PIC OF Someone listening to music 🙂
This article was written by Contributing Writer Erik van Mechelen with input from Yu-kai Chou and Jun Loayza.
Have you noticed yourself listening to more podcasts lately? Compared to five years ago, I definitely listen to more audio content.
It’s easy to understand why. With improvements in the production and consumption infrastructure, more and more quality podcasts are being created.
There are also more ways to listen.
In this article, I’m taking a close look at how and where I listen to audio content. I’ll transition into a side-by-side analysis of two podcast-focused apps on my iPhone’s home screen. I want to understand if they will help me discover podcasts I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered through friend/family recommendations.
As always, I’ll use the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis in my breakdown.
What to Listen To and How to Listen To It
If you could listen to anything in the world, what would it be?
I’ve monitored my listening behavior lately, and here are some things I’ve listened to:
- A Wise Man’s Fear on Audible
- Ready Player One on Scribd
- Sam Harris’s podcast on his website
- A Way with Words podcast on Overcast.fm
- This video on YouTube from Simon Sinek
- This podcast featuring Sierra DeMulder on Soundcloud
- 99% Invisible on Tung.fm
So, we have podcasts, audiobooks, and some audio from video-centric content ranging from fiction to interviews. (I’m a fiction writer, so I view it as part of my work to read or listen to at least a book a week.)
Then I asked myself this: How did I discover this?
- A Wise Man’s Fear on Audible >>> My brother
- Ready Player One on Scribd >>> While listening to a Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast
- Sam Harris’s podcast on his website >>> Enjoyed reading Sam’s book, then checked out his podcast
- A Way with Words podcast on Overcast.fm >>> My friend
- This video on YouTube from Simon Sinek >>> Up Next feature/algorithm
- This podcast featuring Sierra DeMulder on Soundcloud >>> Discover tab of Soundcloud
- 99% Invisible on Tung.fm >>> In the founder’s activity feed
In summary, a combination of family/friend recommendations and algorithms, with a major lean toward family/friend recommendations when we factor the length of my committed attention to audiobooks and a small number of podcasts.
I recommend doing this short exercise yourself to help you understand where you are getting your recommendations from. It’s easy to believe we are making decisions–but are you really making a decision when your options are already vastly filtered and reduced?
I wanted to take a look at Overcast.fm and Tung.fm, two podcast player apps, to understand if their social features might help me discover podcasts I wouldn’t have otherwise found through algorithmic recommendations.
Marco Arment started working on Overcast in 2013 with the overarching goal of supporting creators and improving the podcast-listening experience. He entered a crowded app marketplace in 2014 and has steadily grown his userbase. When deciding what app to use, Marco’s story is actually pretty convincing.
But since we are focusing on Discovery, I want to look at the features:
I spoke to Jamie, founder of Tung.fm, over the phone to understand what his vision was in building Tung.
It was simple. He thought: Why isn’t there an app that you can see and listen to what your friends are listening to?
And so he set out to build Tung in 2015.
He wanted an app that gives the user the ability to see and listen to what her friends are listening to.
In my experience with the app, I was pleasantly surprised not to be asked what my favorite categories were.
Jamie backed up this first impression. He talked about how–counter-intuitively–algorithms can actually reduce discovery. If, during Onboarding, I choose several categories, like Science and Technology or Storytelling, then I’m already limiting the types of podcasts I’m exposing myself to.
Jamie described a few other features. I’ll focus on the social aspect which leads to discovery.
- Share clip: gives you the chance to taste the podcast vs a 55-minute listen
- Make comments: interaction with other users on a specific episode of the podcast with timestamps
- Follow user:
share clip, that’s to get a taste of the podcast vs 55min listen
make comments , read comments
some things he wants to add:
overall ui, jump between episodes [CD4]
can save for offline playback [CD4]
position remembered [CD4]
reminders for new episodes (of subscribed) [CD2/4]
@ mentions [CD5, CD7 for recipient]
share profile link [CD5]
create playlists [CD3, CD5 when you share them]
I’ve noticed myself listening to podcasts through iTunes on my desktop, through a Chrome browser, and on various podcast apps.
In mid-2015, I saw Overcast.
It’s now mid-2016, heard about Tung.fm.
By now, my listening time is spread between Audible/Scribd/Overcast/Tung (AND any youtube or spotify)
between my car and *** running, what else, laundry, dishes…feels great to learn or be entertained while i’m doing something else (same function as radio used to provide, so it isn’t a new behavior, except the complexity of **choice** is different. [or is it?]
Think about how you choose what to do. A broad question.
Here’s an easier one: How do you decide what to listen to?
Even easier: When you are taking a 10-minute taxi or 15-minute train ride or a 20-minute drive, how do you decid what to listen to?
If we start to examine our own behavior we might gain clues to other people’s, too.
I know my motivations begin with convictions. About what I want to build or create or accomplish. I ask myself: can I listen to something that will help me toward one of my goals?
Curiosity, generally, also plays a role.
Curiosity is a motivational space which makes discovery so important. [both sides of the coin, producer/consumer]
Word of mouth is a nuance
(I don’t listen to much
more media companies are investing in creating great podcasts
quality is on rise
I downloaded Overcast.fm because it was made by a guy who had a short interesting story about why he made overcast. i don’t even remember what the story was, but i liked it. there you have some insight into my buying/peruchasing decisions.
i don’t need much, but it needs to be compelling.
the onboarding was simple and i got started, feeds from the main providers, so i could even see my own podcasts quickly searchable.
it does what it needs to do and that is enough. good download speed, fun useful buttons, smooth experienced.. (any product’s experience should be smooth these days, but ill say it nonetheless…). though not addictive, i find myself using it, why?
I’ve used the podcast player, purple, come strandard with the app.
I’ve used stitcher on my f brothers’ phones just to see how it works, and am familiar with stitcher’s web experience (bought by Deezer, collecting their 16million daily/monthly 16mill monthly in 180 countries). check Deezer website to learn more about them…and the car Radio thing:O
i think it is creating a change or a chance to discuss the the actual episodes and get recommendations from friends (recommendation engines and social awareness and data…a lot of opportunities), i like what Sam Harris and David Deutsche discussed about finding a place to live between free will and recommendations and getting into listening/recommendation rus ruts (finding way s to listen and engage with and explore and unederstand viewpoints A I don’t understand and don’t already a agree with are necessary to live fully and debate and explore those notions fully, this is crucial and so I’m trying to do this with podcasts, this takes away the discovery process
podcasts, hurdle, don’t have their subscribed podcasts in the app
(so their is a cost)
but a feature to alleviate that pain point
(do have to find them again)
what’s gonna win over the most users:
ANDROID developer —>
I also asked Jamie what he’s going to build next, and how he decides what to build next. Since he built Tung.fm solo, he has to think carefully about how to use his time. He said the next step is building an Android version (you can get in touch HERE). [Are you an Android developer? Get in touch!]