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Follow-up on Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell

Plus: Midroll tests on Megaphone, Podfasting, and Direct Support

Follow-up on that Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell podcast.

So, it turns out, and I should’ve expected this, that a ton of readers were super interested in Broken Record, the strange, sudden podcast collaboration between the legendary producer Rick Rubin and notable person-about-town Malcolm Gladwell which dropped its first episode, featuring Eminem, last week. I’ve learned that the podcast is repped by WME-IMG, and that this was possibly a situation in which the group went directly to Art19, where the show is currently hosted.

What’s interesting about the show is just how much it popped up out of nowhere, and the fact the episode was rolled out without any advertising — not at this point in time, anyway — or network affiliation. That Malcolm Gladwell’s previous network collaborators, Panoply, is absent from the proceedings is notable, and the fact that the talent agency layer seems to be driving the car on this feels… quite new, actually. I’d keep a close eye on this. Something tells me that this involved a rather quick, and perhaps slightly abnormal, process. (Provided, of course, there is something that constitutes normal in the first place.)

Just received additional information on this: The show was originally distributed on Art19 due to a prior relationship between WME and the platform company, but it has since transitioned over to Megaphone, which will serve as the primary hosting partner moving forward. Malcolm Gladwell’s relationship with Panoply here, I imagine, is in the driver’s seat.

Speaking of which…

I’ve been hearing that Midroll is beginning to test some podcasts on Panoply’s Megaphone platform. I’ve previously viewed Midroll as having a particularly strong relationship with Art19, seeing as how its owned and operated shows are completely hosted on the latter and, given Megaphone’s attachment to a broader network that more or less functions as a competitor to Midroll, there is incentive to double down on Art19. Still, as strong as that relationship (and strategic incentive) may be, the relationship is non-exclusive.

Midroll tells me that they’re currently only testing Megaphone with the Oprah Winfrey network, which they are representing. Lex Friedman, Midroll’s Chief Revenue Officer, said: “While our owned and operated shows are on Art19, we have client shows on many others — Libsyn, Blubrry, in-house infrastructure, etc. We recently added Megaphone to that mix when we brought on OWN, and mutually decided that Megaphone would be a good home for that show.”

When I asked what about Megaphone makes it a better fit, he replied: “DART tagging support for a show where we expect lots of brand business.” Now, I’m not personally familiar at all with the lingo and systems of digital advertising operations, but I do know that DART stands for Dynamic Advertising Reporting & Targeting, and that it is the old name for what is now known as DFP (DoubleClick for Publishers), the third party ad tracking mechanism from Google…. ahhh, AdOps stuff, y’know, I’m not even going to pretend I’m super versed on it. Instead, you can always brush up on the Wikipedia page and associated forums, but in general, all this translates to Midroll checking out Megaphone’s ad tracking and reporting capabilities to see how it squares up with Art19.

Follow-up on podfasting

Of all the takes on Twitter, I did appreciate this one, from Hi-Phi Nation’s Barry Lam: “People need to relax. There is such a thing called “cognitive diversity.” I have listeners complain that even the smallest amount of music distracts them from understanding speech. Let people process their own way.”

And I suppose this one, too, from PJ Vogt: “Real podcast fans listen at .25 speed just to really take it all in.”

Meanwhile, on the direct support beat…

Fresh off the heels of Patreon moving to own the direct member support infrastructure for podcasters (among other kinds of creators, of course), Kickstarter has launched a take on the model of their own called Drip. The Verge has a pretty extensive overview of Drip and how it fits into Kickstarter’s larger context.

Here’s the value proposition:

Instead of supporting a specific project, subscribers can now make a recurring payment to a creator. A Drip can offer rewards to subscribers based on when they pledged, or how much they give. Kickstarter understands that a time limit is important for incentivizing pledges, so it lets creators pick a window, say 30 days, in which early supporters can become founding members who receive special rewards. After the founding member period, the Drip stays active, regardless of how much or how little is pledged.

The primary difference with Patreon here, I think, is this increased emphasis on time, particularly at the beginning. A big part of direct support and fundraising campaigns involve creating a sense of urgency — think public radio’s frazzled tone during pledge season — or even just creating a sense of finite time; deadlines and their visceral ramifications are important. I’ve never truly tried this out with Hot Pod, as you might have noticed, largely because I was curious to see how the trickle would look like if you just let something roll continuously and without fanfare. It is, indeed, a trickle — thank you so much, by the way, for being supporters, I really appreciate it! — and it highlights the consumer psychology at play: people need strong nudges, or a transactional interaction, at the end of the day.

Anyway, Drip is only available to creators by invitation only at this point in time.