Below is a partial transcript of the show.
Hello and welcome to PodcastJunky’s Quick fix show #3. The quick fix show is where I put the stuff that just doesn’t belong on the regular show. No reviews here, just my thoughts.
Today I have an announcement for you. I have decided to start charging a fee for my podcast. Why am I doing this you ask? Because I have a huge ego! My ego is bigger than Tee Morris’s ego, Bigger than ScottSigler’s ego, biger than the hair of Adam Curry, The PodFather himself . My ego is bigger than the thousands of other podcasters who are giving their content away for free.
I am also doing this because I have no respect for you, dear listener. It’s not enough that you have taken time out of your day to listen to me. That is simply expected of you. I have no respect for the fact that you have limited space on your computer and your play list and you’ve given some of it to me.
OK, I can’t keep a straight face anymore. But as you can see I have some strong feelings on this topic. Paul J. Barrie Jr, host of A Window to the Magic floated the idea of charging for podcasts on twitter a few months ago. When I said I was against it we ended up in a friendly email conversation which I’m going to excerpt for you.
His argument “Do you think my show is not worth $1/show?” A valid point. Here is my response:
“Of course it’s worth $1 a show and more. And Dan Klass is worth $4/month and Manic Mommies is worth $12/year and Cliff at GSPN does dozens of shows a month and is well worth the $10/month he is asking. Add a few more and it’s starting to add up to a hefty bill.
I think this model will be successfully for only a few podcasters. You do a very high quality show and maybe you will be one of those few.
For the rest I think they will find that there is some guy who just bought a $40 headset mic and is planning to do a similar show for free. That guys first few shows won’t be very good but he will get better and purchase better equipment and eventually maybe even start putting his stuff up as premium. At that point the next guy or gal with a brilliant idea will be purchasing their own first microphone. and the cycle continues. There is always someone waiting in the wings for their big chance to get on stage. Most of them will fail but the one or two will succeed, they are the ones who will steel your audience.
Every show has it’s die hard fans who will stay with them no matter what. You have to ask yourself if enough of those core fans will stay with you when someone else is offering similar content for free.
I wish you the best my friend and I wish I had the answer for you but I don’t. I just feel strongly that this is not it. I think that it will alienate current listeners, keep new listeners from even trying out podcasts and ultimately only be successful for only a very few podcasters.“
End of reply
I have to mention that since I wrote that email I’ve found out more about the Manic Mommies policy. They have a month or so of the most recent episodes up, but if you want to search the archives you have to be under their “Big Tent” and pay for the privilege . That means that the Link to the episode of theirs I highlighted is now a dead link. So I won’t be linking to them in the future.
There are two other podcasters I used to listen to who have chosen this model. Dan Klass of The Bitterest Pill and Cliff and Stephanie Ravenscraft of the GSPN Network. Do I think these people have gigantic egos? That’s a big no for Stephanie. Cliff is on an emotional roller coaster. I think his ego is along for the ride. When he is up he has a big ego and big plans. But he takes criticism hard, maybe to hard. I think his ego is more fragile than he would like it to be.
Dan, well he is a self described “failed actor” and he has done stand up. It takes a certain amount of ego to do that. But I’ve also met Dan on a couple of occasions and found him to be a regular guy. More quick witted then the average person but basically just a guy trying to find his way in life.
I don’t think they knowingly disrespect the listeners. I’ve had many email and twitter conversations with Cliff and I know that he has a deep appreciation for each and every listener. He takes his “Community” seriously.
Dan sees it from the perspective of a Hollywood performer. You wouldn’t expect to go to a live stand up performance and not have a cover charge or at least a minimum drink order. After all, the performer Has to be paid. The difference is that I’m paying for the experience of a live show. I probably would not pay or at least not pay much for the show if it were audio or video taped version. I’m not saying that it doesn’t have worth. If entertaining audio and video were rare and hard to find I would pay for it. But that is not the case. Good content is all over the internet, and the movie theaters are hurting because of it.
No matter how good your stuff is there will always be someone nipping at your heels ready to offer good content, free.
MommyCast, Ask a Ninja and others have found ways to make their shows financially success full without asking me for money. When I hear a podcasters saying they want to charge for their content the message I hear is:
I am superior to all other podcasters and it’s not enough that you have given me your time, I want your wallet too.
Find a better way people, find another way.