Virtual podcast events bring in six-figure revenue

Hello, team! I am here on a Tuesday. And what a day to have a platform, because now I can tell you to go watch/listen to the premiere of MUNA’s new song at 11:45 am ET. May we sob together. (The teaser made the music sound a little upbeat, but you never really know.)

EXCLUSIVE: Big $$$ in Virtual Podcast Events

In-person podcast visits have shown that people are willing to pay for more than a pre-recorded episode. But virtual versions of these shows? In this climate of Zoom fatigue? Oh yes baby. In fact, they are thriving.

Moment House has been streaming podcast recordings, called “Moments,” live since March 2021, and I’m told the company has sold 140,000 tickets in the 56 it’s hosted since then. Streams average six-figure creator payouts; one even reached $500,000. Creators keep all gross revenue (Moment House makes money from a 10% service fee on the client), with many shows returning to the platform quarterly.

These huge payouts come from a combination of tickets, merchandising and audience tips, as well as dating or after-party upgrades, for which Moment House helps create a contained environment. The platform has been a hit with big names like the McElroy brothers and cult favorites like Morbid: A True Crime Podcast and Buffer The Vampire Slayerbut technically any podcaster can host on the platform.

Moments are live streamed and interactive, so they’re well suited for impromptu, chatty podcasts with dedicated listeners. Bart Coleman, head of comedy at Moment House, described the events to me as having “anything can happen.” Past moments included interactive trivia with audience members and a live fundraiser where the hosts created a drinking game from the milestones achieved.

Creator Partnerships Manager Mike Muney tells us that Moments works considerably well for podcasters, many of whom have the dual goals of making money from their work and engaging directly with their audiences. (Moment House also hosts concerts and has done so for longer than it has hosted podcast recordings.) behind-the-scenes episodes or Discord chats. Moment House is a natural extension.

But Moment House is not alone in this space. Last spring, Nick wrote about FRQNCY’s virtual performance efforts. At the time, there were many doubts about its lifespan: would it last once audiences could return to the events in person? Now, it seems there is always more desire for location-independent events than we might have known.

Headgum launches its host reads booking platform

Last week, podcast network Headgum publicly launched Gumball, a read-by-host ad marketplace that the company says is unrivaled in that it’s fully automated: brands can browse transparent booking calendars, playable samples and audience demographics, then verify; on the other side, podcasters are given tools to manage their own workflow and decision-making (and can apply to join the platform here).

Headgum built Gumball’s technology in-house, and for years before the tool’s “stealth debut” the company used it to book ads for its own podcast roster and then eventually other select shows. CEO Marty Michael tells me he’s thrilled that more independent shows are taking part, especially since they’ve already seen a “halo effect” in sales through the existing relationships advertisers have with independent shows. Head gum.

“It was working so well,” says Michael, “we thought it was time to get out there and talk to investors,” maybe that’s how you’ve heard of Gumball lately: the platform just close a $10 million Series A funding round. With this money, the team strengthens its promotional capacities, as well as the technical muscle of Gumball, to continue to evolve. (“We needed to get him a team of engineers!” Michael says of Headgum co-founder Andrew Pile, who spearheaded the infrastructure.)

Athletic Greens, a company some may recognize for its frequent podcast advertisements, has been using the beta version of Gumball for almost three years. “Anything that saves time in this busy world and demanding industry is hugely helpful,” says Martha Gallant, Senior Director of Audio Partnerships at Athletic Greens.

Host-read ads tend to be more complicated to place than other types. Just check out this sample process as shown in It seems profitable – but Athletic Greens always prioritize them, says Gallant. For the right kind of brand, she says, a host read is “the secret sauce to a podcast ad.”

Spotify podcaster quizzed, wonders why

Yesterday, writer Damon Young published an op-ed in The Washington Post Magazineoutlining the two choices he thinks he faces as the creator of an upcoming Spotify show, given that Joe Rogan has left many creators wondering whether to continue aligning themselves with the platform.

First, however, he makes it clear that the expectation that he, a black man, will take a particular stance against Rogan makes him feel trapped. “Withdrawing my show is like a loss to me, my staff, my guests, my family, my fans,” Young writes, “and a victory for dummies,” a word he uses in the piece liberally, but gently, to describe people whose behavior ranges from nonsensical to discriminatory.

He could, he says, proceed as planned with the show or “delete my upcoming Spotify-owned podcast — which is literally about the funny, messy, thorny collisions of race, sex, and money — from Spotify, and throw away the 18 months of work invested in it.” In the end, Young chooses not to let go of what he’s been working on, even with the disproportionate pressure that he’ll be the one to suffer the loss. After all, the result would be quite different from what it was for the other Young on Spotify.

A sneaky sound creation pack from Spotify

Pivoting on the topic of more explicit and intentional business decisions, Spotify Premium is now available to be bundled with Soundtrap, the “cloud-based audio recording platform” and another Swedish company that Spotify acquired in late 2017. It worth noting here that Soundtrap is not strictly for music production, but a more general toolkit that distinguishes offerings for “Music Makers” from those aimed at “Storytellers”. In other words, it speaks directly to podcasters.

However, big catch! As pointed out Engadget“there is a big downside to Soundtrap if you plan to also publish on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or another podcasting service. Soundtrap will not generate RSS feeds for each episode, which you will need to publish your podcast outside of Spotify. It shows on the brand.

YouTube launches election disinformation — and Trump

The screaming brocast hosts Complete shipment recently got Donald Trump to discuss… who knows what. But the things he ended up talking about amounted to “content that makes false claims that fraud, error, or widespread trouble changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” according to YouTube, which sparked deletion of the episode.

I called him, friends! It’s an election year, public figures were already getting rowdy on podcasts, and Trump seemed like the exact person making headlines at this intersection — it’s happened before, in fact, during an abrupt exit from an NPR interview I wrote down a few months back. Here we go again.

At press time, it appears that the Complete shipment The episode is still playable on other major podcast platforms, so there’s an interesting dynamic playing out. Traditional podcasting platforms have been slower to moderate the open ecosystem of RSS-based shows, but YouTube – which has quietly become a podcasting powerhouse – has a long history of moderating its platform, albeit somewhat bit imperfect. With podcasts, there are several examples to report, even those from the last few months, such as the removal of Joe Rogan content for vaccine misinformation and the permanent banning of Dan Bongino.

And a deal for reVolver and SXM Media

In closing, the partnership, which was announced last Thursday, gives SXM Media “exclusive global ad sales rights to reVolver’s vast lineup of podcasts,” which includes popular Spanish-language shows like The Show of Piolin and Erazno and La Chokolata. All shows from reVolver — “the leading creator and publisher of on-demand multicultural and audio content in the United States,” according to the press release — will be distributed and available on all podcast platforms, through Stitcher.

Thanks for reading! Hi Mom!

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