The Podcast Monetization Conversation Could Go One Of Two Ways …

Dave Winer wrote today …

My phone doesn't have a business model. Neither does my porch. I still like having a phone and a porch because they help me meet new people and communicate with people I know. Same with my blog and podcast.

Thank you Dave – preach it brother!

Kinda reminds me of my recent “Podcasting is not the story” post.

Winer also writes:

“Professional writers and broadcasters probably have a place, I don’t know, it’s not my problem. But let’s be clear – blogging and podcasting exist independent of a professional’s ability to eek out a living using the tools of blogging and podcasting.”

Of which Podcasting News claims:

“In other words, if you’re trying to do this professionally, Winer thinks you’re really not podcasting and blogging”

Were you reading the same post as I was? Tools don't make you money. Blogs and Podcasts are tools – for making money – or not making money. Tools are monetization agnostic (is that a term?). As much as I love the Lewins (and usually argue with Dave Winer), … dear friends, you have it wrong.

Podcasting and blogging is an action or a tool – a channel or a technology. That's it. As I type this blog, that typing is an action but you don't see me wondering how I'm going to monetize my typing – you see me pondering ways to monetize what I type.

Important difference. Why don't smart people understand that?

Yes, I'm a blogger, but I'm also a typist, and a Mac user, and a coffee drinker, and a oxygen breather, and a left handed virgo. I don't associate these with my success either.

The builder down the street making a house is selling his hammerwork, he's selling the house he built with the hammer. You need the hammer – but you also need the house.

I type this in a cafe that makes a killer cookie (and free wifi). They don't make money on the mixer that mixes the cookie dough – they make money on the cookie.

They don't say “I'm a dough mixer and I'm proud of it” – they say “here, try this.”

From there, you buy the cookie.

Mmmmmmmmmmm … cookies.

I think the genesis of this version of this thread is the Mashable piece about their problems getting a Podcast advertising contract but … as I've been saying for years now, advertising ain't the only model for Podcasting and New Media. It actually isn't a very good one at all. But regardless, launching a Podcast and then asking where the monetization options are is like marrying first and then looking for love.

Leesa Barnes attempts to conquer this issue too with her “Podcasters Need to Stop Being the Victim” comment but I have to take issue with that one as well. She echoes Rob Walch's “I am a podcaster and I am damn proud of it.


If you are going to elevate this one term to Godlike status, you will lose.

Podcasting ain't the story – what we do with the Podcast is the story.

Rob, you have chronicled the history of the first years of what people have done with the tech with class and conviction. Be proud of that – not the tech by which you did it.

Leesa, you have help a demographic often associated with technophobia maximize these tools and do amazing things. God bless you for that.

It ain't about the Podcast … but I've said that before.

So, let's close things up – before I eat another of these cookies. They have more fat per bite than the Olsen Twins combined.

As I said in my title, this could go one of two ways.

Option A is that we as an industry realize it ain't as much about the tools we do it with – but it is in fact what we do with the tools. From there we'll monitor our friends like Podcasting News to monitor what we can do with these tools, etc., but we'll continue to grow, do well, explore new options, new channels, new audiences and, most importantly, new media.

Option B is Podcasting becomes forever associated with people with day jobs bickering over terminology. I don't need much commentary for that statement – but I'm sure there will be lots of comments below.

I hope it's “A” – but I can always print new business cards. When you make a profit off of your tools, you can afford to do that kind of thing.

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