More than 1 trillion songs have been streamed in the US this year


Hi there! I hope you all had a nice holiday. Thanksgiving food isn’t my thing, but I enjoyed watching the last third Saturday evening fever with my parents and in-laws (shockingly depressing!).

Back to the grind. Today, Spotify Wrapped copycats are making their debut and Google and iHeartMedia are being slapped on the wrist for a deceptive ad campaign.

Slow combustion wins Apple’s new podcast award (and promo)

Today, Apple Podcasts introduced a “Show of the Year” award at its inauguration go honor Slates Slow combustion. In the weeks leading up to the overturning of the Supreme Court decision Roe against Wade in June, Slow combustion published an in-depth account of the history behind the landmark 1973 case. Honestly, the podcast was great (and all the more depressing given the outcome).

Slow combustion was selected by the editors of Apple Podcasts. In addition to quality, they took into account metrics such as chart positions, listener engagement and reviews, said Apple Podcasts spokesperson Zach Kahn. As part of the price, Slate has teamed up with Apple to publish six bonus episodes that are available for free on Apple Podcasts. But the real prize is all the promo for the show, which dominates the Apple Podcasts landing page.

It’s the season for year-end music data

Spotify Wrapped hasn’t fallen yet and the other platforms are rushing to the front. YouTube Music and Apple Music launched their year-end roundup today. YouTube has brought its summary stats into the main app, bringing it closer to Spotify users’ experience. Apple Music listeners will still only be able to access their personal stats in the browser (as an Apple Music listener this is extremely weak!!).

Luminate, the data company behind it Billboard charts, US listeners reported more than 1 trillion streams so far in 2022, which is a first. It also reported the top five songs in the country across different platforms, namely “As It Was” by Harry Styles, “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals, “Wait For U” by Future, “Super Gremlin” by Kodak Black and “I Porto Bonito” by Bad Bunny and Chencho Corleone.

Google and iHeartMedia pay $9 million settlement over deceptive radio ads

Google and iHeartMedia ran into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission over a 2019-2020 ad campaign for Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone. My colleague Jay Peters reports that Google paid $2.6 million to iHeart (and another $2 million to smaller radio networks) for first-person endorsement spots by some of the network’s top hosts without most of them actually having the phone to test.

According to documents, iHeart raised the issue of approvals without the product and on multiple occasions requested the phones from Google, which refused to provide them because the phones were not yet available in stores. The campaign ran anyway, with hosts claiming to have used the phone in their personal lives. “I’ve been taking studio-style shots of everything,” read the typical post. “My son’s soccer game… a meteor shower… a rare spotted owl that landed in my backyard. Photos or it didn’t happen, am I right?”

The companies have settled with the FTC and the seven states that joined the lawsuit for a $9.4 million fine and must not misrepresent underwriters’ experiences going forward. Google will have to file compliance reports for the next three years, while iHeart will have to file for the next 10 years. Google reports this in a statement The edge that it was happy to resolve the issue; iHeart declined to comment.

Podcasting still makes up a small portion of digital advertising spend

According to new data released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), podcasts represent less than 4 percent of all ad spend. That puts it in the same league as out-of-home digital advertising, such as digital billboards. Digital video (19.3 percent), paid search (13.7 percent), social media (16.6 percent), and digital rendering (16.4 percent) account for the lion’s share of digital advertising spend.

While the growth outlook for podcasting is solid, with IAB projecting ad spend in podcasting to grow more than 8 percent by 2023, it lags behind digital video. IAB expects podcasting to have about the same share as this year in 2023, while digital video will take an even larger share at 22.4 percent.

The trend helps explain why more podcasts are pushing to video. While CPM rates are typically lower on YouTube than Spotify or Apple, it’s another revenue stream that can potentially bring in a much larger audience. Even if many (most!) podcasts are better off with audio alone, the advertising dollars may be too hard to resist.

That’s all for today – see you next week!


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