A lot of people listen to podcasts because they want to learn something and be entertained along the way. Software developer Jordan Last presents Podcrypt app, a progressive web app that serves as a way for podcast listeners to appreciate and enjoy podcasts with ease. Jordan also explains some information on the app that allows you to optionally donate back to podcasts. Learn more about podcasting and how you can capture a lot of value for yourself and others.
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Podcrypt: An Easier Way To Listen To Podcast With Jordan Last
I got Jordan Last of Podcrypt.app. It’s a great idea of making sure that podcasters, large or small, have a way to get camps, kudos or cold hard cash and in some way from the community.
Thanks for having me on.
The big question is, is this something people want? To get in the heads of the podcast listener. They love good podcasts. They want to support them. I’ve had people tell me, “I click on the donate button.” There’s a whole lot of things you could do. What is it that the listeners want?
Podcasting in general has product-market fit. There are tons of podcasts. It’s a growing space. The podcast creators are providing a ton of value. I’ve been listening personally for like fifteen years or so and I’ve learned so much. The consumption of podcasts is definitely catching on. The question is will people pay for it? Will people voluntarily pay for it? Before building Podcrypt, I wanted to make sure that I validated the idea. I didn’t waste a bunch of time, money and resources building something that people didn’t want. I’ve talked to probably a few hundred people on Twitter DMs or email or a few people in person to get their thoughts on whether or not they would donate. It’s still an open question but I have reason to believe that they will. There are a few reasons for that. One of them being, you can look at other platforms that have this kind of model.
Patreon is a good example. Patreon seems to be doing very well. There are some podcasts on there that have tens or even hundreds of Patrons and people making lots of money. People voluntarily giving donations essentially. In some cases, they get to episodes earlier than they would have but it’s still a voluntary contribution. There are other platforms out there that are doing this model. Brave is another similar model. Brave is a browser that you can tip websites in proportion to the attention that you give to the website. How much time I’m spending on somebody’s website will determine my pay-out to them. You can set that up if you want. They seem to be doing relatively well there. They’re still relatively early but it does seem to be growing. The competitors or similar products, they show that there’s promise. In my own personal interviews or discussions with people, some people flat out think it’s a bad idea. They’re in the minority. Most people are indifferent or they’ll say, “That’s an interesting idea.” Some people are like, “That’s a great idea.”
People that listen to podcasts are more for it where the people that don’t listen to too many podcasts are going like, “Another reason not to bother listening.”
Some people are like, “Why would I pay for something that’s free?” Personally, I want to get away from that mentality where I feel like we should give value for value received. I don’t want it to be a compulsory. Most of capitalism, if you’re buying something from somebody, the person you’re buying from is going to set the price and it’s still a voluntary exchange because you accept that cost and you’ll pay for it. I would love to see even more of voluntary exchange where if I’m receiving value, I determine the value I give back.
That raises another question. First of all, I want to give you a little bit of ancient history. You may know but I lived with it, I was here. There is a man, Robert Metcalfe, he’s known for Metcalfe’s Law and there are a couple of others. InfoWorld was where the good computing things were in the ’80s and ’90s. I read Paper Magazine. As email came along, he had the idea of us paying a micro-cent every time that we open an email or use the website. With that model, it mimics what happens in real mail that people that have commercial interest, they’re willing to pay and the spammers wouldn’t have the reason to pay or would have figured out that it’s worth to whatever penalty they get stuck with and it’s handled by the market. It’s a good idea. No one bought it.
We have free email to this day but as a big sender, I got a message saying, “We’re in danger of going over the quota for the month of August.” Fortunately, it came on the morning of August 30th. We go a little bit over, we’ll pay the little penalty. That’s in millions and millions of emails. We still have to worry about the substantial that we have to think we’re going to make mail. It’s not free. That an unlimited account and that’s become more and more present. I had a server, it sent my own email. I didn’t count it as a cost way back in the ‘90s. The other thing I wanted to mention is in 2007 I went to a podcast group, some of the same guys that are now Podcast Movement. They had a show for three years and sold it to somebody and we’re out in the business for a while. Those guys are pioneers. They had 500 people that were all podcasters. No one wanted to talk about commercialization. A couple of networks were there. A couple of us, business cut-type people, were stopping by to see what was going on.
I mostly went because I happened to be in the right place in the right weekend. I used to live in California and nearby. I go hang around. I’m amazed. I saw a group of people getting training from the guy who was best at making money doing this. I knew him from elsewhere. I walked into a session and the people were attacking, “You’ve got to go with networks. It is the only way you can ever make any money.” It left me with the feeling that these guys loved getting together, doing a long-form, talk everyday podcast and not worry about getting paid for it. They talked about making money mostly so they could support their habit of buying more equipment. We’ve come a long way from that.
For a long time after that, I called my podcast a radio show. I hosted on Blog Talk Radio. It’s a very easy place to do shows back then. Today, it has different owners and they’ve changed things. Before, they started polluting it with ads. I would tell people when I met them that it was a radio show host and it was an online radio show, and everybody was cool with that. It was a podcast. It was an MP3 file. What you’re doing makes sense because and when it gets to being non-monetary, that’s cool. What happens when somebody decides they love this podcast and they’re able to take the points they’ve made by playing the game and give some of them to you? Those get exchanged for money or other goods. It supports a distributed bartered system of us helping each other.
There’s still so much barter going on, “I’ll mow your lawn and you watch my kids.” That’s happening all the time. We denominate a lot of it in dollars and the economists want us to but we get into the problem of what Gary Vaynerchuk says, “What’s the ROI of mom? How much would you take for your mother?” It doesn’t make sense. It’s not economic. The important things are not economic. The reward system side of it, whether it’s paid is very small contributions or whatever. My big question about talking a bit about your product. It seems like you’ve got to use the right player to count the minutes of listening.
You have to use the Podcrypt app. Podcrypt is a podcast app like any other. It hooks into the iTunes API and you can load up any podcasts on iTunes or you can put the RSS feed right in there. It’s a general-purpose podcast player and it has a wallet built into it.
It would be cool when I think of future apps is not what you can technically do. If somehow any app I’m using to play, I can put this on the same device.
That’s the beauty of the model that I’m going for. I’d love to capture a lot of value and create a business that’s sustainable for myself. This model is not unique to Podcrypt. There’s no intellectual property or anything that I’m trying to keep to myself. Any podcast who wants to receive donations, they can put a cryptocurrency address into their description. Any podcast player that wants to parse the address out can then build the features into their app that will allow people to donate in cryptocurrency. You could also try to do it with traditional payment networks. It might be more complicated, but the model is universal. I do hope that happens eventually that essentially every podcast app sees this as something awesome and something viable and they build it into their players. We could take massive market share together and help change the industry. I don’t think Podcrypt will change the industry single-handedly.
The idea could change the industry. I hope you do that. My end of it is I want to support the idea putting an address in my description. Is that addressed in the description of the show or every episode?
It’s the show, the main podcast description.
It’s very easy thing to do. If you see an ugly address in my description, you know what it’s there for. It’s automated to where I don’t have to make people go do something if they’re using the players already can be part of it.
The best thing is to tell your audience about it but after that, as a user of the app, you fund your wallet, set an amount that you want to pay out and set an interval. Personally, I am paying out every week to test it out and stuff and it happened.
If I decide I’m going to put twenty podcasts in there but I only listened to two, they’re the ones that get paid.
If they’re verified on Podcrypt by putting the address in the description, you can turn on and off the payments to different podcast. If you only want to pay to those two, disable every other podcast and those two will get the entire distribution.
Let’s take the two. I listened to one for ten minutes, the other one for ten hours. Will they both get paid the same?
No, the ten-hour one will get paid much more. Right now, it’s purely by minutes or per unit of time. The next step will probably be as simple weight. You can say, “This podcast should be worth twice as much as other podcasts because it’s short form and very high quality.”
I have an example for you and it would have something done similar. Our site, Free-eBooks.net is the number one result when you type in for eBooks. It’s got millions of users. The monetization there, it can be a little bit weird. You’re going there for free. We found that people will pay for a VIP membership so they can download more books. There’s a library and we’re going to build something on top of this, but the current model is in there. I got involved. We came up with a bundle and it’s hundreds of sci-fi books or something and all of them have been sold on name your price. We could be using this model there. It’s phenomenal to look and see the people are willing to pay to get access to a library of books that they could go find individually on the site.
They’re setting their own price and it’s all voluntary. That’s very neat.
We have a large enough audience that when we’d say, “Pay some money to take care of it.” PayPal’s Donate Button, Patreon has not worked well for the global audience. They’re making those work in every place. They’ve tested it years ago. That’s in the future. We’re building a whole new app for it. We’re making money every day out from people coming in and saying, “I want that bundle and I’ll pay you extra.”
I wanted to bring up one advantage to using a cryptocurrency-based solution. It’s automatically global. You don’t have to worry about all the payment networks of every different country. There are issues with sanctions but hopefully that will be a minority issue.
Some issues are getting it funded. The other thing is when it becomes an option to be able to take some other payments. For instance, the company I advise we’ve had on my former podcast, they came up with a mining solution for phones that wasn’t about horsepower. They were doing well and Apple decided that there were enough scams in that space. They were not going to allow mining on form. Real mining the way Bitcoin works which is burning up the phone. They were pretending. PiBet, these guys have a game and you download the game. As long as the game is open on your phone or you visit it every day, you get some currency.
I calculated at the current value of their token because they came out with the ICO winter when ICO stopped making much money. The current value of the crypto is not worth very much but if goes up, it has a cash value. If it doesn’t, it’s a lot of fun. There are several games now and they’re going to add more, “Watch this episode. Search for it, hear it, Distributed Conversation.” One more comment on one more thing. You said that I ought to tell my audience to use it. I am, that’s why we’re on the show. Let’s get to that point. What should the listener do at this point?
If you go to Podcrypt.app in your browser, it works on the desktop. It works on Android. It works on iOS. I’m about to release the Beta version, so it’s still a little bit early but it definitely does work generally. You can fund your wallet and you can do payouts.
You can listen to any podcasts with this player.
If the podcast is not yet on iTunes, you won’t be able to search for it but you could take the RSS feed URL and you can plug it right in.
It will get more and more to be a consumer version or who knows what PiBet is in licensing deals you can make as the deal catches on. Maybe any app in the Play Store or Appstore for iOS. I can see that Apple having a little problem with an app that is only collecting money in crypto.
I have no intentions of actually putting the app into the Appstore. I’ve made it a progressive web app for a reason so I can maintain sovereignty and it’s a lot simpler to build for every single platform.
The world is getting more distributed. I’m supporting this, it’s a Podcrypt.app. We’ve been with Jordan Last and you’ve been reading Distributed Conversations.
About Jordan Last
My birth coincided with the birth of the web. We grew up together. I remember fondly one of our first encounters. I was in elementary school, and our teacher showed us a little website called Yahooligans. I was hooked…games, chat rooms, little cartoon people – it was amazing! This was a foundational experience for me.
As the web and I matured, I yearned to put my own creations out there. My early attempts were very rudimentary, and the web and the internet remained a big mystery to me. How did it all work? I knew it had everything to do with software and programming, so I tried it out, but never got very far.
Some time has passed since those early days, and now I’m living the dream I had as a child. I’m learning to understand the web and the internet, and to feel the joy of daily creation on one of the most powerful platforms available.
I believe in the web platform. I believe it has changed the world and will continue to change the world, and that we must move the web platform to places that it’s never been before. To do this, I believe in managing complexity and writing software that is elegant yet maintains low cognitive overhead, and thus can grow
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