According to the report, the deal will see new episodes of SmartLess appear exclusively on Amazon Music — along with Wondery+, the subscription channel of Wondery, which, as a reminder, was acquired by Amazon Music at the end of last year — for just one week before being more widely released on other platforms. It might matter, however, if you’re operating from a standpoint of having to explain to management or a publishing partner as to why your show’s Apple Podcasts downloads have become distorted all of a sudden — in which case, it’s prudent to say, “Apple Podcasts is a mess for just about everybody right now. Speaking of exclusive deals …

The New York Times: “Joe Rogan Is Too Big to Cancel”

It’s been about two years (and an extremely lucrative Spotify deal) since the last time someone took a swing at comprehensively decoding the Joe Rogan phenomenon, which came courtesy of Slate, and last week, we saw the Times’ Matt Flegenheimer mount the latest attempt. I boldly emailed Terry to ask if I was right, and I was. Sign up for Vulture’s new recommendation newsletter 1.5x Speed here. the “leaflets in a mailbox” syndrome — but it might also be an episode that lost a listener because of that lost convenience/additional friction or, alternately, an episode that ended up being consumed on an Apple Podcasts platform competitor. The bug’s emphasis on background downloads brings another, perhaps more fundamental question to the foreground. I’m aware of the counterarguments. Yes, it’s Amazon. However, it’s also important to point out that the dynamics fueling Spotify’s podcast fortunes continue to be in some flux. The O’Reillys’ marketing know-how yields a polished product that’s jam-packed with stories, a widely applicable skill set that’s allowed them to branch out from a show strictly about the marketing world to other narrative series, such as Alone Together and We Regret to Inform You. Photo: Primakov/Shutterstock

This article first ran in Hot Pod, an industry-leading trade newsletter about podcasting by Nick Quah. This undoubtedly planted the seeds for future jobs in media, but it also established a more fundamental synergy in how the family interacts. This, by the way, has been my impression checking in with a few shows as we drifted into the Fourth of July weekend: Some saw heartbreaking drop-offs in downloads, while some saw more muted effects. Before Apostrophe, he co-founded the commercial firm Pirate Radio and Television in Toronto and, before that, wrote scripts for ads; he graduated to directing them after starting Pirate. Callie agrees: “It’s so easy to share work and hand things off to each other because we have complete trust with what that person is going to do with it.”

While one might assume that such synchronized standards are a product of similar careers, it goes back much further than that. But he made it happen. So central is he to the company’s fortunes that the podcast is listed as its own category on the app: Sports. They’re “not one homogenous group,” he says, “and that collision and those sparks are pretty wonderful.” At the same time, they’re still able to approach projects with an aligned understanding of what works for a given audience, he notes. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source tells Shaw that it comes in between $60 million and $80 million and will stretch across three years. But if you come to one of the company’s shows purely by way of that show, you might have no idea, and instead all you get is a sharp, highly produced audio product, able to duke it out with something from a much larger or more established media company. On Thursday, the company posted a brief note on its “Apple Podcasts for Creators” portal flagging the problem:

Listeners on iOS 14.6 may experience an issue that prevents automatic downloads for new episodes from completing in the background. It also contains new information and context about The Joe Rogan Experience’s current position behind the Spotify walled garden. Seriously, I swear.”

It should be reiterated that this bug is specific to listeners using the Apple Podcasts app on iOS 14.6, which means that the affected downloads only represent a slice of the Apple-Podcasts-specific slice of a given podcast’s overall listenership. All four had a hand in making the flagship Apostrophe show Under the Influence before Apostrophe was even an idea, with Debbie line-producing, Sidney pushing out social-media content, and Callie coordinating the music when the program was still strictly for radio. Speaking personally as a fan, Under the Influence hits many of the right notes. “We developed that language early on,” Callie says, recalling that watching the Oscars together, for example, was a household tradition. It’s just that, because of the background-download hiccups, downloads that would’ve typically been banked on the front end of an episode are now being recorded as they come in. To be clear, this is generally bad for everybody on the publishing side. “It’s kind of in our blood.” These days, brainstorming sessions often reference those early, formative memories, which makes it possible to cut out small talk or roundabout discussions, thus speeding up the editorial process. This Podcast Company Was Dead on Arrival

By Aria Bracci

Even before Terry O’Reilly convinced his wife and kids to join him in launching the Apostrophe Podcast Company, he had a track record of being persuasive. Until then, the O’Reillys’ family dynamic shines in how it sets a foundation for the business, rather than how it operates as a façade. More details can be found in this piece from the Manchester Ink Link. And the O’Reillys seem to have it down. When the show itself isn’t reminding me of the cereals I used to eat as a kid, its theme music, an energetic, jazzy tune overlaid with crackly recordings of vintage commercials, achieves a setup akin to the THX intro — it sets the tone, and it gets you excited. Well, for now, anyway. I personally felt drawn to listen as if I were part of the family myself, since a good amount of the show’s subjects are familiar to me, too, having come up of age around the same time as Callie and Sidney, albeit in Massachusetts. An episode that’s not automatically downloaded in the background might be an episode that never would’ve been consumed in the first place — a.k.a. Rogan’s following remains young, loyal and increasingly global. ICYMI: Amazon Music strikes a pricey deal with SmartLess

Last Tuesday, Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw reported that Amazon’s audio-streaming platform — which is not Audible — has bought “exclusive rights” to the celebrities-interview-celebrity podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. Which is to say, listeners using Apple Podcasts are still likely consuming episodes at the rates that they normally would — though, of course, it’s entirely possible that the lost convenience of automated background downloads might cause listeners to bounce off an affected show, or, more broadly, that the increased crappiness of the app might’ve driven people off the Apple Podcasts platform entirely. For some publishers, this can bring considerable complications to how podcast ads are bought and sold, especially if a publisher is in a position of estimating and reporting the average per-episode listenership of a given show to an advertiser up front. Furthermore, if the affected user opens the app, only some of those partially downloaded episodes are completed. Yeesh. Sure, this is probably the case on some level, but I also think it’s a little more complicated than that. If we’re chiefly talking about automated downloads here, and if those downloads are guaranteed completion only when a listener actively pulls the show up and interacts with it, does this mean that the reported download numbers that publishers get from this bug are actually a more “true” picture of an episode’s listenership than without the bug? “We have a shared taste and a shared trust in each other’s instincts,” Callie notes, not from work alone, but “in a way that can only come if you’ve grown up together.”

It works particularly well that at the heart of Under the Influence, the first production that the O’Reillys collectively left their mark on, are the movies and commercials they’ve spent so much time consuming and discussing as a family. There appears to be some uncertainty as to how publishers should best interpret the way in which they’re affected by this problem. And they, too, are pretty pleasant to work with. In fact, they’re so aligned professionally and socially that they’ve actually done this before: Until recently, Terry’s daughter Callie was one of Pirate’s directors. The group, identifying as the NHPR Content Collective, announced the effort on Twitter last Tuesday, noting that it has sent a petition to station CEO Jim Schachter, who joined the station from WNYC in the fall of 2019, requesting voluntary recognition and to begin negotiations in good faith. A more specific release date is not available at this time. Any one of these deals could produce returns that, while not necessarily individually comparable in value to one Joe Rogan Experience, could well be so in the aggregate. Email

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Terms of Service apply. Joe Rogan. Although listening is unaffected, this issue can reduce downloads reported by third-party hosting providers and will be resolved with a software update, which also includes enhancements to Library, in the coming weeks. The plot, as they say, thickens. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Speaking of Archewell Audio …

Archewell Audio Hires Rebecca Sananes As Head of Audio

Sananes joins from the Vox Media Podcast Network, where she was the lead producer on Pivot With Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. In case you need a refresher: Archewell Audio is the audio-production arm of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s broader Archewell organization, which also houses a nonprofit, the Archewell Foundation, and a video-production arm, Archewell Productions. “Shorthand is critical,” Terry says. Oh, you like podcasts? Whenever Rogan’s deal with Spotify nears its expiration date, he’ll have a podcast industry that’s a lot more populated with eager and capable buyers than before, including, among others, SiriusXM, iHeartMedia, and now, Amazon Music. They also just launched an interview show that breaks from their trademark style of a solo narrator guiding you through a curated list of stories. Terry’s productive pitching, whether to his family or to the CBC, is certainly due in part to his own background in marketing. Mother Debbie comes from a career in advertising; daughter Sidney studied journalism. At least $20 million per year for one-week-release exclusivity for a show that’s barely been around for more than a year? (Though it built on collective decades of work, Apostrophe itself only launched in January 2020.)

I found Under the Influence through the CBC’s podcast directory, took a liking to it, and one day just happened to listen all the way through the credits and notice that the host and one of the producers had the same last name. Yes, I’m sure Amazon Music’s business-development team has modeled out how one-week exclusivity could theoretically lead to more users and time spent listening on the Amazon Music platform. It’s likely a mixture, just as there are multiple reasons why his own family members are his best-suited partners for this new storytelling business: They, too, come from marketing backgrounds. In other words, the deal appears to be premised on an extremely brief one-week exclusivity window as opposed to a more complete exclusivity arrangement, which is what governs many of the other high-profile platform-exclusive deals we’ve seen in recent years. (For example, Spotify’s deals with Call Her Daddy, The Joe Rogan Experience, Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, and Higher Ground, though the Obamas’ podcasts do tend to get windowed out into a wider release, albeit with a significantly longer lead time than just one week.)

Amazon Music is also getting what amounts to a first look with the SmartLess team on future audio projects as a part of this deal, which I imagine has some value, but, again, many of the other exclusive licensing deals already have this element baked into them as well. “We grew up in a pop-culture house,” says Callie, and she and her siblings were shown how to analyze media, whether they knew it or not, because of their dad’s ever-present interest in entertainment and the art of the ad. I Googled and Googled and was able to find only one thing suggesting that the two were married (Terry’s Wikipedia page, because, for some reason, maybe having to do with international borders, the Canadian company’s “.ca” site never came up). One last note. Music. But it seems to me that the big story here, more than anything else, is the way in which $60 to $80 million feels like a drop in the bucket for the tentacular, nation-state-size Amazon — and how the point of this deal for Amazon Music probably isn’t necessarily about the show per se, but the price being paid itself. and DC Entertainment, and Archewell Audio. Terry and Debbie O’Reilly have three kids, two of whom, Callie and Sidney, now work for Apostrophe. Between the sharp uptick in bugs leading to alarmingly fundamental problems with publisher-side usability, new user-experience frictions that have caused ever more listeners to deem the app near unusable, and the stumbling rollout of its much-touted podcast-subscriptions tool — all generally pegged to the iOS 14.5 update — Apple Podcasts has had a pretty rough stretch of months, and the scene doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It’s a “fascinating field,” Terry says, because it’s a “study of human nature,” playing into and revealing what drives people to feel and act certain ways. As discussed earlier in this piece, it’s important to note that the convenience afforded by background downloads may very well have causal effects on the relationship between a listener and the show as subscribed on the Apple Podcasts platform. Because of that energy, it’s very nearly a show that I can’t listen to at 1.5x speed, for fear of not being able to keep up with all the action. For one thing, note that the two other shows present in Spotify’s five most-streamed podcasts list are now subjects of Spotify deals: Call Her Daddy and The Michelle Obama Podcast. News and Politics. I once described it as a great show to listen to while roller-skating. I guess that depends on your belief as to whether this whole podcast thing is a bubble. Perhaps the O’Reillys will more aggressively market the family angle in the future if it becomes useful or relevant; after all, that’s exactly what they did with the Airstream-trailer-turned-podcast-studio they use: Though they’ve been recording in it for years behind the scenes, as soon as a listener jokingly referred to it eponymously as the “Terstream” studio, the team adopted it as part of their brand and messaging. This composition of the problem suggests that not all shows are affected equally, their reported download losses varying based on whether the bug hit them in the first place and based on how a given show’s audience is distributed across Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or other third-party apps like Overcast, Stitcher, and … uh, Audacy, I guess? Apple Podcasts’ problems, some alarmingly fundamental, seem to be stacking up in a moment where the so-called “Podcast Platform Wars” have never been hotter and thicker with platform-level competitors, many of which come with deep pockets and intents to centralize. It’s been my belief that the future of podcasting’s historically open nature is intimately connected to Apple Podcasts’ position as a strong, popular, maybe even default listening choice for podcast consumers. Here’s my understanding of the issue: For Apple Podcasts users on iOS 14.6 with the appropriate settings, new episodes of shows subscribed to on the app aren’t being fully downloaded in the background as expected. (I’m currently 18 minutes deep in this one.) Under the Influence, though, goes one step further by explaining how things like commercials came to be and the effect that certain elements were intended to have. They’re all very smart people, so on and so forth. It does occasionally make itself known, though. Who doesn’t love a “ten commercials you forgot about”-style roundup? The Times reports that the show saw an “initial audience dip” when it first went exclusive to the platform — putting to paper what had previously been the commonly circulated gossip — and in regard to the controversies he’s brought to the platform (which, I should note, functions as his publisher), Flegenheimer writes:

… among top Spotify leadership, people familiar with the company say, the notion that Mr. Then again, Spotify isn’t the only one in this situation with evolving leverage. (The other two, which aren’t affiliated with Spotify, are TED Talks Daily and The New York Times’ The Daily.) Consider also the fact that Spotify has signed, and continues to sign, a fairly huge pile of these podcast deals, including with Kim Kardashian, Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, Warner Bros. But fear not: Each episode ends by recapping the stories’ lessons and through-line. Though he’s long experimented with the art of persuasion, it’s hard to say if his now-full-blown podcasting company came to be purely because of his convincing nature, or if it’s also because he’s just a nice guy, one who’d be pleasant to work with. Under the Influence, perhaps his most well-known podcast, is a narrated show about the world of marketing, and it started as a syndicated program for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, even though, by Terry’s assessment, it didn’t have the best shot of getting picked up. Rogan presents any kind of regrettable executive headache is laughable. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Taking more than a few pages from the Obamas’ Higher Ground playbook, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex struck a Netflix deal through Archewell Productions last September as well as a multiyear Spotify partnership through Archewell Audio last December. When she starts at the audio-production arm in August, Sananes will be leading that Spotify partnership and will report to Archewell’s head of content, Ben Browning, who was brought on in March. Meanwhile, Over in the Bay Area

Insider reports that Clubhouse is seeing a surge in downloads after several months of decline, thanks in large part to the social-audio app’s Android launch and subsequent uptake in non-American markets. Such comprehensive schooling doesn’t hurt, considering that the best marketing references other media, or else it depends on complex and compelling characters, framing, and hooks. Speaking of the bigger picture: Based on this bug and all the other technical issues that have popped up over the past few months, it’s really hard not to be acutely nervous about the current state of Apple Podcasts and what its growing cascade of instabilities means for the broader podcast ecosystem. Add to this Spotify’s other nonmusic machinations, including its push into live audio — I imagine we’ll see some talent deals come out of that effort at some point — and its attempt to build out a podcast-advertising marketplace, and you start seeing a picture of Spotify diversifying its podcast position away from critical Rogan energy dependence. Here’s my understanding on that front, based on what I know right now: Firstly, it’s important to emphasize that the issue impacts how Apple-Podcasts-specific downloads are being reported on the hosting side as opposed to a show’s actual listenership on the Apple Podcasts platform. For one, you can’t ignore it when you get two of them on the phone together and pose a question to them both, and Terry, in such a dadlike way that it could’ve been ripped straight from the script of The Parent Trap, volleys the inquiry to his director — and daughter — with a “Go ahead, Cal.”

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Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. As usual, Rogan declined to be interviewed, and while the resulting piece is mostly a write-around, it’s also the most comprehensive accounting of Rogan’s history I’ve seen thus far. Listen, I’m just a small newsletter operator — a business no larger than a banana stand — but this deal just seems wacky to me. And on that basis, the future of open podcasting is looking pretty tenuous, much more so than it already is. (Though, as a publisher, you’d still be able to record the latter consequence at the end of the day.)

Of course, this causal stuff probably doesn’t matter from the standpoint of reporting metrics to an advertiser, which just wants to know whether its brand message reached X amount of people in theory. And thank goodness, because “O’Reilly” isn’t exactly a rare last name: According to 2014 data on the site Forebears, every 1 in 8,462 people in Canada has it — that’s compared to the 601,093 you’d have to sort through to find a Bracci in the U.S. Now, the concept of “exclusive rights” should be qualified significantly here. So, in theory, a show that’s heavier on Spotify audiences would experience this disruption to a somewhat different extent than a show that’s Apple Podcasts–heavy or evenly distributed across the multiple platforms. “I didn’t think they would buy a show on advertising on an advertising-free network,” he laughs. Even if you don’t need a summary, you might listen through anyway, if only to hear how Terry will lead up to the last line, which always ends with “… when you’re under the influence.” When I learned that the O’Reillys call their shows “driveway podcasts,” meaning that you’d gladly sit in your now-parked car to finish listening to an episode you started on the way home, I agreed. When showcased through its official website, on which the origin of the company’s name is front and center, Apostrophe (referring to the punctuation in “O’Reilly”) is a family business. Though some die-hards may grumble — like fans of Howard Stern, perpetually convinced he’s gone soft — Mr. The issue around the automated-background download stuff on iOS 14.6 is expected to resolve with a new software update, said to be scheduled for rollout in the coming weeks. Tags: It’s just that, again, the badness is not equally distributed, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to visualize the bigger picture. SmartLess is repped by CAA. Having extra O’Reilly hands on the project made sense, considering the four have worked in varied enough roles within the communications field that they all bring something unique, says Terry. Indeed, the company appears to have various marketing tones that it can dial up or down. The notion of Rogan’s centrality to Spotify’s podcast-platform fortunes has been well-established before, easily discernible from the fact that The Joe Rogan Experience was listed as the most-streamed podcast on the platform last year. It’s only when the user directly interacts with the show listing — by tapping follow, play, save, and so on — that the affected episode will download in its entirety, guaranteeing its recognition as a reported download. “One of us will say, ‘Hey, remember that moment in that movie where someone says that thing about that thing?’ and we all just say, ‘Yeah, yeah yeah!’”

Being exposed to entertainment so early and often gave the O’Reillys a sort of double education on the world of media — one informal, in the home, and one supported by academic institutions and real-world jobs. Last week saw the surfacing of yet another consequential bug, one that’s been active for at least a few weeks now. Union Push at New Hampshire Public Radio

A group of NHPR staffers, chiefly in content-production roles, are organizing to form a union with SAG-AFTRA.