Welcome to episode 44. I’m your host Richard Dally.
Each week I curate and discuss the latest news in podcasting and Internet Radio with a focus on the smaller podcaster, radio host and DJ.
There’s a new place you can listen to this podcast – Amazon Music!
That’s right, Amazon Music has launched its own podcasts platform as part of its existing music streaming service.
You can listen either through the website or using the Amazon Music app.
I understand that they have only launched in the US, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom so far.
Anyone logged into their Amazon account can listen but there are also premium subscriptions including Amazon Prime and Amazon Music Unlimited that expand the music side of the listening experience.
There have been many articles about this launch, looking at why Amazon has chosen this time to get into podcasting.
Forbes contributor, Bill Rosenblatt suggests that Amazon has its competitive sights set squarely on Spotify and is effectively using the same business model for podcasting.
Spotify has spent a LOT of money on both podcasting production companies and podcasters to get exclusive content onto their platform.
Spotify has also integrated its podcast content with its music content – something few others had done before.
As Bill says in his article, this strategy is paying off for Spotify.
Spotify is now the number two podcast listening app in most measurements – someway behind Apple still of course.
Amazon is also combining its podcast offering with its existing music subscription service and, like Spotify, is launching some original, exclusive, podcasts.
The early announcements include podcasts focused on music and entertainment, from celebrities such as DJ Khaled and Will Smith.
As always in podcasting, the focus of most discussions about Amazon’s new service is on revenue and advertising as well has how the subscription model impacts the open nature of the industry.
There are a couple of challenges for the non-exclusive podcasts, such as mine, that are available through the Amazon (and Spotify) platforms.
Amazon can place adverts before, during or after my content, and I don’t get anything for that.
I also don’t receive any money from the subscription revenue that Amazon makes from premium subscribers.
Okay, so I can stop providing Amazon with my content if I want to – that’s the beauty of the RSS mechanism – I get to decide where my content gets pushed to – but some cash would be nice!
Now on to what I think is likely to become quite a controversial issue.
This starts off seemingly harmlessly with the news that the BBC is launching its first 24 hour streaming-only radio station.
Radio 1 Dance goes live on Friday 9th October through the BBC Sounds platform.
There will be new content and also replays of dance music shows already broadcast on Radio 1.
The BBC is certainly taking this seriously – some of its biggest presenters are involved, including Pete Tong who is going to be hosting the afternoon drivetime show.
Others presenters include Annie Mac, MistaJam and Danny Howard.
So, all good you might think – it’s just another way to listen to BBC Radio BUT already several organisations are calling foul.
According to Radio Today, the commercial radio industry body Radiocentre and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Radio say they don’t believe that this new BBC service is offering something that distinctive from the commercial sector.
This is potentially in breach of the charter under which the BBC operates as a publicly funded body.
Most of the funding comes from licence fees that are levied in the UK to watch BBC television.
The charter says that distinctiveness and public service value should be at the heart of all BBC content.
The BBC say that they have approval from Ofcom to launch Radio 1 Dance and that they are simply using this new platform to make it more accessible to a wider audience.
APPG, which is a committee of British Members of Parliament has asked Ofcom to review the whole BBC Sounds platform.
For those outside the UK, Ofcom regulates the TV, radio and video on demand sectors as well as the fixed and mobile phone networks and our postal services.
The APPG committee is concerned that the BBC appears to be spending a lot of money to expand a service that seems to replicate services already available to listeners from commercial organisations – something the MPs say the BBC should not be doing.
Caroline Crampton, writing for Nick Quah’s HotPod Newsletter also mentioned this story but takes a slightly different stance on it.
She notes that there are some in the UK Government that would like to downsize the BBC and try to address the licence fee, which is seen as an outdated tool to collect funding and is not liked by many of the British public.
I’d also like to add another element.
This is the first permanent online radio station from the BBC.
If this is successful, and I say if, because we know how hard it is to make a sustainable streaming radio station, then this is could encourage the BBC to move other stations online, removing availability from broadcast FM and DAB radio.
Related to this, what does this mean for Ofcom and the regulatory framework. This is not a broadcast station so how is the oversight going to work?
Is it even applicable? What about music licensing – we know how much of a minefield that is for online radio.
It’s good to see that industry bodies are looking into this and asking difficult questions to both the BBC and Ofcom.
Watch this space I think!
International Podcast Day is a week away – Thursday 30th September 2020.
The schedule this year includes 60 podcasters from 25 countries who will be taking part in a live stream of the event.
Podcast host Blubrry is organizing two panel discussion sessions this year.
One is on Powerful Women in Podcasting and will include guests talking about the journeys they have taken to building successful podcasts and businesses.
The second session, with the Podfather of Podcasting, Adam Curry, is called the History of Podcasting and Podcasting 2.0.
In this session, Todd Cochrane, the CEO of Blubrry will host a discussion with Adam Curry looking back at the 16-year history of podcasting and Adam’s new Podcast 2.0 initiative.
Do visit the event’s website for more details on all the other presentations, panels and conversations taking place for International Podcast Day.
Go to https://internationalpodcastday.com/
So, I’ve talked about what Amazon is doing but how is Spotify responding.
Well, this month they’ve launched a global advertising campaign to highlight how its music and podcasts help to inspire and connect people.
The campaign is called “Music, Meet Podcasts” and includes television commercials and digital video ads featuring high profile podcasters and music artists such as Michelle Obama and Ariana Grande.
There is also a new in-app feature called “My Forever Favorites” that lets users share their favorite podcasts and music.
Spotify know that the streaming audio space is set to become increasing competitive and this marketing campaign looks to be their first salvo – highlighting the big hitters they have on their platform.
A key goal will be to increase the time listeners spend on the platform by getting them to add podcasts to their playlists and not remove music at the same time.
It is going to be interesting watching these two titans go head-to-head in the podcast space over the next few months.
Are you thinking about Christmas yet?
Audio imaging company, Music Radio Creative, who are based on the Isle of Wight here in the UK, have launched a brand-new package of Christmas themed jingles as well their 2021 New Year Countdown.
If you’re looking for jingles of any type – whether off-the-shelf or custom, do take a look at the Music Radio Creative website.
You can use my affiliate link richarddally.com/mrc and I will get small commission on anything you purchase there
You’ll still pay the normal price of course.
Finally, something that I missed previously, the organisers of the British Podcast Awards have a free weekly email newsletter that contains UK podcast recommendations.
You can submit a show for consideration for them to include in the newsletter and on their website.
Go to great british podcasts DOT com forward-slash mailing list to sign-up.
Websites and articles mentioned in the show:
Amazon Takes On Spotify In Podcasting – https://www.forbes.com/sites/billrosenblatt/2020/09/18/amazon-takes-on-spotify-in-podcasting/#14115ed43459
Concerns raised over the launch of Radio 1 Dance – https://radiotoday.co.uk/2020/09/concerns-raised-over-the-launch-of-radio-1-dance
Hot Pod Newsletter – https://hotpodnews.com/
International Podcast Day 2020 – https://internationalpodcastday.com/
Spotify’s New ‘Music, Meet Podcasts’ Campaign Inspires Fans to Use the Power of Audio – https://newsroom.spotify.com/2020-09-07/spotifys-new-music-meet-podcasts-campaign-inspires-fans-to-use-the-power-of-audio/
Christmas and New Year Countdown 2021 jingles – https://www.richarddally.com/mrc (affiliate link)
Great British Podcasts Newsletter – https://www.greatbritishpodcasts.com/mailing-list/