This is Hot Pod, The Verge’s e-newsletter about podcasting and the audio business. Sign up right here for extra.
Hope you all had an awesome weekend. I don’t have any podcast ideas at the moment, however I did see the Roundabout Theater’s gender-reversed 1776, and it completely slapped. As my good friend Olivia stated, 1776 was made as propaganda and has no enterprise being pretty much as good as it’s (it’s additionally extra clear-eyed about American politics than Hamilton, however I digress). Plus, the movie version has Mr. Feeny as John Adams — what a present.
Anywho, on the docket at the moment: Apple makes it simpler for podcasters to ship the products to their subscribers, Microsoft is making leaps within the text-to-speech AI house, and we’ve some thrilling Hot Pod Summit information!
Announcing Hot Pod Summit Brooklyn 🎤
It’s that point of yr once more, gang: Hot Pod Summit is coming again to the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn on February twenty third. We can have extra particulars quickly, however we might be switching it up a bit this time round. In addition to panels with specialists from throughout the business, the Summit will function new interactive programming, so keep tuned!
As at all times, the occasion might be invitation-only. Guests will obtain invitations by e mail with the ticket buy code by the top of the week. And if you don’t get an invitation immediately, don’t despair! You can apply for an invite via our ticket lottery at the On Air Fest website.
On that word, Hot Pod Summit Brooklyn is being held in affiliation with On Air Fest 2023, which can happen February twenty third–twenty fifth. On Air Fest has some cool programming lined up, that includes On Being with Krista Tippett, People’s Party with Talib Kweli, a reside podcast penthouse, networking breakfasts, events, and extra. The occasion can even function On Air: The Podcast Experience, an immersive podcast exhibition from the world of My Favorite Murder and the Exactly Right Network, On Being Project, The Heart, and extra. The exhibit will run from February twenty third–twenty sixth, and tickets can be found at experiencepodcasts.com.
Apple (lastly) makes it simpler to distribute subscription podcasts
Last May, Apple introduced that it might launch delegated supply for subscription podcasts in the fall. It missed that purpose by a couple of weeks, however delegated supply is now reside for a number of podcast internet hosting platforms, with extra to come back.
The function permits creators with subscription reveals to distribute episodes instantly from their host dashboards as an alternative of getting to manually add the content material via Apple Podcast Connect. Participating hosts for now embrace Libsyn, Blubrry, Omny Studio, and RSS.com, with different fashionable platforms like Buzzsprout and Acast to be added later. Anchor, the most important distributor of podcasts (and a subsidiary of Spotify), isn’t a part of the preliminary batch of internet hosting suppliers.
What are subscribers prepared to pay for?
Speaking of podcast subscriptions, Cumulus and Signal Hill released a report that offers some perception into what (if something) will compel listeners to pay for podcasts. Unsurprisingly, the reply is extra content material (at all times extra content material! Feed the beast!).
Among weekly podcast listeners, 36 % stated they’d pay a month-to-month charge for bonus episodes of one in all their reveals. Other perks that ranked properly have been entry to prolonged episodes (32 %), early entry to episodes (30 %), and behind-the-scenes content material (28 %). What do they not care about? Exclusive merch (22 %) and transcripts (13 %).
While that’s nonetheless a fraction of standard podcast listeners who’re prepared to pay something in any respect, it does present that there’s some validity to the methods creators are utilizing to shore up subscriptions. Patreon creators use bonus episodes because the cornerstone of their memberships, whereas Wondery has leaned closely into the early-release mannequin for reveals like My Favorite Murder and SmartLess.
Microsoft makes some (barely alarming?) advances in text-to-speech AI
Last week, I wrote about how Apple is utilizing fairly superior text-to-speech know-how to facilitate the manufacturing and distribution of audiobooks. So far, that function consists of 4 AI voices. Microsoft, in the meantime, introduced a text-to-speech mannequin referred to as VALL-E that may allegedly simulate anybody’s voice with just a three-second sample.
If it really works, that might have large implications for the audio business. There are undoubtedly upsides — improved text-to-speech may vastly enhance accessibility for folks with visible impairment and, like within the Apple Books case, make audio content material creation simpler general. But additionally it is straightforward to think about how issues may go off the rails in a giant method, with podcasts that includes “guests” who aren’t actually there and deep fakes which can be onerous to fight. That may particularly be an issue whereas the business figures out average content material.
That is all for now! See you subsequent week.
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