Podcast recording platform Riverside.fm raises $9.5M

The past year has changed the way we work, on so many levels — a fact from which podcasters certainly weren’t immune. I can say, anecdotally, that as a long-time podcaster, I had thrown in the towel on my long-standing insistence that I do all of my interviews in-person — for what should probably be obvious reasons.

2020 saw many shows shifting to a remote format and experimenting with different remote recording tools, from broad teleconferencing software like Zoom to more bespoke solutions like Zencastr. Tel Aviv-based Riverside.fm (originally from Amsterdam) launched right on time to ride the remote podcasting wave, and today the service is announcing a $9.5 million Series A.

The round is led by Seven Seven Six and features Zeev-ventures.com, Casey Neistat, Marques Brownlee, Guy Raz,  Elad Gil and Alexander Klöpping. The company says it plans to use the money to increase headcount and build out more features for the service.

“As many were forced to adapt to remote work and production teams struggled to deliver the same in person quality, from a distance—Gideon and Nadav saw an opportunity to not only solve a great need for creators, but to build an extraordinary product,” Seven Seven Six founder Alexis Ohanian said in a release. “As a creator myself, I can say from experience that Riverside’s quality is unmatched and the new editing capabilities are peerless.”

Riverside.fm is a remote video and audio platform that records lossless audio and 4K video tracks remotely to each user’s system, saving the end result from the kind of technical hiccups that come with spotty internet connections.

Along with the funding round, the company is also rolling out a number of software updates to its platform. At the top of the list is brand new version of its iPhone app, which instantly records and uploads video, a nice extension as more users are looking to record their end on mobile devices.

On the desktop front, “Magic Editor” streamlines the multi-step process of recording, editing and uploading. There’s also a new “Smart Speakerview” feature that automatically switches between speakers for video editing, while not switching for accidental noises like sneezing and coughing.

It’s a hot space that’s only heating up. Given how quickly the company was able to piece their original offering together, it will be interesting to see what they’re able to do with an additional $9.5 million in their coffers.

 

#apps, #podcast, #podcasts, #recent-funding, #riverside, #riverside-fm, #seven-seven-six, #startups

0

The Evolution of Desus & Mero

From Twitter to cable TV, the duo is changing the culture of comedy.

#bronx-nyc, #comedy-and-humor, #desus-nice-1983, #desusmero-tv-program, #kid-mero-1983, #new-york-city, #podcasts, #showtime, #television, #viceland-channel

0

8 Podcasts to Help Make Sense of Post-Trump America

In the wake of a most untraditional presidency, these shows will keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in Washington and our politically polarized country.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #can-he-do-that-radio-program, #left-rightcenter-radio-program, #pantsuit-politics-radio-program, #pod-save-america-radio-program, #podcasts, #political-gabfest-radio-program, #the-skepticrat-radio-program, #the-weeds-radio-program, #trump-donald-j, #unfcking-the-republic-radio-program, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Here are the updates that didn’t make it in Apple’s livestream yesterday

Promotional image of a casually dressed man speaking in front of a giant video display.

Enlarge / Apple presents the new iPad Pro at its April 20, 2021 event. (credit: Apple)

Apple crammed quite a few announcements into a short, one-hour presentation yesterday: new iPad Pros, new iMacs, a new Apple TV 4K, and the long-rumored launch of AirTags, to name a few. But for everything Apple executives and product managers said onstage, there was something else that didn’t get mentioned (or got passed over quickly, perhaps).

Many of these smaller details were hidden on product, specs, or support pages after Apple updated its website with the event’s new products. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things that changed on Apple’s website, but we’re picking some of the most interesting ones.

Let’s start with OS updates.

Read 37 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#120hz, #apple, #apple-card, #apple-card-family, #apple-podcasts, #apple-podcasts-subscriptions, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #apple-tv-hd, #apple-watch, #applecare, #ethernet, #ios, #ios-14-5, #ipad-pro, #ipados, #ipados-14-5, #m1, #mac-mini, #macos, #macos-big-sur-11-3, #magic-keyboard, #podcasts, #ram, #siri-remote, #spring-loaded, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-14-5, #watchos, #watchos-7-4

0

Apple’s New Devices Target Markets Led by Smaller Rivals

The company also said it planned to release iPhone software next week with a privacy feature that worries many digital-advertising companies.

#advertising-and-marketing, #apple-inc, #mobile-applications, #online-advertising, #podcasts, #privacy, #software

0

Apple unveils podcast subscriptions and a redesigned Apple Podcasts app

After years of increased competition from Spotify, Apple today announced its own expansion into podcast subscriptions. At the company’s spring event this afternoon, Apple unveiled its plans for a podcasts subscription service which would allow listeners to unlock “additional benefits,” like ad-free listening, early access to episodes and the ability to support favorite creators. The service will be available as part of Apple’s newly updated Podcasts app where free podcasts are also found.

The announcement of the new service follows shortly after an industry report suggested that Spotify’s podcast listeners would top Apple’s for the first time in 2021.

Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly introduced the subscription at the launch of today’s event, noting that this was “the biggest change to Apple Podcasts since its debut.” He didn’t get into the details around pricing or functionality.

Cook also noted the Apple Podcasts app had been updated, with newly redesigned show and episode pages that make it easier to listen, follow and share podcasts. The app will also include a new “Channels” feature that lets you find shows from favorite creators and get recommendations.

Apple said the new service will be available in May to listeners in more than 170 countries and regions.

In a press release, Apple said the first premium subscriptions would come from both “independent voices and premier studios,” including Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, as well as larger brands like NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and others.

Apple’s plans for a podcast subscription service was previously scooped by The Wall St. Journal, which said the company was preparing to add a paid subscription option to its product, as well as by Vox Media’s Peter Kafka, who said he believed Apple would introduce a paywalled podcast subscription product at today’s event. There were also hints found in the iOS 14.5 beta, which showed a redesigned Podcasts app featuring an account button on the Listen Now tab. MacRumors had reported that show notifications had been relocated here, and suggested that managing paid subscriptions may also be found in this new area in the future.

The move to enter the subscription podcast space follows years of significant investment by the Apple Podcasts and Apple Music competitor, Spotify, also a chief Apple critic.

Spotify in February noted it had tripled the number of podcasts on its platform, year-over-year, to 2.2 million. It has also forged a variety of exclusive deals over the years with big names like Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, DC Comics, Michelle Obama and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, among others. And it has acquired podcast startups, ad tech and studios, including hosting and ad company Megaphone, creation tools from Anchor, content producers like Gimlet, The Ringer, and Parcast.

More recently, Spotify announced plans for its own podcast subscriptions via an Anchor feature and invested in live audio through its acquisition of live chat app Locker Room by Betty Labs. Spotify had said it would share subscription revenue with podcast creators, who would keep the majority of their earnings.

#apple, #apple-spring-hardware-event-2021, #audio, #creators, #media, #podcasting, #podcasts, #spotify, #subscriptions, #tc

0

Listen to Climate Change Podcasts

Understanding the climate crisis is tough. Let these audio storytellers help you understand the problems, and potential solutions.

#content-type-service, #earth-day, #global-warming, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture

0

15 Favorite Episodes as the Book Review Podcast Turns 15

Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, highlights memorable episodes from her eight years hosting the show, including conversations with Robert Caro, Isabel Wilkerson, James McBride and others.

#books-and-literature, #content-type-service, #new-york-times, #podcasts, #writing-and-writers

0

Cryptocurrency’s Newest Frontier

The craze for digital artworks known as NFTs exploded in the past year. Why are some people shelling out millions of dollars for them?

#nonfungible-tokens-nfts, #podcasts, #virtual-currency

0

Europe’s Vaccination Problem

The European Union’s coronavirus inoculation campaign started slowly, and the picture is worsening still.

#european-union, #podcasts, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

How Are You Dividing Housework During the Pandemic?

For a future episode of the Modern Love Podcast, we want to hear about the creative (or fraught) ways you’re handling the division of labor at home.

#podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture

0

40 Acres and a Movie

Disney can’t change its problematic past. But can it make a new future with Marvel?

#black-people, #children-and-childhood, #disney-plus, #marvel-entertainment, #morris-wesley-1975, #movies, #new-york-times, #pixar-animation-studios, #podcasts, #race-and-ethnicity, #soul-movie, #walt-disney-company, #wandavision-tv-program, #wortham-jenna, #writing-and-writers

0

Relationship Podcasts Reveal the Truth About Marriage

Married hosts offer honest conversations about their personal issues and the challenges that can arise in any partnership.

#marriages, #podcasts

0

Revolution Ventures backs Casted in B2B-focused podcast play

Historically, podcasts have been aimed at consumers. The value to be gained in the B2B world is something that has been largely untapped.

For Lindsay Tjepkema — who has been entrenched in the world of B2B marketing for more than 15 years — the opportunity was massive. So in 2019, she founded Casted, an audio and video podcast product aimed at B2B marketers.

And now Casted has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Revolution Ventures

Existing backers High Alpha Capital, Elevate Ventures and Tappan Hill Ventures also participated in the financing, which brings Indianapolis-based Casted’s total raised to about $9.3 million since its inception.

2020 was a good year for Casted. The startup quadrupled its revenue, tripled its customer base and doubled the size of its team during the course of the 12-month period. It has an impressive list of customers, including PayPal, HubSpot, Drift and ZoomInfo. Casted’s platform is also “the system of record” for Salesforce’s 25+ podcasting shows.

And to make things even more impressive, that revenue growth looks more like 8x year over year, according to Tjepkema.

She believes the company’s value prop goes beyond just giving companies a way to get their podcasts out there. Its ability to analyze data and turn that into intelligence for sales and marketing is what really sets it apart, she said.

“If you’re a podcaster, and you’re doing it to grow a large audience, monetize and sell advertising, the number of downloads is important,” Tjepkema told TechCrunch. “But when you’re a B2B company or an enterprise company, the number of downloads doesn’t help. You need to know who’s engaged, how are people interacting with the content and then how is that going to impact revenue and pipeline, and customer loyalty and lifetime value.”

For starters, Casted’s SaaS platform gives marketing teams a way to publish content. Once published, Casted provides access to a “fully searchable content archive” with transcription services and tagging. It then also helps the company amplify that content via cross-channel distribution. And finally — largely by integrating with digital marketing platforms such as HubSpot, WordPress and Marketo — Casted’s software provides analytics on what a specific user is paying attention to. Those data-driven analytics becomes valuable information for sales and marketing teams in terms of who to target and why.

“Because everything that’s in the platform is transcribed, there are ways to clip it up and share it across other channels and get that into the hands of your sales team so they can use it to make their conversations with their customers even easier,” Tjepkema said. 

Revolution Ventures Managing Partner David Golden said that marketing technology has been a difficult sector for his firm to invest in, considering the volume of companies providing a variety of services such as email optimization and sales automation and business intelligence.

“But what Lindsay and her team was building out was clearly a new category in this space and the sort of slap-your-forehead category. Of course, podcasting for B2B marketing makes all the sense in the world when you look at the evolution of tools that have been available to business marketers, such as blogs, white papers and webinars,” Golden told TechCrunch. “It was just going to be a matter of time before audio and video would be important pieces of that toolbox, and there was nobody doing it.”

Revolution estimates that B2B content makes up roughly just 15% of the podcasting content out there today.

“Given the growth on the consumer side, we think this could be up to a $20 billion market by five years from now,” Golden said.

The company, he added, is just one of a growing number of martech companies based in Indianapolis, including ExactTarget (which was acquired by Salesforce for $2.5 billion).

Looking ahead, Casted said the new capital will go toward expanding its 25-person team and scaling the platform with new integrations and partnerships. 

#b2b, #casted, #david-golden, #funding, #fundings-exits, #marketing, #podcasts, #recent-funding, #revolution-ventures, #saas, #sales, #startups, #tc

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Black Friendship, Broadcasted

The hosts of the “OK Now Listen” podcast want to reflect the best parts of chatting with your buds. “I have a tribe of women that hold me down,” Deanii Scott said.

#black-people, #content-type-personal-profile, #netflix-inc, #obell-sylvia, #okay-now-listen-radio-program, #podcasts, #scott-deanii, #university-of-southern-california, #women-and-girls

0

Clubhouse will create billions in value and capture none of it

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Natasha and Danny and Alex and Grace were all here to chat through the week’s biggest tech happenings. It was a busy week on the IPO front, Danny was buried in getting the Tonal EC-1 out, and Natasha took some time off. But the host trio managed to prep and record a show that was honestly a kick to record, and we think, a pleasure to listen to!

So, for your morning walk, here’s what we have for you:

It was a mix of laughs, ‘aha’ moments, and honest conversations about how complex ambition in startups should be. One listener the other day mentioned to us that the pandemic made it harder to carve out time for podcasts, since listening was often reserved for commutes. We get it, and in true scrappy fashion, we’re curious how you’ve adapted to remote work and podcasts. Let us know how you tune into Equity via Twitter and remember that we’re thankful for your ears!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

#cameo, #clubhouse, #discord, #equity, #equity-podcast, #funding, #fundings-exits, #harlem-capital, #linkedin, #mac-venture-capital, #media, #miami, #microsoft-excel, #pipe, #podcasts, #spotify, #startups, #substack

0

Acast expands its support for paid podcasts with Acast+

After partnering with Patreon last year to support patron-only podcasts, Acast has developed a full suite of subscription tools called Acast+.

The company has experimented with paywalled podcasts beyond Patreon in the past, but Acast+ appears to be its most comprehensive offering yet. Podcasters who run ads from Acast will be able to introduce a variety of other paid options, such as ad-free streams, exclusive episodes and early access to content.

Listeners will be able to access this content from the podcast players of their choice, including Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

In exchange, Acast will take a cut of subscription revenue — Vice President of Product Matt MacDonald described this as “part of the overall package of using Acast,” with podcasters benefiting from having the full monetization experience managed within Acast. That means they can upload and manage access to all their content from a single system (rather than having separate paid and free feeds) while also getting the “full revenue picture” of both their advertising income and subscription income.

MacDonald said it’s also crucial that Acast is supporting subscription access across podcast players, rather than creating a listening app or destination of its own.

“”That’s a really clear distinction,” he said. “We want to make sure the podcaster’s listeners are their listeners. We’re just giving them a financial tool to help them build a relationship with the listeners that are supporting their show.”

Acast co-founder Johan Billgren also noted that podcasters can customize the experience down to the names of the subscription tiers and even what subscribers are called. He also said that after the launch of Acast+, the company will continue working with Patreon.

“We want to give the most options to the creator,” Billgren said. “They are in charge of their relationship, and if Patreon is the best option for them, we want to give them that option.”

Acast+

Image Credits: Acast

More broadly, he suggested that Acast+ reflects “a big shift” as podcasts go from from being “completely free and ad-funded” to a pursuing a broader range of business models.

“I think that the financial relationship is an expression of the overall relationship,” MacDonald added. (Listener relationship-building was also a theme in Acast’s acquisition of RadioPublic last month.) But certainly the financial side is important: “There are a number of times that I’ve heard podcasters say, ‘If I could make just a little bit more money, I could squeak out another episode.’ We’re giving them the financial pathways to do that.”

Acast+ is currently in beta testing and accepting signups from interested podcasters.

#acast, #media, #podcasts, #startups, #tc

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7 Podcasts to Binge in a Day

Whether you’re craving a thriller, a spy documentary or an exploration of an American musical icon, each of these limited series can be enjoyed in one big gulp.

#abumrad-jad, #bag-man-radio-program, #cold-war-era, #dirty-john-radio-program, #dolly-partons-america-radio-program, #edmondson-sarah-1971, #escaping-nxium-radio-program, #keefe-patrick-radden, #maddow-rachel, #parton-dolly, #passenger-list-radio-program, #podcasts, #raniere-keith, #the-mystery-show-radio-program, #tran-kelly-marie, #wind-of-change-radio-program

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How I Podcast: Science Vs’s Rose Rimler

The beauty of podcasting is that anyone can do it. It’s a rare medium that’s nearly as easy to make as it is to consume. And as such, no two people do it exactly the same way. There are a wealth of hardware and software solutions open to potential podcasters, so setups run the gamut from NPR studios to USB Skype rigs (the latter of which has become a kind of default during the current pandemic).

We’ve asked some of our favorite podcast hosts and producers to highlight their workflows — the equipment and software they use to get the job done. The list so far includes:

Election Profit Makers’ David Rees
Welcome to Your Fantasy’s Eleanor Kagan
Articles of Interest’s Avery Trufelman
First Draft and Track Changes’ Sarah Enni
RiYL remote podcasting edition
Family Ghosts’ Sam Dingman
I’m Listening’s Anita Flores
Broken Record’s Justin Richmond
Criminal/This Is Love’s Lauren Spohrer
Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Night Vale
Jesse Thorn of Bullseye
Ben Lindbergh of Effectively Wild
My own podcast, RiYL

Science! It’s a thing you should trust! At least that’s what people keep telling me on Twitter. But how do you know which science to trust? Thankfully, Science Vs. from Spotify/Gimlet exists to answer the difficult questions. The show wades into scientific fads and conspiracies, ranging from 5G to vaping in order to sift out the science fiction from science fact. This week, producer Rose Rimler joins us to detail how the show has evolved during the pandemic. 

Image Credits: Rose Rimler

Before COVID, we worked out of an office in Brooklyn that had 10+ recording studios and a number of small, glass-walled meeting rooms set up for the table reads we call “edits.” We spent much of the day wandering around the office looking for one another in these offices and studios, which I guess is how I racked up an average of 6,700 steps a day in 2019 without really trying. Anyway, during the pandemic, we switched to recording ourselves and our interviews at home on portable recorders, which Gimlet provided.

We all use Zoom recorders and directional/shotgun mics. My recorder is a Zoom H6 and my mic is a Sennheiser MKE600. I think this is a very good quality mic because I don’t find a need to go into a closet or under a blanket to record myself. I just sit in my room, hold the mic to my chin and hit record. It seems to turn out fine, although maybe the audio engineers are secretly furious with me for this. The only way to know for sure is to repeatedly tweet @petaplaysbass demanding answers.

Image Credits: Rose Rimler

It’s a different story when it comes to the audio we get from our guests. The most basic way to just grab audio from someone is to record their phone call, or Zoom/Skype/Google Hangout session. I do this with a cord that plugs in from the Zoom recorder into my laptop, or (via adaptor) into my phone. The problem with this method is that the “phone tape” audio is kind of hard to hear. I know this from personal experience because when I listen to podcasts that use phone tape off my iPhone, without headphones, I can barely hear what the person is saying. So, I think getting better audio quality from guests really does matter for the audience. How to do that? The best way we’ve come up with is to ask them to conduct the interview over a computer app while using their smartphone as a recording device.

The iPhone comes with an app called “voice memo” that most people can use, and the phone’s mic is surprisingly good quality. They record their end of the conversation and send the file to us. If I’m feeling particularly confident in my ability to direct people, I might also ask them to pick a quiet, well-furnished room, put their phone into airplane mode, and hold it in front of them as they talk so the mic isn’t too far away (or place it on a stack of books near them).

Image Credits: Rose Rimler

We’ve always been a really collaborative show, which hasn’t changed since the pandemic. While the lead producer writes the first few drafts of the script, they collaborate with the host and editor to do re-writes the last week or so before we publish. That’s why we were always huddled in various offices before the pandemic, writing through the script together. The difference now is we huddle over Google Hangout.

Also, I get many, many fewer steps.

#entertainment, #gimlet, #how-i-podcast, #podcasts, #rose-rimler, #spotify

0

JAMA Editor Placed on Leave Following Racial Controversy

After a staff member dismissed racism as a problem in medicine on a podcast, a petition signed by thousands demanded a review of editorial processes at the journal.

#academic-and-scientific-journals, #american-medical-assn, #bauchner-howard, #black-people, #discrimination, #journal-of-the-american-medical-assn, #podcasts, #race-and-ethnicity, #your-feed-science

0

On Google Podcasts, a Buffet of Hate

The platform’s tolerance of white supremacist, pro-Nazi and conspiracy theory content pushes the boundaries of the medium.

#freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #hate-speech, #jones-alex-1974, #podcasts, #right-wing-extremism-and-alt-right, #social-media

0

Spotify rolls out redesigned desktop and web apps

Spotify today announced it’s rolling out a new look for its streaming service on the desktop, with the launch of a redesigned app for both Mac and Windows, as well as an updated web app. The changes, which will be made available to all global users, focus on improving the navigation and providing users with access to new controls and features across playlists, search, radio, their queue, library, and more.

Overall, the update gives the Spotify app a more streamlined, less cluttered look and feel, compared with the prior version.

Image Credits: Spotify

One notable change is that the new app does away with the oddly placed search bar that was previously found at the top left of the screen. Now it’s been relocated to the slimmed down navigation bar on the left side, in between the links for Home and Your Library.

The app also no longer details the various destinations within Your Library within this navigation bar — like Made For You, Recently Played, Albums, Artists or Podcasts, for example. Instead, you’ll have to click into your Library section to view these selections.

Now, the Your Library page will feature four categories across the top of the page, starting with Playlists, where you’ll find your Liked Songs, Discover Weekly, Daily Mixes, Release Radar, and more. Playlists is followed by different sections for browsing Podcasts (which got bumped up to the No. 2 spot in the update! hint hint!), then Artists and Albums.

Image Credits: Spotify

A new dropdown menu in the Your Library lets you further sort these various sections in a variety of ways: by Most Relevant, Recently Played, Recently Added, Alphabetical, or even by a Custom Order you can configure.

Meanwhile, those who like to build playlists will gain a handful of new features in the updated app.

They can now write descriptions, upload their own images, and drag and drop tracks into existing playlists. They can also use a new embedded search bar located at the top of the “Create Playlist” page to seek out new songs or even podcast episodes to add to the playlist. This could greatly speed up the somewhat tedious process of playlist creation, by reducing the steps it takes between finding a track and getting it into a playlist.

Image Credits: Spotify

This change in particular speaks to Spotify’s growing interest in catering to curators — something co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek mentioned during his recent appearance on the PressClub show on Clubhouse.

Ek explained that he was “excited about curatorship” because when a service’s content library grows, it needs curators.

“The playlisters are incredible on Spotify, but it seems like there’s limited ability to interact with those playlisters — or for those playlisters to really understand who is listening to them and be able to build that second set of creators [who] are indirectly creating by helping other people find content to experience,” he said.

To address this challenge, Ek said Spotify would try to add more tools to allow users to become better curators, if not on a social basis, at least for themselves.

“The primary focus for us on the roadmap is just enabling you to be a much better curator even for yourself —  just by, for instance, suggesting content that’s relevant to the things you’ve already put in the playlist,” he added.

These updated playlist creation tools seem like a natural first step towards Spotify’s larger goals in this area.

Image Credits: Spotify

A few other changes in the updated apps include a refreshed listener profile page which now features both your top artists and top tracks; a new way to start a radio session for any song or artist via the three-dot (“…”) more menu; and the ability to now edit your Queue and view your Recently Played items on the Desktop app.

Premium subscribers gain another perk, too: they’ll be able to download music and podcasts to listen to offline, via a download button in the Desktop app.

In a blog post announcing the changes, Spotify admitted that it hadn’t quite kept up with the development of its desktop app as its service had grown, and today’s launch is an attempt to correct that.

“At Spotify, we’re always looking for ways to provide the best possible experience so our listeners can consistently discover and enjoy music and podcasts—and that includes look, feel, and functionality. We constantly test, develop, and launch new features, optimize for new devices, and look to expand our content offering,” the post read. “Yet along the way, we felt that our desktop app experience hadn’t kept up, and that it was time for a change.”

The updated apps for Mac, Windows and the web are rolling out starting today. Unrelated to the app redesign, Spotify separately announced today it’s expanding access to its Marquee tool for promoting new releases. The feature will be made available to all teams in the U.S. through a new campaign management tool in Spotify for Artists.

#artist, #curator, #daniel-ek, #music, #playlist, #podcasts, #spotify, #tc

0

‘Romeo y Julieta’ Review: Young Love in Two Languages

Lupita Nyong’o and Juan Castano star in a podcast adaptation that delivers the poetry — in Spanish and English — but not the fire.

#ali-saheem, #castano-juan-1989, #monge-julio, #nyongo-lupita, #podcasts, #public-theater, #romeo-y-julieta-play, #shakespeare-william, #spanish-language, #theater, #wnyc

0

A Big List of Podcasts for Bigger Kids

There has been an explosion of new shows for children in the past year. Here are 30 of the best for kids between 6 and 10.

#education-k-12, #news-and-news-media, #parenting, #podcasts, #public-broadcasting, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #radio

0

U.K. Podcast Companies Want What the U.S. Has, Looking Past the BBC

The public broadcaster has long dominated audio production in Britain. But new podcast companies are taking inspiration from America and finding investors to shake up the industry.

#british-broadcasting-corp, #great-britain, #podcasts, #radio

0

‘Nobody Wants to Be There, Dude’: How a Juror’s Podcast Led to an Appeal

A federal judge warned a jury not to talk to anyone about the case. One juror had an online comedy show.

#ethics-and-official-misconduct, #jury-system, #koeltl-john-g, #letizia-jake, #manhattan-nyc, #podcasts

0

Still Processing Returns for a New Season: Subscribe Now

The culture writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are back for another season — and no topic is off limits.

#culture-arts, #new-york-times, #podcasts, #wesley-morris, #wortham-jenna

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White-label voice assistants will win the battle for podcast discovery

Americans are bored, housebound and screened out. This has created a golden opportunity for audio as consumers turn to podcasts, voice assistants and smart speakers – often at the same time.

Roughly 128 million Americans use a voice assistant at least once a month. Smartphones account for most voice assistants, but there are also nearly 160 million smart speakers in American homes.

One of the hottest forms of audio content is, of course, podcasts. Listeners have never had so many choices for smart and compelling podcast content, with new exciting shows emerging daily. On the consumption side, monthly podcast listeners topped 100 million for the first time in 2020, a 40% increase in just two years.

Listeners get their podcasts from dedicated podcast apps (such as Stitcher), publisher apps (like NPR’s), music apps (such as Spotify), or their default phone app or voice assistant. With more than 1.7 million podcasts being produced today, even the most dedicated podcast listeners can’t listen to every episode in their queue.

This is where voice assistants come in.

The major voice assistants – Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung – dominate, but they face increasing competition for users from white-label voice assistants. This has become a battle that will be decided by whichever company can provide the best quality of service.

That’s why the voice assistant that can personalize podcasts and help listeners search, sample and discover content through shareable bite-sized pieces will win the voice wars.

A familiar battle over users

Early consumer electronics battles for users were waged over the operating system – Windows vs. Mac. Voice is another form of operating system, and the battle over voice is no less fierce.

Apple’s Siri was the first modern virtual assistant to reach the masses. Amazon and Google have also heavily invested – often at a loss – to own voice activation for users, grab market share and protect their turf (e-commerce for Amazon and search for Google).

Amazon took 24% of the virtual assistant market in 2018, followed by Apple (22%), Google (20%), Microsoft’s Cortana (10%) (largely confined to desktop), and Samsung’s Bixby (6%).

These five major brands were early pioneers, but the next phase of the voice wars will be white-labeled, with voice assistants incorporated into all devices and brands.

The rise of white-label voice assistants

Unable to develop their own voice assistants, hundreds of device manufacturers must resort to Google or Alexa if they want to add voice functionality to their products. But in a way, this is a Trojan horse: Adding Google or Alexa voice enhances products but undermines user relationships.

#artificial-intelligence, #column, #ec-column, #ec-consumer-applications, #ecommerce, #podcasts, #smart-speaker, #virtual-assistant, #voice-assistant

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Apple teams with Common Sense Media to curate podcasts for kids

Apple announced this morning it’s teaming up with Common Sense Media to curate a selection of kid-friendly podcasts in the U.S. in light of what appears to be growing interest in spoken word entertainment among families. That interest, in part, may have been prompted by the pandemic and parents’ desire to reduce kids’ screen time for entertainment.

Via a new website at Apple.co/showsforkids (which launches Apple Podcasts), Apple has collaborated with Common Sense Media to group podcasts by age group as well as by theme. At launch, the collection features creators like Tinkercast, American Public Media, Gen-Z Media, Pinna, Tumble, Highlights, WNYC Studios, Rebel Girls, and Nickelodeon, among others.

In addition to groups by age, there are also four thematic collections available: Common Sense Media Picks, which are all-time family favorites; One More!, which features mysterious tales and action-packed dramas; Kids Know Best, which feature shows picked by kids themselves; and Story Time, which are story-driven shows.

Image Credits: screenshot of Apple Podcasts

The site will be updated monthly to feature new and popular shows and to introduce timely collections around historical and cultural moments, like Women’s History Month or Back to School ideas, Apple says.

The company also notes the selection of shows is curated using the same sort of research-backed approach that Common Sense Media applies to other entertainment, like TV shows, movies, books, apps and games.

The launch follows Apple’s recent debut of an “Apple for Kids” website that helps parents set up devices for kids and learn about Family Sharing options, highlighting an increased interest in catering to the needs of families.

But unlike with kids’ use of Apple devices, the current market for kids’ podcasts is small — none of Apple’s top 100 podcasts are directed towards kids, for example.

However, industry experts believe the kids market may grow alongside the overall adult podcast market. Plus, as Morning Consult recently reported, the COVID-19 pandemic has helped drive new interest in the audio format as parents struggled to keep kids entertained at home.

Case in point: one leading kids’ podcast, “Wow in the World” by NPR, saw 94% increase in downloads in the 13 weeks post-COVID compared with pre-COVID, the report said.

In another recent analysis, NPR’s 2020 Spoken Word Audio Report found that 15% of U.S. adults were now listening to children’s spoken word audio — an indication that many parents were already co-listening with kids. In addition, research from Kids Listen, a nonprofit advocacy group for kids’ podcast, found that 89% of kids who listen to podcast are ages 8 or under, Morning Consult pointed out.

Apple, it’s worth noting, has been rumored to be considering a new podcast subscription service to challenge Spotify, The Information reported year earlier this . In the weeks since that report, Apple has seemingly begun to pay more attention to the format, having launched a new editorial franchise, Apple Podcasts Spotlight, to highlight interesting creators.

Adding kids’ programing could play into Apple’s future ambitions, perhaps, as 64% of parents who listen to podcasts said they’re likely to purchase a paid subscription to podcasts for their kids.

The new collection is live in the U.S. in Apple Podcasts.

#apple, #children, #families, #kids, #media, #parents, #podcasts, #streaming, #trends

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Podcasts That Can Help You Manage Your Money

No financial question is too embarrassing, complicated or lofty for these Money-101 podcasts.

#content-type-service, #personal-finances, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture

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Still Processing: Remembering Whitney Houston

We can’t forget what made her the greatest.

#houston-whitney, #new-york-times, #podcasts, #pop-and-rock-music

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Still Processing: Remembering Whitney Houston

We can’t forget what made her the greatest.

#houston-whitney, #new-york-times, #podcasts, #pop-and-rock-music

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36 Podcast Personalities Recommend Their Favorite Shows

The voices in your ears, including Chelsea Handler, Tamar Braxton and Bowen Yang, share their favorites, new and enduring.

#armchair-expert-radio-program, #berlant-kate, #death-sexmoney-radio-program, #franklin-kirk, #griffin-blake, #handler-chelsea, #hidden-brain-radio-program, #las-culturistas-radio-program, #novak-jacqueline, #perel-esther-1958, #podcasts, #raz-guy, #rogers-matt-comedian, #sale-anna, #simmons-bill-1969, #stuff-you-should-know-radio-program, #the-sporkful-radio-program, #trufelman-avery, #twenty-thousand-hertz-radio-program, #yang-bowen-1990

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‘Reply All’ Podcast Is Paused After Accusations of Toxic Culture

A co-host and a senior reporter also left the podcast, after accusations that they worked against union efforts that many employees of color saw as necessary to increase diversity.

#gimlet-media, #pinnamaneni-sruthi, #podcasts, #reply-all-radio-program, #vogt-pj, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

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Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr. and the Voices of ‘Resistance’

The evocative podcast about people who “refuse to accept things as they are” is thriving in a historical blind spot of story-driven audio.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #content-type-personal-profile, #gimlet-media, #podcasts, #race-and-ethnicity, #resistance-radio-program, #saidu-tejan-thomas-jr, #spotify

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How a TV Critic Turned to Podcasts During a Pandemic

TV meant to be responsive to the moment seemed distant. But podcasts, with the intimate production values, felt more immediate and relevant than ever before.

#dead-eyes-radio-program, #esther-perel, #home-cooking-radio-program, #podcasts, #strong-songs-radio-program, #television, #where-should-we-begin-radio-program

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Podcasting Is Booming. Will Hollywood Help or Hurt Its Future?

A frothy adaptation market is just one sign of the rapid evolution of the industry. But some worry that big money will stifle the D.I.Y. spirit that has driven much of its success.

#creative-artists-agency, #emily-cross, #gimlet-media, #iheartmedia-inc, #intellectual-property, #lory-martinez, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #mija-radio-program, #morris-lamorne-1983, #movies, #neyfakh-leon, #ostroff-dawn, #podcasts, #sirius-xm-radio-inc, #spotify, #studio-ochenta, #television, #unwanted-radio-program, #what-im-looking-at-radio-program

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These Young Podcasters Are Growing Up on Mic

The precocious hosts of “Tai Asks Why” and “The Show About Science” have matured along with their industry. For them, listening to their early episodes can prove a bit painful.

#children-and-childhood, #nate-butkus, #podcasts, #tai-poole, #the-show-about-science

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Slate Suspends Podcast Host After Debate Over Racial Slur

Mike Pesca of “The Gist” said he was suspended after defending, in a Slack discussion with colleagues, the use of the slur in some contexts.

#defector-media-llc, #discrimination, #hohlt-jared, #mike-pesca, #news-and-news-media, #podcasts, #race-and-ethnicity, #slate-magazine, #workplace-environment, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

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Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen: The Latest Podcast Duo

Their new show, “Renegades: Born in the USA,” features the 44th president and the musician speaking intimately and expansively on topics like race, fatherhood and the country’s painful divisions.

#dan-fierman, #higher-ground-productions, #music, #obama-barack, #ostroff-dawn, #podcasts, #renegades-born-in-the-usa-radio-program, #spotify, #springsteen-bruce, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Spotify to launch Spotify Audience Network, an audio ad marketplace

Spotify provided more details today about how it plans to monetize its investments in podcasts. The company said it’s launching a new audio advertising marketplace, the Spotify Audience Network, which will allow advertisers to reach listeners across Spotify’s own Originals and Exclusives, as well as podcasts via Megaphone and creation tool Anchor, and its ad-supported music, all in one place. The company also said it plans to offer podcasts on its self-serve ad platform, Spotify Ad Studio, starting with Spotify Originals and Exclusives in the U.S., in a beta test phase.

This will expand to include third-party podcasts in the future, the company noted today during its live online event, “Stream On.”

Currently, Spotify Ad Studio is being used by advertisers across 22 markets following its 2017 launch, to reach Spotify music listeners with both audio and video advertisements. Spotify said the service is its fastest-growing buying channel, but didn’t provide specific figures to detail that growth.

Image Credits: Spotify

However, the larger news on the advertising side was the launch of the new audio ad marketplace, Spotify Audience Network. Similar to some of its other forward-looking announcements today, Spotify was light on details about how exactly Spotify Audience Network would work — saying only that it’s in the “early stages of developing the offering,” and it expects to be able to share more at a later date.

However, the company positioned the marketplace as a “game changer,” particularly for podcasters looking to make money from ads, as well as for advertisers who want to reach Spotify’s audience of hundreds and millions, both on and off Spotify.

This news follows an investigative report by The Verge earlier this year which found Spotify was the main sponsor for Anchor advertising to date — despite its promises to find sponsors for smaller podcasters. It now appears Spotify has been in the process of building out its ad marketplace and tooling to make good on those promises, and may not have prioritized advertiser outreach in the meantime.

Image Credits: Spotify

Spotify today also spoke about how its recent acquisition of Megaphone would allow it to scale its Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) technology, launched in early 2020, to publishers beyond its own Originals and Exclusives audio programs. Today, SAI is available in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the U.K., and will expand to other new markets in 2021.

Since its debut, SAI has been rolling out new features like audience-based buying, native ad placements, and reporting on creative performance. Later this year, Spotify says it will make SAI available to Megaphone podcast publishers and “leading” Anchor creators.

But Anchor creators won’t be limited to advertising to grow revenues.

Spotify also briefly noted it will, in a few months, begin beta testing a new feature that will allow Anchor creators to publish paid podcast content to Spotify aimed at their most dedicated fans, as TechCrunch previously reported.

 

#ad-tech, #advertising, #advertising-tech, #anchor, #media, #megaphone, #music, #podcast, #podcasts, #spotify, #streaming, #streaming-service

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What is Clubhouse?

A simple explainer to the newest, buzziest social media app around.

#clubhouse-mobile-app, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #mobile-applications, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #social-media

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Original Content podcast: Apple’s ‘Ted Lasso’ is all about relentless optimism

Your enjoyment of “Ted Lasso” — a sports comedy that debuted on Apple TV+ last year — will probably depend on how you respond to the titular football coach played by Jason Sudeikis.

As we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the show’s setup is deliberately over-the-top and ridiculous with Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham) taking ownership of the AFC Richmond football (a.k.a. soccer) team after an acrimonious divorce, then recruiting American football coach Ted Lasso as its new manager, despite his complete ignorance of the game.

Anthony and Jordan found Ted to be charming, and they enjoyed the show’s fish-out-water comedy. Anthony also appreciated some of the more emotional moments later in the season — he’s an easy crier, and “Ted Lasso” definitely made him a little teary-eyed.

Darrell, however, had considerably less patience for the character’s blithe naiveté, comparing it to the similar cluelessness of Netflix’s “Emily in Paris,” and he gave up on the show quickly.

In addition to reviewing the series, we discuss Martin Scorsese’s feelings about the word “content,” and we have some exciting news about the podcast: This will be our last episode on TechCrunch, as Original Content goes independent! So consider subscribing on your favorite podcast app if you’d like to continue listening. (If you’ve already subscribed, there’s no need to do anything.)

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast app. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter.

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:26 Podcast news
5:12 “Content” and Martin Scorsese discussion
20:43 “Ted Lasso” review
47:40 “Ted Lasso” spoiler discussion

#apple, #apple-tv, #entertainment, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts

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Acast acquires podcasting startup RadioPublic

Podcast advertising company Acast is announcing that it has acquired RadioPublic, the startup that spun out of public radio marketplace PRX in 2016.

At first, RadioPublic’s main product was a mobile app for podcast listening, and it still supports the app. But co-founder and Chief Product Officer Matt MacDonald said that over time, the team’s focus shifted to products for podcasters, specifically its Listener Relationship Management Platform, which includes an embeddable web player, custom websites called Podsites and more.

“We had a whole roadmap of things we wanted to build, but we recognized that at our scale, we could be better served by partnering up with bigger organizations,” MacDonald said.

And ultimately, they decided Acast made sense as not just a partner, but an owner. Acast’s business still revolves around podcast advertising, but it’s also expanded with new tools like the Acast Open hosting platform, and it says it now hosts 20,000 podcasts, collectively reaching 300 million monthly listeners.

“The acquisition of RadioPublic is fundamentally a partnership of values,” said Acast’s chief business and strategy officer Leandro Saucedo in a statement. “We both firmly believe in the open ecosystem of podcasting and have a shared commitment to aid listener discovery and support all creators. We’re impressed by what RadioPublic has achieved and we believe that now — as podcasting is gaining more momentum than ever before — is the ideal time to bring RadioPublic’s talented team and company missions into the Acast fold.”

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Acast says it will not affect RadioPublic operationally.

MacDonald and his co-founder/CTO Chris Quamme Rhoden are both joining Acast (CEO Jake Shapiro departed last fall to lead creator partnerships for Apple Podcasts), and although they’ll be working to integrate RadioPublic features into the Acast platform, MacDonald said the startup will continue to support its own products and mobile apps for “the foreseeable future.”

He added that as RadioPublic works with Acast, the team will remain focused on “strengthening and deepening that relationship, that bond, that affinity between the podcaster and the listener.” In his view, that’s where RadioPublic’s opportunity lies, even as big platforms like Spotify invest in podcasting.

“How do we enable you, as the creator, to control the relationship you have with your audience?” MacDonald said. “We believe that a podcast’s listeners are the podcast’s listeners. They are not the platform’s customers.”

#acast, #advertising-tech, #apps, #fundings-exits, #media, #mobile, #podcasts, #radiopublic, #startups

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Still Processing: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and Whiteness in America

What “Hillbilly Elegy” can learn from the film “Get Out” and the podcast “S-Town.”

#get-out-movie, #hillbilly-elegy-movie, #podcasts, #race-and-ethnicity, #s-town-radio-program

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Host of ‘Reply All’ Podcast Steps Down After Accusations of Toxic Culture

The host, P.J. Vogt, and a senior reporter, Sruthi Pinnamaneni, each apologized after former colleagues accused them of working against union organizers and “multiple efforts to diversify.”

#black-people, #bon-appetit-magazine, #collective-bargaining, #discrimination, #gimlet-media, #minorities, #organized-labor, #pj-vogt, #podcasts, #polgreen-lydia, #radio, #reply-all-radio-program, #spotify, #sruthi-pinnamaneni, #united-states, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

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How I Podcast: Election Profit Makers’ David Rees

The beauty of podcasting is that anyone can do it. It’s a rare medium that’s nearly as easy to make as it is to consume. And as such, no two people do it exactly the same way. There are a wealth of hardware and software solutions open to potential podcasters, so setups run the gamut from NPR studios to USB Skype rigs (the latter of which has become a kind of default during the current pandemic).

We’ve asked some of our favorite podcast hosts and producers to highlight their workflows — the equipment and software they use to get the job done. The list so far includes:

Welcome to Your Fantasy’s Eleanor Kagan
Articles of Interest’s Avery Trufelman

First Draft and Track Changes’ Sarah Enni
RiYL remote podcasting edition
Family Ghosts’ Sam Dingman
I’m Listening’s Anita Flores
Broken Record’s Justin Richmond
Criminal/This Is Love’s Lauren Spohrer
Jeffrey Cranor of Welcome to Night Vale
Jesse Thorn of Bullseye
Ben Lindbergh of Effectively Wild
My own podcast, RiYL

Everyone knows that politics are like sports, only with, you know, real-world consequences that can directly impact the lives of millions. But why deal in abstractions when you can bet actual money? With Election Profit Makers, co-hosts David Rees, Starlee Kine and Jon Kimball put their money where their mouth is, betting on political outcomes with their hard-earned dollars.

Image Credits: David Rees

As a collector of audio gear (mostly effects pedals, old rim-drive tape machines and 1980s keyboards I’ve modified), I wish I could say my podcasting setup featured equipment that is extremely expensive and hard to come by. I would love to brag about using, say, hand-wired boutique preamps and a rare Soviet condenser microphone I bought at a military auction in Kazakhstan. Nothing would please me more than to share photographs of a massive reel-to-reel tape machine on which I record my ad reads (for “warmth”) before mixing them down on my laptop.

Alas, my podcasting setup is extremely normal. I have a Scarlett two-channel interface I bought at a chain store. I have a Rode microphone because I couldn’t afford a Shure SM7B. I record into GarageBand, which is the spiral-bound notebook of audio interfaces. The only slightly unusual thing about my podcasting setup is that on the rare occasion when I edit an episode I do so in Ableton Live, which I originally bought years ago when I was obsessed with making mashups.

Image Credits: David Rees

The only analog affectation I can claim is a shameful one: My laptop is so old the USB ports seem to be going slack — I’m surprised they don’t have hair growing out of them like old men’s ears — so I have to fix the line from my Scarlett into place using electrical tape.

Election Profit Makers is a podcast about betting on political events using the web site PredictIt.org. (My co-host Jon Kimball made enough money on the 2020 election to buy a new car; I made enough to buy a new tremolo pedal.) The only time we’ve done field recordings was last spring, when Jon and I went on a nerd / comedy cruise in the Caribbean the week COVID hit. We recorded daily dispatches at sea using a Zoom H4N, then wandered around Santo Domingo until we found a university library whose Wi-Fi we could use to upload the files to our co-host and editor Starlee. My phone tells me I walked 24,000 steps that day.

Image Credits: David Rees

Because my podcasting setup is so boring, I have spiced up the photos by including some of my other audio gear in the shots! When the world is ready for cassette-based podcasts saturated in analog delay, I will be more than happy to oblige!

#david-rees, #election-profit-makers, #entertainment, #how-i-podcast, #podcasts

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7 Podcasts About the Art of the Scam

These shows, about corporate fraud, pyramid schemes, Hollywood impersonators and more, feeds the national appetite for stories about deception.

#frauds-and-swindling, #gardner-isabella-stewart-museum, #holmes-elizabeth-1984, #podcasts, #theranos-inc

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Zencastr raises $4.6M as its beta video offering goes live for all

Founded in late-2014, Salt Lake City-based Zencastr has become a kind of lifeline for many podcasters, as the pandemic pushed formerly in-person podcasts online. The startup is hardly a household name, but the company says it’s used by around 6% of all podcasts, based on an estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million active shows in the world.

I can certainly say, anecdotally, that just about every podcaster I’ve spoken to has tried the service, which offers a more specialized solution than video chat programs like Zoom and Skype. Some have managed to retrofit the latter to their needs, but Zencastr’s solution offers, among other things, high-quality audio recordings saved both locally and in the cloud.

As of last June, the company has also been testing a video feature. That’s long been a missing piece of the puzzle. I know I’ve moved over to Zoom since taking my show online during the pandemic. As pretty much any person can tell you a little over a year into the pandemic, video chat is no replacement for in-person interactions, but it works in a pinch. At the very least, it creates an additional dimension of human interaction you don’t get with voice alone.

Up to now, the video offering was only available as a closed beta. Today the beta opens to all users, bringing with it HD video recording, coupled with the already high-quality sound. I’ve been toying around with the feature for my own podcast and find it to be less straightforward than services like Zoom, but more customizable. It leaves you with HD video files you can edit into a tighter show or simply go with the split screen. There’s also a live chat, footnotes and a soundboard, much of which seemed aimed at essentially editing the shows in real time.

Along with the broader arrival of the video feature, Zencastr is announcing a $4.6 million seed round — the service’s first major funding since launch.

Founder and CEO Josh Nielsen tells TechCrunch that Zencastr has thus far been, “bootstrapped, self-funded and really just kind of a grassroots company in the podcasting space. A lot of people are getting interested in podcasting right now and we feel like it’s important to have a company like ours continue to represent our creators. They’re our North Star.”

As interest in podcasting has grown, Zencastr’s use has expanded with it. The company says it has seen around a 147% growth in podcasting hours since the beginning of COVID-19. The seed round is led by Utah-based Kickstart, with participation from former Flipagram executives Brian Dilley and Farhad Mohit and former Skullcandy CEO Jeremy Andrus, among others.

“This company started off pretty small and didn’t have a lot of resources,” Nielsen adds. “But we’ve always been profitable, we’ve always been growing. We still are, but we’re raising money to accelerate that growth. This is also a rebrand and a step forward in the reliability and stability of the platform.”

Stability has been something of an issue in the past with many of the Zencastr users I’ve spoken to. Spending more time with this service ahead of this news, I certainly found some nits to pick, including an audio delay I haven’t experienced with non-devoted services like Skype and Zoom. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s the kind of thing that can really throw you off your rhythm during an interview. The video presentation is also lacking in sophistication, but that’s to be expected in a closed beta.

The funding will go to smoothing out some of those wrinkles, as well as hiring.

“Headcount is one of the primary reasons for raising this round,” co-founder and CPO Adrian Lopez tells TechCrunch. “We were a fully distributed team before COVID existed. We have people in 11 different countries around the world. That was a very conscious choice. We believe that distribution allows us to work with some of the best people, regardless of where they are.”

Today also sees the launch of “Digital Nomad,” a podcast series produced by Zencastr that explores its own origin story. Though, the company is quick to add that this isn’t the beginning of a major push into producing original content.

“We believe strongly in podcasting as a medium that connects people,” says Lopez. “We formed the company around that. We’re fully distributed so we can put our money where our mouth is and put people all over and connect via this medium. We want to start telling that story.”

Zencastr has seen a fair bit of increased competition in the category, including the likes of SquadCast and Riverside.fm. The company’s solid growth over the past year could also see some regression as more people feel comfortable recording shows in person, as the vaccines have been sufficiently distributed.

“We’re going to see some retraction, I think, as things and people go back to work,” says Lopez. “But I think it will all come out in the wash, because there’s just a much bigger-growing interest in podcasting over all. It happened before COVID and it will continue after COVID.”

#apps, #kickstart, #podcasts, #recent-funding, #startups, #zencastr

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Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Lupin’ is a twisty delight

The new Netflix series “Lupin” is a loose adaptation of the Arséne Lupin stories by Maurice Leblanc, but it’s set in the present day, with a hero who’s inspired by the exploits of Leblanc’s fictional “gentleman thief.”

Through flashbacks, we meet Assane Diop (played by Omar Sy) as a young Senegalese immigrant who has recently arrived in Paris with his father. As an adult, he’s transformed himself into an impossible-to-catch thief and master of disguise.

While some of Assane’s schemes have a satisfying clockwork intricacy, others rely more on his willingness to walk into any room and act as if he belongs there. As the series’ five episodes continue (with more to come), Assane is pulled into a mystery around the crime that put his father in prison.

As we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, enjoying “Lupin” requires some suspension of disbelief — Assane’s success depends on both an astonishingly incompetent police force and his ability to disappear in a way that’s hard to imagine in contemporary society. But if you can go that far, the show is a joy to watch, thanks in large part to Sy’s charismatic performance, as well as the character’s delightful confidence and ingenuity.

We open the episode by discussing a very different show with the same setting, “Emily in Paris,” which was recently (and controversially) nominated for two Golden Globes.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Lupin review
0:34 Golden Globe discussion
18:08 Lupin review
34:57 Lupin spoiler discussion

#entertainment, #lupin, #media, #netflix, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts

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