Monetization via Lightning may be a critical component to creating an environment in which podcasting remains sufficiently decentralized.
Here's something very promising that dropped over the weekend; the launch of the Podcast 2.0 platform by the Podfather himself, Adam Curry. Podcasting 2.0 is being built in an effort to keep the content medium of podcasting as decentralized as possible so that it doesn't become dominated by large platforms like other content mediums have become. Think video on Youtube, brief messaging on Twitter, picture sharing on Instagram, and arguing with neighbors and family members on Facebook. All of these platforms have established themselves as monopolies or as close to monopolies as they can get in their respected domains, which gives them them an indirect ability to control the different forms of content they preside over.
Youtube doesn't like the info included in one of your videos? Boom. Deleted. Monetization turned off.
Twitter or Facebook don't agree with a particular tweet or post you sent? Boom. Shadow banned. Suspended. Tweet labeled as "misleading". Kicked off the site for good.
Interestingly enough, podcasting as a content medium has avoided the pitfalls of being dominated by any one platform to date. I am able to publish an episode to my RSS feed and it is picked up and syndicated across dozens of platforms automatically for Tales from the Crypt. This decreases the likelihood of my content being censored as easily as a tweet can be. This is a nature of podcasting that should be preserved and Podcasting 2.0 aims to do just that by leveraging the Lightning Network to create a closed loop value for value model that allows podcasters to be compensated in sats by viewers directly. Monetization via Lightning may be a critical component to creating an environment in which podcasting remains sufficiently decentralized.
The route to centralization is pathed with platforms that are able to bring more revenue dollars to podcast hosts via bulk ad spends. We already see this trend beginning to take off with Spotify signing up a big deal with Joe Rogan. Forcing Joe's podcast to be published exclusively to Spotify and no other platform. Limiting the platforms that individuals can enjoy Joe's podcast on to one come the beginning of next year. This trend will continue unless there are alternative ways for hosts to monetize.
Adam has teamed up with the team from Sphinx Chat to integrate Lightning Network into the Podcasting 2.0 platform so that podcasters can set the cost of listening to each episode at a certain amount of sats per hours. On top of this, users will be able to stream sats to podcasters as they listen to each episode, "tipping" for quality takes on the go. A portion of the proceeds (1-2%) will be automatically streamed to the podcast app and the development of the ecosystem. Giving these companies an avenue through which to monetize. They get to focus on building unique listening experiences for different types of users.
The beauty of Bitcoin, and particularly spending bitcoin via the Lightning Network, is that these payments can be extremely small. Allowing users to contribute as granularly as they desire while also enabling hosts to set a low cost per listen. In aggregate, if your podcast is moderately successful, the microtransaction paywall in combination with tipping from listeners could potentially becoming meaningful enough that the host is able to ditch advertising for a value-for-value monetization model in collaboration with listeners.
It is still early days. We are probably very far off from seeing this monetization path become the most popular. But god damnit, this seems like the inception of something big for content creation. We have long been believers in the idea that the Lightning Network will enable a microtransaction revolution that leads to better experiences all around. The Podcasting 2.0 platform and their intention to leverage the Lightning Network in this fashion is only strengthening this belief.
Uncle Marty is currently creating a Tribe on the Sphinx App for Tales from the Crypt. This will serve as a group chat for the podcast and our listeners as well as a podcast app and an avenue through which fans who would like to support us can do so via the model described above.
The future is bright, orange, and filled with amazing new experiences. Onward!
Even rainy island days are incredible days.