Union for Podcasters

Okay, so the crap continues. At Podcamp Philly, the concept of the Association for Downloadable Media came up – a whole session dedicated to it. Please take the time to watch this video of the session in its entirety.

Does anyone see anything about this entire concept that is not union? You pay $150 to be a part and have a voice. You elect officers. In return for $150, they represent your interests to advertisers, etc. But they aren’t a union, so the organizers (among them John Havens from BlogTalk Radio) say. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, eats like a duck – it must be a duck.

We go back to the same conversation surrounding a Bloggers Union. The problem is is that most podcasters (and bloggers) are independent enough NOT to give up their independence. Who enforces policy and rule? Separating art from commerce, what happens when Loren Feldman starts doing videos about black tech bloggers, folks get offended and ADM, like PodTech, decided to separate themselves. They say that there is a separation between art and commerce, but I don’t believe it. Someone is going to start getting their panties in a bunch at ADM the moment one podcaster starts entering sketchy areas. Then what? Does the ADM then impost content restriction policies?

I’m skeptical to say the least. Please watch the video and interject your own comments. This conversation needs to happen as it is a slipper slope.

2 Replies to “Union for Podcasters”

  1. Hi Aaron,

    You have a lot of great thoughts here but “the crap continues” isn’t really a helpful way to frame this conversation. It makes total sense you would be concerned about ADM being a union and I used that analogy with the Screen Actor’s Guild since I used to be an actor but won’t again as it obviously incites such rancour from yourself and others.

    And I really appreciate the specific concerns about imposing policy and all that. Your thoughts inspired a great conversation for Matt and I as we work to refine future talks, re: ADM.

  2. If the Association for Downloadable Media, ADM, is a “union” then any organization that exists to further its industry is a union.

    In reality, what drove the formation of the ADM and its primary function so far is to set some guidelines and measurements standards by which podcasters might adopt and, more importantly, be accepted by advertisers who have been reluctant to sponsor podcasts. Media buyers are driven by metrics – standard, verifiable numbers that they can show to sponsoring advertisers that what they are buying makes sense. No numbers, no ads. Traditional media have had those numbers for generations. Until ADM, podcasting had none. The ADM has released its first set of guidelines and plans to continue to broaden and hone them. By doing so, podcasting can be seen as a “legitimate” medium that advertisers can buy without undo risk of getting fired because they’re buying an unknown, mysterious channel.

    Unfortunately, there has been a reactionary attitude by some who have expressed a concern that somehow the ADM is trying to control the podcasting “industry.” As if any party or entity actually could. It’s not the objective of the ADM to control podcasting but to offer a set of guidelines and standards that raise the level of awareness by the advertising world. With the growing popularity of video and its many formats and file types, Advertisers will certainly want to know how their own video clips will be rendered and presented. On TV it’s a slam dunk. On-line and via RSS feeds — who knows? If an advertiser has to re-create a clip for the dozens of formats on the Internet do you think advertisers will find podcasting sponsorship compelling?

    With ADM taking an initiative, podcasters don’t have to wonder about technicalities. Sure, if a podcaster chooses to present in 12.375 X 8.5 aspect ratio in an obscure file format, go break a leg. And continue to wonder why advertisers aren’t beating a path to his accounts receivable.

    Above all, it will be compelling content and a solid audience market that will attract advertisers. Too many podcasters and podcasting businesses have failed and proclaimed it was the medium that failed. On the contrary, podcasting as a technology is as viable and proven as ever before. With a solid podcast, a solid audience, and numbers that can be shown to media buyers, a podcast-for-revenue venture can be a good thing. Much of that will be helped along by guidance provided by the ADM.

    Dave Burckhard
    National Podcasting System

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