Did You Ever Consider That Maybe an App Isn’t the Solution (Weekly Update)

Dear reader,

My head is still in a bunch of different places all at once, so I’m afraid I’ll have to write through it until I can focus on a single subject again and write something meaningful about it. I’m still blaming my previous social media usage for this affliction, although I share at least half of the blame as no one made me do it.

Soon I will have written enough of these blog posts to overcome my anxiety that there is no value in producing them. Of course writing is useful, even if I have no way of knowing if anyone is reading. I believe my years of working in the podcast industry with its focus on analytics has somehow made me allergic to measuring the effectiveness of the things I create just because I want to create them. It’s no way to make money, but I feel it’s better for my soul.

My overall mood and satisfaction with life improves with each passing day. I have a sense of inner peace that I haven’t felt in years, no doubt in thanks to the fact that I’m no longer subjecting myself to the thoughts, desires, ramblings, frustrations, dunks, and advertisements that the Platforms convinced us were somehow valuable.

But I am feeling better, and I am feeling like I’m ready to get back into writing and making videos, but music is preoccupying most of my time outside of the 9-5 job which is perfectly alright by me. Music is life. Music is the voice of the community when done right. And I love making it and being in the mix.

The Verge: Clubhouse needs creators, but creators need cash

I’m watching the ongoing saga of Clubhouse with bemusement.

Someone comes to you and says they’re going to make an audio show. Great, you say. What’s it about? They tell you, and then proceed to ask how they can make money with it.

The answer seems obvious to me: Create something valuable that people are willing to either pay for it up front or pay for it later. Or you can try to find sponsors who are willing to pay you for the audience’s attention, but good luck reaching that audience size when the only product you create is ephemeral and specific to one location.

Clubhouse doesn’t provide a way to listen to the shows its creators are making after the fact. Podcasts solved this problem back in 2006—how did the creators of Clubhouse convince themselves that this wasn’t an important feature? It makes no sense to me.

It’s not impossible to make money by talking, but I wouldn’t choose to spend my time on an app that doesn’t even record what you’re saying. And once Clubhouse does release the listen to the show later” feature, they’re going to discover (not quickly enough) that most of the content recorded and later published suffers from the same quality issues that early podcasts suffered from—primarily the lack of the kind of preparation necessary to produce something worth listening to, and also bad audio quality.

The thing the advocates never tell you is that there’s never going to be an app that does the work of making a great show. There are tools for creating and tools for measuring the engagement, but the soul of the show, the value, comes from the creator and a whole lot of their time and expertise and energy and money to buy the tools they need. An app will never make that work easier, and might make it harder for your potential audience to find you with all the noise it enables.

Not much else to report on my end. I’m working through the process of getting a (by my standards) massive loan for the house I want to purchase from my sister, a process I find overly complex and mildly annoying. Just tell me how much interest I’m going to have to pay you for this loan and let me sign on the dotted line, you bastards.

I should go. I’m going into the studio tomorrow and my drums need to be tuned.


Aaron Dowd

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Granbury, Texas

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