A new platform offering a unique answer to dynamic audio and ad insertion

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Exactly one year ago, pulling from our previous 6-year learnings as an independent publisher-focused podcasting CMS, we diversified our focus and launched an all-new enterprise-scale Simplecast. The goal of this new platform was to take a step back, reassess technical inefficiencies of our industry, and then solve for them.

While many focused on podcasting’s ad models, or the YouTube-of and the Netflix-of, the underlying issues in the industry of scalability and measurement were going ignored. We knew that, for creators, trying to grow and monetize a show without a strong understanding of the audience, the cart was being put before the horse. …

One of the most common feature requests we received over this year was to put your Spotify audience insights right in your dashboard. You asked, and we delivered.

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Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Beginning with plays from August 23 on, you’re now able to report on listens from Spotify in your Dashboard! This is a big step forward for a few reasons. Let’s look into how we’re accomplishing this, why we decided on accuracy over speed, and what this means for upcoming features and audience metrics.

Why haven’t I been able to see Spotify data in my Simplecast Dashboard alongside all other apps, browsers, and devices?

To answer this, it’s best to understand how Spotify’s platform works with podcasts. Nearly every single podcast distribution platform and listening app streams directly from your podcasting host (in this case, Simplecast)-but Spotify doesn’t. Instead, when Spotify sees a change to your RSS feed, their platform automatically ingests the MP3 into their infrastructure. So, when someone clicks play on an episode in Spotify, it’s typically streaming from Spotify. …

In a test we ran last month, 71% of web player-based listens from shows using Simplecast came from Simplecast web players. Since our mission is to help podcasters find success, and we know that one of the best ways to do that is through lots (and lots) of data, we decided to go deep on what your listeners are doing on your Simplecast site and Simplecast web players. Our product team is super excited to announce the roll-out of our brand-new Web Player Analytics, and all the goodness therein. …

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Photo by Darius Cotoi on Unsplash

At Simplecast, our mission has always been to help podcasters become more successful—and we believe one of the ways to best accomplish this is getting to know your audience through the most in-depth analytics in podcasting. And this is why we’re excited to announce an all-new report for Simplecast, and a much-improved report for the industry: say hello to Unique Listeners.

We’ve been working to define (and refine) this metric for a while now. Along the road to releasing podcasting’s leading analytics platform, we created this little thing we call a “fingerprint” to anonymously identify unique listener devices. Through machine learning, we’re able to know if those devices have listened to a specific podcast and episode before. …

The heartbeat of your show is your analytics — your listeners’ habits in how they listen, where they listen, and even when they stop listening.

As part of the all-new Simplecast, a major passion (while also a major hurdle) was to create one of the most powerful, granular, and accurate open analytics platforms for podcasters. And I think we’ve nailed it.

As we’re polishing things up for launch, this is the perfect time to begin sharing the biggest changes and improvements you can expect when your new analytics reports begin rolling out. We’ll start a conversation around the major upsides and the one downside of IAB standards, and why you may see a decrease in your reported downloads. At the same time, I’ll touch on the attention and engineering we’re investing to ensure legit downloads stay legit downloads and numbers don’t drop unnecessarily. …

Simplecast launches Recast™ beta, a listener-driven podcast sharing and discovery tool

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Update: June 14, 2018

We’re making Recast beta available for all Simplecast-powered shows! If you don’t yet see this option in your Share tools, hop on over to your Dashboard support chat and let us know - we’ll get it flipped on for ya. As a publisher, you will access your Recast settings via any episode’s Share page, where you can preset the sharing color & artwork options for each episode. Recast will be publicly available, without request, alongside the launch of Simplecast 2.0.

If you’d like to play around with Recast as a show’s listener, here’s an episode of Mozilla’s IRL podcast. Jump right into the editor, or launch it yourself from Mozilla’s Simplecast web player. Easy-peasy. …

Secrets are sooo overrated. So here’s a late Friday afternoon peek into three new Simplecast tools which go into beta release next week. Keep scrolling. You won’t regret it. 🔥

Custom Episode URLs 🕹

We rolled out a necessary security update two weeks ago—this update replaced auto-numbering URLs with more secure, dynamically generated hashes. We know this wasn’t ideal, but the other half of this upgrade should have you rejoicing. Yep. Custom URLs for each and every episode.

Eat, link, and be merry!

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Currently in beta — Sep 15 Public Release

Audio Player 2.0 👩‍🎤

We’ve redesigned and reengineered the Simplecast embeddable player from the ground up. What you see here is only a small peek into the design + features. We begin rolling out to certain beta testers during the week of Sep 11. If you can’t wait to get your hands (and podcasts on it), we’ll have all the details coming soon to your Simplecast Dashboard. …

A quick pit stop along the road to Simplecast 2.0

Each morning I wake up and look toward the future of Simplecast — our design system, the new Audio Player, the entirely overhauled Dashboard, and so many more listener analytics. Oh my god, the new analytics!

Then, somewhere during my first cup of coffee it slaps me in the face: the version of Simplecast my team is beautifully crafting is still several months out of your grasp. So. Not. Fair.

We began re-engineering Simplecast 2.0 from the bottom up — developing an entirely new API (on an entirely new codebase) which will power everything in the new Simplecast. Actually, it began deeper that that, if you’ll recall our post on hosting infrastructure improvements a few months back. Then just this week we announced zippier global audio delivery. All that said, rolling out new features on the current platform is next to impossible without writing some code twice. …

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Photo credit: Jonathan Velasquez via Unsplash

A new journey begins for the podcast hosting and analytics platform

This week marks the anniversary of Wayward Wild. These quickly passing twelve months have offered their fair share of mountaintops and valleys — successes, wins, mistakes, a few utter failures. The mountain top highs are always invigorating, but always fleeting. The valleys, at least for me, tend to always offer up what they most often do for any business: the opportunity to evolve, the chance to adapt.

Over the past year, this evolution has been paving the way to Wayward Wild’s digital product studio.

Wayward Wild was born of a two-pronged mission. While one flag flies to incubate growing media brands, the other is deeply planted in tech and digital products. …

Thoughts on Hemingway, time travel, and—after 7 years—bidding farewell to Virb as Founder & CEO. 

Last week I finished Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’. As with all books worth re-reading, I chewed through the pages, absorbed by their somehow novel familiarity. But it’s always in anticipation of what hooked me at first — in this case, the final damn paragraph, which concludes with an all-time favorite line:

“Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

I cherish this novel for many reasons but that single line gets me every time. It’s a hauntingly simple observation of how far our ideal can be from our reality. A reminder that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we may not get the thing, the person, the whatever we desire. It’s pretty to think about, and maybe that’s all some of our desires will ever amount to — a lovely thought. But Papa Hemingway seems to think that even so, it’s okay to romanticize. …


Brad Smith

Helping podcasters find success as CEO of @Simplecast. Founded Virb and @WaywardWild, published @GreatDiscontent. Sorta meh now, was once cooler. 👨‍🚀

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