acquisition of AdvertiseCast, monetization for podcasters is becoming increasingly important, and Glow will help expand Libsyn’s positioning with podcasters who seek to monetize their content and build direct relationships with listeners. We are thrilled to be working with the team at Glow to bring its tools to Libsyn’s customer base.”

“Our mission at Glow has always been to empower creators, and Libsyn has been at the forefront of that movement for over 16 years,” said Amira Vallani, Glow’s founder and CEO. “This acquisition represents a big step in listener-supported podcasts moving into the mainstream and unlocking new dollars to support the ecosystem. We’re excited for Libsyn to be the steward of Glow’s product going forward.”

Podcasters on Libsyn will be able to begin taking advantage of new membership offerings in the coming months as part of the Libsyn 5 platform. However, hosting on Libsyn will not be required to utilize Glow. Libsyn plans to support all podcasts with monetization efforts regardless of where they host, enabling current Glow customers to continue to generate membership revenue without interruption.

As part of the transaction, the Company did not acquire the growth platform Refer-O-Matic, which Vallani and her team will independently focus on under the Creator Machines entity.


FeedBurner Plans some Upcoming Changes



FeedBurner announced that there will be some upcoming changes to FeedBurner in July of 2021. If you ever had a podcast on FeedBurner in the past, or have one there now, you may have gotten an email about these changes.

Starting in July, we are transitioning FeedBurner onto a more stable, modern infrastructure. This will keep the product up and running for all users, but it also means that we will be turning down most non-core feed management features, including email subscriptions, at that time.

What FeedBurner users can expect

For many users, no action is required. All existing feeds will continue to serve uninterrupted, and you can continue to create new accounts and burn new feeds. Core feed management functionality will continue to be supported, such as the ability to change the URL, source feed, title, and podcast metadata of your feed. Basic analytics on feed requests and the ability to create enclosure tags for MP3 files will also continue to be supported.

What is changing?

FeedBurner is turning down most non-core feed management features that help you optimize and publicize your feed, e.g., email subscriptions, Browser Friendly, and Password Protector.

Downloading your FeedBurner email subscriber data

If you want to continue using email subscriptions after the June transition, FeedBurner recommends downloading email subscriber data so that you can migrate your subscribers to a new email subscription service. This data will also be available for download after the transition.

Blogger email subscriptions

FeedBurner’s email subscriptions feature powers Blogger’s email subscription widget, also known as the FollowByEmail widget. When FeedBurner’s email subscriptions feature is turned down in July, Blogger’s email subscription widget will also stop working at that time.


Spotify Improved Podcast Charts



Spotify unveiled some big improvements to Spotify’s podcast charts experience, which will benefit podcasters in a number of ways. More chances for all creators to chart – and a new way for listeners to discover new favorites on Spotify.

With more people than ever podcasting all over the world, we want to ensure that podcast charts are growing with you. We also want you to be able to celebrate your success – which is why we’re excited to unveil a revamped podcast – charts experience that’s better in every way: more chances for up-and-coming creators and established creators to make it onto a chart; more ways to view a chart than just heading to the Spotify app; and a higher likelihood of listeners discovering you and your context.

New: Top Episodes

For the first time, Spotify’s charts look beyond overall podcast show numbers on Spotify and dive into individual episodes. Updated daily, the Top Episodes chart will provide a better understanding of what’s really being listened to on Spotify – because a podcast isn’t always the sum of its episodes. Sometimes, for example, a single episode may strike a chord with listeners of become part of the audio-content zeitgeist.

There’s now something to show for episodes that are really popular or trending, even if their podcast as a whole isn’t being consumed at the same volume. It’s also another way for listeners to discover your show, and potentially explore past episodes or follow your show to hear what you come out with next.

New: Charts Website

Starting yesterday, Spotify is freeing charts from the confines of the app and giving them their standalone due, with their own website. (At launch, the charts website will only reflect U.S. charts). Not only will this provide everyone easier access to the daily podcast pulse on Spotify, but it’ll also serve as a larger destination for discoverability.

With a full charts website, creators everywhere will be able to share their success with listeners, family, and friends – or organically get discovered by a listener perusing the site and stumbling upon your show. Anyone will be able to preview a podcast and follow it directly from the charts site.

Improved: Top Podcasts

Spotify improved their Top Podcast chart by devising a new methodology that helps listeners find what they’re really looking for: the intersection of popular and emerging. Now, the amount of podcast followers on Spotify factors into the algorithm and definition of what comprises a ‘top’ podcast, coupled with recent unique Spotify listener numbers. These changes mean the chart is better able to react to new shows, fresh voices, and fast risers, while giving listeners more reason to check in frequently to discover new shows.


Audioboom Announced Strategic Partnership with MAPP Media



Audioboom announced a strategic partnership with MAPP Media to expand podcast monetization in the UK. MAPP Media will monetize Audioboom’s impression-based inventory, delivering new value through scaled Dynamic Ad Insertion opportunities to a portfolio of more than 8,000 podcasts.

Audioboom’s podcasts are downloaded more than 12 million times each month in the UK, and the network publishes some of the UK’s biggest podcasts, including No Such Thing As A Fish, F1: Beyond The Grid, The Cycling Podcast, and Wafflin’.

MAPP Media’s sales platform will deliver revenue through a second window sales model, while Audioboom’s in-house team will continue to focus on the premium model of high engagement, embedded, host reads. The combined strategy will optimize advertising revenue and create maximum value for Audioboom’s original podcasts and production partners.

“Audioboom is the market-leader in premium podcast advertising, and now through our partnership with MAAP Media we can deliver even more value to our podcasters in the UK,” says Stuart Last, Audioboom CEO. “MAPP’s ability to generate scalable revenue will drive value to creators of all sizes, as well as optimizing our rich archives.”

The partnership with MAPP Media will enable Audioboom to further expand its roster of UK based podcasts by providing more robust revenue opportunities to independent producers and key talent.

“With our long running experience in the audio space, Mapp are excited to bring this new opportunity to the forefront of our offering, connecting up the world’s leading brands with some of the biggest podcasts in the UK” says Nathan Warner, MAPP Media Managing Director.


The New York Times Fourth Annual Student Podcast Contest



The New York Times announced its Fourth Annual Student Podcast Contest. The Contest opened on April 8, 2021, and will accept submissions through May 18, 2021.

In our Fourth Annual Podcast Contest, we invite teenagers to submit original podcasts of five minutes or less. Your creation can be about anything that interests you, in any form that you like. Our favorites will be featured on The Learning Network.

Students ages 11 to 19 anywhere in the world attending middle or high school can participate. If you can answer YES to either of these two questions, then you can use the Student Submission form:

Are you a middle or high school student residing in the United States or the United Kingdom who is 13 to 19 years old?

Are you a middle or high school student residing in any country outside the United States or the United Kingdom who is 16 to 19 years old?

If you are a middle or high school student who answers “no” to both of those questions, then please ask an adult to submit on your behalf. Adults can use an individual submission form if they are submitting on behalf of one student. An adult who is submitting entries on behalf of more than one student can use the bulk submission form. The adults can be either a teacher or a parent.

Rules include:

Create a podcast that produces a complete listening experience with a clear beginning, middle, and ending.

Beginnings often draw the listener in or provide context. Endings often provide a summary, ask a question or tease the next segment.

You can use any podcast format or genre.

Popular podcast formats include interviews, conversations, nonfiction storytelling and fiction storytelling. Popular genres include comedy, true crime, news documentary, history, radio, theater, and sports. But you can choose from unlimited format and genre.

Podcasts must be five minutes or less.

Please check the length of your audio file. (Just to be very clear, 5:01 is longer than five minutes.)

Your podcast must be original for this contest.

We want students to be inspired by our contests and have an opportunity to reach a wider audience for their work. If you have already published a piece, then come up with something else to submit.

Use appropriate language.

Assume your listeners are New York Times readers. No explicit language, please.

To see the full list of rules, and all the details that go with them, please visit the New York Times website that is about their Fourth Annual Student Podcast Contest. Their post includes resources for teachers and students.