I hope you all had a good weekend. As you can tell, I did not get eaten by a shark, though that is because my husband forgot to register for a beach pass. Next time’s the charm, Evan!!
On tap for today: cable news rogues turn to podcasting, pornographic content on Spotify, and earnings previews (that last one is a little less spicy than the first two).
Chris Cuomo and Keith Olbermann return from cable news exile with new podcasts
Why try to reason with cable news execs when you can just launch your own podcast? In the past week, both Keith Olbermann and Chris Cuomo announced new shows that will put them back in the limelight (maybe).
Olbermann, who was fired from MSNBC in 2011 for donating to a few Democratic campaigns (2010 scandals were so quaint), is partnering with iHeartMedia for a daily news show. Countdown with Keith Olbermann will cover sports, politics, and whoever the worst person in the world is at that given moment. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Olbermann told The Wall Street Journal that the budget for his show is “extremely huge.” That tracks!
Cuomo, meanwhile, is going solo. And he really wants you to know it. Cuomo was fired from CNN last year after helping his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, navigate the sexual harassment allegations against him. Now he is a #FreeAgent and urges listeners of his newly launched show, The Chris Cuomo Project, to think of themselves in those terms. “A free agent to me is someone who is not tied to any party, team, or tribe; you’re not burdened by any affiliation, agenda, or dogma,” he said in his first episode. He doesn’t need CNN anymore, though he would very much like $125 million in cash, please.
Olbermann’s show will launch on August 1st. Cuomo’s show released its first episode last week and is ranked 42nd on Apple’s top podcast chart. It is, however, no match for Back to the Beach with Kristin and Stephen, which has somehow managed to top even Rogan. Cable never died — it just started a podcast.
Earnings preview: Spotify and SiriusXM
It’s that time again, when Wall Street loses its shit, and I have to wake up for Spotify’s investor call. I hate waking up early, but I love a 10Q, so it basically evens out.
When Spotify drops tomorrow, investors and analysts are going to be looking for premium subscription numbers and profit margins. Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall wrote in a note to investors that he expects Spotify to add a healthy 5 million paid subscribers (last quarter, it added 2 million). Cahall slightly lowered his estimate for Spotify’s profit margin from 26.2 percent to 25.6 percent. Spotify’s margins have lagged behind what analysts would like in part because of its $1 billion worth of investments in podcasting tech and talent. Podcasting is not yet profitable for Spotify (and certainly won’t be in tomorrow’s earnings), but the company is betting that long term, it will produce better margins than music. One bright spot that Cahall mentions, though, is that Spotify is less likely to be affected by the cratering digital ad business that sent Snap and Twitter tumbling last week.
SiriusXM will drop Thursday afternoon, and that may be a little rougher. The flagship service could suffer even more subscription losses because the car market is so tight (fewer new cars sold means fewer new SiriusXM subs). Pandora, Cahall notes, will likely be affected by the weak ad market. I am personally going to be on the lookout for a mention of the mounting comedian lawsuits against Pandora. Lewis Black, Andrew Dice Clay, and others are suing for more than $70 million for copyright infringement.
Facebook will give you ad revenue for putting Post Malone’s music in your videos
Meta launched a new feature on Monday that allows creators to monetize Facebook videos that feature music from major artists like Post Malone and Tove Lo. By incentivizing creators to stay within the legal bounds of music use on its platforms, Meta may be able to reassure the music industry that it takes copyright infringement seriously. I wrote all about it yesterday.
Porn on Spotify
As Spotify ramps up its content moderation protocol, the company has its work cut out. Motherboard reports that users have been posting podcasts to the platform with sexually explicit content and album art. After Motherboard flagged it for Spotify, the company took the shows down and reiterated that content that breaks the rules will be removed.
Because Spotify bans sexually explicit content, some of the porn Motherboard found was hiding under nonsense titles composed of periods and commas instead of key words so as not to get caught by any of Spotify’s moderation tools. Motherboard also found that much of the audio porn is from podcasts that were started and abandoned years ago. Sounds like a job for the Spotify Advisory Council!
That’s all I got. See you next week!