Category Archives: Tips

5 Things Podcasters Need To Know About Taxes



April 15 is almost upon us, and if you’re like many podcasters and other content creators, you might be procrastinating on getting those taxes filed. Even if you aren’t making a lot of money yet, confusing tax laws and, let’s face it, less-than-stellar bookkeeping often make something that should be pretty simple seem complicated. But don’t procrastinate too long! If you earn income – any income – from your podcast, it needs to be reported correctly.

Here are some tips for getting your tax return done right:

IRS

  1. Decide whether you’re filing as a business or a hobby. If you aren’t making much or any money yet, this can be tricky to figure out. “The difference is in the podcaster’s motive – does he or she wish to make a profit or not,” explains Carol Topp, CPA and host of the Dollars and Sense Show. The IRS does offer nine factors they use to differentiate between businesses and hobbies, but they can be a bit vague – for example, “whether you carry on the activity in a businesslike manner.” One thing to keep in mind, warn tax professionals, is that filing as a hobby isn’t necessarily going to be the cheaper route. There’s a risk that you could trigger an audit if you file a valid business as a hobby, and if you declare your podcast a hobby, you are also limited to deducting expenses up to the amount of income it’s produced – you can’t take a loss on a hobby.
  2. Start as soon as you have expenses. “That’s sooner then most podcasters think about taxes!” says Topp. You should start tracking and reporting your podcast as soon as you have expenses instead of waiting until you have income.
  3. Know what counts as income and deductible expense. Equipment (your mic and software, for example,) fees associated with services like podcast hosting and statistics, travel and entry fees to industry conferences and events, business-related meals, classes or podcast consulting services, studio/recording space or a home office, and graphic design and website setup fees are just some of the things you may be able to write off as an expense related to your podcast. Income can include free products, exchanges from bartering, and of course, any monetary payment you receive whether it’s via check, direct deposit, Paypal, cash or some other format. If you aren’t sure if something counts as a taxable income or deductible expense, consult a tax professional.
  4. Keep household and podcasting finances separate. If you haven’t been keeping track of your finances – or keeping your podcasting expenses and income separate from your household finances – you’re probably realizing right about now how big a mess that can create. “Separating business income from your personal income makes tax preparation easier, but it also allows the podcaster to have a better idea if the business is profitable,” advises Topp. “If business and personal are all mixed into one checking account, it requires more bookkeeping to see how the business is doing.”
  5. Record everything. As for assuming you’ll remember how much you spent on that trip to Podcast Movement? Nuh-uh. “Using a spreadsheet or accounting software is best – track of all you income and all your expenses. Also track your meals and mileage. Do not rely on memory!”

Great advice, but nobody’s perfect. If you are getting organized a little late this year, you aren’t alone! Just commit to making life easier for yourself when it comes to file 2016’s taxes by getting informed, separating out podcast and household finances out, and keeping good records…starting now. Topp offers a free downloadable business income/expense spreadsheet you can use to keep track of your podcast finances. While Topp’s site is aimed at writers, there are many parallels between podcasters and writers when it comes to taxes, so visit TaxesForWriters.com for more great tips and resources while you prepare your taxes.

A note: we at Blubrry are experts in podcasting, but not necessarily tax preparation! To make sure you’re protecting yourself and your podcast, be sure to consult IRS resources and/or speak to a tax professional if you have any questions.

Considering joining Blubrry at the Podcast Movement in Chicago this July?
Use the code “Blubrry” at checkout for a $40 discount!

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New iTunes Podcast Directory Recommendations: What Podcasters Need To Know Now



The higher your podcast ranks in iTunes, the easier it is to grow your audience – so it’s crucial to keep up on and follow their recommendations.

This month, iTunes made a number of changes to the iTunes Store podcast directory that could have a direct impact on the success of your podcast.

Here’s what you need to know (and do) to comply with the new iTunes Podcast
Directory Recommendations:

iTunes Podcast Image Recommendation Change

Apple now recommends using a 3000 x 3000 pixel JPG or PNG in the RGB color space in a compressed format. Saving your image as a JPG with your favorite image editing software should automatically compress your image to optimize for mobile devices.

If you are saving your image as a PNG, please be aware that your image must be saved in the RGB color space. If the image is saved as a CMYK color space (used for printing), it will not be accepted by iTunes. (See our guide to logos, branding and theme for more information on color spaces and other crucial things to keep in mind while designing your cover art.)

The minimum size of 1400 x 1400 may continue to be used and will look acceptable on a tablet or phone – but while it’s not an urgent change, the larger 3000 x 3000 size will look best when viewed in the Apple TV podcasts app.New iTunes Podcast Directory Recommendations February 2016

iTunes Podcast Explicit Setting Change

Apple has changed the iTunes explicit setting. You must now select “clean” or “explicit” – the ‘no’ option is no longer available.

The “explicit” setting previously allowed for a 3rd option referred to as “no” (also referred to as “none” by some services). Nothing was displayed next to your podcast on iTunes if neither “clean” or “explicit” were set. With this change, there is no longer a neutral option.

If you don’t set your podcast as either “clean” or “explicit,” it appears that Apple will now make that determination for you. To guarantee that your content is marked correctly, please update your explicit setting as soon as possible.

The explicit setting is available both at the program/show level as well as the episode level. If all of your episodes are explicit or clean, you will only need to set this attribute at the program/show level.

We are still waiting on a response from Apple staff how to handle the situation with mixed explicit and clean episodes. We assume the previous behavior still applies:

  • If your program is marked “explicit,” then all episodes within that show are also considered explicit. A “clean” episode for an explicit show/program is not applicable.
  • If your program is marked “clean,” then all episodes are considered clean unless otherwise marked explicit.

The explicit setting is very important to maximize your distribution on iTunes. Some territories and countries such as India do not allow explicit content.

iTunes does enforce its explicit settings. Do not assume you can mark content as clean even though it includes explicit content – many podcasters have learned the hard way that mis-labeling your show will lead to being removed from the iTunes podcast directory.

Managing Podcast Submissions to iTunes has Changed

Podcast submissions to the iTunes podcast directory are now managed by the new Podcast Connect website. The new website allows you to submit new podcasts, as well as refresh, hide and delete your current podcast listings.

iTunes Podcast Connect

In February, 2011 Apple dropped the update listing protocol, leaving podcasters with no way to refresh their podcast listings on iTunes. The new Podcast Connect website includes a Refresh Feed option, we applaud and appreciate the addition.

Check back here at the PowerPress Podcast blog weekly for important updates and information that can help you improve your podcast’s chances for success!

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Get a taste of the Blubrry and TPN Channel App on Google TV



Not much more app-etizing than Blubrry and Tech Podcasts Network (TPN) on Google TV! Yes-sir, now your favorite shows are accessible on yet another platform. With Google TV, Blubrry and TPN provide content creators the ability to access new markets that reach a worldwide audience of all demographics. Audiences can see network shows and manage their playlist through MyCast, wheth

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er they have a Blubrry or TPN user account or not.

The Google TV app is one more in our RawVoice cache that also includes:

  • Roku
  • Boxee
  • LookeeTV
  • Samsung Smart TV

So, it’s official, Blubrry and TPN content creators can be ogled on Google TV in addition to just about every medium available. And audiences can subscribe to a show as easy as pressing a button.

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Apple Drops iTunes Podcast Directory Update Listing/Ping (pingPodcast) Function



We need you to speak out! Apple quietly removed the iTunes Podcast Directory update listing/ping functionality (also known as pingPodcast) earlier this week. You, our content creators, are no longer able to update your listing directly and audiences will have to wait up to 24 hours to access your shows. This is NOT acceptable and is extremely disappointing news for our digital media creators.

The iTunes update directory listing ping service (pingPodcast) allowed podcasters to both verify their feed address that iTunes is pulling, as well as notify iTunes that a new episode has been published. The ping service could be called upon with either the URL to the feed or with the iTunes podcast FEEDID. See examples below:

The URLS above now redirect to the Apple iTunes online store.

This has been an extremely important function for you, our digital media creators, and we need you to all work toward convincing Apple to restore this feature. Please make your thoughts and concerns known to Apple here. It is imperative that we impress upon them the importance of this service!

We are unaware of why they have removed this feature, but we have reached out to Apple to see if there will be an alternative. According to Apple.com forums, podcast feeds will be pulled once every 24 hours. There’s no comment yet how podcast owners can verify their feed listed on iTunes, as the pingPodcast feature was the only way to verify iTunes was updating your listings with the correct feed address.

Apple has removed information on the ping service from the official iTunes podcast specifications document.  Documentation of the previous iTunes podcast specifications can be found on WaybackMachine.org.  Source

From a reply on the apple.com forums from Apple staff, the “link feature” (aka pingPodcast URL) “may no longer be available to podcast publishers.” The staff further explains “this isn’t anything to worry about, iTunes still handles podcast entries the same way, and you are correct in your understanding that by default, the iTunes Store directory reads every feed once per day”. Source

When used, the pingPodcast service returns both the unique iTunes FEEDID as well as the current FEED URL for a given podcast. The information is invaluableto anyone who wants to verify that iTunes is updating the specified podcast listing on iTunes with the correct feed address. With the removal of the pingPodcast function, podcasters can no longer verify their feed URL address used for iTunes podcast directory. Again, here is the link to make your thoughts and concerns known to Apple.

Until Apple restores the pingPodcast service or replaces it with another API service for podcast listing verification, Blubrry.com will no longer be able to provide support to podcasters who have problems with their podcast listings on  iTunes. It is imperative that they return this function or replace it immediately with another service enabling digital media creaters to verify their feed list on iTunes!

Our digital media community has strength in numbers, and if we work together, we are confident we will resolve this troubling development.

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The fantasy of error-free hard drives



Congratulations! You’ve just recorded your 100th episode. That’s quite a milestone and it’s appropriate to take some time to stroll down memory lane and check out some of your older shows. What? The first 30 shows were on a hard drive that crashed? That’s OK, you can restore your old shows from a back up… right? I hope so…

Unfortunately hard drives aren’t as reliable as we would like them to be and every so often they crash. If the data isn’t backed up somewhere, it will take a lot of luck, plenty of money and a hard drive recovery service to possibly restore some of it. The last thing you want is lose all your podcasts, photos, financial data and whatever else you stored on that thing.

There are several ways to back up your important data. Your operating system (OS) has a built-in application and that’s a great start. You can set that up to back up to a completely different hard drive. There also are applications such as Synctoy that allow you to run backups and mirror data in two locations such as a second drive. Generally, a solution like this has both drives in the same location. This works out well if your primary hard drive decides to call it a day, but if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where your house gets trampled upon by a stampede of laser-wielding unicorns, both the drives could be kaput.

I have a friend who on a regular basis backs up a third drive and stores it in a safe deposit box at his local bank. This is a great idea, but quite frankly that’s a lot of extra time that most of us don’t have. Fortunately for us, in the past few years several online “cloud”-based services have appeared, making digital archival quick, easy and inexpensive. Most of them are straightforward and function fairly similarly. You pay the service a few bucks a month, download and install its application and let it do the rest. The application locates all the important data such as profiles, media, photos, documents, etc. (You can control this if you desire.) It uploads and stores the data in the cloud on the secure redundant servers. On a predetermined, regular basis, the application will scan your computer for new or changed data and back them up. You can now rest assured.

Mozy, Live Sky Drive and Carbonite are only a few of the online backup options out there. Take a look at those and research some others to decide what is best for you. Personally, I use a combination of backing up to another hard drive as well as an online service. I’ve been very happy with it and feel a lot more comfortable knowing that when my house gets attacked by a pack of rabid gnomes, my digital data is safe.

~ Brian, creative director

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How do I get listed on iTunes and other platforms?



One of the support questions that I’m asked most often is: “How do I upload my podcast to the iTunes music store?” The off-the-cuff answer is, you don’t.

Let me explain. What you do is submit your podcast feed to iTunes. Apple reviews your podcast mostly to make sure your content can be played on Apple devices. Once they approve your show, you are listed in the store. Your files are downloaded from wherever you store them for your podcast. They don’t come from iTunes’ or Apple’s servers.

Blubrry PowerPress, an easy-to-install podcasting plugin for WordPress, helps you get your iTunes listing – along with other platform listings such as Roku, Boxee and Zune Marketplace – looking good by giving you an easy way to make your feed compliant with those services.

Here’s what to do:

  • Go to your PowerPress settings and click the “iTunes” tab.
  • Fill out all the boxes and your listing will be complete.

Make sure you have good cover art. You can even change your iTunes cover art right from PowerPress:

  • Check the box next to “Upload New Image.”
  • Select your image on your computer and PowerPress will take it from there.

Just remember, iTunes can take awhile to update photos or other changes to your listing. They will get around to it.

Please remember, too, that iTunes isn’t the only game in town. There are an impressive number of podcast listeners and viewers that use other forms of podcatchers and set-top boxes. The good thing is, if you make your show look great on iTunes, it will look great on all the others. Also, don’t forget to list your show on Blubrry.com and go through the “Get Featured” setup there. It is well worth your time and effort.

If you are new to podcasting or the Blubrry / RawVoice services, feel free to contact us at support. Also check out the videos and other helpful resources at help.blubrry.com or our forum at forum.blubrry.com.

~ Michael Dell
Technical Support
RawVoice
Michael.dell@rawvoice.com

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Blubrry Profile Clean up Month



Every two weeks I make it a point to subscribe to large number of new podcast to simply check them out. Yesterday I added 20 shows from Blubrry to my subscriptions, but found it very frustrating to look at some podcast listing on Blubrry only to find their profiles blank.

Most of the podcasts on Blubrry do a great job in completing the show profiles, after all if you want someone to listen to you show  then you should at least should try to keep people from guessing what your shows about. As a listener would you even investigate a podcast if the listing looked like this?

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We have went to great lengths to give all podcasters significant branding opportunities for their shows on the network. Take for example the show listing and description at Audio Gumshoe this listing is such that I have no doubt what the show is all about.

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Getting people to subscribe to your shows is a simple process here. But only if you take the time and make sure your listings are up to date. If you have a incomplete profile or a friends of yours has a podcast here with a incomplete profile. Tell em to come over and spend 10 minutes making there show a viable part of the community.

Todd…

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Choosing A Theme For Your Podcast



midway I talk to quite a few people about podcasting and many are intrigued by the thought of starting their own audio or video show on the internet. Many of these people ask me, “What should I podcast about?”

I really think that the answer to this question is simple. It’s definitely not the easiest thing in the world to actually start producing and publishing a show. But the idea that gets it started should be relatively easy to come by.

Start off with one of two statements in your head. “I am very passionate about…” or “I am very knowledgable about…”

In the answer to either of those phrases lies a clue to what you should podcast about if you are considering taking the leap into this exciting medium of communication.

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Five Things A Podcaster Can Do Today



Here are five things a podcaster can do today to make sure their show is on track for continued growth.

  1. Check your listing on iTunes. Weird issues have been known to occur that result in your iTunes listing not updating properly. So it’s good to keep an eye on your listing there to make sure all is on track. You can also see if you have any new reviews while you’re at it.
  2. Validate your RSS feed using the Feed Validator. You’d be surprised at the things that can knock out your podcast feed. With all the embedded players and widgets people are using these days, sometimes your feed can get thrown out of whack.
  3. Respond to the latest contacts from your audience. Your audience loves to know that you’re listening to their comments and questions. Take a few minutes to write personal notes to the latest people to contact you about the show.
  4. Review your podcast website for design improvement and link maintenance. It is never too late to do some spring cleaning on your podcast website. Do you have any dead links in posts or the sidebar? Is it time for a new page header? Could your show notes from previous episodes use some beefing up? If your content has any kind of long tail value then this is a worthwhile investment in your podcast.
  5. Seek out some new link partners. This is basically good old fashioned internet-style networking. Seek out other sites (and not just podcasts) that offer similar or complimentary content to yours. Contact those publishers and let them know why there audience should know about what you’re doing. Return the favor by letting your audience know about sites that they are likely to enjoy.
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Why The Blubrry Player Is So Good



Play Pause

If you are looking for a top notch player for your podcasts then I strongly recommend that you consider the Blubrry Podcast Player. Here are just a few reasons why our player should be the one that you provide as an option on your website:

  1. It pops! The Blubrry player pops up so that your audience can continue exploring your site while they enjoy content.
  2. Show notes. Our player is one of the few that also provides access to your show notes.
  3. Previous episodes. While our player is configured to start on the current episode your audience can browse through and play previous episodes in your feed.
  4. Mixed media support. The player supports audio, video and mixed media feeds.
  5. Your brand is represented. When playing audio posts the Blubrry player is designed to show off your branding.
  6. Flexible linking options. Although we provide a variety of images to link to the player from in the Member Perks section of the site, you’re free to use any image you want. Simply change the link to the image in our code (as implemented below) and you’ve got a custom link to the player.

<a href=”javascript: var rvgPlayer = window.open(‘http://www.blubrry.com/player/?p=838’, ‘RVG_Player’, ‘toolbar=0,status=0,resizable=1,width=640,height=450’); rvgPlayer.focus();”>
<img src=”http://static.zooomr.com/images/1089887_253fb89751_t.jpg” alt=’Blubrry.com player!’ title=’Open Blubrry Player’></a>

Blubrry.com player!

Find out more about the Blubrry player by watching this video tutorial from Blubrry University.

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