iTunes’ New Podcasts Connect, EXPLAINED!

iTunes’ New Podcasts Connect, EXPLAINED!

The lovely Elsie Escobar (@yogeek) and I are joining forces in our original Libsyn Live format to bring you a full update on iTunes new podcast submission and management system, Podcasts Connect.

Historically, podcast submissions to the iTunes store were done strictly using the iTunes desktop app on Mac or Windows. If you did all your work on say, an iPad, there was no way to submit your show. Also, once submitted, there wasn’t anything you could do to your show in the iTunes store. You would have to make all changes via our RSS feed, but some changes can’t be made in the feed.

For example, you can’t change your feed URL. Normally, you wouldn’t want to do this, but if you are somehow stuck with a provider who doesn’t allow you to redirect your RSS feed, then you can at least still update your iTunes submission.

Of course, unless you must or have a REALLY good reason to, you don’t want to just go off changing your feed URL.

In this Libsyn Live, I’m going to share my screen and walk you through everything in the Podcasts Connect dashboard. I’m also going to cover what we have learned directly from the iTunes team (and those few things we simply cannot get answers on), and Elsie and I will take questions during the live Q&A from the audience.

Join in, even if you don’t host with Libsyn. This one is going to be a must watch!

Podcamp Pittsburgh X: A Recap

Podcamp Pittsburgh X: A Recap

Yay Podcamp!

There are a few cities out there still running Podcamps, and one of the longest running Podcamps happens to be right in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This past weekend was Podcamp Pittsburgh X.

In case you didn’t know, X stands for 10. That’s 10 Podcamps, over 10 years. I think that’s really amazing. Keeping communities going for any period of time is tough, but for these local groups, to stay together for years takes an amount of dedication not only from the leaders of that community, but from the community itself.

There were a number of awesome sessions, including the keynote by Podcamp Pittsburgh co-founder Justin Kownacki (@justinkownacki) and a great Sunday morning session by the amazing Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan). Now that one, I took tons of notes at.

There were sessions on getting started podcasting, and sessions on social media, and even a session about how to help your jaw and mouth so that the sound you put forth into your mic is better which ultimately leads to less editing time. I, for one, am all about less editing time!

My co-worker, Greg Buretz, did a session on how NOT to break your feed. This session is so good, I think we’re going to turn it into a webinar. It was a bit more technical, but it discussed some of the every day things that producers do that can break their RSS feed. It’s information any podcaster should at least be aware of, even if they have a great host that generates their feed for them.

My session discussed WordPress and podcasting. I focused on the basics of setting up a WordPress site geared specifically to media creators. Interested? Go check it out here. I had a good group and some good questions. I just might have to turn that into a webinar also. 🙂

Some friends from Ohio came into town, Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting and Nick Seuberling from Inside the Jungle both came PCPGHX. It was great to see some out of town friendly faces.

If you are a podcaster, do check your area to see if there any podcamps running. If not, check for podcasting meetups. Many cities have meetups that have been running for a very long time and are a great way to get face to face with the podcast community.
Hope to see you next year for Podcamp Pittsburgh 11!!

I’m Going to Podcast Movement!

I’m Going to Podcast Movement!

Woot woot! I’m going to Podcast Movement. Are you?

Podcast Movement is a new weekend long conference (this is it’s second year) JUST for podcasters. It’s a place to get some great full day workshops, breakout sessions, amazing speakers, and of course networking with all your podcasting friends.

The event happens in Fort Worth, Texas from July 31 through August 2nd. I am flying in Thursday evening and heading out Sunday evening.

I’ll be hanging out at the Libsyn booth so be sure to stop by. Keep an eye on @kocotech on Twitter, or @libsyn for updates and fun stuff.

If you are coming in with time to attend any of the Friday workshops, check out the She Podcasts workshop. Jess and Elsie will be kicking butt all day teaching about empowerment and women podcasting STUFF. I’ll probably be hanging out there myself and if I know Elsie, it’ll be AWESOME.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, go get it! Tickets and accommodations are going fast!

The NEW Spotify

The NEW Spotify

On May 20th, 2015, Spotify announced a whole slew of new beta features including NowRunning, Video, and…. podcasts.

I had subscribed to Spotify more than a year ago and to be honest I hated it. I felt the syncing of my owned library into their system and down to my mobile devices was cumbersome at best (it still is), and while I fully understand that listeners are moving in droves to streaming platforms, not every platform has every song. When it’s a song they don’t have rights to stream, I still would love to hit a buy button.

But I digress.

Libsyn, my employer, and a partner with Spotify. We have many podcasts that were added to the podcast directory for the beta launch. I’ve seen the beta, and I have some thoughts.

Spotify Running

Spotify RunningI love the running feature. I’ve heard some out there call it a gimmick. Be that as it may, it’s still awesome. It doesn’t pick up my steps per minute at a walking pace, and I usually start with a few minutes of walking before I pick up a jog. But, no matter how long I walk, when I eventually start running, it knows… instantly… and calculates my pace. It tells me my pace, and then kicks up a playlist.

I’m extremely picky about my running playlists. When I say I run, it’s more like I jog… barely… and thanks to winter and some other unforeseen events I hadn’t run since last fall, so I’m using a walk-run program called Couch to 5K. That means I’m out of shape, I get tired fast, and I really need that music to keep me pumped up! Hence, I didn’t think this new Spotify feature would do me any justice.

WRONG! I’ve never kept such a steady pace while running, ever. And, I’ve yet to hear anything I really didn’t like. Even when that happens, the double tap on my headphones button works like a charm, moving onto the next song without a hitch. The playlist automatically fades one song into theSpotify Running next, and does a pretty good job of keeping the beat in the same place while doing so. All in all, I’m very impressed, and have continued to use Spotify Running for my runs… exclusively… since the announcement.

Spotify Now

The Spotify Now feature is kinda neat, it tries to figure out what time of day it is, what day of the week it is, and what I’m likely doing at that time (like, I’m at work in the middle of an afternoon lull and in need of a pick me up, or I’m on my commute into the office, etc). It’s, well, neat. I’m not honestly as enthralled with it as I am with Spotify Running, and I certainly haven’t used it as much.

Spotify + Podcasts

Will this really be worth it for podcasters? In my opinion, we will have to really wait and see what the stats end up showing. I do see this as a growth opportunity for podcasters, any platform of Spotify’s size that opens up to podcasters has the potential to be great for podcasters.

Let’s look at what’s in the podcast directory.

The Spotify Podcast Directory

As with most podcast directories, there is a list of featured shows, and a breakdown of audio or video. Browsing the directory is pretty simple, and standard. You can browse by featured, audio or video, and by genre breakdown.

A show's episode list in SpotifyEach show contains it’s list of episodes, you can add a show to your library so that new episodes are automatically included in your local device’s library, and show notes are visible for those who provide them.

Here is where my biggest annoyances are. First, show notes are not picking upLooking at a Podcast Episode in Spotify
formatting. Producers often spend a lot of time and put a lot of effort into formatting their show notes with source links, phone numbers (handy when listening on mobile devices), and even just paragraphs and spaces to make it easier to read. Spotify currently isn’t showing any of that formatting. Bummer.

Onto my next pet peeve, Spotify doesn’t provide any functionality for controlling download behavior. I can’t, for example, tell Spotify to always download and only keep the newest 3 episodes, or the newest 5 episodes, and so forth. This is a pretty standard feature nearly every podcatcher offers. Keep in mind that they are totally new to the podcasting world, and they do seem quite dedicated to the cause (they have a team dedicated to the cause). Also remember that they are not a podcatcher first, and that this is all still very beta. I can only imagine these are things that they plan to fix or implement down the road.

Another note worth making, they pull show artwork, but they do not pull episode artwork. If you use custom artwork for each individual episode, don’t expect that to appear in Spotify… yet (at the time of writing this, anyway).

Here’s the good. It works, well! I have several shows I’ve subscribed exclusively through Spotify to, and I’ve made it a point to listen using Spotify in my car, in my headphones, and I’ve had zero problems. It always picks up where I’ve left off, I always have access to new content from shows I’ve ‘followed’ (subscribed to), it just works. I think if they continue to improve on the app and grow the directory (which they obviously have plans to do), then I see no reason why listeners wouldn’t listen to podcasts in Spotify, and it will be nice to have everything in one place.

Final Thoughts

I am now again a subscriber to Spotify and happily participating in their beta. I’m excited about where the inclusion of podcasts (audio and video) is headed, I LOVE the running feature, curation has gotten much better.

If you want to learn more, Elsie Escobar and I talk it up on the topic and show off the BETA version of the app:

It’s currently only available for iOS, but it will make it to additional users and additional platforms over time.

Have you tried it yet? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on the new Spotify.