The Power of SoundCloud As A Podcast Publishing Platform

Podcasting soundcloud 660

Why do I like SoundCloud as a podcast hosting platform? What advantages can SoundCloud offer podcasters? Why should you consider SoundCloud as a place to distribute your podcast?

Last week SoundCloud announced that its podcasting features were now publicly available to everyone [1]. Given that I've been using SoundCloud's podcasting feature in their beta program since May 2012, I want to share some of my reflections on why I think SoundCloud has great potential as a powerful platform for podcast publishing and promotion.

To set the context for my comments below, I started using SoundCloud three years ago to see how it could work for the "rapid creation of audio content". I wanted to just be able to push record in an app and then publish and promote my podcasts. I wanted it to be super easy. The result has been my "The Dan York Report (TDYR)" podcast that I publish now at:

https://soundcloud.com/danyork

From the start it's been an experiment to try out SoundCloud as a platform because I have several other podcasts I'd like to start. So TDYR has been my testbed to try out ideas and tools. I do pay for their SoundCloud Pro Unlimited plan which at $135/year works out to what I consider a reasonable $11.25/month for the hosting of my audio files.

As a result of all of this, here are 10 reasons I find SoundCloud powerful for podcasters.

1. Speed And Simplicity Of Creating And Sharing Podcasts

Here's all I do to create a new podcast episode:

  • Open up an app on my iPhone.
  • Press "Record" and record whatever I want to say.
  • Press "Share to SoundCloud" (or "Upload"), enter in a title and hit the button to start.

Boom!

That's it. The podcast is uploaded to SoundCloud and then shared out via the RSS feed to iTunes and also via social media to Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

That's seriously it.

Super fast creation and sharing/promotion of audio podcasts.

Now, of course, you could make the process more complex if you want to. I record my TDYR episodes as just raw audio without any kind of post-production and without an intro, outro or any other kinds of audio segments. In my case, I want the simplicity and rawness. But the beautiful fact is..

2. Many Applications to Create/Record Podcasts

... there are many, many, MANY applications that yet you create audio and share it up to SoundCloud. Applications are available for iOS, Android, Mac OS/X, Microsoft Windows and many other operating systems. SoundCloud has a whole directory of applications that can be used. Although many of them are for consuming/listening, they do have a whole list for creating/recording. Many of these are targeted at music producers, but many can also work for podcasters.

Because I am aiming for speed, I typically record on my iPhone and find that I'm generally using either:

I've been primarily using Opinion for the past while but recently they rolled out their own podcast hosting (competing with SoundCloud) and now give that preference in the export/sharing part of the app. I'm a bit concerned that they may continue to promote that service and make it harder to publish out to other services. On the other hand, the Hindenburg Field Reporter app doesn't seem to be frequently updated... although that may not be necessary, really. It's a rock solid app!

I've also used AudioCopy, a free app that SoundCloud started recommending when they removed recording from their own SoundCloud app. It's fine, but I like the editing capabilities of the other two apps.

The key point is that there are many choices of apps that will connect and share to SoundCloud.

And, of course, SoundCloud just lets you upload an audio file in a variety of different formats. So you can record your episode using any kind of device or application. I've recorded some episodes using one of my Zoom Handy audio recorders and then just copying the MP3 file from the SD card onto my laptop and uploading to SoundCloud through their web interface.

3. Automatic Sharing Out To Social Media

A great part of the simplicity is that when I post an episode to SoundCloud it gets automagically shared out to whatever services I've configured. I've set up a default configuration and then can override that sharing from the apps during the upload process. The beautiful thing is it supports multiple accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+:

Soundcloud connections

And, as noted below, you can use services like IFTTT to distribute podcasts out to even more sites and social networks!

4. Insanely EASY Embedding of Podcasts

Another huge advantage of SoundCloud is that it is incredibly easy to embed podcasts in a blog post or web page. SoundCloud supports "oEmbed" and so very often all you have to do is drop the URL of your SoundCloud episode into your software and... ta da... that's it! This works great for all my WordPress sites. It also works great in chat clients such as Wire.

If your site/application doesn't support oEmbed (such as TypePad, the site I use for this blog), it's trivial to get a snippet of HTML code that you can then drop into your post (as I will do at the end of this post):

Soundcloud embed

This also works with social networks, too. Drop a URL for a SoundCloud episode into Facebook or Ello, for example, and the embedded player will automagically appear so that people can listen right there in their feeds.

5. Comments At Specific Points In The Podcast

Engaging with listeners is always a critical part of building a community around your podcast. Typically you get comments as replies to the blog post about your podcast or as replies on social media.

But what's cool about SoundCloud is that you can get replies AT THE POINT IN TIME within your actual podcast. If someone wants to reply to something specific you said, no longer are you trying to get to the point in the episode where you said whatever it was to remember what you said - the comment can be left right at that point of the episode.

Now, this DOES require a SoundCloud account. And so many of your listeners may not want to register for a (free) SoundCloud account just to be able to leave you comments at specific times. But some of your listeners might, and so for them it becomes a great way to build interaction.

6. Open API Makes Integration Easy

SoundCloud understands the power of becoming a platform for developers and they provide rich support through a SoundCloud developer program and much more. One result is the many applications I pointed out in #2 above, but another result is services such as IFTTT (If This, Then That) that allow you to easily set up actions involving SoundCloud. There are many IFTTT "recipes" for SoundCloud that are already available:

Soundcloud ifttt

As the screen capture shows, the integration can go both ways - in or out of SoundCloud. For instance, I had a recipe for a while that would trigger whenever I published an episode to SoundCloud that would post a link out to my App.net account (until I pretty much stopped using App.net). I also plan to set one up that will post to a specific WordPress site every time I publish a new post. Going the opposite direction, you can see that there are recipes that will publish to your SoundCloud account every time you put a file in, say, a Dropbox folder.

Now, IFTTT is just one site. There are many other sites that have their own integration with SoundCloud... all because of this open application programming interface (API).

7. Search and Discovery

SoundCloud as a web site / service is all focused around the consumption and listening to music and audio. Like any social network, people with an account can "follow" you and get all your recent episodes. SoundCloud makes it very easy to search and find episodes. It supports hashtags.

Now obviously this is again using the SoundCloud site, which your listeners may or may not do... but this becomes a way that you can potentially find new users.

8. Downloads

Just as the embedding of a podcast is easy, so is the downloading of a podcast IF you enable people to do so. This is a choice. But if you want to allow people to download an episode, all they need to do is to go to the episode page (an example) and the download button is right there.

9. Spotlight

If you create a good number of episode and want to highlight some of the episodes you think are the most important, SoundCloud lets you put up to 5 sounds in the "Spotlight" area of your SoundCloud profile page. A nice way to help people coming to your site to see what you think are your best or most important episodes

10. Statistics

Typically as a podcaster you want to know how many people are listening, right? As I've written about before and we've talked about over on the FIR podcast, statistics are difficult because you can know how many people downloaded a podcast, but not whether they in listened.

SoundCloud has many statistics and can perhaps obviously give more statistics about user behavior when your podcast episode is played from the SoundCloud site or apps. For regular "RSS downloads", you still do get a good bit of information, although, as mentioned above, it's challenging to know what the stats truly mean. Here's the "RSS downloads" of my last week of TDYR stats:

Stats on SoundCloud

Apparently I'm interesting to people (or someone) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! Who knew? And then Southbury, CT... (but I have family and friends in that region :-) )

Anyway, a good number of statistics are available

Others...

There are other reasons why podcasters may like the platform. For example, it's great that Creative Commons licensing is available for those who want to allow others to share their audio content under a CC license. There are also monetization options available that I, quite frankly, haven't explored yet (since I don't see TDYR as something that people would want to advertise on). The whole "social network" aspect of SoundCloud can be compelling, too, for building an audience. For example, people can "repost" your episodes and share them out with followers.

I'd note, too, that you don't have to use SoundCloud as your exclusive hosting platform. A friend, Donna Papacosta, primarily hosts her podcast on Libsyn[2] and then also uploads it to her SoundCloud account as an additional distribution channel. C.C. Chapman also posts some of his episodes to his SoundCloud account. So it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing. You can experiment!

Issues

While I'm obviously rather pleased with SoundCloud, there are still a number of issues I would love to see them address:

  • Support for IPv6 - Given the work I do with the Internet Society, I'm looking for hosting platforms that realize that all the new mobile networks and the efforts to bring the next 4 billion people online are going to need to use IPv6 in their networks. YouTube, Facebook and all of Google's properties all work over IPv6. SoundCloud needs to get there, too.
  • Use HTML5 instead of Flash - Similarly, SoundCloud really needs to ditch their Flash player and use HTML5 audio instead. Flash creates so many issues on my various systems. We now have HTML5 audio support in most modern browsers. SoundCloud has had experimental support for HTML5, but they need to move that out of beta, too, and make it the default.
  • Finish the transition to their new website user experience - SoundCloud has been in this strange transition from their "classic" website to the "new" website for a year or more now and it still provides a strange and bizarre user experience. You click some link in your account settings and... ta da... you are back in an old user experience... and then you have to find your way back to the regular "new" view. They need to just finish this up.

Hopefully those are all things they will continue to work on to make the platform even stronger.

Getting Started with Podcasting On SoundCloud

If after reading all this you want to get started with a podcast on SoundCloud, they provide a very simple guide to begin:

http://on.soundcloud.com/creator-guide/podcasting

Basically, you create an account, set up the RSS feed settings, get some app that will upload to SoundCloud... and start publishing!

That's it!

If you are already using SoundCloud, all you should need to do is go into your "Settings" and to the "Content" tab where you will see your RSS feed and can set up any specific fields you want to configure:

Soundcloud content settings

As you can see at the bottom of that image you can configure your defaults for all uploads in terms of the license and whether uploads are automatically in the RSS feed.

Again, the Creator Guide for podcasting has more info.

I was admittedly rather skeptical of SoundCloud in the early years of my experimentation. Their "support" of podcasting in their beta program was pretty weak three years ago and it seemed all they wanted to do was build their own "walled garden of audio" and try to get everyone to come onto their platform.

But with this public launch of "podcasting" (which really amounts to exposing RSS feeds!) they've finally opened up those walls and made it so that you can use the SoundCloud platform for hosting your podcast - giving you all the advantages I've outlined above - but then making your content available to everyone out there to consume in whatever applications and systems they choose.

I look forward to hearing many more podcasts on SoundCloud... including yours! Please do feel free to follow me on SoundCloud as I continue with my experimentation. I'd love to hear from you what you think about all of this, either in the comments here or, of course, on the accompanying audio version (TDYR 243) of this post up on SoundCloud.



[1] For more stories about the launch, see Techmeme and Mediagazer.

[2] In full disclosure I also use Libsyn for hosting some of my podcasts (and have since 2005) and find their services very useful, too.

Photo credit: A merger of a Flickr CC-licensed image from Colleen AF Venable and SoundCloud's logo.


Excellent Article on Medium About Podcasting Stats: Downloads, Listens and Listeners

Podcasting statsWhat do the number of podcast downloads, listens and listeners really mean? Which statistics can you really believe? And what do they mean?

Back on December 12, Pete Davis published a great article on Medium titled "Downloads, listens, listeners, and about those podcast numbers" that dives into all these different stats. Davies was reacting to the hype over the podcast "Serial" and wanting to make sure people understood some of the nuances of how you can measure podcasts.

As he points out, the number of people downloading an episode can be very different from the total number of downloaded episodes. One person, who we will call a "downloader" might download many different episodes. As he notes, people might have different devices or podcast apps that all pull down episodes.

And the number of downloads is VERY different from the actual number of listens that occur. I can personally attest to this - my apps download many different episodes of podcasts... but I only listen to a few of them. The others have been downloaded but will probably never be listened to.

The challenge is that finding out if people have actually listened to a podcast is extremely hard. As Davies writes:

Nobody really knows exactly how many people are listening to podcasts.

This has a lot to do with the many different ways people can listen to podcasts. They can play them in a web page... play them in a podcasting app... play them in a music program like iTunes... download them and play them in some other music app.

All we can do is make guesses... or use imperfect numbers like downloads to make some kind of estimate of the popularity of a show.

It's a good article... and as he concludes, we do need better data around all of this. I also definitely agree with his conclusion that a large part of the success of "Serial" and "Startup" is that they offer compelling content! It happens to be in audio form... but the content and storytelling expertise is what draws people to these podcasts.


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10 Years of FIR Podcast Coming Up on January 5, 2015 - Suggestions?

Unbelievably, the For Immediate Release (FIR) Podcast to which I contribute is coming up on a TEN YEAR anniversary! As co-host Neville Hobson recently wrote in the FIR Community on Google+:
On January 5, 2015, Shel and I will be recording episode 789 of The Hobson & Holtz Report.

That episode will mark a very special milestone for us and for our community of listeners and friends as it will be the episode that starts our eleventh year of podcasting.

So on January 5 next year, we will have completed 10 years of The H&H Report almost to the day - episode 1 was published on January 3, 2005.

A rather amazing run for a podcast! I remember quite well way back in early 2005 as the whole world of "podcasting" was this new and fascinating space. It was something like February or March 2005 when I stumbled across FIR and started listening... and then, of course, shy person that I am, almost immediately started sending in audio comments.

Over time those audio comments evolved into reports and sometime in the fall of 2005 I was officially named a "correspondent" into the show.

And ever since those days in 2005... pretty much every week I've sent in my 5-7 minute report. I've missed a few weeks, but over all those years it's only been a few weeks. Even as I write this post, I'm also writing the notes for what I'm going to talk about in my report into tomorrow's show (that I'll record in the morning).

I'll save some more reminiscing for that actual show #789 on January 5, 2015 ... but in the meantime I'll relay the rest of Neville's request:

We have in mind a few things we plan to say in episode 789 to mark the milestone. One thing we definitely want to do is highlight the journey from that single podcast in 2005 to the FIR Podcast Network you see today, and our plans in 2015.

Is there anything that you would like to say or contribute or suggest for that episode to celebrate 10 years? All ideas most welcome!

If you do have ideas... I would encourage you to leave them as comments inside the FIR community on Google+. You can also contact Shel and Neville through one of the various contact methods in the sidebar of the FIR website.

It's pretty amazing to think of FIR being around - and consistently published for 10 years - I'm looking forward to joining in the celebration on January 5, 2015!


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Opinion - A New iPhone App Aiming To Make Podcasting Easy For Everyone

How can podcast creation be made even easier on the iPhone? I recently stumbled upon a new iPhone app called simply "Opinion" that is aimed at making podcasting no longer just "a medium reserved for tech geeks and media corporations" but rather a medium available to everyone.

Given that it's audio, it may be best to listen... so I recorded a "The Dan York Report" podcast today using the app and you can hear my thoughts in the recording:

Opinion main screen

UPDATE: One quick production note - I recorded this podcast on my iPhone 5s just using the internal microphone of the 5s. I did not attach a headset or any other kind of external mic. (People have asked about this.) I was sitting in a quiet room, but it was just with the raw iPhone 5s microphone. Nothing else.

If you are interested in trying it out yourself, you can download Opinion in the AppStore for the iPhone. As I note in the recording, it will install onto the iPad, but in doing so it just behaves as an iPhone app (i.e. it doesn't make use of the iPhone's screen and just looks like a huge iPhone app).

You can find more info, too, at www.opinionpodcasting.com.

A quick summary of some of my thoughts:

  • The app was extremely easy to use.
  • I liked how you could stop and start the recording, generating new tracks within the same session. You can then easily move tracks around if you wanted to. For instance, I realized that I had left something out that I wanted to include earlier, so I recorded another track and then moved that back into the earlier flow.
  • The editing tool nicely lets you split tracks so, for instance, I could split an existing track to insert a new track.
  • I also used the editing tool to remove / trim the ends of tracks. I would cut the track which would create a new track with the audio I wanted to delete - and then I would just delete the track.
  • The workflow right now involves having a single "session" inside of the app. When you are done with the recording you upload it to some site or service. When you want to record again you are doing so in the same session, i.e. you need to delete some or all tracks in order to record again. This is in contrast to another app I use, Hindenburg Field Recorder, that lets you save your recording sessions inside the app. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, as most of the time I wind up simply deleting the older recording sessions in Hindenburg Field Recorder because they take up space. This "one session" approach has its merits.
  • One thing I like about it is that I could use this workflow to make a simple "intro" and "outro" for my TDYR podcasts. It could go like this:
    • Record an intro track.
    • Record an outro track.
    • Record a main episode track and then move it between the intro and outro.
    • Upload the finished episode to SoundCloud.
    • The next time... delete the main episode track.
    • Record a new main episode track.
    • Move it between the intro / outro tracks.
    • Upload the new finished episode to SoundCloud.
    • Repeat....

    This could be quite cool!

  • I haven't tried it yet, but the app has the ability to import music from your iPhone's Music library. You could then bring in songs or other audio. In my case, I could record my intro or outro on my regular computer, complete with music, then upload it to my iPhone via iTunes... and then have it available in Opinion.
  • The app worked really well from a usage perspective with having very nice touch gesture support.
  • Recording up to 10 minutes of audio is free - after that it is $5 for unlimited recording space. Definitely a reasonable price.
  • I'm not a big fan of the name as it's really generic... but I can see what they are getting at.

Let me end my just pointing out that Opinion has some nice export options. SoundCloud has a dedicated export function, but you can also send it via email or, more usefully, the "More" button lets up export to DropBox, Evernote or other apps and services you have on your iPhone:

UPDATE: Sadly, the Opinion app does NOT let you upload to DropBox yet. I asked the developers on Twitter about this, and they said they are considering this for a future version. (So I would encourage you to ask them on Twitter about this, too, to let them know you want it.)

UPDATE #2 Yea! The developers have implemented DropBox support and it will apparently be out in the next version.

Opinion export

All in all I found it a rather impressive app!

What do you think? Will you give it a try?


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MarketingPodcasts.com Coming Soon From Jay Baer

MarketingPodcasts comComing sometime soon will be a new directory of marketing-related podcasts at the very appropriate URL of:

http://marketingpodcasts.com/

Jay Baer is the force behind the site and said last month on Google+ only this:

Soon, I am launching MarketingPodcasts.com the search engine for podcasts about all things marketing and communications.

One of our key features will be podcast reviews (like Pitchfork, for you indie music geeks).

As readers probably know, I am a weekly contributor to the For Immediate Release (FIR) podcast that focuses on the intersection of social media and public relations, business and marketing. I am a huge fan of audio podcasting, and FIR is just one of the podcasts to which I contribute. I also enjoy listening to podcasts... and so I'll be intrigued to see what Jay surfaces through this new site.

Right now you can just provide your email address to be notified when the site goes live. We'll see, hopefully soon, what it is all about!
 


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What Major Change Is SoundCloud About To Make To Their Mobile Apps?

Soundcloud 250What is SoundCloud planning for their next mobile app release for at least iOS and presumably Android? On Friday (June 6, 2014) I received an email stating this:
We noticed you've used our app to record and upload tracks to SoundCloud. With an upcoming version of the app, we'll be making changes to the way tracks are stored on your phone. If you have tracks that you've recorded but haven't uploaded, please follow the instructions below to save them. You can upload the tracks to your SoundCloud profile, or you can download them to your computer. Please do this as soon as possible to ensure that you don't lose anything you've recorded.

I cringed when I saw this... because I do use the SoundCloud app on my iPhone to record tracks for my "The Dan York Report" podcast and I do keep a number of different unpublished tracks sitting in the SoundCloud app. Often I may record a sound somewhere with the intent of later folding that into a recording (and which, admittedly, I often wind up never getting around to doing).

The key message of the email from SoundCloud is this:

YOU WILL LOSE YOUR TRACKS THAT YOU HAVE NOT UPLOADED UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION BEFORE THE UPGRADE!

The email points out that all you need to do is upload the tracks to your SoundCloud account - and you can do so and make them "Private" so that they are only visible to you. They also note that you can download your sounds to your computer if you would prefer to do that. I chose to upload my tracks to SoundCloud as private recordings.

IMPORTANT: Note that when you upload your tracks to SoundCloud, the original date information will NOT be saved! That track you recorded in December 2012 that has the title "Sounds from Tuesday evening" will be uploaded to SoundCloud with a timestamp of when you upload the track. So if the date of the original recording is important to you, you may want to incorporate that date into the title of the track BEFORE you upload the track.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, the email from SoundCloud helpfully provided this image showing tracks that have not been uploaded:

NewImage

I cringed when I read the email from SoundCloud for a larger reason. This upload of local tracks was no big deal. I was done in maybe 5 minutes. My larger concern though is... what is SoundCloud going to do to the recording experience?

Right now I mostly used the SoundCloud iOS app to record my TDYR podcasts (as I explained in an episode) as my TDYR podcast is all about trying to see how minimally and easily a podcast can be recorded.

However, the SoundCloud app seems to continue to move to being more about music consumption rather than creation. This started a while back when they moved "Record" from the home screen to being under the "..." menu choice. And then we haven't really seen any improvements or changes to the recording capability.

Will they improve the recording experience? Or further de-emphasize it?

We'll see... but in the meantime if you have any local recordings in the app you need to do something if you want to retain any of those recordings.


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Have You Joined The "FIR Podcast Community" On Google+?

Fir communityIf you are interested in social media, PR, marketing, podcasting and similar topics, have you joined the "FIR Podcast Community" on Google+? While the community is intended for listeners of the "For Immediate Release (FIR)" network of podcasts it is just a great place to go to keep track of current issues, ideas and trends within the world of PR/marketing/communications.

The community has a good mixture of posts by FIR podcast hosts about their shows and also from listeners and others who post links and engage in topics that are along the lines of the themes of various FIR shows.

It's one of the communities on Google+ to which I regularly go and participate in as often as I can. Pretty much every time I visit I see some links that I find helpful.

Anyway, if you have not yet joined the FIR Podcast Community on Google+, I'd encourage you to do so!
 


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My New Podcast: "FIR On Technology" Episode 1 About Google+ Hangouts On Air

Firontechnology 300What are Google+ “Hangouts On Air” (HOA) all about and how can communicators best use them? How does a “Hangout On Air” differ from a “Hangout”? What kind of technology do you need to know to use them? What are some tips and tricks for working most effectively with a Google+ HOA? What is the linkage to YouTube? How do you get started?

Those were all questions I addressed with my guest Randy Resnick in the first episode of a brand new podcast I'm down doing called "FIR On Technology with Dan York". You can listen on the episode page (where there are also links to HOA resources) or here:

The interview was fun to do and from comments in the FIR Podcast Community on Google+ has already been a help to multiple listeners.

As I noted in the introduction post on the For Immediate Release (FIR) website, the goal of the overall "FIR On Technology" podcast is to answer questions such as these:

How can communicators best use new tools such as, say, Google+ Hangouts On Air to tell their stories in new ways or to reach new audiences? Are there tips and tricks they should be aware of? What is new in the latest release of WordPress? Why should someone in PR and marketing care about something like IPv6 or HTML5?

For close to 9 years now I've been contributing weekly reports into the regular For Immediate Release (FIR)podcast hosted by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. Now, with the creation of the "FIR Podcast Network" and the launch of new shows, it was logical to launch a technology-focused podcast where I could do a deeper dive than just the 5 minutes in the regular FIR episodes.

Please do note - my regular weekly FIR reports WILL continue!

Nothing changes there... it's just that these "FIR On Technology" episodes will allow for more time to get into specific topics at a higher level of detail.  I'd love to hear your feedback about this episode or the overall idea either as comments to this blog post or via social media or email: 

In particular, if there are any topics you'd really like to see me address on future episodes... or if you want to pitch me on why it might be interesting to interview you or a client, I'm open to that as well.

The "FIR On Technology with Dan York" podcast will NOT be a "regular" podcast in that it will not be on a specific interval, i.e. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. It is instead "a periodic podcast" meaning that the episodes will come out whenever I have time to record and produce them. I'm aiming for at least monthly, but there may be more at different times.

If you'd like to follow along, you can:

A subscription option via iTunes will be available soon.

I'm greatly appreciative of the FIR podcast community who has been very supportive of me doing this podcast - and of course I'm deeply grateful to Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson for their support and continuing to involve me in the growing world of "FIR".

Please do join in and follow along... there is a LOT of technology and tools out there to talk about with communicators!

P.S. The music I am using (with his permission) for the intro and outro comes from my friend Mark Knox in Ottawa, whose music can be found on his SoundCloud account.


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Apple Celebrates 1 Billion Podcast Subscriptions Via iTunes!

By way of a Facebook update from Donna Papacosta, I learned that Apple announced that there have been over 1 billion podcast subscriptions through iTunes. Yes, one billion subscriptions! And indeed opening up iTunes, going to the iTunes Store and clicking on "Podcasts" gets you this banner:

Itunes 1 billion podcasts banner 2

Clicking on the banner gets you to a page in iTunes celebrating this milestone and highlighting some of the popular podcasts:

Itunes 1 billion podcasts

Now, granted, this doesn't say how many of those subscriptions are actually listened to - I know that I have subscribed to a number of shows that I just don't get a chance to play. Nor does it say whether this is a historical or current number, i.e. are there 1 billion podcast subscriptions right now or is this going back to when it all started in 2005? (In other words, does it count subscriptions which were then later ended?)

Regardless, it's a huge number and definitely something to celebrate for those of us who enjoy the medium of podcasting and listening to (or contributing to) podcasts!

Many thanks to Donna for passing along the word of this milestone!


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SoundCloud Rolls Out Auto-Sharing To Google+

Soundcloud iosYesterday SoundCloud released a new version 2.6 of their iOS app that for the first time allows sharing to Google+. This is rather intriguing because right now very few applications are able to share directly into Google+. Google has very tightly controlled access to their Google+ APIs to the dismay of many of us who want to more easily share the content we create into our Google+ accounts.

The new SoundCloud app for iOS provides the following new features related to Google+:

  1. The ability to login to SoundCloud with your Google+ credentials. This is only really useful to people who are new to SoundCloud as it simplifies the account creation process by letting you login with your Google+ ID.

  2. The ability to share sounds out to Google+ from within the iOS app.

  3. Automatic sharing of new sounds you create to your Google+ account.

The last one is the most interesting to me and the focus of what I'll write about here. I'll note, too, that according to multiple reports, including an article in TheNextWeb, the ability to login to SoundCloud via Google+ is also available in the Android SoundCloud app, although apparently the sharing is not there. The automatic sharing is centrally configured in SoundCloud's web interface and so may not have a dependence on the mobile app.

Automatic Sharing From SoundCloud To Google+

This is again the most important feature of the update to me. SoundCloud has for quite some time had the ability to automatically share any new sound you upload out to Twitter, Facebook (including Facebook Pages) and Tumblr. This new release adds Google+ to the mix.

You need to login to your SoundCloud account and go to Settings -> Connections. Once there you will see a new Google+ button: Sc connections

Selecting the button allows you to go through the standard Google+ process to authorize this application to connect to your Google+ account. Once you do that, you will see a new connection at the bottom of your list of connections: Sc googleplus

Somewhat bizarrely it doesn't use a Google+ icon but rather something that reminds me more of MySpace.

Similarly, over in the iOS app, after you save a recording and are getting ready to post the sound to SoundCloud, the "Sharing Options" now have a Google+ option at the top - but without any icon: Ios app sc 1 In theory, this should all allow the auto-publishing of links to new sounds out to your Google+.

Sounds Great... But Didn't Work :-(

So, after configuring all of this, I recorded a new episode 5 of my The Dan York Report on this topic... and it did NOT auto-post to Google+. When I was in Google+ there was a yellow message that appeared several times at the top of my screen that said something like:

"Oops... there was a problem posting "TYDR #005 ..." Retrying.

Unfortunately it appeared and disappeared too quickly to get a screenshot.

Manually Sharing From SoundCloud Web or iOS App

The good news is that the SoundCloud web also provides a mechanism to manually share a sound out to Google+. If you click on the Share icon on the page for a sound, you can select the Google+ tab: Soundcloud sharing and then write a message about the sound and choose who to share it with: Share on googleplus

Similarly, you can now do this sharing from within the iOS app itself: Ios app sharing

I'm showing these windows for sharing the sound I created, but this could be for ANY sound that you listen to within the SoundCloud app or web interface.

So What About That Auto-Sharing?

Why didn't my first episode after configuring Google+ integration auto-publish out to Google+? I don't know. I'm going to assume this was perhaps a "teething pain" as the folks at SoundCloud get this integration working.

Regardless, it's good to see this integration with Google+ happening (assuming it starts working) and more apps being able to connect into Google+.


An audio commentary about part of this announcement can be found at:


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