Skip to main content
Ad Tech Firms Under Fire For Data Scraping + 5 more stories for Mar 11, 2022

Ad Tech Firms Under Fire For Data Scraping + 5 more stories for Mar 11, 2022

The Download

Season 0 • Episode 12

Today on The Download from Sounds Profitable; ad tech firms are under fire for data scraping, Amazon joins the social audio market, YouTube is paying podcasters to incorporate video, and more.

Morning Brew’s Ryan Barwick reports that trade groups acting on behalf of publishers from the US, UK, and Canada are accusing ad-tech firms of unfairly scraping metadata from websites Once collected, this allegedly ill-gotten data is used to create contextual advertising segments for clients without the publisher’s consent, also undercutting the publishers’ attempts to directly sell contextual advertising deals.

“Now that third-party cookies are dying and some ad dollars are shifting to contextual advertising—ads based on the content of the media, not on personal information—publishers want a (better) seat at the table and stronger terms as the industry adopts new technologies.”

Richard Reeves, managing director of the Association of Online Publishers, summarized the issue of companies scraping data.

“What we are now seeing is people almost brazenly walking through your home, and removing your furniture, and selling your assets elsewhere. And you don’t even know that they’re doing it, or you can’t receive any value for it. Just because you can doesn’t mean to say you should.”

Data scraping isn’t new to podcasting, either. Transcription happens in podcasting, with and without a publisher’s consent. It’s likely however this wider publisher issue plays out will have trickle-down effects to what companies can do with unlicensed podcast transcripts.

Amazon has a new social audio app to make podcasters’ dreams of being a DJ come true. Brad Hill of Rain News reports:

“While early reports compare Amp to Clubhouse, Amazon’s promotional emphasis is on building interactive music shows, something like live, interactive radio.”

Amp brings to mind an obscure podcasting tool Spotify launched for Anchor in late 2020. The feature, titled Shows with Music at launch, allows podcasters on Anchor to slot any song in the Spotify catalog between any pre-recorded podcast segments. Listeners with Spotify Premium would experience a seamless transition as if the music was baked into the podcast, while free listeners would hear a thirty-second preview of the song. Shows with Music still exists, technically, but has fallen by the wayside to become a feature hidden in the Anchor interface. Much like the forgotten podcasts from big-name creators covered last week.

Amp, conversely, only requires listeners to sign up for a free Amp account to listen to creators. The Verge’s Jack Kastrenakes writes:

“Amazon is positioning this as more of a radio-style service than a live chat service (there’s even a five-person cap on callers right now), which is probably for the best.”

Shows with Music was a cool feature that enabled podcasters to live out their radio DJ dreams in a copyright-friendly manner. Another platform with a massive collection of licensed content at their disposal playing in this podcasting-adjacent space might just lead to more creativity and innovation in the social audio sphere.

On Tuesday, podcasting ad tech company Gumball announced they had raised ten million in Series A funding.

Brad Hill of Rain News reports,

“Gumball, which was started by podcast comedy network Headgum, allows advertisers to programatically buy pre-recorded host-read ads. The system offers real-time inventory browsing, demographic audience targeting, and verification of placement and listening. The company lists a few brands which have used the system — Casper, CBS, Netflix, OkCupid, Squarespace, Warby Parker, and others.”

Naturally, the Gumball system is deployed across the entire Headgum network, serving ads on flagship podcasts like The Doughboys, Punch up the Jam, and We Hate Movies.

YouTube is taking podcasting seriously enough to put their money where their mouth is. Last Friday Bloomberg’s Ashely Carman reported both independent podcasters and podcast networks, all of which asked for anonymity, received offers ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 to create filmed versions of their episodes, as well as “other kinds of videos.”

Video podcasts on YouTube historically have done well. As the platform matured from cat clips to encouraging content creators to make longer and longer content, the unedited video chat show took off. Productions like The H3H3 Podcast and The Joe Rogan Experience saw great success embracing the platform. That said, as Carman said,

“However, the cost to build a studio, hire editors, and develop a fully functioning video publishing pipeline can deter networks and shows from adopting the platform.”

In addition to these cash injections implying YouTube wants to seed more of a professionally-produced podcasting atmosphere, there are small infrastructure moves to suggest this is a long-term plan. Alex Castro at The Verge reminds readers that back in October YouTube began allowing Canadian users to listen to videos while the device was not focusing on the YouTube app or was locked. As YouTube power users in the US can attest, this feature is pushed very hard in YouTube Premium advertising as a good reason to sign up.

Without putting on a podcast-branded tin-foil hat, it seems like making the ability to use YouTube like a podcasting app would be a huge step towards YouTube courting more podcasters and their audiences.

On Tuesday The Hollywood Reporter’s J. Clara Chan published an exclusive announcement that UTA has launched Audio IQ, a data analytics service to facilitate podcast deals. The service will make use of social media, search results, and other open-source data to inform both clients and agents of a podcasts’ health to facilitate dealmaking.

“While podcast analytics can often rely on historical data points like number of downloads or past ad revenue, UTA’s Audio IQ analyses also offer future projections — a tool that is particularly key in negotiations for shows that have not yet launched or for identifying emerging talent.”

Audio IQ comes onto the field as massive podcast outfits buy up previously third-party analytics companies – see our February 18th episode for coverage of the Spotify acquisition of Chartable – and that atmosphere has UTA IQ lead Joe Kessler concerned.

As Kessler is quoted by Chan’s article:

“I’m hopeful that this announcement serves as a wake-up call for the podcasting industry to somehow coalesce around a common source of truth and data for the industry, because it’s sorely needed as it’s maturing.”

Finally, a smaller bit of news that’s not technically a full news story yet, but we feel is worth keeping an eye on as things develop. There was something about Tuesday this week that lead to podcasting announcements. Ashley Carman tweeted the exclusive scoop that three senior leaders at Megaphone are leaving. CEO Brendan Monaghan, CRO Matt Turk, and COO Jason Cox, all in their positions prior to the Spotify buyout, have been confirmed to be leaving the company after their one-year contracts expired.

The three are now starting a blockchain company.


Bryan Barletta: Meeting the people behind Sounds Profitable's new podcast, The Download. That's what we're talking about on this week's episode of Sounds Profitable: Adtech Applied with me, Bryan Barletta.
Thanks to Claritas for sponsoring this week's episode. Understanding the impact of media investment on consumer behavior is critical. Make sure you're asking the right questions when evaluating the compatibility of your measurement partners. Learn more at
Special thanks to our sponsors for making Sounds Profitable possible. Check them out by going to and clicking on their logos in the articles.
Hey, everyone. As you can hear, Ariel isn't able to join us this week, so it's just me. But we have an exciting interview with the people behind Sounds Profitable's newest podcast, The Download. With us this week are hosts Shreya Sharma, Manuela Bedoya, and writer Gavin Gaddis. Let's take a listen. Enjoy.
Today, I have the entire crew of The Download here. We have Shreya, Manuela, and Gavin who are the two hosts and the writers of The Download. So, welcome.

Shreya Sharma: Hi, Bryan.

Manuela Bedoya: Thank you, Bryan.

Gavin Gaddis: Yeah.

Bryan Barletta: It's so fun we're talking with four people at once. Ian will have a blast editing all of it, but why don't we go around and have everybody introduce themselves. We'll start with Shreya.

Shreya Sharma: Thanks, Bryan. Thanks for having me here. Hi, I'm Shreya. My pronouns are she/her. I publish the Inside Podcasting newsletter twice a week. And in addition to that, I also do PR and marketing for some independent podcasts, which is super fun to work on. And of course, I co-host The Download.

Manuela Bedoya: My name is Manuel, pronouns she/her. I am the marketing lead at LWC Studios. I am also the curator of the Podcasting, Seriously newsletter, which is a free weekly newsletter that goes out every Friday morning, and obviously the co-host of The Download along with Shreya.

Bryan Barletta: Well, that's awesome to hear a little bit about all of your backgrounds. I mean, I have had the pleasure of getting to know each of you before we started The Download, and it was just so obvious to me as I met all of you that, as we tried to expand Sounds Profitable from my megaphone into the space into something bigger; all three of you are amazing, talented people, and I was so excited when you agreed to come host and write this idea that Evo and I had.
So, the news is the core part of The Download, right? We're trying to make it as accessible as possible for the business side of podcasting. So when you're trying to stay up to date outside of The Download, or in general, when you're adding things, because we all contribute by adding things in there and voting on what makes it in there; what do all of you read?

Shreya Sharma: Yeah, of course there's Podnews, and then there's Podcast Movement's newsletter, which I really like. Pod Move, which tells you about all the cool events that are happening and also covers some editorial pieces. Then The Verge and now Bloomberg, and Sounds Profitable, of course.

Bryan Barletta: Aw.

Shreya Sharma: I also find that following conversations on Twitter and Reddit is super helpful, especially when you're trying to understand what's happening amongst the creators and just focus more on the creative side of things and not just the professionals.

Bryan Barletta: Yeah. Brendan from Podcast Movement writes such a great newsletter, and I don't think we get to know enough about Brendan and they don't get enough FaceTime with the sub. That's someone who I hopefully will get to pull into whatever we're creating and building here.
But Shreya, you do such a great job at pointing out the Twitter and Reddit threads. I think that's one thing I really noticed a lot about what you write in Inside Podcasting. I fell down that rabbit hole today. You pointed out a Reddit thread and I was like, "Oh, I guess I'll learn more about what people think about niches and podcasting," and so that was very cool to read.

Shreya Sharma: Thank you.

Manuela Bedoya: I love newsletters. They're definitely my main source of information to stay current in what's going on in the industry. Some of my favorites are Pod News, Inside Podcasting, and Sounds Profitable, of course. I do love Podcast Movement's newsletter PodMov Daily as well. Hot Pod is a favorite too. And I also just really love Marketing Brew. It's one of my all time favorites and it really makes me happy when they include podcast news.

Bryan Barletta: They've been working really hard to do that lately, Ryan and Alyssa over there. I feel like we might not have had a Download episode where we haven't shouted out to one, if not both of them in a bit.

Manuela Bedoya: Yeah. So, definitely shout out to them putting us on the map right there, Marketing Brew.

Bryan Barletta: Yep. And Gavin, what about yourself? You're more on the creative side of all this stuff, so...

Gavin Gaddis: It's a chimera of everything everyone else has mentioned, basically. I subscribe to all those letters, but I basically treat my inbox as an archive to be ignored until something pops up on Twitter. And if it gets to Twitter, I then go and check the actual newsletters written by people who are actually researching these things to see if the concern du jour is actually a concern or actually a story, or if it's just someone's starting stuff.

Bryan Barletta: Twitter, when someone starts something on Twitter, you're just like, "Ah, let's see if this is legit."

Gavin Gaddis: Yeah.

Bryan Barletta: "I'll check my encyclopedia of unread newsletters."

Gavin Gaddis: I'm decent at doing the murder conspiracy board of linking things together and remembering old news stories, but I would rather see what the people who have their stuff together have to say about that.

Bryan Barletta: Yeah. No, that's smart. That's smart. It's so funny with having a newsletter, and I mean, so many of us here have written them; I don't always think I'm a great source. Like People are like, "But Bryan, you're a journalist." I was like, "No, I'm a very opinionated person who all of you listen to." And I'm very thankful for all of that, but when people are like, "Oh yeah, I trust it completely," I'm just like, "Well, that's bad. I'm glad you learned from it." But there's a lot of weight we put on these newsletters and it's neat. I think it's cool, overall.
The Download, me and Evo kicked off The Download in December. And before we even started it, we said, "We cannot continue to host this," considering this is audio and not a lot of people know me. When I was in a mask at Hot Pod, it was very funny because I felt like with my mask on, I look like every 30 year old male in podcasting; glasses, bald, a little bit of beard sticking outside of the mask. We need more diversity in the space. And so, me and Evo knew that if we could get off the ground content-wise and production, we needed to step away as fast as possible, and we did.
I mean, this started in December; mid-February, I think I was out, and I'm so excited about it. But I know why I asked all of you to be part of it, but I'd love to hear from each of you. Let's start with Gavin. What appealed to you working on a business recap of the podcast industry?

Gavin Gaddis: I have seen... Well, since then, I've seen you say it, but I've seen Evo talk smack about crypto and whatnot in the past, which is my number one worry about getting involved with anything on the business related side of podcasting is cult-like adhesion to whatever the new thing is that everyone's trying to make some cash off of. So, to see that there's this thing that exists on the business side of podcasting that has critical thinking skills and would like to continue to have critical thinking skills is extremely appealing to me.

Bryan Barletta: Well, I'm glad to hear that the bond of dislike in crypto is strong here. I think that... It's so funny. Crypto, my views on it are just, "Not for me. Not right now." I think the core technology could be super neat. Let's let people burn out whatever this is right now. It's neat that people are trying to do so many small upstart things and push the technology of podcasting. But the business side, the reality that I try and bring to the space is, "Hey, we can be mad that we're all playing baseball when we really want to play soccer, or we can just be really good at baseball," and that's what I wanted to bring to the table with everything I'm doing, right? Let's be the best at what it is, figure out where that bounds are, figure out how to push it, but bring a little bit of reality to it. So, I'm glad that resonated with you.
Manuela, what about you?

Manuela Bedoya: Yeah. So, I'm always looking to learn more about the industry. And so, when this opportunity came up and Bryan so kindly reached out to me to join in this amazing project, I took it as an opportunity to really submerge myself in learning more about the industry. I deeply admire both Bryan and Evo and all the insight and knowledge they bring to this space and so generously share with everyone. So, I immediately jumped at the chance and it's just exciting to be a part of an industry that is rapidly growing and innovating in so many exciting ways, and just being a part of bringing those important stories to the forefront and spreading the word about the medium of podcasting and especially the business side of it is very exciting.

Bryan Barletta: It's so cool. I appreciate the compliments, but it's so funny because I've been a big fan of yours every time I do. Anything with the Podcasting, Seriously group; you're such a big star of it. You do such a good job at promoting and educating and entertaining people. And the reason I reach out to you was, I was just like, "Not enough people know her. She clearly isn't on podcasting Twitter yet because nobody's screaming for our attention." That was the win for me. When you created the Twitter account, I was like, "Yes." Absolutely enough people are just like, "We need to talk to her right now," because there's so many people that need to learn from you.

Manuela Bedoya: Honestly, it was after you were like, "What's your Twitter?" I was like, "Maybe I should create a Twitter."

Bryan Barletta: Welcome to the trap. And Shreya, what about you?

Shreya Sharma: So, Evo asked me, "Why do you want to work on The Download?" And I told him, "Honestly, it's because you and Bryan are two people that I can take feedback from and not get offended by it." That's the funny part of it.
However, I do know that... audio is just such a fascinating medium for me because it's at an intersection of technology and media. And I would say, arguably, it's the most intimate medium as well. And I think that there's more that can be done, especially in the marketing space. There are more opportunities for investment that are just not reaching the right ears, and it's because I write a newsletter and so I'm aware that there are just so many sources in this space and they're all great, but it's a lot for even me to go through all of this and this is my job.
So, if someone just wants to know what the most important news in podcasting is, I doubt that they're not going to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that's out there. And I think The Download does that. It delivers the news, it also contextualizes it. So yeah, that's why I wanted to be a part of the crew.

Bryan Barletta: I love that. It's funny. If I fall behind on Podnews, or if I didn't give it enough time in the morning, I look for your newsletter because I'm like, "Okay, well, if it was covered in Podnews it'll and it's important, it'll be covered in even more detail in Inside Podcasting, and then I can go back and see what else I missed in Podnews." But I really like that.
With The Download, what I really enjoy is we're all sharing these links, right? Throughout the week, we're posting links, we're thumbs up/thumbs down trying to get a feel of, how does this actually apply? Does it? Sometimes we cut stuff, but it's fun to see everybody's perspective of what they think's important or not. Heck, we could probably start a second podcast all about what we cut.
To me, this was the first step forward in creating something more presentable. Sounds Profitable was incredibly niche, right? It's podcasts, adtech, business, all of that. Adtech Applied, the main podcast, is the same thing. It's very, very focused. This is my attempt at saying, "Hey, I want to be someone who provides you that information. I want Sounds Profitable to be the core of it that provides you that information, so how do we do that?" And having all of you as the face of it is really exciting.
So as we think about this, this is the first step, right? It's not... We have no ads, which we might get a sponsor at some point. We're trying to figure out a way to do that because we want more people to learn. We want to share this information. So by the way, if you're listening and you want to talk about licensing, let us know. But the sky's the limit, right? This was built not with, "Oh, we have to recoup expenses. We have to do all this." So, I'd love to hear what people are thinking. What do you want to do next with it? How do you want to expand it? How do you want make sure that we're getting more voices involved, or where can we go from here? There's no wrong answer to it, I'd love to just hear your thoughts.

Gavin Gaddis: I mean, well, can I even mention the Spanish version of the podcast? That is absolutely something that I want to see happen more, so... That's a weak answer because that's not something new that I have thought up, but the fact that there is a Spanish speaking version of the podcast that isn't just us making weird robot AI clones of the existing English version to translate it without a human being involved is...

Bryan Barletta: My robot.

Gavin Gaddis: Amazing. That's needs to be the...

Bryan Barletta: My robot AI clone is pretty good on the narrated articles.

Gavin Gaddis: I'm sure it is, but come on. As an industry standard, right?

Bryan Barletta: As the difference between translation and localization, right?

Gavin Gaddis: Yes.

Bryan Barletta: And that's the big thing. That's what... I was trying to show a piece of tech, and this is great because in the article where I wrote about synthetic voice and translation and all that, the focus of using Veritone Voice was to say, "I want to see if there's an appeal for Spanish," and that hit on a great note. And Manuela said to me, "Hey, Bryan, I speak Spanish. Could we do The Download in Spanish?" And I said, "Absolutely."
And I'm excited to announce everybody here, but we're doing a test run with Gabe Soto of Edison Research as the co-host, and we're going to do it fully in Spanish. And we're learning all the roadblocks from it. So, Gabe's going to translate it, Manuela and Gabe are going to be the co-host of it, and then we need to figure out if Ian Powell who does not speak Spanish and is our editor can edit it, or if we have to find another editor. And that's not a bad thing, this is such a cool learning experience. And do you know the best part about it? If five people listen to it, it's doing its job.
It's showing that this can be done, that a small operation... There's no income for this right now. This is all just, "Can we do it? We should do this. Let's try it." That's exciting. It's trying to show people that it is accessible, and if you're passionate about it, all this stuff can be done. And so, I'm pumped to hear that you're excited about it too.

Manuela Bedoya: So, I think obviously collaboration is key. I mean, I love just what we're doing now in meeting face to face and just talking about the show. I think that is always great. I think creating conversation about topics that live in the margins, but are equally as important as those that are in, let's say, Podnews or The Verge. Definitely amplifying and uplifting, diverse stories and voices, and now with the launch of the Spanish version, just democratizing education in the industry across different languages and cultures and bringing the medium to non-English speaking people who are interested of either listening to podcasts or joining the industry.

Bryan Barletta: Yeah. I think that it's going to be really fun to just figure that out, and you're right. I mean, all the sources that me and Evo immediately signed up for were business news and things like that, and then all of you have been challenging us. "Here's another source that you need to keep in mind." "Here's another angle on something that I might have skipped over Evo skipped over." Collaborating opens all of it up, opens all of our minds up on it. I've had so many ideas for new articles for Sounds Profitable because of things that all of you have said, "Hey, I actually think that this is really important and this is why," and it's really challenged my perspective on it too.

Shreya Sharma: Yeah. I think that continuing to coverage is more news that's not directly podcasting related, but it will be relevant to us someday, and by us I mean podcasting industry as a whole; it shows the podcasters that we're thinking of more than just what's happening in our industry and we realize that audio has a bigger potential than it gets credit for. That's definitely one.
I also think that exploring stories behind the podcasts would be great, and this speaks to Manuela's point about uplifting underrepresented voices. Because a lot of podcasters are doing amazing things behind the scenes just to get their show out, just to monetize what they've already gotten out. Those two kinds of stories is what I would say we should keep exploring.

Bryan Barletta: Well, I'm so glad you said that because one of the ideas that I've been kicking around is that we don't, as an industry, highlight and really lift up individual people, go through their stories and go through the production companies, the growth of it. I mean, heck. Lemonada is one of my favorite podcast companies out there, and I love their story of having been repped by SXM Media and then doing it on their own and now getting funding, and why can't I read an article on that? And so, I think that in the near future, this team, what we're building here; I think editorial stuff like that is going to become a thing. I think really digging in and providing that insight, because this is our love letter to the industry. This is something that we feel like there's a hole that can be filled, right? And I think we're all the right people to fill it. I think we know how to talk to people, we know how to pull in the right voices, we know how to amplify and make room.
I think that it's really neat that it can be supplemented in a different way and we just think about what we want to do, why it's the right thing to do, and then figure out the rest later. So honestly, I'm over the moon, right? Sounds Profitable started as "Bryan yells into the void while he figures out what he wants to do next," 19 months ago? And now there's a podcast that I don't host on Sounds Profitable, and I could not be more proud of all of you. And I cannot wait until I get to say one day, "I remember when they did something with me at The Download," and other big famous people. So for me to all of you, thank you so much for being part of this and challenging the whole industry to grow.
We want to hear from you. Please reach out if you have any questions or comments. We're on Twitter at @SoundsProfNews, @BryanBarletta, or @AriThisandThat. And if you want to send us an email, that's This show is recorded with Squadcast, the best place to record studio, quality audio and video for content creators. I use Squadcast for every interview and product deep dive, and I encourage you to check it out. Go to for a free seven day trial, and let me know what you think.
Want more sounds profitable? We have two more podcasts you can explore. First up is Sounds Profitable narrated articles in English and Spanish, and next, The Download, our podcast about the business of podcasting, which you just heard all about. Thank you to Evo Terra and Ian Powell for their help on this episode.