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Sounds Profitable – Two years later

Sounds Profitable – Two years later

Written By

Bryan Barletta

Know the Author

September 27, 2022

My goal when I started Sounds Profitable two years ago was simple: to freely share my knowledge of the business and technical sides of the podcast industry with as many people as possible. To help them grow their career and the careers of those on their teams.To enable more people to make their career on the business side of podcasting.

Today, as I take stock of what we’ve built, I realized it’s not always clear what Sounds Profitable actually does or how we do it. With the team expanding, our partnerships growing, and now over 7,000 of you receiving Sounds Profitable every week, I thought I’d spend today walking y’all through it, to make sure we’re serving you the best we possibly can and invite you further into what we’re building

Everything has been moving so fast in the past two years that I hope, by taking a moment to share who we are and what we do, we can create something really amazing together in the years to come. So, let’s dive into each of the parts that make up Sounds Profitable.

Peerless Advisory Services

It’s incredibly important for me to start off by sharing with you that Tom Webster and I have never taken any outside funding for Sounds Profitable. Nor have we taken any equity, board seats, or commission opportunities from any company we work with. And we don’t plan to.

We do this because neutrality is critically important to us if we are to fulfill our goal of being able to work with everyone in and around the podcasting industry, in our quest to help grow both the audience and monetization opportunities for everyone. Recently we revised what used to be called “Sponsorship” into something better suited to describe how things work at Sounds Profitable: Partnership. Each of the companies listed at the bottom of our newsletter and website receive the same treatment that Tom and I would provide if we were an equity advisor.

In exchange for their support, those companies in partnership with us get access to monthly consulting, warm introductions, an active Slack channel, access to our live events, and our monthly webinars. Tools we provide to help grow the podcast industry far past current projections. We’re proud to list the logos of the over 100 companies we work with every month, and we’d love to have you onboard as well.

Insightful Content

We don’t break news. We’re not journalists.

We’re focused instead on educating and empowering each of you to grow this industry directly. Sharing our insights and the insights of others, and ideally providing it in a way that enables you to take action. Content to be shared with your clients or internal teams. Content to build on top of to allow your company’s unique point of view to shine while anchoring around a neutral concept.

Our newsletter is our most successful outlet, and we’re incredibly proud of it. Primarily it’s written by Tom Webster and myself, but we have and will continue to put in considerable effort in highlighting people you should know and the knowledge they can share with you.

We take that further with our podcast releasing 2-3 times per week. A narrated version of each week’s article. Our bi-weekly interviews with the best and brightest in this space who help us break down complex topics and why they’re important. And a major passion project for us: The Download – the most important news from this week and why it matters to people in the business of podcasting, brought to you in a 10 minute episode every Thursday. You can find those here in English and Spanish.

We round it all up with our Product Deepdives. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with technology, so I jump at every opportunity I can to walk you through how a product works, why it’s important to our industry, and how you can put it to good use. This year alone we’ve covered new features from Claritas, ThoughtLeaders, Adori Labs, Triton Digital, Libsyn’s Advertisecast, and Veritone Voice. And late this year we’ll have learn more from Veritonic, Frequency, Artsai, SoundStack, and Adthos.

Industry-Leading Research

Neutral and unbiased research raises the bar for everyone by enabling those that can run their own studies to compare to a benchmark, and those that can’t to utilize respected data to justify their point of view.

There is no one in the podcast industry better suited to creating industry-leading research than Tom Webster, formerly of Edison Research, who joined me just four months ago as my equal and partner, to accomplish this goal. I have spent my entire career consuming every bit of data and piece of content that Tom Webster has put out. It inspired me to create Sounds Profitable. It has helped me justify our business while working at Barometric/Claritas and Megaphone. And the model of providing it freely and openly, through support by companies that share our vision is how we grow the entire industry.

We kicked things off with The Creators, a look into who of the podcasters are in the US population, and have since started our Quarterly Research Project. After These Messages premiered in Q3, comparing host vs announcer read ads and we’re proud to announce we’ll have a part two in October titled We’ll Be Right Back. In Q4 we tackle the latest topic on everyone’s mind: Brand Safety and Suitability.

Created in collaboration with Edison Research, all of this is possible and freely available thanks to the support of SXM Media, BetterHelp, Barometer, AudioHook, Wondery, NPR, Mowpod, and Veritone.

Unmissable Events

Nearly 300 people from our over 100 Partners joined us at the Sounds Profitable Business Leaders Summit this past August at Podcast Movement.

We came together, discussed important topics such as video, measurement, and programmatic. Presented our latest research. And provided ample time for all of you to network and do business together. Because that’s our primary goal with these events, to make as many connections as possible between all of you without charging you anything additional to participate outside of Partnership.

Our goal is to provide these events, tied to major podcasting, media, advertising, and creator events, every quarter, to help further justify why we all need to be in attendance, representing podcasting, and candidly talking about the issues we face and how we can collaboratively provide this space in a private environment.

Because we know that not everyone at our Partner companies can make it out to these events, we’ve created our monthly webinar, Sounds Profitable: Unplugged, touching on similar topics, research, and education, and open to every single employee at every single Partner company we work with.

We’ll have more details shortly for our Q4 live event and our October Sounds Profitable: Unplugged very shortly, along with big announcements coming for our 2023 events.

Wrapping It Up

I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I do. I spend every day, booked to the gills in meetings, consulting with many of you and meeting even more of you. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I get to learn from each of you about what you’re working on and how it helps the podcast industry at the same time that I get to help you with my expertise and connect you with others in the space that you can build strong relationships with.

And from that I see the pulse of the space, the issues we’re all facing, and it enables us to, without breaking confidence, write actionable insights or design research studies that enable those of you that we don’t work directly with to still conquer the problems all of us face.

Tom and I are dedicated to setting the course for the future of the audio business, and that means this company has to become bigger than either of us. Two years ago, Sounds Profitable was effectively a blog. Today, it’s everything you read above you.

Tomorrow, with your help, it will be so much more.

Market Insights with Magellan AI

This week we wanted to highlight a trend in the Fantasy Sports industry which has emerged over the last couple years. Unsurprisingly spend in this industry is closely tied to Football season, which just kicked off this month. We already detected a higher than normal increase in spend between July and August 2022, but what can we expect for September?

We compared Fantasy Sports spend between 2021 and 2022 for the months of July, August, and September. In 2021 spend increased by 110% between August and September, topping at $4.6mm. September 2021 turned out to be the month with the highest spend we ever detected in the Fantasy Sports industry. In August 2022 spend was already just shy of $3mm and was the month with the second highest spend we ever detected. Given the current spending levels of the industry and past trends we would expect September 2022 to be a very big month for the Fantasy Sports Industry.

For more insights like this Sign up to join the 15-minute monthly market update

Anatomy of an Ad with ThoughtLeaders

Sponsoring brand: Green Chef

Where we caught the ad: Shut up!

Who else has sponsored this podcast? BetterHelp, Best Fiends, Ritual

Where else has this brand appeared? Logically Irrational, The Cimorelli Podcast, Out of the Ordinary Books, Dr. Gameshow

Why it works: This is a great ad-read – hilarious and touches on all the important points. Firstly, the hosts seamlessly jump to the ad-read, “We’re on a health kick right now we have ‘love weight’ so we’re trying to eat healthier and the best thing that we are finding is that Green Chef is helping us in the kitchen”. Secondly, they integrated their own funny anecdotes: “I had kale in my salad, who eats kale? And, you know what, Green Chef makes kale taste good!” and “[Green Chef] sends everything you need to your door and you don’t have to waste time with difficult instructions that are better than Ikea’s instructions!”. This ad-read proves that sponsorships don’t have to be boring and obviously an ad, it can be fun and brands should look for podcasters that have the ability to promote creatively.

New Partners

Sounds Profitable exists thanks to the continued support of our amazing partners. Monthly consulting, free tickets to our quarterly events, parter-only webinars, and access to our 500+ person Slack channel are all benefits of sponsoring Sounds Profitable.

  • Wavve helps you easily create social video and blogs from just your audio.
  • Katz Digital operates the largest marketplace of DAI podcasts in the world. Servicing 5,000 advertisers across a customer base of both direct and programmatic buyers, we distribute hundreds of millions dollars in media spend to our portfolio of 200,000 podcasts and work with all major hosting platforms to facilitate DAI sales!

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.

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