Now that everybody seems in agreement that audio content is here to stay for a while, people are starting to work on the discoverability problem.
I’ve heard from clients who lament over the fact that there are well over two million active podcasts out there. So many in fact it’s virtually impossible to get any traction.
Of course, there are about 31 million active YouTube channels, and that doesn’t stop any of them. So the volume of podcasts isn’t the problem, it’s discoverablity. YouTube is basically the only game in town if you’re looking for video content. You can spend an entire day going down a rabbit hole. (Somehow I ended up with furniture flipping videos showing up all the time. When I randomly clicked on one I found it to be a world that was surprisingly interesting and also an epic time suck)
Podcasts don’t have that. At this point most of the professional content is divided between Spotify and Amazon. Apple is obviously still in the game as well but in the mode of playing catch up at the moment.
That’s where Kayak co-founder Paul English and his new app Moonbeam are supposed to come in.
You could think of Moonbeam as sort an audio version of TikTok. Listeners can scroll through samples of podcasts and decide if they like what they are hearing enough to give the whole episode a shot. It’s not a bad idea, and they let creators pretty easily feature the content they want.
It’s a great resource to have, but it seems you’re still depending on listeners coming to this new platform specifically to find new podcasts hoping they land on yours. The percentage of potential listeners who would do that still seems pretty low to me. I don’t think you’ll ever have one platform rule them all the way YouTube has. What podcasters need is for the existing platforms to improve their searching and discoverability. You can’t expect a mass migration to another platform.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely still useful. We’ve already seen lots of TikTok users frustrated over the creator fund turn their account into a funnel for their YouTube channel. Moonbeam could do the same thing. That would definitely be useful for creators.
They aren’t even the first game in town in the podcast discovery game. There are sites like Podchaser and Goodpods, but I think they are less resources for listeners looking for content and more trying to be an IMDB for the podcast world. Last week Spotify acquired Podz, which is an app with a pretty similar idea, but not quite as many doodads and geegaws for creators.