As the year draws to a close, the creeping barrage of posts dedicated to a recap of the past twelve months is beginning to pick up in frequency. As a general rule, I tend to ignore these year-end missives because I was present during most of it, and in many cases, I don’t need to be reminded of the horror. However, predictions are a sub-genre that I’m absolutely fascinated by.
Predictions are the one piece of content that anyone can write, whether they have knowledge of the subject they’re predicting about or not. Astrologists, psychics, and other versions of the modern-day snake oil salesmen do it all the time. So it is that a person who will remain anonymous for reasons I hope will become apparent asked me to predict what will happen in the podcast space in 2020. Of course, I jumped at the chance. Being a wildly (un)successful podcaster with decades of (abject failure) experience behind me, I believe I am more than (not)qualified to opine on the subject.
And so, I give you my Spot On, Take It Io The Bank, Bet The House On It Predictions for 2020:
- A new and hip podcast app that only downloads NPR, PRX, APM, and Radiotopia podcasts called Avopodo will fail miserably almost everywhere in the US, but the hipsters are totally OK with it not being in the mainstream.
- Joe Rogan will get so stoned during a show that he’ll just forget to stop one day and podcast indefinitely. Leo Laporte will accuse Joe of stealing his act and threaten to sue.
- Three more podcast conventions will debut because clearly, we don’t have enough of those. TEDPod, a spinoff of TED, will fail quickly because their invitation that invited you to take the TEDPod Challenge was deemed to be in poor taste.
- There will be a new universal standard of metrics for podcasts. However, it’s going to be rolled out by Apple and we will have no earthly idea of what it is or how it’s calculated. This will not stop the literally hundreds of podcast ‘experts’ from dedicating a cubic ass-load of time to telling you how to game it, especially if you buy their course for a stupid amount of money.
- The productivity and motivational podcasters made a killing with the custom journal products in 2019, but I predict they’re going to move on to the next big trend: your own custom human who follows you around and helps you get things done. There will be an argument about whether this is tantamount to slavery, but the entrepreneurial space will assert that HOOMAN™ is the next logical step of the gig economy. The VC dollars will just pour right in as Dignity follows it’s cousin Privacy right out the window.
- The next wave of minimalist podcasters will be a wave of young white guys dressed like Apple employees, ranting loudly on a street corner to no one in hopes someone records and posts it somewhere. When challenged, they will simply say they are outsourcing their workflow.
- 2020 will be the year we finally reach Peak “Fire/Spark/Ignite” with the naming of podcasts when someone decides to go all-in with ‘Social Media Detonation!!!’ In a strange twist, Jack Dorsey is the only one concerned about it.
- At least one of the Trump Administration escapees will launch a podcast in 2020 and it will become a massive hit, not because of any agenda or the personality of the host, but because no one in America can shut up about it.
- Proving that we can go ever deeper down the rabbit hole, a new layer of fandom podcasts will arise, and it will be a fandom podcast of the fandom podcast of the show the original fandom podcast is dedicated to. In related news, all of these shows will be hosted by Chris Hardwick, who has given up on sleep.
- There will be another batch of articles posted by veteran radio and tv experts who appear to enjoy yelling at clouds, still asking if podcasting is cannibalizing their space. Every one of their biographies at the bottom of those articles will have the word “formerly” in them.
Finally, one bonus prediction I feel very confident about: The next time someone asks me for predictions, they’ll remember to add whether or not they want me to be serious.