This week, I sat down with Jamila Souffrant, the founder and CEO of Journey to Launch.
Journey to Launch started as a blog to document Souffrant's journey to financial independence. Now, she also produces a podcast by the same name that has a regular feature in Forbes and has over 2 million downloads. Her podcast has also been featured in Money Magazine and Business Insider.
Souffrant started her career in real estate investing, commuting from New Jersey to Brooklyn for work. The inspiration for her company came to her one day when it took her three hours to get home. That's when she decided "I don't want to do this for the rest of my life."
She began to research how to become financially independent, using podcasts for inspiration and education. In all her research, she said she found common threads on how people were investing, budgeting and creating financial plans. Eventually, after cushioning her savings account and having three children, she left her corporate job.
Souffrant says starting to work as an entrepreneur allowed her the flexibility and freedom she felt she needed. She said it also changed her entire relationship with money because it opened up so many different kinds of income streams from her creative work.
She created her podcast because she wanted to help people tune-in to their relationship with finance, and because she understood her perspective was needed in that space.
In this episode you'll hear about Souffrant's upbringing, how she pivoted to entrepreneurship and her advice on avoiding common financial pitfalls.
"You can't compare your beginning to someone's middle or end, and you don't even know how long ago they started." — Jamila Souffrant
Jamila Souffrant is the founder, host and CEO of Journey to Launch.
dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.
Spotify is now matching your music taste to podcasts. The new predictive algorithm is one of a host of new products the Swedish company announced Monday.
It also unveiled a new premium service called HiFi with improved sound and a Snapchat-like feature for artists to share video clips.
The moves are part of Spotify's ongoing effort to expand beyond music and become the primary platform for all audio creators and consumers.
The company has been on an acquisition spree over the past several years, which has included podcast content studios The Ringer, Parcast and Gimlet and podcast creation services like Anchor and Megaphone.
And it's about to release more original podcasts as it expands partnerships, including "Batman Unburied," created with Warner Bros. and DC; a new project from Ava Duvernay and a program featuring Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.
"The creative economy is exploding," said chief executive officer Daniel Ek. "So far, that explosion has been largely taking shape across video, with companies of all sizes focused there, and new ones entering the market all the time…(But) rather than focusing where everyone else is, we decided to go all-in on audio."
Monday raised the stakes on that bet. Here's a rundown of some of the more notable announcements:
Stream On: The power of HiFi - Billie Eilish & Finneas
New Subscription Tier: Spotify HiFi will provide subscribers a more refined, "high-end" audio experience. The new tier will roll out in select markets later this year, and will ostensibly compete with other premium streaming services like Tidal and Amazon Music HD.
Spotify Clips: Building on the company's incremental incorporation of video onto its platform, Spotify announced the launch of "Clips," a new feature for artists to share short videos. Described by Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff as a way to "give many of our most popular artists a new way to connect with their fans," Spotify Clips looks similar to the Stories feature that Snap pioneered and which subsequently became a staple of Instagram.
New Artist Marketing Tools: Over 1 million artists use Spotify's suite of artist marketing and data analytics tools each month, said Head of Marketplace Charlie Hellman. "Spotify for Artists" will be made available in 25 additional languages. Among those tools is Canvas, which allows artists to upload visual material to complement their music. Described by music star Halsey as the modern form of album art, Canvas will now be available to all artists following a limited run. Marquee, another artist tool that allows musicians and their teams to sponsor music recommendations, will also be expanding later this year.
More Personalized Playlists: Spotify's chief R&D officer Gustav Söderström underscored the abundance of content on the platform by noting that if someone wanted to listen to the over-50,000 hours of music and podcasts uploaded to Spotify every single day, it would take them over five years. To help users navigate this ocean and discover new music, the company has invested into algorithms that use a combination of machine learning and human curation to build playlists. More of these are coming, with Söderström highlighting that soon the platform's "Daily Mix" franchise, which offers playlists tied to topics like specific genres and decades, will be updated daily.
Renegades: Born in the USA | A Spotify Original Podcast | From Higher Ground
WordPress Partnership: Podcast creators using Spotify's Anchor platform will now be able to "quickly and easily turn written content directly into podcasts," said Sara Lerner, Spotify's head of strategy for podcast formats. "We think this is going to empower a whole new group of creators, people who have historically been more focused on the written word."
Interactive Podcasts: Podcasters will be able to incorporate polls and Q&As in real time to interact with their listeners.
New Podcast Content: Spotify announced a variety of new podcast series, including "Renegades: Born in the USA" hosted by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, "Batman Unburied" in partnership with Warner Bros. and DC, and a new project from Ava Duvernay.
Podcast Discovery: Spotify will soon be unleashing its recommendation algorithms to power podcast discovery. This will include using predictive algorithms to recommend podcasts based on users' musical tastes and allowing users to search for podcasts by theme and topic, based on a machine-learning analysis of episode content.
Growing Podcast Monetization: Spotify's big bet on podcasts comes with an expectation that the still small podcasting market will grow. Ostroff pointed out that although the terrestrial and satellite radio market is about $30 billion, it remains plagued by limited data for advertisers to target listeners with precision. That murky data has carried over into podcasts but, she said, Spotify has been able to change the game here by switching the mode of podcast access from downloads to streaming. To build on that and help marketers reach podcast listeners with targeted ads, Spotify will be launching Spotify Audience Network, a new marketplace for advertisers to buy ads on podcasts. The company also announced that Ad Studio, another channel for marketers, will begin being beta-tested for podcasts. Finally, the company is going to begin testing letting podcasters charge for paid subscriptions.
Eighty-five new markets, 36 new languages: Already available in 93 markets, where it reaches 345 million users and hosts content from over 8 million creators, Spotify will be expanding over the next few days into new markets across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. This, Ek said, will make Spotify accessible to over 1 billion new potential customers. The company will also nearly double the number of languages in which it's available, to over 60.
- Former Spotify Executive on the Future of Music Technology - dot.LA ›
- Music Tech Trends to Watch in 2021 - dot.LA ›
- Spotify Earnings: Users Are Up 5% Across the Board - dot.LA ›
Jordi Oliveres, who spent nearly a decade at Spanish-language media giant Univision, has been struck by how few podcasts speak to Latinos. This week, he — along with the former heads of Universal Music Group and Fonovisa Records — debuted their Latino podcasting company, hoping to tap a market that's largely been overlooked by some of the larger podcast studios.
"There isn't any content that speaks to [U.S. Latinos'] culture and interests," Oliveres said. "So we just thought there was a huge opportunity there to create content that genuinely speaks to the Latino community in podcasting."
L.A.-based Pitaya Entertainment launched with six new podcasts hosted by popular personalities including Puerto Rican actress Giselle Blondet and her daughter, Gabriella Pabón. For now, most of the podcasts are in Spanish, but the company will produce in both Spanish and English, as well as a mix of both.
Created by Oliveres, the former Universal Music Group President Zach Horowitz, former head of Fonovisa records Guillermo Santiso, Slate.com's podcast founder Andy Bowers and Campanario Entertainment Vice President of Spanish Development Diana Mejia-Jones, the company aims to produce shows about Latinos in the burgeoning new media form.
"[U.S. Latinos] are a community that's really engaged with media and entertainment, but they lag behind in podcast listening," Oliveres said. He added that Latinos overindex on all forms of media consumption, and podcasts will be no different.
According to the first-ever Latino Podcast Listener Report from Edison Research in 2020, 45% of U.S. Latinos ages 18 and over have listened to a podcast at some point in their lives. The study also found that podcast listening for over half of adult U.S. Latinos has increased since the outbreak of COVID-19.
"Podcasting companies are definitely paying attention to trends observed in video content," said Alejandro Rojas, executive director of Parrot Analytics, a global content analytics company. "In video, we're seeing demand for Spanish language content growing rapidly and gaining share."
Pitaya's six initial series launched over the last two weeks, all hosted by well-known Latino personalities with a large and devoted fan base; together, they have a combined social media following of more than 27.5 million. Among them are Blondet and Pabón, who cohost "¡Ay, Mamá!," a podcast on motherhood, and actress Alejandra Espinoza her sister Damaris Jimenez, who cohost "Entre Hermanas," a podcast series on self-improvement and female empowerment.
"Sin Rodeo," a podcast run by Jomari Goyso, debuted at number one on the Apple Podcasts U.S. Entertainment News chart. "Ana Patricia Sin Filtro," hosted by Ana Patricia Gámez, debuted as the highest-ranked Spanish language podcast in the U.S. on Apple's top 200 podcasts chart.
Pitaya also released an English-language podcast named "Hyphenated," in which Latina comedians Joanna Hausmann and Jenny Lornzo discuss the connections of Latino and American culture.
"We thought it was important to find hosts who are already very well known and respected in the community, and that had things to say that were meaningful and interesting," said Oliveres. "We looked for figures that already have large followings on social media and that have a presence in Latino media in general. And then we work together with them to build a show that represents their interests and the things that their followers are interested in, so that it's just a very organic extension of who they are and what their followers care about and want to hear about."Pitaya's podcasts are free and available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Pandora and Pitaya Entertainment's website, pitaya.fm. The company got its name because of pitaya fruits' origins in Latin America, their unique color and shape, and the ease of spelling and saying "pitaya" in both Spanish and English, said Oliveres.