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The Podscape: A Map of the Podcast Advertising Landscape

The Podscape: A Map of the Podcast Advertising Landscape

Written By

Bryan Barletta

Know the Author

November 30, 2020

Navigating the podcast advertising space can be a bit overwhelming, especially without any sort of map. So, in collaboration with Magellan AI, we took our best shot at outlining the industry to give those old and new in the space a better starting point for viewing the podcast advertising ecosystem.

The Podscape

In September, Cameron Hendrix and John Goforth of Magellan AI reached out to me to collaborate on a very cool project. They were both fans of something called the Lumascape, “[…]a series of charts that organize the madness of ad tech by grouping together similar companies on a single page”. And while an audio lumascape did previously exist, it just didn’t cover all the bases for podcasting.

Cameron: Streaming audio is very different from podcasts, but there’s still plenty of value in understanding the streaming audio ecosystem too. We’re big believers in “standing on the shoulders of giants” — in the case of podcasts, we just saw companies popping up in the podcast space that weren’t really represented in any of the other ecosystem maps out there.

So, we teamed up to create and share with you, the Podscape 2020, brought to you by Magellan AI and Sounds Profitable.

Get yours here.

Cameron: At our office in NYC, we had a whole wall of sticky notes making up the first version.

It’s definitely neat to see how far this project has come. Magellan AI’s goal was to take this internal collage and create an external digital version to share with everyone. That’s a common theme that continues to shine through in the podcast adtech space: collaboration and community building. For those of you who haven’t done time in other advertising channels, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air. This beautiful mess of sticky notes could have simply stayed on their wall as an internal tool to guide how they viewed and approached different partnerships. Instead, they chose to release it to the public, making it something everyone in podcast advertising could benefit from.

John: The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s definitely wrong. Our hope is to get feedback on where folks disagree or see holes in it. But at Magellan AI, we like to ideate and collaborate with our clients on our roadmap, so we applied that same logic to this project, both with Sounds Profitable and the greater community.

By design, the Podscape is imperfect, because collaboration doesn’t end with just the three of us. While each of us has a solid perspective of the space, we realized that regardless of the amount of time we’d be willing to take to perfect it, we’d never get there alone. In its current form, we see it as a solid launch point that represents the podcast advertising landscape today, in late 2020.

Our goal is to update the Podscape at least every quarter. Though if Spotify keeps purchasing companies, we may have to update it more frequently. If you’ve got an update or feedback to share with us, please send it to

While podcasting and advertising in podcasting isn’t new, something Cameron said when we were finalizing the Podscape really stuck out to me.

Cameron: The reality is that the whole podcast advertising world is, in some ways, a startup! And startups are constantly testing out different products and growth strategies.

If you thought that today would be the day you could mark off “This is the Year of Podcasting” on your bingo card, you’re sadly mistaken. I think a space that has existed for as long as podcasting has and continues to generate new and more interest almost daily has a long way to go before things settle down. Yes, 2020 is the year of podcasting. But so will be 2021. And 2022. And…

And that’s a really good thing for all of us invested in the growth of both podcasting and podcast advertising.

On Collaboration and Free Knowledge

The primary goal of Sounds Profitable is to act as a neutral party that improves the collaboration of the podscape adtech space while publicly sharing all of the knowledge gained. The Podscape is a fantastic project that first actualizes that goal. I’m humbled to be a part of it and I’m very thankful that Cameron and John of Magellan AI asked me to collaborate.

But the fun is just about to start.

On December 17 2020, we’re launching our second collaborative product, I call it a “Product Deepdive”, and I know you’re going to love it. It’s actually the first in a series of virtual events, each happening on the third Thursday of every month at 4pm ET. Each month, Sounds Profitable will be premiering a new Product Deepdive with a different podcast adtech partner.

This isn’t a sales pitch nor is it a powerpoint presentation. Think of this like the final meeting your company would have with an adtech vendor, fully running through what the product actually is and how your company would use it. Tired of getting excited about a product announcement and then having no easy way to learn how—or if—it works? I think it’s high-time for some detailed product reviews that you and I can relate to, you know? I’ll occasionally have guests join me on a deep dive to represent the publisher and agency side of podcasting to give a well rounded experience to you.

Listen: I get that webinar and meeting fatigue is real. So I’m making this content accessible to you on demand and free of charge. Sure, I’d love for you to join the live premiere each month and attend the live Q&A after. But if you can’t make it, you can always access the replay.

The first three partners for the Product Deepdives are:

Click here to sign up for our first event with Podscribe, on December 17th.

We’ve had a lot of interest so far, and only have five open spots left in 2021. So, if you’re a podcast adtech company that would like to participate, please reach out ASAP!

And, starting in January, Sounds Profitable will launch as a podcast, in collaboration with Evo Terra and Simpler Media.The content of the podcast is going to be focused on extending the conversation of previous newsletter articles with experts joining me to expand on the topic. What I’m most excited for is the tech behind it. We’re going to push the limits on podcast adtech and walk you through how we do it, thanks to Whooshkaa our sponsoring media hosting partner.

All of this is only possible because of the support from our sponsors.

As a thank you to all current and future full sponsors, I’m including one hour of consulting per sponsorship month, to help them accomplish their goals. Please consider being a sponsor, every bit helps!

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.