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A Look into the Past, Present, and Future of the Podcast Market

Hello and welcome, I am trying something new and writing about how some industries make money and financial case studies. This first post is about the podcasting industry.

The word podcast is a mix from the words iPod and broadcast for that reason we will be taking a look at Apple and then podcasters themselves.

Before we do if you have any questions or industry suggestions please tweet me @supremerumham These articles are not investment advice for that reason I will hardly mention company names at all.

Podcasters

In the United States ad revenue from podcast were $314 million last year and will continue to increase each year ahead. This money was split among several different types of ads which are Direct response ads, brand awareness ads, branded content, and product placement. Direct response as being the largest with 63% of the market last year. Some podcasters also getting donations from their listeners as well.

Apple and other companies

Being that Apple came up with the word “podcast” it is not surprising they are a big presence in the market. The Apple podcast app accounts for 50% of all podcasts played in 2017. While this number is becoming smaller each year, it is still very significant. The podcast app and the podcasts are free on the app are free. The way Apple makes money from podcasts is by people using iTunes and collecting data or people buying Apple products to listen to the podcasts on the standalone app. This is different from other podcast host that charge a monthly fee, interrupt the podcast with ads, or place ads on the app or website.

As a podcast market continues to grow we will see a lot of change in the industry from how podcasters make money or consumers listen to them. Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading I hope you enjoy this post.

Conclusion

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How to be more productive as a maker

// This article was first a podcast episode on Building an Indie Business

Many makers have other responsibilities besides their projects, jobs, families, or school. For these individuals, maximizing the time dedicated to their projects is very important. Especially when watching The Office on Netflix is much easier. But that extra time being squeezed out might make all the difference. In this article I will discuss how to avoid distraction and maximize time.

Know what you want to work on before you start working

By knowing what you want to work on before sitting down to work, you can make your decided task your main focus. You avoid wasting time making the decision and switching from task to task.

Establish a routine

This will help get your mind and body in the mindset of working. My routine for when I come home is this:

  • Eat
  • Shower
  • Spend some time relaxing
  • Put music on that I’ve heard thousands of times (lately Nirvana)
  • Start working

This routine allows me to get rid of anything that has the potential to distract me and helps me get in the mindset for working.

Pick one task

It is possible to get overwhelmed by all the tasks you need to do and end up not getting anything done. Picking one task to do for the day allows you to break your project down to simple tasks that will make you feel less overwhelmed. Imagine if your project is broken down into a hundred tasks. That means in less than four months your project can be ready for launch.

Seems less overwhelming, right? The size of the task does not matter. The point is to get in the habit and routine of doing something from start to finish. Your task can be anything from choosing the color of a button to making a logo.

Stream

Allowing others to watch you work with add some pressure. People watching will be confused and start to comment if you suddenly go from working on your front-end to watching cat videos on YouTube.

Grayscale the color on your phone

Phones can be a big distraction. To lessen your phone usage grayscale the color. Do this because what makes our phone interesting to our brains is the color. By subtracting the color it will be less interesting and you will be less distracted by your phone.

 

To grayscale your phone on iOS go to Setting General Accessibility Display Accommodations Color Filters Grayscale

You can add a shortcut to add the color back if you need it to look at anything. On iOS, add shortcuts on Accessibility scroll to the bottom Accessibility Shortcut. This allows you to switch from color to grayscale everytime you hit the home button 3 consecutive times.

Full screen your laptop

If you work in the browser and have a bunch of tabs open it is easy to get distracted by them. By full screen your laptop in the browser this will hide the other tabs. Allowing you to focus on your current task without distraction. This can be done by pressing F11 on Windows.

Close your laptop with tomorrow’s tasks open

When you are done for the day close your laptop with the tasks you want to do tomorrow open. By doing this you are more likely to start working on your task as soon as you sit down and less likely to get distracted.

Use a Chrome extension to block distracting websites

There is a Chrome extension called Timewarp. This extension is great because it not only blocks a website but will redirect to a different website. You can set it to redirect from Netflix to Google Docs. This helps to avoid the temptation of distracting websites but is also turned off with the click of a button.

Walk around

Walking around helps to process thoughts. Moving around, even to get a glass of water helps to think of new ideas or solutions to problems.

Put your phone out of view

Putting your phone out of your sight with make you forget about it. When you stop working to reach for your phone and don’t find it you will end up continuing to work. If you don’t have a drawer to put your phone in you can put your phone directly behind your laptop.

Hide the bookmarks toolbar

Similar to full screening your laptop, hide the bookmarks toolbar to avoid getting distracted by it and clicking on it.

 

Put less strain on your eyes

There is an app that make you screen orange. The orange blocks out the blue light your laptop screen emits that hurts your eyes when working at night. By reducing the strain on your eyes you can work longer and reduce the chance of getting a headache.

 

Put together, all these tips will drastically improve your productivity, and transform you into a better maker overall. There is nothing wrong with watching Netflix. But watching Netflix with not make you progress towards your goals. By optimizing your time you can reach your goals and watch Netflix.

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// This article was originally published on makermag.com

Comparing Podcasting and Creating YouTube Videos

// This article was first a podcast episode on Building an Indie Business

As makers creating content is important. Creating content is how we can bring people’s attention to our projects. There are many different kinds of content that can be created, from blog posts to tweets or short videos, all with their pros and cons. In this article, we will be comparing the pros and cons of podcasting versus publishing videos on YouTube.

Podcasts can be consumed everywhere

Due to their format and distribution system, podcasts are incredibly versatile, which make them a great option to reach your audience wherever they are.

Multiple platforms

When it comes to podcasting, there are several platforms where you can add your content and share it. If one platform does not fit your needs you can always use a different platform. This is different from creating videos because YouTube is the dominant video sharing service.

Listened to in many different situations

People listen to podcasts in many different situations, such as cooking, commuting, or walking their dog. On YouTube, people have to sit down and be in a situation where they have access to their screen.

Podcasts can be uploaded to YouTube

Podcasters can always convert their audio to video using an app like Headliner and add their podcast to YouTube. On the other hand, creating a podcast from your YouTube channel would be difficult if you rely on visuals.

But podcasting comes with some challenges

Despite these advantages, there are some limitations to podcasts that are important to be aware of before getting started or decided to make it a main focus of your content strategy.

No visual aspect

Unlike YouTube, there is no visual aspect involved with podcasting. Why can this be considered a con? Because YouTube videos lets you grab the attention of two senses, sight and hearing. There is a chance while listening to your podcast that someone will get distracted by something they see and tune out your podcast.

More difficult to set up

To create a basic podcast you need a microphone, recording software, and a podcast host to get started. You have to wait at least 3-4 days to be accepted by iTunes. On YouTube, anyone with a Gmail account can upload a video in minutes. The minimum amount of equipment needed to create a video for YouTube is a smartphone.

 

The industry isn’t very developed

Despite the fact that podcasting has been around longer than YouTube, companies have not invested as much into the podcasting industry as they have in video sharing. The lack of focus on the podcasting industry has prevented the industry from growing as fast as it could have. Some features that seem standard for YouTube such as a comment section or very in-depth metrics are missing for podcasts.

Shareability

There are many platforms that listeners can use to listen to your podcast. This is great but can cause difficulty when sharing your podcast with others. Some platforms are for IOS only and won’t play on Android devices and vice versa. This can make sharing a previous episode in the show notes difficult. On YouTube, people can always watch your videos in the browser of their phone if they don’t have the YouTube app.

What’s good about YouTube

Because it’s been around for a long time and is popular with a more mainstream audience, YouTube comes with many advantages.

Organic traffic

YouTube uses algorithms to show their viewers content they might like. There is a good chance that YouTube will show viewers your videos. This will increase your potential audience and increase the amount of potential customers for your product. There are no algorithms being used in podcast apps, limiting the organic discovery aspect. The only way to get organic traffic in a podcast app is from listeners using search in their app and for your podcast to show in the results.

Straightforward monetization

To monetize your videos on YouTube a channel needs 4,000 hours watched and 1,000 subscribers. This is a big amount of listeners and subscribers but it is straightforward. There is no clear roadmap to monetizing a podcast. You can do ads related to your content but there is no clear number of listens or subscribers that is known to start shopping around for advertisers.

But YouTube may be too big

YouTube is the biggest video sharing platform by far. If you want to create videos to grow your audience, YouTube is your only real option if you have no existing audience. To grow your audience on a different video sharing platform would be difficult because YouTube has the most viewers compared to any other video sharing platform.

 

But the company can make a decision that will negatively impact your small channel. They won’t care if you stop making videos. For instance, this happened when they decided to raise the monetization requirements.

 

There are millions of people creating videos on YouTube everyday. Even if you create the best videos in your industry on YouTube there is a chance that your video will get less views because someone else created a similar video that is favored by YouTube’s algorithms.

 

There are many different types of content that makers can use to bring people’s attention to their projects. While both podcasts and YouTube videos have their pros and cons they are both great platform for creating content, and a great approach is simply to use a mix of both, playing on each platform’s strength to better engage with your audience.

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// This article was originally published on makermag.com

How to Start a Podcast

Podcasting is a great opportunity to reach a new audience, but the process for starting a podcast can be complicated. In this article I will walk you through the process of starting a podcast and I will provide you with resources to get started.

Create an email account for your podcast

Podcasting is based on the RSS Feed. An RSS Feed can be viewed by anyone. When creating an RSS Feed for your podcast your email is added to the RSS Feed. This means anyone that wants to buy podcast related products or podcast spam can find your email easily. The more popular your podcast gets, the more spam you will get. Creating an email account for your podcast prevents the spam from cluttering your current inbox. You can use Gmail or ProtonMail.

Practice

Download the Anchor app or use voice memos and start talking about anything. Then, listen to what you recorded. When listening you are looking for several different things:

  • The volume of your voice: are you speaking too softly or too loud?
  • The speed of your voice: are you speaking too quickly?
  • Clarity: were there any glitches or sound problems?
  • Background noise: is there anything in the background distracting from your audio?

Pick a style

Once you have practiced enough, the next step is to pick a style. There many different styles of podcasts. Monologue, interview, round-table discussion to name a few. If you decide to interview people it is best to start reaching out to people as soon as possible.

Get equipment

To record your podcast you need a microphone, headphones, and recording software. A microphone what has been recommended to me is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. The microphone will need a pop filter as well. Any pop filter that fits the microphone will be fine.

 

The headphones are used during recording to hear how your podcast will sound while recording. You can use any pair of headphones.

 

For recording by yourself you can use Audacity to record and edit your podcast. Audacity can be used to increase or lower the volume of your audio during and after you have recorded your audio. The software is free and there are many tutorials online for how to use it. You can watch a basic tutorial here.

 

If you decide to interview others for your podcast you can use Zencastr. You can record up to 8 hours of audio for free.

Pick a name and cover art

Next, you should pick a name. The name of your podcast should give people who find it a basic idea of what your podcast is about. There is no need to have the word “podcast” in your title as it would be redundant. To give you an example, my podcast is called Building an Indie Business. Anyone who stumbles into my podcast knows right away that my podcast is a business podcast.

 

After choosing a name you will need to design cover art for your podcast. Your cover art should be a bright color such as red, blue, or green. Having your cover art be a bright color will help your podcast stand out from others. When someone is scrolling through a list of podcasts, your bright cover is more likely to catch their eye and they may take a look at your podcast for that reason. To create your cover art you can use Canva or Figma

I have done an episode on the naming and cover art decisions about my podcast, you can check it out here.

Record a podcast trailer

In order for your podcast to be accepted into iTunes, Google, and Spotify your RSS Feed can’t be empty. By recording a podcast trailer you avoid problems when it comes time to launch your show. A trailer is an opportunity to give your listeners a more detailed explanation of your podcast.

Upload your audio to Anchor

At this point you have a name, cover art, a trailer for your podcast, and maybe an actual episode. It is time to create your podcast in Anchor. I have a video walking viewers through creating a podcast on Anchor. You can check it out here.

Add Your Podcast to All Major Podcast Platforms

Once you have created an Anchor account you should have your RSS Feed. Here you have two options you can allow Anchor to upload your podcast to every podcast app or you can do it yourself. The difference is control.

If you make a mistake with uploading your podcast such as a grammar error in your show notes or chose the wrong time, you can fix it yourself if you upload the podcast yourself. If you allow Anchor to upload your podcast you have to ask them for help to fix those errors. I have another video showing viewers how to add a podcast to all major podcast platforms.

After submitting your podcast to iTunes you will need to wait at least 3 or 4 days before being added to iTunes. Then, another 3 or 4 days before your podcast is added to other podcast apps such as Overcast or Castro.

After waiting you should finally have a podcast on iTunes that you can start with your friends and family. It’s a good idea to also join some relevant communities. There are several communities of podcasters that will give you advice about different podcasting topics. One great one is Open Podcast on Telegram. New companies are entering the space and making changes. The future of podcasting and the podcast industry is very bright. You should join the movement today.

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// This article was originally published in makermag.com

 

How to Build a Product in Public

Why build a product in public? Successful products have users. To get users for your product, people have to know about it. Building in public will help people find out about your product.

An increasing number of indie makers decide to build in public. Some do it via their blog, on Twitter, on an open page or via communities. But it can be incredibly daunting to makers who are used to build their products in a more private fashion.

Why build a product in public? Successful products have users. To get users for your product, people have to know about it. Building in public will help people find out about your product. Here are some of the ways you can start working in public today.

Get social

Use Twitter to gain followers interested in your industry by tweeting relevant information. I constantly tweet out podcast episodes because my product is about podcast discovery. Tweet about your product’s development. Show followers pictures of what the product looks like.

Ask for feedback or ideas. This makes your followers feel involved in the building process and will increase their desire to use your product. Engage with others in your industry. Other industry insiders may like your product ideas and share your content with their followers

Log your work in public

Makerlog is a great source of motivation. It gives you a quick visual representation of all the progress you’ve made, allowing you to see all the work you’ve put into the product day to day. It also allows your audience to see your progress from day one. Additionally, it is a way to keep yourself accountable. If you stop adding tasks to Makerlog, your followers may start to ask questions.

Write consistently

Writing helps you to log your progress. This way it is easy to keep track of everything that has been done or is planned. Having to write about your ideas and problems will give you a better understanding of them, which will in turn help you solve your problems or expand on your ideas.

Writing is also a way to help expand your audience, because your articles will be seen by different people than those that see your tweets. If you struggle to write regularly, you can use a platform such as 200 Words a Day.

Create a podcast

Podcasting is similar to writing. The advantage with podcasting is that a podcast can be consumed everywhere, allowing you to reach a whole new audience – for example people who prefer to listen to content while commuting rather than reading. Podcasting also gives you an excuse to reach out to influencers in your industry to get them on the podcast for an interview, which is great to build your network.

Live stream your progress

You can use Twitch, YouTube Live or Periscope to stream your work sessions and let your audience watch you work. This allows them to give you feedback or ideas in real time. People like to see how products are made, and live streaming gives your audience a behind the scenes look at the product.

People also like knowing there is a human behind a product. Live streaming also allows your audience to see that there is a person behind the product. Streaming your progress on Twitch or another video platform gives audience visual and auditory engagement with you, which is different from Twitter because the audience can see and hear you and can engage with you in real time. This is great to build deeper relationships.

Join relevant communities

There are many relevant communities you can find based on your audience, whether on Reddit, or Quora, which are keen to read about the progress of entrepreneurs. Share your progress and answer questions to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. People will trust you and use your product for that reason. This will also help if people are looking up information about your produce, as these large communities tend to rank higher in search results.

Building in public is a long-term commitment. Over time doing these things will help grow your audience and lead to people using your product.

// Originally published on makermag.com

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The Current State of the Music Industry and the Future

Music has been around for as long as people have been around. Trends in music and tastes change from generation to generation but the way the music industry works has remained, for the most part, the same. Recently, there has been a shift in the connection between the artists and the record labels with the advent of new technology. In this article I will be exploring the financial connection between artists and record labels.

If you have any questions or industry suggestions please email me supremerumham@gmail.com. These articles are not investment advice for that reason I will hardly mention company names at all.

The Record Label

In many cases artists sign with record labels to help grow their careers better than the artist can on their own. How a record deal works is an artist signs the rights of their music in exchange for royalty payments. The record label helps the artist by producing, distributing, and promoting their music.

Streaming

Record labels make money when a song is streamed on a streaming service. This money is split between the distributors and the artist.

Publishing

When another artist covers a song for profit the owner of the song is entitled to a percentage of the profits. A cover is when an artist performs another artist’s song.

If a movie or TV show wants to use a song that a record label owns the production studio needs to pay for the use.

Performances

When an artist does a concert or their song is.played on the radio the label gets a royalty for the performance. The label works with venues to setup performance or they work with radio stations to get songs on the radio.

Merchandising

When a label signs an artist they create merchandise for fans to buy and sell at performances, online, or at retailers. For that reason every time a piece of merchandise is sold the label gets a royalty.

Grants

In some countries small record labels get government grants. The grant money is used to give advances to artists.

The Artists

While under contract with a record label an artist gets a royalty on everything the record label gets a royalty on, but it is smaller than the label’s royalty. The artist’s royalty is smaller because the costs of producing, distributing, and promoting the music are a loan from the label to the artist. In many cases an artist doesn’t see a dime until the label is fully paid back.

The artist usually signs the deal under an assumed name such as a band name. This gives the members the freedom to make money with their legal name.

Personal Appearances

Once the artist grows an audience through the record label they may start making paid appearances at events under their real name. The payments can range from $5,000 to $2,000,000 per appearance. If they were to perform at the event the label would get a royalty.

Solo Career

If the artists signs with a record under an assumed name the artist can make music under their legal name without having to pay the label a royalty.

Per Song

When a label pays an artist for the actual music the payments are broken up into two payments, for writing and the creation of the song. For writing a song the writer gets 9.1 cents per sale made. For the creation the artist gets 3.3% per sale.

Streaming Services

Currently, the range for payments per play is from $0.0038 cents to a high of $0.0273 cents. The streaming services make the record labels an unnecessary middleman. The services don’t care who gives them the music as long as the music keeps coming in and their customers like the music. An artist can work out a deal with the streaming companies themselves.

There is as growing trend of artists creating their own app and charging users monthly to listen to their music on the app. The challenges of this trend as an industry are getting users to pay monthly for different musicians/bands especially when streaming services have all the user’s options. It will be difficult for 20 different bands to get the same person to pay monthly to listen to music on their individual app. Another challenge is the development costs. A brand new artist may not have the money to pay the development costs to create an app.

Performances

Performances are where artists make most of their money. This is because fans are willing to spend more of their money on seeing a live performance. Artists can make anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000 per performance. The number depends on how popular they are as an artist. An artist keep 50% of the profits.

The Future of the Music Industry

The music industry will be less dependent on the record labels. Artists will be able to produce and distribute their music on a platform and fans will pay the artist directly. This platform should be one where the artists get charged a hosting fee every month but the artists sets the price for the fans. In that scenario, the artist chooses how much they are being paid. This gives artists more creative freedom.

The creative freedom will lead to the artists making more money because they will be paying less fees to make and distribute their music. This may lead to fans getting more for their money.

 

Conclusion

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy this post.

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Starting a Slack Channel to discuss finance.

https://join.slack.com/t/finance-studies/shared_invite/enQtNDEzNDM0MzEwNzg0LThjZjMzM2E1ZWY5YjM2MzI2NjY2YzYwYzk5ZDZmOTlhMzExMjdkMjU0MzEyN2VkMGE2ZDNmMTg3ZjFmMjc2MGU

 

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E-commerce Store: The Good, the Bad, and the Things that Make Me Glad This is Passive Income

After more than a year of running my e-commerce store I thought it would be good to write and share my experience with this side project.

The Good

No promoting

I don’t have to do any promotion to sell products. The platform does the promotion within the site and even buys Google ads for certain keywords.

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Didn’t Pay For it!!

Very little work

The only work I do for the store is the design work and coming up with the search tags for visibility. Everything else is handled for me. There are designs I put up in January of 2017 that have sold but I haven’t done anything to make more sales since I put them up.

Will be selling for years to come

My designs are based on TV shows. My most popular design is a reference that is at least 10 years old. The design still averages 1 sale a day. My designs will sell for years to come and will be selling long after I’ve forgotten about this side project.

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Spent no money

The start up cost for me to setup the store was nothing. The store has been profitable since the first sticker I sold.

The Bad

Can’t control the product pricing

The money I make on my designs is based on a percentage of the manufacturing cost. Then, the platform adds their profit that they want to add onto the price of the product. This means I could price something at $20 and the customer has to pay $25 for it.

Competition

When a potential customer uses a search tag for one of my designs the search shows a bunch of other people’s designs along with mine. This reduces the chance of them buying one of my designs.

Scalability issues

If I ever wanted to scale up my store to make more money I would need to handle everything that the platform currently handles. While I would be making money I would have to spend more money and the money I would be making wouldn’t be passive income.

UX issues

The platform has a ton of user experience issues. For example, to check what design has sold or how much I made on a sales, I have to go through four steps. Uploading a design and editing it for customer viewing is a similar amount of steps. Not a big problem but simple things that don’t have to be an issue at all.

Product Control

On this platform I don’t have full control of the product. I am limited to what is offered by the platform. One design would have made a great shirt if the shirt could be the same color as the background of the design. But the color was not offered as a shirt. The design was only able to be offered as a sticker.

The Things that Make me Glad this is Passive Income

The designs can easily be taken down

All my designs are based on TV shows, these shows have production companies that own the rights to the shows. Sometimes one of my designs violates copyright. If it does the platform takes it down. This is frustrating because I spent time making the design and posting it on the platform.

Having a boss

I post my designs on a marketplace and in order to make this venture worthwhile I have to follow their rules. This could be something such as designing something to fit their products instead of how I like to design it.

The platform can bury my work

As previously stated in my last article, I started using the platform as a way to check if my designs violated copyright. This creates more work for them and they don’t like that. If the platform decides that I’m creating too much extra work for them they can shadow-ban my account and I would stop making money without the chance to do anything about it.

Conclusion

Keep in mind every platform is different and this is my experience with one of them. You may have a very different experience if you use another platform.

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