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Sound Summit Success – Building a Better Umbrella

Sound Summit Success – Building a Better Umbrella

Written By

Bryan Barletta

Know the Author

March 13, 2024

In the interest of growing podcasting's presence at wider industry events, Sounds Profitable is building a contact database. With it, we can connect more people, flesh out panels at events, make connections with relevant press, and more. Sign up now!

I’m completely blown away by what the podcast industry was able to accomplish this year at SXSW without a multi-day podcast track. A substantial number of panelists and keynote speakers proudly represented themselves as podcasters. Live tapings were everywhere, from official sessions to the Vox Media stage. And iHeart closed out the fourth day of SXSW Interactive with the iHeart Podcast Awards.

Smack dab in the middle of it all on Saturday was the Sound Summit, the official event for Podcasting at SXSW. We built out four panels with a diverse selection of top creators, celebrities, and those on the business side driving the industry forward. Our goal was to be entertaining and educational without any pitching. To craft a compelling experience for those already deep in podcasting, while at the same time providing a great entry point for new brands and publishers. And I think we succeeded.

Free access to the content we create at Sounds Profitable is a major tenet of what we do, which is why I am proud to announce that all four panels are available on demand, in audio and video, for everyone to enjoy.

While trying to put my finger on what made the content stand out, I asked Byron Ashley, President of Settebello Entertainment, for help putting it into words. “It’s the fact that podcasts are under the umbrella [at SXSW] vs being the umbrella at a podcast event. Sometimes it’s more validating to be a fish in the pond than to have your own pond.”

Every single panel is worth your time to watch or listen to.

Our goal with the Sound Summit was to create a home base for podcasting, to prove that not only would the industry show up, but new faces would as well. And with 100 to 140 people attending each of the four panels, and even more attending the two open networking sessions, I think we can confidently say we accomplished that goal.

Thinking Ahead

Sounds Profitable is a trade association dedicated to the mission of growing the podcast industry in both listenership and monetization. We’re only able to do that because our 165+ partners share with us the desire to grow all of podcasting.

Our content and research are designed to empower all of you directly, or as a resource to share with those you’re working with, client or co-worker, to help answer their questions. It’s designed to help you win sales, to get you covered by the press, to give you a neutral and independent source to fall back on.

Expanding podcasting more firmly into SXSW was a big step, but it’s just the first step. We’ve spent decades as an industry justifying why podcasting deserves more of the spotlight at major events and conferences that the brands, agencies, and content creators are attending. SXSW proved that the model of purchasing space and providing stellar content is one worth pursuing, especially when we were able to further negotiate substantial discounts for our partners to attend SXSW (over $50k in partner ticket costs saved) while not looking to generate a profit for running them. We’ve found success at a level that might just make this the last year without an official podcast track at SXSW.

But none of this works without you. We can build these collaborative spaces, cutting edge research, and top tier content, but we’ve got nothing to sell besides the podcast industry itself. Which is why Tom and I are so adamant about this idea of shared ownership, of being sales enablement, of providing you and your team with the material and knowledge required to win the business that drives the industry forward. And it’s a big part of why we’re building out a stronger contact database, to continue to pull more people in from across the industry, for events, panels, questions from the press, and more. Diverse voices make for better perspectives and better conversations.

Now, it’s time to start thinking about what event we want to bring podcasting into next.


Sound Summit would not have even been remotely possible or successful without the help of our sponsors, The Roost, Ad Results Media, ESPN/Good Karma Brands, and Magellan AI. The recordings for the event, both audio and video, were provided by the team at Nomono, with the audio hosted on Spreaker and video hosted through Mediastream.

Special thanks goes out to Caroline Harvey of Backyard Ventures, Brooke Goodin of Ballen Studios, Oren Rosenbaum of United Talent Agents, Brendan Rooney of PodCo, Anthony Savelli of Libsyn, and Byron Ashley of Settebello Entertainment, for helping us book some amazing panelists. To Dane Cardiel and Sami Wittwer of Good Tape for the amazing design work for the entire event.

To Jason Hamilton, Katy Vandiver, Lucas Velez, and the rest of the team and production crew at SXSW who fought for podcasting to get its share of the spotlight. To Tom Webster, Manuela Correa, and Gavin Gaddis from Sounds Profitable, and Maria Gonima of Big Smile Co. for keeping the event running smoothly.

And most importantly, to all of you who attended the event, who watched or listened to the recordings, who read and share Sounds Profitable, and who are focused on growing all of podcasting, not just your individual corner of it.

New Partners

Sounds Profitable exists thanks to the continued support of our amazing partners. Monthly consulting, free tickets to our quarterly events, partner-only webinars, and access to our 1,800+ person slack channel are all benefits of partnering Sounds Profitable.

  • The Story Pirates Podcast takes stories written by kids and turns them into sketch comedy and songs.

  • Price Brothers is a digital audio creative boutique - and sister company to venerable Oink Ink Radio - which has been out-in-front of emerging technologies and applying them to audio advertising.

Want to learn more about partnership? Hit reply or send us an email!

About the author

Bryan Barletta (He/Him) is the founder of Sounds Profitable, and a widely-cited expert in adtech, sales, and monetization of podcasting. He founded Sounds Profitable in 2020 after a successful career working with some of the leading companies in advertising technology, including AdTheorent, Claritas, and Megaphone. Barletta helped to design some of the tools in use by podcast platforms today for attribution, measurement, and serving audio ads, and uses that expertise to help clients and sponsors get the most from their sales and advertising efforts. He founded Sounds Profitable initially as a platform to help educate persons working in the podcast industry about advertising and sales technology, but has since expanded the brand to become the industry’s premiere source for education, advocacy, and insights designed to grow the entire space. He is an avid gamer and father of two boys, neither of whom have their own podcast, yet.