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Elon Musk is buying Twitter for $44 billion. And while much has been discussed about the political and free speech ramifications of this move, the podcasting piece has largely been overlooked. Earlier this week, I asked, via Twitter of course, what this move would mean for podcasting. My good friend, colleague, and collaborator Johnny Peterson suggested we have a conversation about it. That's what you'll find here.
Johnny joins me to explore different ways Twitter could help podcasting. We start shrinking the "funnel" of having to tweet a link to a podcast, hope the algorithm doesn't penalize you, having someone click the link, then click play on your podcast. There are a number of ways that Elon and his team could streamline this.
We also talk about live audio - specifically Twitter Spaces, which effectively ended Clubhouse's relevancy. Could Twitter re-boot its Periscope platform? Johnny's got a great new name for it. And how can we improve the quality? Twitter's goal is to keep users on their platform for as long as possible - there are a number of ways podcasting can help with that.
Musk has talked about verifying all "people" on Twitter, to differentiate from bots and trolls. Could something similar happen for podcast accounts?
Also on Johnny Peterson's wish list - the ability to play your podcast direct from a tweet. Twitter has done this with play buttons before - but could they partner with Apple, Spotify, or even just pull directly from your RSS Feed?
What about a virtual tip jar?
To connect with Johnny Peterson, find him on, of course, Twitter here on his great username: https://twitter.com/johnnypodcasts
To connect with Jon Gay of JAG in Detroit, follow him here: https://twitter.com/jagindetroit
Intro: And now a look at this week in podcasting news. It's the Jag Show podcast.
Jag: Welcome in to a special bonus episode of the JAG Show Podcast. So the big news this past week has been Elon Musk buying Twitter. I put out a tweet a little bit earlier this week. What are your thoughts? What could this mean for the world of podcasting?
And the first person to jump on the tweet was my good friend and fellow podcast producer, Johnny Peterson, AKA Johnny Podcasts. He said, "Hey, let's do a podcast about it". And I said, Hey, let's do it. So welcome to the show,. Johnny.
Johnny: JAG in Detroit, the podcast pimp of the upper peninsula. Thank you for having me.
Jag: Oh, see, you're showing your lack of Michigan knowledge. Upper peninsula is way up there. We're down here outside of Detroit. We're in the lower part. They call us trolls cause we're under the bridge.
Johnny: Fair enough. Fair enough. Well, I appreciate you having me. When you put out the tweet, I mean, I was just so buried in the hype as everybody else was online of holy cow, the guy really bought Twitter.
He really did it. And of course. You would think we would all jump into how does this affect podcasting? And I genuinely, that thought didn't even cross my mind until I saw the tweet. And I was like, what a great thought, because as many takes as there are, regardless of where you are, and there are many, on whether this is the best thing that's ever happened, or it's the end of the world as we know it. No one has talked about the implications for the podcast industry. So I think we will be breaking some new ground here.
Jag: No, I hope so. And I was actually looking online for what other people have said about this in preparation for our podcast today. And really there wasn't much out there aside from James Cridland of Podnews, comparing Elon Musk to a James Bond villain.
So there really wasn't a lot going on there. So like you said, there is a lot of, "Is he going to bring Trump back? What kind of free speech is that going to mean?" What's interesting before we get into the podcasting piece of it is, like 50% of what he makes off of Tesla, he makes in China where free speech is really, really restricted.
So in terms of free speech, you're going to be limited by the country and laws in that area where we are operating. So that piece of it is going to be interesting, but let me turn it back over to you and start with you. What thoughts you have on the podcasting piece of it?
Johnny: So I jotted down over the last couple of days, just in preparation for this episode.
The first thing that came to my mind was we all know, especially on social media platforms, Twitter and LinkedIn, specifically, when you post something and you put a link in there, the algorithm automatically deranks you, or it doesn't bump it up or give it as much viewership as a normal tweet that would go viral. If you put a link in. It automatically deranks you. So is there an option to go in there and change the algorithm that stops deranking tweets with links specifically for podcasts links? Because we're always trying to hack around ways of, Hey, check out the newest episode of my podcast as I tweet it out.
But if I know if I put the link to my show in there, I now have to rely on it getting enough viewership due to the algorithm or that funnel working enough for my audience to go, okay, I'm going to click on this tweet. I'm going to be committed to listening to this episode. I'm now going to click to the profile. I'm going to click to the link in his bio to go to the episode and listen to the episode all the way through. And we all know with social media, that funnel just gets increasingly small. When you were asking people to take more steps.
Jag: I it's so true, Johnny. And I know one of the hacks that I've worked with my clients on is creating those Headliner or videos or whatever app you want to use those short video teasers and posting them to social, to get into the algorithm. But then do you post the link and risk hurting yourself that way? It's really quite a conundrum.
Johnny: And the video isn't considered a link. Is it? It's a mediaa ddition to the tweet?
Jag: Right, so the algorithm will favor the video, but it will "d- favor," if I can coin a phrase, the link. So that's kind of a fine line we've got to walk in promoting it.
So that's going to be interesting to see if Elon Musk changes that because as we both know, he's a big fan of podcasts. He's been on Rogan. He really likes the medium. So I'll be kind of curious to see if that changed. That's the first good point. What else is on your list?
Johnny: Is there a potential or is there room to change the direction that Twitter Spaces is going. So we're recording on Riverside right now, which in both of our opinions is one of the top remote recording platforms out there. Is there a way to build a Riverside type dashboard for podcasters so that we can utilize the microphones that we're using now and audio interfaces for better audio via desktop?
I know most people, either listening or joining on spaces are using the mobile version, but is there room for building out a more detailed dashboard. So you and I could jump on Twitter spaces on our desktops right now, or on our laptops and plug in our audio interfaces? We have nice Shure SM7B microphones. So to give a better listening experience for the live Twitter space.
Jag: See, I really didn't know that cause I haven't played much in the "space" of Twitter spaces. So you've seen from what you experienced so far, that it's really limited in what it has to offer?,
Johnny: I genuinely have not even checked if there's a desktop version of spaces, as far as I know, there is no desktop version of spaces. There's the mobile version and people, the best thing you can do is just throw in your AirPods and we all know how great the microphone is on apple AirPods.
Jag: For us audio geeks, not the best quality. It's interesting, in the larger sense of things in social media and live audio, there was Clubhouse which has kind of fizzled out.
And then Facebook is doing some things including allowing you to put the RSS feed of your podcast into a Facebook fan page, which only shows up on mobile. It doesn't show up on desktop. And so what I'm hoping for is regardless of your opinions of Elon Musk, the person, the troll, the politician, whatever you want to call him, he has revolutionized some spaces.
Obviously he's done work with Tesla, he's done work with SpaceX and all that. I'm curious to see if in the larger sense of things beyond just, well, through Twitter, but even beyond Twitter as a result. If he is able to revolutionize the live audio space because it needs a lot of help to your point.
Johnny: Yeah. Yeah. And it makes sense because you're right. Clubhouse has fizzled out and I know that it's largely due to Twitter spaces. They basically just copied the code of clubhouse and just said, Hey, well, we already have this massive built-in audience. So yeah. It'll be interesting to see if he's even thinking about podcasting, because like you said, he has appeared on Rogan.
He's gone on Lex Freedman's podcast. It'll just be really interesting to see what level of attention, he puts on it because his bandwidth is so limited and already he's said that he's going to step into Twitter with all these changes he wants to make. I'm curious as to what percentage of that thinking is geared towards podcasting.
Another idea I had in terms of this Twitter spaces thing is bringing back Periscope and renaming it to Pod-iscope.
Jag: I like where your head's at.
Johnny: A live video version, essentially of Twitter spaces and Periscope, where again, you can plug in your microphone and you can essentially do a live streaming podcast feature within Twitter because ultimately the way that you increase value for Twitter is to keep people on it more.
Keep people on it longer. And it's interesting that you brought up the Facebook groups and the Facebook podcasting format of it because another feature I think he could build out is something similar to groups and email lists where there's like a group that you can join on for your podcasts. Whether that's a podcast Twitter profile that you can create, or even like a paid feature where you consolidate your audience on Twitter for your podcast, where people can gather there, that's where they find new releases, bonus content, things like that. And then we've seen the super follows or the Twitter Blue paid option version of the app where people could pay to get early releases, bonus content. All of that builds into Twitter.
Jag: I think you need to be on Elon Musk's board because there's are some great ideas you have Johnny. And I think that he's going to leverage part of his ownership in Tesla to make this purchase of Twitter because of the ridiculous amount of money that we're talking about.
$44 billion to buy this. So he's going to need to find ways to better monetize the platform. I like what you're saying, I think to your point about Periscope or Pod-iscope. I remember I was working a radio station in New Orleans about 10 years ago when Periscope came out and that was the thing.
All the DJs were walking around with their phones and doing live Periscopes on Twitter and things like that. We have so much better bandwidth right now than we did 10 years ago. And with 5G and everything to do these live streams, I wouldn't surprise me if he did more of a Periscope live video thing, but having the live audio piece where we have such better, faster connections. It's really interesting.
Johnny: And again, it's all about keeping people on the app. The great thing about spaces now is you don't have to stay on that space as page and just blindly look at all of the little circle pictures of people who are in the audience and the speakers. You can close that out and continue to scroll Twitter.
And I think you can even leave the app and it will still be playing in the background. So ultimately you're still using it. You're still giving your attention to Twitter versus Spotify or Apple Podcasts. And then just the last notes to close out on my thoughts of what he could do before we get into sort of a wishlist that I put together.
If I was in control, if I was Elon, is just verifications. He's talked a lot about verifying all humans. So we can kind of delineate between who are the bots, who are the trolls and the actual people like you and I who use Twitter for work, essentially. And to talk about podcasting, what about a verification for your podcast profile?
Because you would imagine your podcast gets to a big enough point to where there would be imposters. People that are like, Hey, this is the Joe Rogan Experience official podcast page on Twitter. Pay me two bucks a month and you can join and get all the episodes on here. No, we need a verification system to say, this is the actual Joe Rogan Podcast page or whatever show we're talking about to make sure that the creators are actually capitalizing on the audience that they're getting.
Jag: We've already seen people,, and this has been in pod news where people have stolen RSS feeds and duplicated podcasts. So having the actual verified part is definitely worth looking at.
Johnny: Yeah. And this has been too much about me. You are the one who came up with this idea for this episode. What are your thoughts on what Elon should or could do?
Jag: No. I really agree with everything you've said, Johnny. And I wanted to bring you on for your thoughts. I was putting it out there to the world for thoughts. And back to our original point, everybody was caught up in free speech and social media and you know, how much money could Elon have given every American citizen, if he had used that money instead to buy Twitter.
And by the way, don't believe that myth. It turns out it's like 125 bucks a person. So don't be like he could have given everybody a million dollars. Your math is off, if you say that. But I really wanted to see the podcasting piece of it because live audio and podcasting, we just heard is going to be a $2 billion industry by 2024. There's a lot of money at stake. And I'm curious to see what somebody who has revolutionized a couple industries is going to do. I actually haven't put together a wishlist, but I'm kind of curious, what's on yours?
Johnny: So I have a wishlist Elon, if you're listening. If you're going to implement any of these things, please consider the following. One of the newer features in Twitter has been, if people with massive newsletters, even small newsletters, they can put a little link on their profile. It says subscribe to my newsletter and it gives a brief overview of their newsletter.
Jag: I didn't know that. I'm going to do that with mine.
Johnny: Yeah. I've seen it on a lot of Twitter profiles. You just, you go to their page and right under their follower account, it says subscribe to, you know, John Smith's newsletter. And it's a brief, two sentences about their newsletter and there's a quick tap to subscribe button that brings you to the next page. You put in your email address and you can subscribe right away.
Why not do this for podcasting? So like I said, similar to the newsletter subscription, or a tap to listen feature in that same spot. So put your podcast trailer, or even have it update to your most recent episode. People can just go right to your Twitter profile. Again, bypassing that algorithm where it de-ranked you. Wer'e taking away one step of the funnel, the conversion funnel. I only have to tap to your profile and click tap to listen. And then we're either partnering with Spotify or maybe Twitter builds something where they can link their RSS feeds to the actual Twitter profile. But it's a simple tap to listen, to either check out my trailer, to consider subscribing to my podcast or listen to my most recent episode right in my profile.
Jag: It's funny back to the Facebook comparison. Facebook jumped half-assed to the podcast thing. And they were able to get half a percentage of all podcasts listening by serving podcasts to a new out audience that skews olde,r that uses primarily Facebook, but they limited it only to mobile, not desktop.
And they limited it only to business pages, not personal pages. I think if Elon Musk really builds Twitter with some of these tools you're mentioning, and you know, maybe he can give you some,cheddar for some of these ideas, Johnny. But if he can bring in some of these ideas, this can really take podcasting into the stratosphere.
Some of the, you know, buzzwords are podcasting 2.0 and 3.0, I don't get caught up in all that, but podcasting is growing. It tailed off a little bit at the end of the pandemic, as people started getting back into routines, but it's still overall trending up. This could really turbocharge podcasting if done the right way.
Johnny: Yeah. And he, may be doing that unintentionally. He may unintentionally give another kick in the ass to the podcast industry and just send it into the stratosphere like all those other rockets that he's putting up there.
Also on your wish list?
Johnny: And on my wish list, I kind of went through a lot of it. The podcast trailer listening option, tap to listen within the profile or tap to listen while on Twitter from a tweet.
So you have your tweet sent out and there's just that play button and you can just tap it and like spaces. It puts up a little bar at the bottom of your mobile screen or your desktop screen. And then you can get out of it or pause it or fast forward, whatever you want. So again, we're talking about just shrinking that conversion funnel to get people directly from.
"I see your tweet, I'm listening to your podcast," making that as quick as possible. And the last thing I have on my wish list is something that I think is, you know, we've talked about the paid option for Twitter, but basically a tipping feature within it. So adding that onto your profile similar to "Buy me a coffee," I've seen other people do that with their podcasts.
Yeah. So we're like, again, conversion funnel. That's all we're doing is shrinking that conversion funnel from, I see your tweet. I listen to your podcast. I joined your Patreon. I now pay monthly, to, "Hey, I'll tip you two bucks right away." I'm sure they're looking for more ways to monetize Twitter beyond kind of just the basic ads. Twitter would probably take a percentage of that tip. Maybe it's like 0.05%, but you get enough people tipping. You can make a serious living doing your podcast simply off of Twitter.
Jag: I think you are a visionary yourself, Johnny, and I'm glad you responded to my tweet and wanted to come on here. I've mentioned this in the JAG Show before, but we have what we call our podcast producers group, or our podcast producers super friends.
It's Johnny there in Fort worth who owns Straight Up Podcasts. I got that, right? We also have Catherine O'Brien from Branch Out Programs in Baton Rouge. We have Matt Cundill from the Sound Off Media company in Winnipeg. And we have David Yas, Pod617 in Boston. The five of us actually meet over zoom once a month to share ideas and help each other problem solve with different issues we run into with podcasting and clients in general and share ideas.
It's the one zoom call that I look forward to the most, every single month. Johnny, you kind of helped bring me into this group when you and I just met in the hallway during a fire drill at Podcast Movement in Orlando a few years ago.
Johnny: So wild. When was that? What that was like 2019.
Jag: Pre COVID. The before times
Johnny: Wow. Wild, how much time flies. And we've only spent probably a grand total of that 15 minutes in person to face-to-face, but I mean, I would consider you a closer friend and business colleague than a lot of people that I do see in person all the time. So I'm very thankful for that relationship and just thankful for technology and podcasting, because, I mean, I mention this all the time.
There's not a lot of people that do what we do. And so if you are someone that works in the podcasting industry, or you run your own business in podcasting, it's hard to have people relate to the issues that you're going through, either in business or with clients or things like that. So it's great to have those for other people because we can just not only solve business problems, but vent a little bit. If something's just going on where you're just like, I have to just get this off my chest and no one around me is going to understand, except for this group.
Jag: It is a safe space in that regard. Johnny, if people want to know more about you and the great work that you do down there in Fort Worth, as you're getting ready to get married later this year, congratulations by the way. What are the best ways for people to find you?
Johnny: Just follow me on Twitter at Johnny podcasts.
Jag: Love your Twitter name. And as always, you can find me at jagindetroit.com or on social at JAGin Detroit. Some great ideas here, Johnny. I hope this goes viral because you've got some great ideas when it comes to what Elon could do for podcasting with Twitter. Thanks for being here.
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