Skip to contents

Tracking: June 9, 2020

In Other News.

(1) Not long after dunking on Luminary for severe under-performance relative to money raised, it’s come to light that former NBA player Baron Davis is part of the $1.2 million funding round raised by Blue Wire, a sports podcast company. According to Variety, Davis will also be launching his own podcast company, Slic, under the Blue Wire banner. Axios previously reported Blue Wire’s fundraise raise earlier this year, noting that it’s fueled in part by the company’s interest in creating long-form narrative sports content.

(2) In Denver, the podcast incubation hub House of Pod is providing free studio time “to any person of color who needs a safe, professional space to produce an episode about racial inequity or oppression.” The organization has also started a fund that will go towards sponsoring the pilot season of shows created by graduates of its podcast incubator, From the Margins to the Center, that specifically serves women of color.

(3) Quick hat-tip to this Twitter thread by Water+Music’s Cherie Hu, who points out that Spotify didn’t quite follow up on its promise to update its public-facing Diversity Data Report, which it initially made in 2018. According to Hu, Spotify did publish diversity stats for 2019, but it’s tucked away in a sustainability and social impact report meant for investors.

(4) On a related note, Spotify has opened applications for its Sound Up bootcamp, which will run from July 27 to August 21 in the US.

(5) KCRW’s 24 Hour Radio Race is back. Registration closes on Friday. Get in there.

(6) ICYMI: over in the UK, the BBC has appointed Tim Davie as its new director general. He starts the job on September 1. Davie was previously chief executive of BBC Studios.

(7) Edison Research with data on podcast listening in Canada, out last week: 37% percent of Canadians age 18 and older are monthly podcast listeners, about the same percentage of Americans. Full presentation deck can be found here.

(8) On a related note, Rogers Media, one of Canada’s major media conglomerates, has announced that Julie Adam will take on an expanded portfolio in her new role as SVP of TV & Radio. Adam was said to be involved in Rogers Media’s move to acquire Pacific Content in 2019.Show Notes.

(1) Slate’s Slow Burn returns for its fourth season tomorrow. Hosted by national editor Josh Levin, the new season examines the rise of the political rise of the white nationalist David Duke in Louisiana in the ’80s and ’90s. The move back to politics was first announced earlier this year.

(2) Earlier this week, Reveal dropped a new series on this on-going moment of protest, called “The Uprising.” Al Letson, as always, is hosting.

(3) Next Tuesday, the CBC will debut “This is Not a Drake Podcast,” which is set to explore the history of Canadian hip-hop and R&B though the lens of Drake’s career.Meanwhile, in Cupertino. One last beat on some Apple developments, which understandably flew under the radar over the past few weeks.

Perhaps most interestingly, the Apple Podcasts platform recently saw the quiet release of The Zane Lowe Interview Series, designated within the platform as an Apple Music podcast. Lowe, of course, is the wildly popular radio DJ that Apple recruited in 2014 to host shows and oversee programming for Beats 1, the Apple-operated live music station. The podcast seems to be a repackaging of interviews that Lowe has done through his shows on Beats 1, and thus should be considered a derivative product, at least for now. But it’s an interesting move to consider in the wake of Spotify signing an exclusive licensing deal with The Joe Rogan Experience, which takes away one of the biggest drivers of consumptions on Apple Podcasts and the open podcast ecosystem. It’s also interesting to consider this against reports that Apple is beginning to make some plans around original podcast production, largely meant to promote its other media products, like its Apple TV+ shows.

While it doesn’t quite feel substantial in any way, the rollout of the Zane Lowe Interview Series does evoke some logistical questions around how a broader Apple Podcasts original and exclusive programming strategy would work. Among other things, you can still access the show on third-party podcast apps, since almost all of them rely on Apple Podcasts’ indexing to populate their directories, though you can’t, of course, find it on Spotify. If Apple Podcasts getting involved with original programming means that those original podcast are exclusive to the open ecosystem, we could be talking about a very different kind of “platform wars” here.

Two other quick Apple things. First, Apple News will now feature audio versions of stories delivered on the app, presumably as some reaction to (and validation of) the recent New York Times acquisition of Audm. Second, the Apple Podcasts team is hiring another editor for its front page, focused on US and Canada, based in Los Angeles.