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Tracking: March 16, 2021

In case you missed it, I spent two weeks reporting out a feature for Vulture that looked into what happened with Reply All, Gimlet Media, and the union push that took place in the lead up to the podcast company’s acquisition by Spotify in early 2019. That piece dropped last Wednesday.

And as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one poking around. The New York Times and the American Prospect also published pieces on the same day, with the former containing specifics on just how much money various key figures in the Gimlet story made off the sale to Spotify.

Coincidentally, later in the week, the Gimlet Union would secure its first contract with Spotify after two years of bargaining, announcing the deal over its Twitter account early Friday morning. The Ringer Union also secured its own first contract a day later. Parcast, the third content division within Spotify that’s formed a union, is still in the bargaining process.

Entercom, the broadcast radio company that acquired Cadence13 and Pineapple Street, is moving to acquire podcast advertising marketplace startup Podcorn, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal will value Podcorn at $22.5 million.

CAA is promoting Josh Lindgren as the head of its podcast department. My impression is that this is merely formalizing what Lindgren has already been doing since he joined the talent agency in the summer of 2018. Lindgren’s clients include NPR’s Ari Shapiro, iHeartMedia’s Stuff You Should Know, Jane Marie and Dann Galluci’s Little Everywhere, Maximum Fun, and the Futuro Media Group, among others. Here’s the Variety write-up.

Apple Podcasts is apparently shifting away from “Subscribe” to “Follow,” Podnews found last week. The thinking being — or at least it’s thought to be — that the word “Subscribe” is generally associated with media products that aren’t free.

Keep your eyes peeled on this. From Insider: “Amazon’s ad boss, Alan Moss, told advertisers that the e-commerce giant plans to roll out ads in podcasts.” How and through what means, exactly, remains unclear, but I imagine there’s quite a bit of runway between the Amazon Music platform and the possibility of podcast ad tech-related acquisitions in the months ahead.

Shout-out to the crew over Nieman Lab, who’ve been syndicating RQ1, a new monthly newsletter going over the latest academic research around journalism. A recent issue covered Gabriela Perdomo and Philippe Rodrigues-Rouleau’s paper, “Transparency as Metajournalistic Performance: The New York Times’ Caliphate Podcast and New Ways to Claim Journalistic Authority,” which takes a scalpel to the performance of transparency in Caliphate specifically, but in narrative audio more generally. Really worth the time.

I think this may very well qualify as a first. From the New York Times: “‘Nobody Wants to Be There, Dude’: How a Juror’s Podcast Led to an Appeal.” To fill in the blanks a little bit, the juror is a standup comedian and the podcast has a following of like… a hundred people.

From TechCrunch: “Apple discontinues original HomePod, will focus on mini.”

In tomorrow’s Servant of Pod… Sarah Marshall of You’re Wrong About and Why Are Dads? is on the show this week.

It turns out I’ve been a fan of Marshall’s work well before I ever picked up You’re Wrong About, which I should say makes what Edison Research would consider one of the five shows in my regular rotation. (J/k, I ping-pong between maybe fifteen regular shows, though I do go through phases, and obviously I’m an irregular customer.) Back in 2017, she published a fascinating piece that dug deep into the backstory of Titanic — the James Cameron epic, not the ship itself, though I’m sure that’s interesting — which I kept regularly returning to in my Pocket app because it’s exactly the “behind the scenes of an outrageous Hollywood production shit” that tends to hook me in the gills.

Anyway, point is: It makes perfect sense to me that she’s the very same Sarah Marshall who makes one of the two hosts of You’re Wrong About, which isn’t just a great example of a strong independent podcast, but also a show I would personally consider as being the purest form of what an indie conversational podcast can be: a few people talking, good vibes, smart as all hell.

You can find Servant of Pod on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the great assortment of third-party podcast apps that are hooked up to the open publishing ecosystem. Desktop listening is also recommended. Share, leave a review, so on.