2023 Is the year that podcasting has to pay. And by "pay" I mean pay for itself. And by "itself" I mean it has to make fiscal sense for the people writing the checks that power podcasting.
If you're a fiscally responsible person who diligently balances their books each month or pay period to make sure you have enough money to do the things you both need and want to do in life either as a business owner or just a productive member of society—this is not a shock to you.
But just read the headlines from podcasting over the last few months, and you'll see it's clearly a shock to some people who work in the business of podcasting.
Unfortunately, that shock is now settling in, getting nice and cozy with us, and promises to be a part of podcasting for a very long time. It's up to us to figure out how we each deal with it.
For those at the "top" and "bottom" (I hope the air quotes came through loud and clear) of podcasting, this solidifying reality isn't going to mean many changes in day-to-day life. Well-estabished, highly-downloaded, and money-making podcasts will continue to do well, assuming they remember to stay focused on who they are for and why they are there.
It's a similar situation for the indie podcaster who's not in this for fame or fortune—OK, maybe a little fame, but still no fortune—but instead are in podcasting because podcasting is something they love doing. They aren't seeking much in the way of economic gain, so serious economic pressures on the podcasting industry have less of an impact on many indies.
But for those in the middle of podcasting, it's a very different story. Those who work in the business of podcasting with a range of roles and skills from producer to service provider will be—and are—feeling the effects of the "right-sizing" (I hate that phrase) and pullbacks podcasting is facing at the business level today.
Things are different today. I have many friends and acquaintances who either run or work for small to medium-sized podcasting-focused companies who are telling me things are different. Where it was easy for them to do things just six months ago—things like raising money for launching a new service, or getting a bigger ticket production greenlit, or snagging some budget from other departments to fund new podcasting initiatives—it's now hard. More than one person has been told "No, sorry. Had you asked me six months ago, I'd have said yes."
Buy that world is now gone. And no, I'm not going to attempt to predict when it's coming back.
I don't say these things to panic you. If you, like many of my listeners, work for a large, established, and profitable podcasting company, there's a very good chance you won't feel the crunch. And there are a lot of large, established, and profitable podcasting companies employing lots of people. Hosting companies, software developers, and other service providers who service the industry and can do so profitably.
But if you don't have the luxury of working for one of those podcast companies, then things could be different. How well you—we—ride out the storm is dependent on a lot of factors. If I were a financial advisor, I'd tell you to diversify. But I'm not a financial planner, and sometimes the best podcast companies are ones that specialize, so that may not be good advice.
Come to think of it; I don't have good advice to give on this. So instead, I'll end with hold tight, make the best decision you can for yourself, and do your best to handle whatever 2023 throws your way, podcaster.
With that, I shall be back next week (maybe?) with yet another Podcast Pontifications.