Last Week in Podcasting – Podcasting News and Tips

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Podcasting News and Tips for the week of 3-9 October

In today’s podcasting news and tips:

·        Spotify cutting original podcasts

·        Spotify releases podcast listener data

·        How long should your podcast episode be?

Spotify cuts 11 original shows

From Hot Pod

Spotify has bet aggressively on podcasting as a growth strategy and some of those bets seem to be coming due. Two of the formerly independent networks they acquired are Gimlet and Parcast and several shows produced by those subsidiaries are being cut.

According to Spotify less than 5% of the people working on the shows will be laid off. Hopefully those people recover soon but considering the scale of recent media industry layoffs that’s better than could probably be hoped.

The Hot Pod piece has excellent in depth analysis and talks about history of the respective companies. It’s definitely worth a read.

Spotify Releases Listener Data

There’s a lot of really interesting stuff here. The section I find most interesting is how long listeners will, ummmm… listen. More on that in our next section.

But other key points are that listeners have pretty complex interests, which shouldn’t be surprising. And also even small podcasts get listeners from all over the world. Which is something most podcasters should know. Odds are pretty good someone in Lithuania may find what you have to say interesting. 😊

How Long Should a Podcast Be?

I spend a fair amount of time on various Podcasting Facebook groups. They are a useful resource and I like hanging out and helping folks. But one piece of advice you’ll often see is that a podcast needs to be short, usually in the region of 20 minutes. One reason given is that it needs to fit in an ‘average commute length.’


Firstly, average is nonsense. Long commutes and short commutes all go into the average, so you’ll probably find only a fraction of real commutes fit the average. So using that as a goal makes no sense.

Secondly, podcast apps have a pause button. When you reach the end of the episode you pause and resume later.

It’s advice that doesn’t seem to account for user behaviour. Which frankly is a common theme among well-meaning podcasters.

Libsyn is the oldest Podcast Hosting company, and one of the largest paid hosts so they have access to a lot of data. And per their VP of Podcaster Relations Rob Walch provided some enlightening data on an episode of The Feed

He analysed the lengths of the Top 200 shows hosted by Libsyn and he found that the vast majority of those shows are over 40 minutes, and they have gotten longer in the last few years.

Only a tiny majority of the Top 200 podcasts, the ones actually being listened to by massive numbers of people, are below 22 minutes.

So what does this mean?

Obviously you don’t need to put yourself under pressure to fit some arbitrary ‘average commute’ length.

The advice I’d give is that a podcast should be as long as it needs to be.

While sharing information is important, the thing that makes a podcast stand out among other informational media is that listeners get to know the podcaster. Don’t waffle and don’t bore the listener, but your podcast needs room to breathe so your personality has the space to come out.

Trying to reach some time limit also limits your ability to establish your identity and create trust with the audience.

Originally on LinkedIn

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