Podcasts Need Carousels

August 18, 2022

Have you ever noticed when searching for a new book that platforms like Amazon tend to place the books they like at the top of the list? And did you also notice that these tend to be books that are backed by traditional publishers? I cannot help but think that in today’s world that creatives who are independent face increasingly difficult barriers to getting seen and discovered because of this issue.

If a buyer does not know what they are searching for and if they rely on the retailer to share new work or best sellers, how can the independent ever find their way into the search field to make themselves known?

This issue impacts all indie creatives including artists, musicians, and writers. Since diving deep into indie publishing and marketing the past few months, I have learned that many podcast platforms organize their listens much the same way as the big book online retailers. I am concerned about this because many authors are moving to podcasts #fiction #audiodrama and are using this media to get their work out to readers. According to Podcast Statistics (April 2022) there are more than 1 million unique podcasts and this means that the ability to be seen as a new podcast on any platform is ridiculously competitive. You either have to have marketing spend to get on the first page or be very lucky to catch the eye of the editorial team and entice them to place your show on one of their curated lists.

This is what The Dream Dealer’s Daughter has accomplished with the Pocket Casts podcast platform. The author actually got through as an independent podcaster now listed #1 under Fresh Fiction. The odds of getting there, are in her favor as it has provided a chance to be found and move slowly up on the trending list. She counts herself extremely lucky that a human actually listened to her show and gave it (and her) a chance.

I have thought about this conundrum and considered that if a platform were to truly rank art based on user likes, it would have to give every podcast an equal opportunity to be seen and viewed. What if at the top of every home screen the platform offered a search for genre of interest and then provided a constantly updating carousel of shows. Each would have literally seconds to sell their show similar to how news channels rotate stories on a carousel of clickable images.

Of course, this would have to be a pretty big list that rotates and perhaps it would only be remotely possible if it only worked after the user filters with interests such as fiction podcast, scifi. Yes, I can see the responses now that it would take forever to load. But hey, it is an idea. Either that or someone needs to come up with a platform for creatives to share their work with the main criteria that you have to be an indie creator to publish. It would also take a huge fan base of people looking to find and support indie creatives. If this already exists, someone please point me to it!

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