The below text is a highly-edited-for-readability version of the podcast episode.
Amazon wants your podcasts and they’re not stealing them! No, for real, they make a point of clarifying their new podcast distribution methods will not re-host content, and they’re going through the effort of asking podcasters for RSS feeds instead of scraping iTunes like other podcatchers.
Earlier this week I received an email from my podcast hosting provider linking to a submission page where podcasters can submit their RSS feeds to Amazon for a future rollout of podcast support on the monolithic corporation’s music and audiobook platforms.
“Amazon Music and Audible are adding podcasts and invite you to add yours by adding your podcast. You will have the opportunity to reach over 55 million Amazon Music and Audible customers. ”Amazon’s copy on the podcast submission page.
The first question addressed in the short FAQ is “why should I add my podcast,” and they sweeten the deal by mentioning how both apps are integrated with Alexa. I’m not sure if this is implying there’s a wider Alexa userbase out of the 55 million they’re claiming for Audible and Amazon Music.
Smart speaker functionality is cool, but I’ve also had the ability to tick a single box in Pinecast for ages that optimizes my feeds for smart speakers, so the idea Amazon will work some behind-the-scenes magic to optimize a feed for me doesn’t land as a big deal.
For content creators, enabling your content to be distributed on Amazon Music and Audible helps you to grow your audience by reaching these customers, many of whom will be new to podcasting.Amazon’s copy on the podcast submission page.
This is absolutely true. People who listen to Audible exclusively could be people who don’t listen to podcasts. If you’re one of the five people who only listens to music on Amazon Music, welcome. I’ve never met one of you in the real world.
My interest is piqued by the fact the pre-big-public-announcement Q&A bothers to even address the issue of re-hosting content. My hunch is whoever’s steering the podcasting ship at Amazon knows enough about the podcasting world to remember Stitcher and Luminary both receiving backlash for re-hosting scandals at launch.*
Currently visitors can submit up to 20 RSS feeds for Amazon through the signup page. Anyone with a bigger batch can email directly to have those processed, which is a nice and wholly unexpected human touch.
There’s no mention as to what Amazon is particularly looking for in podcast submissions, including no mentions of topics or themes that won’t be allowed. Instead the FAQ suggests searching your podcasts’ name in Amazon Music or Audible to see if it got accepted whenever this project comes to fruition.
Will anticapitalist podcasts that regularly dunk on Bezos make it through? Erotica audio fiction? Kink-forward chat shows? Why are they adding podcasts to both Amazon Music and Audible? Are they just putting fiction podcasts on Audible? Are they going to address the fact adding free podcasts to Audible after axing their own in-house podcast production feels weird?
The answer to all of these currently sits at “we’ll find out eventually.”
Amazon wants your stuff, you can submit it, they won’t repost it, and they have 55 million customers (which comes out to half the downloads an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience gets on launch week) waiting for you.
*Yes, there was an argument made on Luminary’s part that it wasn’t technically rehosting on their part but every breakdown I read during The Worst Podcatcher Launch In Recent Memory explained the temporary issue as being re-hosting with extra steps.
The London Necropolis Railway is an original, full cast audio drama podcast that premiered in fall 2018. The story takes place in London’s underground system where an organisation called The London Necropolis Railway moves the souls of the dead out of London to avoid the city getting overrun with hauntings… The (podcast) is an original full-cast audio drama podcast that premiered in Fall 2018.LNR’s description.
I feel the quickest way to sum up the LNR is to say it hits the same general story beats of a curmudgeon-forced-to-adventure a ‘la The Hobbit but better and a train is involved.
The LNR is an example of one of my favorite things you can do in fiction: take a real life thing that not a lot of people know about and make it cooler. In the 1800s London ran out of cemetery plots and had to start moving bodies out of the city to a distant, massive cemetery in the countryside, necessitating the creation of the brilliantly-named London Necropolis Railway. A tiny railway commuting the dead (and living mourners for an extra fee) out of London up until the 1941. I cannot stress this enough: this was a real thing.
Barney is a ghoul bored of his eternal existence working as a glorified ticket-taker for the LNR. The show picks up when one of the souls doesn’t get on the train, eventually exposing Barney to a mystery.
I also really enjoy that the LNR is a podcast produced from a project based in Sweden that “uses fiction to tackle difficult themes such as death, suicide, and existential questions in a way that makes them approachable for young people. The goal is to create platforms online that can both encourage young people to share their thoughts and emotions around the subject and to show them that they are not alone in their experiences.”
Also, the full cast is listed in the show description, not just the show notes, the show description. The acting is great, the sound design is solid as hell. There’s some Ace trains sound effects in there, and it’s a really satisfying seven episode art. If that all sounds interesting to you, please consider checking out The London Necropolis Railway
A Call to Action
In this final segment I’m announcing my intentions to start including press releases and fundraising campaigns in future weekly editions! If you have any news, fundraising campaigns, or anything of that sort, feel free to use the Contact Me page. I do have some press releases already that are still under embargo, so while I can’t use them quite yet I’m very appreciative for those who’ve taken the time to submit things they think fit the Pod Report’s whole deal. I would like to get into the habit of copying and pasting things, because it’s the least I can do and it will help get eyeballs on your stuff, which is good.
Pod Report Highlights
This week my newest piece over on DiscoverPods dropped and I’m thrilled you can finally read it:
I spent a lot of time whittling down a list of some of the most often-used royalty-free tracks I’ve ever encountered and crammed them into a piece about eating your authorial vegetables when using older (and more importantly: free) music in your podcasts.