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Warning to All Podcasters: Listen to What Podshow Wants From You

·814 words·4 mins
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Daniel Andrlik
Daniel Andrlik lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. By day he manages product teams. The rest of the time he is a podcast host and producer, writer of speculative fiction, a rabid reader, and a programmer.

Via Digg:

Keith and Chemda of the Keith and the Girl podcast recently received a copy of the Podshow contract via an anonymous listener before they entered into a non-disclosure agreement with the folks at Podshow. Upon reading the contract they were so shocked with what they found they had to share it.

In this episode they read through the contract on the air, and I have to say the shit that is in this agreement is just shocking. I know that it is modeled after the way record labels work, which must be to make the evil in it seem like it is legitimate and acceptable, which is a ridiculous notion. I mean, if I anally rape you the same way as a corporation that specializes in rape does it, it’s still me anally raping you.

If you can get past the religious comments at the very beginning, you should really listen to this episode if you are a podcaster. Admittedly, KATG interpret a few things incorrectly, but it is still pretty heinous.

Some highlights of the contract (although certainly not all inclusive):

  • You have to move all of your stuff over to Podshow’s server and Podshow gains the exclusive distribution rights for ALL of your content (including logos) for the duration of the contract. This distribution is for all forms of publication/distribution both existing and yet to be invented.
    • Okay, so you risk sacrificing your personal brand for this, as you become a subsidiary of Podshow. The Internet is not like the music industry, website addresses and corporate identity mean a lot more. When your feed address changes, all your listeners/readers/viewers are affected.
    • Podcasting is not like traditional media, you don’t need some corporation to distribute your material. That’s the point.
    • Also, as Keith points out, at the rate the world of podcasting develops, who knows what kind of distribution rights you are giving up.
  • You have to acknowledge that Podshow is making a significant investment in your show.
    • I smell bullshit.
  • You retain creative control over your content, BUT Podshow reserves the right to refuse distribution of a particular piece of content if for whatever reason they deem it is a problem.
    • And since they are your exclusive distributor, that show essentially ceases to exist as you are not allowed to distribute it any other way.
    • Oh, and you can’t change the direction of your show. The premise of your show needs to stay the same as that is what Podshow is buying into.
  • Podshow’s monetary reimbursement for these sacrifices (and all the others I’m not listing) are mostly speculative. You might make money on advertisement (that you don’t choose) or downloads. There is no clear promise of what that will be.
    • Also, any current agreements you have or are pending with advertisers must be turned over to to them. Any money you are receiving from old advertising agreements must be turned over to Podshow. KATG describe it well as: "Give to daddy. He’ll know what to do with it."
  • After your year agreement, Podshow can renew for up to two more years automatically.
    • You don’t have a choice if they decide to renew, and their rights to your work continue.
    • After the first year, Podshow can cancel your agreement for any reason whatsoever by just sending you an email. Sorry, but you’re done. Go elsewhere with no notice.

I’m sorry, but this is bullshit regardless of how common it is in traditional media. Podcasting is something new and the "additional promotion and distribution" you gain through Podshow is speculative and suspect at best. Other services are arising to connect podcasters with advertisers if you really need to monetize your show, (for example Podtrac) and podcasters would be well advised to go without the draconian restrictions imparted by Podshow. Promote your podcast independently, don’t let some other company take over your advertising and take your profits.

The beauty of New Media is that anyone can start creating and distributing material themselves over the Internet. It’s a wellspring of hope for independent artists who want to get their work out there, retain control of their work and make a living. Podshow, in its attempt to centralize, monetize (at least in focus) and simplify podcasting is in reality just the traditional "fuck the artists" media model mascareding that it is the friendly face of the New Media movement. It’s counter to the whole spirit of podcasting, and will eventually just result in more corporate podcasts as ad revenue begins to take precedence over content, which I feel will be inevitable.

I know these sentiments might draw fire from the Podfather’s sycophants, but I don’t care.

Fuck you, Podshow. We’re better off without you.


UPDATE: I just found this little bit of news from February about why the Tartan podcast left Podshow. Read it here.

Also check out commentary from Eric Rice here.


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