In a Nutshell: With hundreds of thousands of podcasts and millions of episodes, picking one can be an intimidating task. That’s why Player FM developed a platform that combines machine learning and human curation to help users find shows and episodes that pique their interest. And users don’t need to sign up to browse and listen, as the Player FM library is accessible to everyone — although premium accounts do have perks. And listeners can avail themselves of podcasts on a variety of topics, including business, finance, and other money-related subjects. That vast selection offers cost-effective access to entertainment and information, making it a valuable resource for anyone looking to save money by cutting the cord.
Many people think about cutting the cord with their cable providers for financial reasons. According to the Leichtman Research Group, the average cost of cable was $107 per month in 2018. That is an expensive proposition, especially considering newer streaming alternatives — that may also allow users to skip commercials, too. Other options include purchasing an antenna that picks up channels over the air or visiting local library branches that lend media for free.
Consumers are also increasingly turning to podcasts for entertainment. The web-based audio broadcasts allow people to explore their current interests and find new ones. They also provide a way for listeners to expand their knowledge base on subjects that interest them. And, unlike streaming TV or movies, podcasts don’t demand a listener’s full attention; many people listen while they surf the web, play a game, or make their daily commute.
“Podcasting is a great medium. You can get into it for free, and podcasts offer tons of content on all sorts of niche topics,” said Michael Mahemoff, Founder of Player FM. “You’re always learning and staying entertained while you’re doing other things, so it’s useful for people who are busy.”
And the scope of podcasting is vast. So many different creators release content on various platforms and independent websites that it can be intimidating for newcomers. That’s why Player FM emerged to help users find the podcasts, personalities, and topics that they find interesting.
The platform aggregates podcasts from across the internet and grants access through a robust but straightforward interface. A combination of AI matching and human curation helps users find relevant new shows and even individual episodes.
“Initially, I created it so I could collect all of my podcasts in one place and have an account where I manage all my subscriptions,” Mahemoff said. “It became clear that we needed to include mobile apps, as well. That’s where people listen to most of their podcasts. So we made a proper, cloud-synced podcast system that works across web, Android, and iPhone devices.”
Player FM makes it easy for listeners to break into the world of podcasts. And those making the switch for monetary reasons can also find a variety of financial podcasts in various areas of expertise. And users can access all PlayerFM content for free — although its premium version offers additional features.
Through its curation tools and free financial podcasts, Player FM can help listeners not only save money but also learn how to manage their savings.
AI-Recommended Content Curated by Topic and Niche
Human curators find and tag niches within broader topics, narrowing the often-broad scope of general podcast categories. Instead of sifting through sports podcasts, for example, listeners can find those dedicated to baseball — and that includes not just baseball-focused series but individual episodes as well.
“We’ve always had the goal of hitting the sweet spot between making it fun and powerful,” Mahemoff said. “We use a combination of automatic detection algorithms and human curators to enhance the existing tags publishers provide, so we can get a much better sense of what any particular series is about.”
On the machine learning side, algorithms analyze user listening habits and provide personalized recommendations for them. That process allows listeners to discover particular episodes of interest as well as fresh, relevant shows.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do is break the mold for the subscription model where you follow a podcast, and then that’s all you ever get,” Mahemoff said. “It’s very much episode-based recommendations. You can save individual episodes to your playlist, download individual episodes, and search for individual episodes.”
That fusion of human insight and machine analysis enables users to dive into any topic by giving them fast, targeted access to shows and episodes. Just as importantly, it helps users keep up with trending topics by notifying them of popular podcasts, ensuring they never miss a newly launched show or installment of their favorite series.
Free and Paid Subscribers Enjoy Equal Access to Episodes
A basic Player FM account is free and includes hybrid curation. Navigating the platform and its content is intuitive, and it makes finding content simple. Within particular channels devoted to various topics, users can browse through a list view that allows them to select from a wide variety of episodes. Or they can choose a card view that summarizes specific episodes to help listeners decide if they want to learn more about a podcast.
Paid accounts don’t offer any special content, but have additional features, including customized playlists, bookmarks, and access across all devices. The latter feature is especially valuable for users who find themselves returning to episodes later for reference, or who want to listen to an episode a second time.
Users can even try Player FM — available on both iOS and Android — without creating an account and still access the platform’s entire library of podcasts with no limitations or exclusions. Although signing up with Player FM offers a more sophisticated and powerful experience, users can still navigate the service and enjoy the content without signing up. Regardless of which option users choose, Player FM’s goal is the same for all listeners: reduce the barrier to podcast access, including to shows hosted and distributed outside Player FM.
“We try to keep things open-standard and open-protocol,” Mahemoff said. “If people upgrade to get exclusive content from their publisher through something like Patreon or the publisher’s own website, we also support those private feeds.”
Financial and Business Channels Offer Variety and Depth
Player FM encompasses hundreds of channels that cover a wide range of topics — from 3D Printing to Youtube. Some channels cover broad subjects like books, while others are very specific — for example, a podcast on the show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Users can view podcasts within a channel by popularity, most recent, or creator; the content populates in a shortlist, with an expandable sidebar displaying additional content.
For those with a keen interest in money matters, Player FM’s catalog of financial topics offers an excellent place to learn more. Relevant channels include business, crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, entrepreneurship, and finance, among many others.
And users won’t have to wade through hundreds of hours of content to find what they’re looking for; it’s all sorted for listeners and ready to go. Mahemoff also offered some of his personal favorites and suggestions for new listeners.
“I guess everyone knows about ‘Mad Money,’ but that’s certainly one of the most popular shows in this area,” Mahemoff said. “’Invest Like the Best’ is a good example of a dedicated news-style podcast rather than something that’s coming from traditional media. And CNBC’s ‘Fast Money’ is another big one for us on our network.”
Newer offerings include “The Long View,” “The Indicator” (a spinoff of Planet Money), and “The Startup” (from Gimlet). In the realm of personal finance, Mahemoff also recommends “The Life Kit,” “The Minimalist,” and “Bigger Pockets.” For those interested in business, there’s “Slate Money” and “Freakonomics.” Mahemoff also enjoys “The Price of Football” — which, of course, means soccer.
“It’s technically for people who want to follow the football industry but also a good way to learn about finance while you’re listening to something that’s a hobby of yours,” he said.
Player FM: Committed to Keeping User Favorites Online
Podcast Insights reported in January 2020 that more than 850,000 podcasts totaling some 30 million episodes were circulating on the internet. When compared to the statistics from 2018 — 525,000 active shows with 18.5 million episodes — it’s clear that podcasting is gaining strength as shows grow in popularity.
That also means people need an effective way to find the content they want. Player FM’s robust tools and wide variety simplify that task. And its library continues to expand every day, as does its community of listeners and creators.
“We have our community at pioneers.player.fm,” Mahemoff said. “We’re very active on Twitter and through the app, and we make it easy for people to send suggestions directly to us. We have our own process, internally, where the support managers pick up on things people are saying, and we bring them up in our monthly planning meetings.”
Given the popularity of podcasting, many people around the world choose to improve their earning power by turning a hobby or area of expertise into a podcasting venture. In fact, in the days before Player FM, Mahemoff himself even gave it a shot.
“I was always into talk-back radio, so when podcasting came out in the early 2000s, I jumped straight on it,” he said. “I got into some recording myself.”