Podcasting and Social Proof – A Missed Opportunity

Podcasting and Soaccial Proof - Paul OFlaherty

There’s a missed opportunity for podcast hosting companies such as Libsyn, Blubrry and now SoundCloud, to bring social proof to podcasting simply by opening up an API that allows plugins to poll download numbers and display them next to podcast players.

Blubrry already has the excellent PowerPress plugin, which I am sure the vast majority of WordPress based podcasters use regardless of where they host their media, so it should be really easy for them to add it. Libsyn and other providers could get involved simply by releasing a plugin that checks the filename in the enclosure custom field, polls an API every few hours (or once a day even) and allows podcasters to display a chiclet or some text- just like folks do for newsletter subscriber numbers, Facebook subscribers, Twitter followers and YouTube views. SoundCloud could start by making RSS downloads (a podcasters lifeblood) part of the reported public stats instead of hiding the numbers away privately and only showing the “on SoundCloud” plays.

Why would we want this? Because social proof works when building an audience. It’s easier to pick up more followers or downloads the more you already have – then it’s up to you to keep them.

iTunes and it’s frankly poor podcast search, should not be the only social proof that podcasters have.

Dear Podcasters, You’re Ruining My Run (Podcast Loudness)

Audio stereo WAV in Audition CCI’ve been making a concerted effort to get back into shape and while I’d love to say that my beer-gut is diminishing, sadly the most noticeable result has been a growing irritability caused by podcasts that are all published at different audio levels.

Let’s talk about LUFS:

Loudness, K-weighted, relative to Full Scale (or LKFS) is a loudness standard designed to enable normalization of audio levels for delivery of broadcast TV and other video.

LKFS is an abbreviation of:  Loudness K-weighted Full Scale, and one unit of LKFS is equal to one dB. The LKFS term is used in the ITU BS.1770 standard and the ATSC A/85 standard also operates with this term. Other organizations, such as The European Broadcast Union (EBU), uses the term LUFS, which is an abbreviation ofLoudness Units Full Scale. Despite the different names, LFKS and LUFS are  identical.

The LKFS standard (ITU standard) is what allows you to listen to the radio at a consistent level without having to turn the radio up or down every time a new tune is played (unless they’re cranking out some AC/DC then you have to turn up the stereo – it’s the law). That’s awesome right?

What’s not awesome is when I’m on the treadmill and every other podcast is barely audible over my headphones, while others are way too loud, forcing me to have to repeatedly fiddle with the audio levels on my phone.

Let’s face it – I’m not the most graceful of people at times. One of these days, pulling my phone out of my pocket while running is going to result in my breaking a leg as I go flying backwards off the treadmill and into the min-fridge.

The solution is to make sure that every podcast has consistent audio levels, and the magic number that has been settled on is -16 LUFS. I’ve embedded a tutorial by Mike Russel from Music Radio Creative so you can see just how ridiculously easy it is to do Adobe Audition CC.

I don’t know if Audacity can adjust LUFS out of the box (it’s been years since I’ve used it) but I’m sure there are plugins for it (a quick search found this LUFS meter), and even mobile podcasting apps like Auphonic can automatically adjust the levels as they process the audio.

So fellow podcasters, there’s really no excuse to now have your audio at the correct levels and give podcast listeners the best experience, is there?

More Than She Could Swallow

Forget dancing in the rain, things get kinky and personal on episode 73 of Nothing Serious when we send in the clones.  It’s got nothing to do withe viagra laced beer, we swear. If we had known it was a sexbot we’d never had approached her, I mean it’s not like we got caught banging an inmate… twice! Right? While we stand behind Adam Carolla, it’s really hard to stand behind Ohio, especially when Plato and Aristotle are on the line. Oh, and go stick your seven-incher elsewhere because Burger King ain’t raping our faces!

Stories mentioned in this episode of the Nothing Serious Podcast include:

Abstinence Not Education

Will things go to crap on episode 52 of Nothing Serious? The guys talk poop transplants to save lives, building a podcasting personality, babies with more than 2 parents, the failures of abstinence-only sex education, Florida teachers who are too drunk to stand, and “sex week” at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Stories mentioned in this episode of the Nothing Serious Podcast include:

Stitcher – Please Give Podcasters Some Link Love

StitcherStitcher is awesome. It is one of my two favorite podcast apps and if you love listening to podcasts you should be using it. If you’re a podcaster you should have your show listed on their service, and if you’re anybody at all, you really should be listening to Nothing Serious on Stitcher.

Now that the gushing and fawning is out of the way, I want to briefly discuss one of the very few problems I have with the service – Stitcher is crap at giving link love back to podcasters.

I’m not the only one who thinks so, it was this Facebook comment by Jason Calacanis that prompted me to write this post:

Calacanis

Stitcher is building a business on the back of content created by podcasters but doesn’t give the content creators a link to their websites or twitter accounts (something that most services do and more…).  This lack of love from Stitcher feels dirty, especially to podcasters that hustle to get listeners, swap promos, promote each other, and promote services that promote them.

You might say that Stitcher is promoting your content and getting you listeners, but let’s be honest here, unless you’re a “big” podcast they’re not really. Legions of podcasters provide links to Stitcher from their websites in order to make listening easy for listeners, it’s got little to do with traffic.

Well, at least for us it’s got little to do with traffic – out of the 21,415 (at the time of writing) downloads of Nothing Serious Podcast, only 64 listens have been on Stitcher, where we are on 10 people’s playlists. I don’t think I need to do the math for you to realize how tremendously small a percentage (0.29%) of downloads that is.

Again we, Nothing Serious, are a small podcast, but I would wager that so are the vast majority of the 15,000+ podcasts that Stitcher is building its business on, and that each and every one of those podcasts would appreciate a link from the show page back to their sites so that listeners can find other means to subscribe (yes, outside of Stitchers garden) can get access to additional content and find links to join the communities that surround their favorite shows.

It’s not really much that’s being asked for. All podcast services / directories that I know of (even iTunes) provide (at least) links to the shows website, and most go much further.

So how about it Stitcher? How about you take a step toward the middle of that two-way street called the podcasting community and show us all a little love?

OFlaherty Episode #03 – Coffee Club

Coffe Club

From Vienna to the coffee club and CC Spam to podcast clients for Vista.

Next MS OS in 2009?

King of Spam

Wheres my feed?

On the Podcast

Attribution to bloggers

Podcasting to Generate $400 Mil. in Ads by 2011

Good podcast client for Vista?

Blogs of the week:

Credit

Download Podcast MP3: OFlaherty #03 14.6mb 30:35