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Some of you know I launched the NextMarket podcast in late 2012 in conjunction with the launch of my company, NextMarket Insights. Since it’s been roughly three months since I started it, I thought I’d share some of my numbers.

First though, a little context: The idea behind my podcast was to have an “open lab” research model, where I thought I could take some of my conversations with smart people in technology and media and let other people listen in, learn and enjoy them as well.

So far so good.

And while that’s why I started the podcast, it’s not the point of this post. What I wanted to do here is share some of the numbers, in part because I thought some might find it interesting, but also because I’ve found in my limited experience that podcast statistics are somewhat of a black box.

That said, based on my experience so far, I think Soundcloud may be changing that (I host my podcast with Soundcloud and syndicate it out to other points of distribution like iTunes). 

Let’s just say I’ve been really impressed with the numbers Soundcloud churns out. My main point of comparison is from my (admittedly) limited  experience with podcast numbers from a modest attempt at a podcast a couple years ago, where I used the Blubrry plugin in with a Wordpress site. While I can’t speak to the quality of the stats they provide today (they may be much better), nor can I speak to the stats that other hosts provide, I wasn’t altogether impressed with what I saw back then. 

I should also mention that I have no idea what these numbers mean relative to other podcasts. Clearly those podcasts launched by people who are much more well known, or who are part of an established media company or podcast network, would perform much better. My podcast is simply just me, without any real lift from an associated media company (other than an occasional mention in my own posts when I write for Forbes).

But ok, enough with the throat clearing and context, let’s get to the numbers.

First off, here’s the geographic breakdown at a high level:

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That’s using a nice little auto-generated graphic in the Soundcloud stats. 

But digging a bit deeper, these are the actual numbers for the top 10 countries broken out:

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Since I’m based in the US, I’m not surprised 7 of 10 of listens are from here. Also not surprising is the UK accounts for 6%, and Canada at 4%, both predominantly English speaking countries. 

Germany shows up at 4th with 3% of my listens, which I believe might have to do with one podcast interview on the topic of the Berlin startup scene.

Outside of Australia, I don’t get out of North America or Europe really until I look at the 10 through 20, when you see India, Israel and Latin America show up:

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While I won’t go into too much detail beyond these 20 countries, Soundcloud shows my podcast has been played in 105 countries, including such far flung places as Congo, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus. Pretty cool.

Only 90 more countries to go (I”m looking at you, Tuvalu).

OK, so what podcasts are people listening to? Well, of the 49 podcasts (note: I actually do about 2 a week now - the higher numbers are from doing multiple “sounds” from the field at CES and putting archived podcasts into the library from my first podcast attempt years ago), a few podcasts have really been responsible for many of the listens:

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Of the top 5, the biggest Shark (apologies) of all here is Mark Cuban, followed by Andrew Sullivan (journalist), Eben Upton (inventor of the Raspberry Pi computer), Stephan Pastis (cartoonist), Bre Pettis (3D printing entrepreneur).

For those of you who don’t know, my podcast is a long-conversation format with guests from the tech and media, with a mix of business people (like Cuban) and practitioners (like, for example, Stephan Pastis, a cartoonist). 

I think if I can draw any lessons from the above, one is, no doubt, that names matter in drawing people to certain episodes. You can see that from the spikes 

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However, I would also say when people in interesting spaces doing interesting things talk about it, people want to hear what they have to say. Bre Pettis and Eben Upton illustrate that. 

And where are these podcasts getting played? While Soundcloud doesn’t give me aggregated detail I’d like, it does show actual sources by plays (including plays within tweets, within site embeds, etc). It’s pretty amazing, and while I don’t have the time to aggregate it all by platform, I’ll share a bit of the sources. 

Here is the top 10:

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As you can see, embeds in my own sites have resulted in the most plays in the top 10, including a huge bump from the Mark Cuban podcast.  Andrew Sullivan did do me a favor and posted my podcast, and as you can see someone like Andrew with lots of readers helps quite a bit. 

One of the things I like about Soundcloud is the podcasts are playable within social media sites (except for Linkedin - get it together Linkedin!). And stats show this. As you can see above, Facebook is responsible for about 200 plays (though I think that’s low -more later on that), and I also know looking down the list that Twitter and PInterest were responsible for a significant amount of plays. 

Also, Soundcloud breaks out Tumblr and iOS plays:

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While I’m not sure why Tumblr is treated as an application, I suspect it’s because the Tumblr player for Soundcloud is customized and different than the traditional Soundcloud embed player.   

Ok, so that’s enough for now. What, if any, lessons can I draw from this?

Here are a couple:

  • Names and topics matter. While I will continue to do podcasts with whoever I think is doing interesting work, there is no doubt bigger names and topics that are of interest to a lot of people at the moment will drive listens.
  • Social sharing really matters. My mentions and mentions by others really drives podcast plays.  For example, I think my Facebook play number listed above is low (not sure why), as I know Stephan Pastis’ mention of the podcast probably resulted in 500 plays, for example. 
  • It’s a long game. I’m happy with 10 thousand plays. Would Ira Glass be? Of course not, but I’m not Ira Glass or Stephen Dubner, so I’m happy. I hope to build a base of listeners over time , and I think I can do that. I’ll let you know in another 3 or 6 months how it’s going.