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Sounds Profitable
Image: Jake Crowe

Sounds Profitable's 2022 Outlook

· By Bryan Barletta · Editor: Evo Terra

My absolute favorite part about building Sounds Profitable has been the ability to do it publicly. Getting buy-in from readers and sponsors as ideas become projects and iterating with them between announcement and release has led to some really cool ideas. So today, I want to run through what’s sticking around from 2021 and what new things are coming that I’d like your help on in 2022.

What’s Staying from 2021

Deepdives

There are so many amazing companies in the podcast industry that you truly need to know about, and what better way to do that then to get an in-depth walkthrough of what they have to offer and how all of it actively works. My deepdives embody the “do it publicly” mentality by collaborating with these companies to provide a high-quality demo of what they do best. And honestly, the response has been fantastic.

In 2022, we’ll have at least one deepdive each month, filling out the archives with over 22 total deepdives from 18 different companies. Here’s who you can expect to see this year:

The Podscape

With over 500 companies actively positioned between advertisers and listeners, The Podscape has been an incredible resource to help understand who’s who. In 2022, our goal is to update The Podscape every quarter, so make sure you’re signed up to receive all the latest updates.

I’m also continuing my quest to get every company on The Podscape to help me build out The Podscape Podcast. The goal is simple: by answering five questions in three minutes or less we can easily help you explain to the entire industry what your company does and who it’s for. If you haven’t already recorded your responses, please take a moment to do so!

Up Next: A Podcast UpFront

Last year, 20 companies came together to help launch the first podcast format UpFront. UpFront’s are a great tool for publishers to sell their ad inventory in advance, to help with planning out the rest of the years financials. The goal was to showcase the power of audio as a sales tool, by enabling each company to make an audio pitch for their content and accompany it with five episodes that show off the best they have to offer.

This year, we’re aiming for our 2nd UpFront to occur March/April. We’re also looking to collaborate with live industry events to get further distribution and make it that much more successful of a project. Any Sounds Profitable sponsor is eligible to participate.

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What’s New in 2022

Education

I’m working on creating a free and neutral educational course that covers the basics of the podcast industry from the business side. There are significant numbers of incredibly skilled individuals outside of the industry that are being passed up for roles because they lack direct podcast experience. But the truth is, the podcasting bits should be the easiest thing that we can teach anyone. Ideally, this will be a 1–2 hour text/audio/video course with a comprehension assessment at the end that would be perfect for anyone in the industry to run through, but more importantly will enable bringing in outside talent.

If you or your company currently have a Podcasting 101 training course, I’d love to trade notes with you, with full credit given in the coursework, to make sure that this covers as much as possible to help our industry continue to grow.

Job Fair

By the end of Q1 or the beginning of Q2, I’ll be running a virtual job fair. Looking just at my sponsors, there are easily hundreds of available jobs on the business side of the podcast industry that need to be filled asap. While the education component can help with onboarding, we need to get these jobs in front of more people, and the best way to do that is to come together. Because when we put it all together to represent a larger swath of our industry, it becomes far easier to promote and advertise in major tech and ad trades to get the attendance we need to fill those roles quickly.

If you’re interested in participating in this project, please reach out!

Good Data & Industry Research

I am over the moon to announce that Caila Litman, who just recently left Condé Nast and formerly Vox Media, will be joining Sounds Profitable to oversee a brand new research project that we’re tentatively calling Good Data.

Caila’s first goal is going to be breaking down the value of every qualified audio study, starting with over 25 from 2021, and intending to keep up with that flow for all new reports in 2022. These reports often have great insights, but sometimes it’s hard to extract those details, so Caila is here to tell you exactly why you should immediately go download that report. On top of that, the third week of every month Caila will be breaking down trends and topics she’s seeing across multiple reports, providing great insight only available to someone who can carve out the time to truly consume all of that material.

And for Sounds Profitable Sponsors, we’re building a tool to take that one step further. We’ll be breaking down every single reviewed report slide by slide, and aggressively tagging each page of content to make it searchable. With so many reports being released, even following Caila’s highlights means you’re updating your sales decks on someone else’s schedule. With this tool, you can search for the specific data you’re looking for and find out which report you need to download from the partner and add it appropriately to your deck.

The Download

If you listen to the Sounds Profitable podcast (which I really hope you do), you’ll notice that for the last three Fridays we’ve released a new show called The Download. The goal of The Download is to provide for you, in under 10 minutes, the what and why of the most important podcast business news every week, to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Evo Terra and I found ourselves reading over thirty sources a week to make sure we were up to speed on the industry, both internal sources like Podnews and I Hear Things, plus external sources like AdAge and DigiDay. So we put our lists together, compile our notes each week, and pick the top stories to cover. Right now, we’re looking for feedback on it. Launching it over two holiday weeks, which hopefully you were able to completely unplug from, means that hopefully, it highlighted content you missed and provided value.

For now, it’ll live in the Sounds Profitable feed, but stay tuned for a full announcement on what it will actually end up being.

Making It Happen

It’s very likely that you wouldn’t be reading this newsletter if it weren’t for the support of James Cridland and Evo Terra. So I’m excited to announce that Sounds Profitable will continue the amazing relationship it has with Podnews for at least the next two years. And, that Evo Terra, who has been far more than just an editor on Sounds Profitable, will be more active in helping me grow Sounds Profitable further.

The growth in 2021 could not have been possible without the amazing artwork from Jake Crowe, incredible social media management and podcast co-hosting from Arielle Nissenblatt, and the impeccable audio and video editing of Ian Powell. Which makes me even more proud to announce that all three will be continuing this journey through 2022 as well.

And last but absolutely not least, our sponsors. If it looks like we did a lot in 2021 and are planning even more in 2022, it’s really because of our sponsors. From their financial support that has allowed us to invest further into projects that benefit the space and don’t have to be paywalled, to their buy-in to these ideas with their time and connections. From day one, my goal has been to provide as much value to my sponsors as they provide to me, which is why you’ll continue to see some amazing projects that highlight them or parts of those projects that are built out specifically for them.

This industry is amazing, and it’s humbling to be able to sit in the middle collaborating and connecting as many people as I can while actively trying to educate and empower even more. I absolutely couldn’t do this on my own and am pretty blown away by the growth.

I hope you’ll stick with us through 2022 and beyond and that you’ll find content worth sharing with your friends and colleagues.

Yappa

New Sponsors

Sounds Profitable exists thanks to the continued support of our amazing sponsors. Each sponsor receives one hour of consulting per month as a way to say thanks.

  • Quill is an award-winning, full-service podcast production agency that works with brands to create, launch, and grow successful podcasts.

  • Decibel Grow With Audio

Want to learn more about sponsorship? Hit reply!

Rel’s Recs

Sounds Profitable podcast
This week, Arielle Nissenblatt of Earbuds Podcast Collective recommends Midnight Burger from Pansy Productions, hosted by Megaphone and measured by Chartable.

Midnight Burger is an incredibly quirky and captivating audio drama. It combines elements of otherworldliness and time/space travel with the best cuisine of all time…diner food. Whether you’re a longtime audio drama fan or just getting into the genre, there’s something here for you. I’m a big fan of this type of writing for the ear -- all of your questions get answered and the narration feels like it’s holding your hand.

What else is going on… with Podnews

In a worrying development for journalists, one true-crime podcast has been sued for their interview tapes … Podnews discovered that Facebook Podcasts is responsible for hundreds of thousands of never-listened-to, partial downloads. While they’re filtered out from IAB figures, one podcast host doesn’t use IAB figures for its press announcements; and every partial download will make a number of ad-calls down the adtech stack … Nielsen released data about podcast consumption by diverse audiences - there are differences in genre and location … Spotify saw 1.2m new shows in 2021, but Apple Podcasts only saw 570,000; the discrepancy is partly due to Anchor … and AdvertiseCast report a record high of $23.78 average CPM … you should subscribe to Podnews, free, for daily updates.

Sponsors

Our sponsors support a collaborative and educated podcasting space and are committed to raising up the whole industry together. Find out how you can become a sponsor today by emailing us directly

Bryan BarlettaBryan Barletta (He/Him) is the voice behind Sounds Profitable. He started in the adtech industry so long ago that they used to ask, “Mobile advertising? Like on taxis?” (2008) before shifting into podcasting in 2015. His goal is to make in-depth adtech more accessible for readers and listeners. And, yes, it is sunny and warm in Austin today.

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