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Statement Regarding RadioSEGA Podcasts on Spotify

Although it was a difficult choice to make, we will explain why removing our podcasts from Spotify is the right decision.

March 12th, 2020: A day of celebration.

The special surprise episode of SEGA AGES kicked off our "10 Years LiVE" event with previously MIA host ResidentSD. We commemorated 10 years of our 'LiVE' programming in style and this included special announcements dotted throughout that night. Merchandise was back, with special clothing based around the anniversary revealed.

That's all skimming around what we planned to be the cooler of the two announcements on the night though. After many hours of manual work required to pull it off alongside fan requests we were able to add our podcasted content to Spotify. What a triumphant moment, and indeed it was, but the dream of our shows appearing on the platform quickly began to cause issues.

On April 22nd, staff member and fellow listeners RapidRun brought to our attention that he was struggling to find one of our programs Last Call on Spotify. I had just recently finished adding custom artwork for each season of the show to the feed, so I thought it was likely a mistake due to me messing up somewhere. I checked the email that Last Call was attached to and sure enough, sat in my Junk folder was an email informing me that the show had been deleted from the platform. Confusion struck me at first, so I promptly emailed our podcast host at the time informing them of what I believed to be a mistake. After a few emails back and forth and days of waiting, I was informed that Last Call's removal was entirely intentional and that podcasts of its episodes would not be relisted on "all platforms." Luckily, we regained access to self-hosting our podcasts around this time, so we ended up being able to save Last Call on all platforms other than before it was too late.

Not so lucky however was the fact that just as this saga wrapped up, another one of our shows in Club SEGA was also removed from Spotify, with the same cryptic email from our provider sent regarding Last Call. The same deal applied here and we quickly set up self-hosting before it impacted other platforms, except by some stroke of luck we managed to get the show back on Spotify. In this instance, lightning had struck twice and we had quickly learned that it could happen again, so we moved all of our podcasts back in-house (minus The SEGA Lounge) and breathed a sigh of relief. The journey didn't quite feel like it was over yet though, so I continued to monitor my emails daily for any new grievances.

Fast forward to just thia week, where the situation continued to lay dormant and we thought our issues were long gone. LiVE presenter Ravsieg informs us however that his own show Ravsdom!! is missing from Spotify as well. My first instinct wasn't to think back to times passed and instead I blamed it on myself, likely an error in my scripting language when I was hand writing the RSS feed. I also remembered that I had slightly messed up the settings on one episode which could've caused the entire thing to go missing on the service (hey it happens!) so I combed through the feed. It was perfect though, and that was when the sinking feeling set in. After digging around the spam folders for the RS-related emails I have access to, sure enough there was an email sitting in my Junk box informing me that both Ravsdom!! and RadioSEGA's Top 40 Countdown were removed from Spotify due to "infringing content." No mention as to how these were flagged, no mention as to specific episodes, timestamps etc. Just that they were gone and they weren't coming back.

This is only a taster of our experience with the service, but the metrics weren't painting a great picture either. We were struggling to get recommended to people through searches and the users we had through there didn't even come close to matching the numbers on other existing podcast services. So then why bother? Why keep our programming on a service when so few people actually use it and it will disappear without our input anyway? Spotify continually gave our Media team headaches when adding podcasts, and our Admins were left with the messy work of dealing with the aftermath of yet more shows being removed and attempting to relist them while getting nowhere with Spotify's support. Listeners didn't even get the best experience on the app, as non-premium users were subject to ads with the same prospect apparently being considered for those who pay to remove ads on the service (seriously!), not to mention features such as chaptering support via our "RadioSEGA-Enhanced" podcasts missing.

Thus it is ultimately time to call it quits. What started as a dream project to appease our fans quickly turned into a nightmare to maintain, with the spoils of war not being worth the effort. And so, all podcast content of our shows will begin to be removed from Spotify over the course of the next 7 days. To those who are fans of our content and will be affected by the change, below is a list of podcasting services we recommend based on platform:


Windows
Top Choice: iTunes - Although rather dated and bloated nowadays, iTunes and the Apple Podcasts store provide a wide range of podcasts (all of our own to date), with many different formats being supported and enhanced features such as chapters functional out of the box with no installations required.

VLC Media Player - VLC is intended to be a multifunctional media player, so while it may not be the best option for downloading or playing podcasts, it does the job while supporting a wider range of formats and chapter points.

Bonus: Pocket Casts Desktop - If you decide you like Pocket Casts on mobile (see further down) then you can purchase a yearly subscription to the service which grants you access to this desktop version. It's roughly the same but missing chapter support, which puts it at the bottom of this list.

macOS:
Top Choice: Apple Podcasts
- While there may be other apps available if you dig around, Podcasts on macOS excels for the same reasons as iTunes on Windows while coming pre-installed on your device, which makes it our top choice.

iOS
Top Choice: Pocket Casts - Pocket Casts offers a robust podcasting experience while on the go. A wide variety of formats are supported, and chapter support is present. So is the ability to add custom RSS feeds, meaning if your favourite isn't on the service you can add it and listen anyway! This also future proofs the app, so if RadioSEGA podcasts ever get delisted (which is extremely unlikely due to the decentralised nature of the app), you can add them back and continue to listen through the app as if nothing happened.

Apple Podcasts - The iOS version of the Podcasts app functions the same as the mac app, so if you're a fan you'll likely enjoy this too.

Android
Top Choice: Podcast Addict
- Podcast Addict provides all the good bits of Pocket Casts while instead supporting AAC chapters on Android (which is what RadioSEGA uses) unlike the version of Pocket Casts listed on Android (hence why it isn't recommended). Various other quality of life features are included and the ability to add more podcast sources than just RSS is present to, so there's plenty of ways to listen to your favourites through the app.

CastBox - The older version of CastBox is a good alternative to Pocket Casts, but although it supports custom RSS feeds being added to the app, it does not support chapters which puts it just a spot behind.


On behlaf of our staff, we thank you for taking the time to read this post, and hopefully you understand the reasoning behind our podcasts moving away from Spotify. Please feel free to ask any further questions in the comment section below or via Twitter/Facebook messaging. Hopefully this door isn't shut forever and we can work something out down the line.

For now though, RadioSEGA and its podcasts shall live on, but we say goodbye to Spotify.

3rd November, 2020 - 23:52 GMT GreenViper8 Article viewed 341 times 0 Comments

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