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Category: News (page 1 of 2)

Behind the scenes of the New York Times Podcast Club Facebook group

Phoebe Lett is a self-proclaimed podcast nerd. She tries to listen to two to three new podcasts every single day, keeping a list of them in a notebook. She jots down short reactions and summaries for each, and stars the ones that make her want to try another episode or recommend it to someone else.

Phoebe isn’t just a dedicated hobbyist; she’s one of three moderators of the recently-launched New York Times Podcast Club Facebook group. The Facebook group started a few months ago when Samantha Henig, the Times’s editorial director for audio, approached Phoebe about creating a virtual version of their in-real-life podcast club, one that would be open to the public and a place to foster conversation and connection among podcast enthusiasts of all types. But how to create a social media community that achieved the best of their weekly in-person gatherings?

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What we’re listening to and reading

As you might imagine, at Audiosear.ch we don’t just spend our days building tools to make podcasts searchable and discoverable — we’re also all avid fans, listeners, and followers of all things in the audio space. Here is a selection of recent shows we’re listening to and articles we’re reading.

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Come + Play hackathon final projects

Last month, we hosted Come and Play — an audio storytelling hackathon where artists, producers, developers, and designers came together at the Thoughtworks offices in San Francisco to find new and fun ways to tell stories with audio (the event was co-organized by Audiosear.ch and Buzzfeed, and sponsored by Stitcher and Detour).  

Today, we want to share the eight amaaaazing projects developed by the teams who participated. Broadly speaking, they fell into three categories — sharing/discovery, context/commentary, and audience participation. These projects will make you think about who gets to be a creator, the ways we use audio in our daily lives, the editorial role of the community, and more. (And if you want to start with a quick primer on what exactly a hackathon is, check out this conversation between two of the participants, Sonia Paul and Claire Mullen).

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“Are we there yet?”

The podcast industry is growing — something that thrills all of us working on the creation, discovery, and delivery of on-demand audio. But with growth comes change, sometimes lurching, as companies and organizations seek ways to thrive, expand, and capitalize on the interest of their market.

A few weeks ago, a group of people working in the business of podcasts gathered at Spotify in New York City to talk about key challenges and opportunities in our industry — and how we might work together to tackle them. Audiosear.ch began hosting these podcast business and technology summits in cahoots with Nick Quah of Hot Pod in the fall of 2015; the Spotify meeting was our fourth such gathering. We came up with the idea for the podcast summits because in the course of our work at Audiosear.ch and its sister product, Pop Up Archive, we spend a lot of time strategizing with numerous podcast industry constituents who face similar challenges around growing audience, monetizing audio content, and measuring listener behavior — and at the same time, we noticed a stark lack of opportunities for decision makers at those companies to compare notes and unite on strategies that would, as the metaphor goes, lift all boats.

Attendees at Spotify represented a variety of interests, including hosting platforms, ad networks, publishers, listening apps, podcast studios, public radio stations, and more. Here are some of the main themes we discussed.

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Audiosear.ch: powering the future of listening

In 2014, our co-founders — Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith — were very, very busy.

Every day they were commuting from Oakland, CA to 500 Startups’ Mountain View accelerator  as they developed Pop Up Archive, a business then in its infancy. They spent their days learning about speech-to-text software and ways of modeling data for audio, pitching their vision that audio was a medium whose parity with text was becoming inevitable. They talked about developing a product that was like Google for all types of audio. Then the podcast “Serial” was released.

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Innovating new forms of audio storytelling

We’re delighted to share that we’re partnering with BuzzFeed and Stitcher to host Come and Play, a two-day audio storytelling hackathon where artists, storytellers, producers, developers, designers, and others will come together to find new and fun ways to tell stories with audio.

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Take the Audiosear.ch clipmaker for a spin

Have you ever tried to describe a favorite podcast episode to a friend only to realize it’s more of a “guess you had to be there” situation? Ever wanted to share a zinger of a clip, but feel silly sending a podcast link and timecode? We’re right there with you.

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are optimized for text, images, and video — but not audio. How do we make audio content flourish on our feeds just as much as photos, gifs, and videos? Let the words speak for themselves, we say. The Audiosear.ch clipmaker makes it easy for anyone to select a favorite podcast moment and share it on social media as a short auto-playing video.

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Using transcript analysis to fuel podcast discovery

Lots of people get podcast recommendations from friends, social media, newsletters, or websites — which are pretty much the only sources available to them. Today’s podcast listening apps don’t offer much in terms of options for search and discovery.

A few apps have charts that reflect measurements of show popularity, or offer some insight into the listening habits of people who subscribe to the same show you do. But most podcast platforms simply don’t have much information about the podcasts they offer to listeners. There’s a title, maybe a short description, and possibly some listening data gathered by tracking users in the app. But the episodes themselves — their content, the topics they cover, people they feature, moods they strike — are black boxes.

 

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Making podcast search smarter

What if searching for podcasts felt as fun and effortless as browsing on-demand video platforms like Netflix or Hulu?

Using the deep database of podcast metadata we’ve collected at Audiosear.ch, we’re building better ways to discover podcasts. Audiosear.ch provides topic and network filters, discovery categories, and smart show search features to make finding podcasts easier than ever. Give it a try — and tweet at us to tell us what other options you’d like to see.

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Taking a closer look at podcast performance

As we’ve built Audiosear.ch Charts, we’re gathering more and more data points on podcast rankings over time. We’ve started with iTunes charts data (according to some sources, Apple’s podcast app accounts for 70% of podcast listening), and we’ll incorporate other sources from here. Using Audiosear.ch’s in-depth show statistics tool, you can examine podcast charts stats in multiple ways — and gain insight into the otherwise opaque algorithms that power the charts themselves.

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