theSync: Podcasts Are Down, Discord Gasses Up Teens, Getty Sues AI

I’m back on the air with Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: listeners may be podcasted out as listening numbers nosedive, Discord buys a teenager friendly app, and Getty Images sues an AI over licensing theft. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

Why Wouldn’t I Feature My Wife’s Podcast?!


There’s some really big news this week about the podcasting industry. After reaching peak podcast during the pandemic, the number of podcast show launches were down last year. The real reason is that like in many areas of content, discovery sucks. There are simply too many shows for the current directory + search mechanism to work. Therefore, podcasters are having a tough time justifying the expense and resource intensiveness of producing good shows. Consider these metrics: there 3 million podcast shows with 154 million episodes on the interwebs. (there’s a real opportunity there) There are some bright spots in this week’s news. New podcast episodes are up from pre-pandemic levels with 26.1 million new shows produced in 2022. Up from 19.1 million in 2019. This news comes just as I consider relaunching theSync.


Everyone enjoys their closest friends gassing you up from time-to-time. On Tuesday, the gaming community platform Discord, announced it’s acquiring the friendly, complimenting app: Gas. Gas is designed for teens by teens and instead of tearing people down, Gas’ premise is to boost people’s confidence by gassing them up. Gas users plug in their school, tag their friends, and go on to talk about how they’re the best DJ or have the most awesomest hair scrunchies. Gas has onboarded 7 million users who’ve spent $7.4 million. I think this is really cool.


The verdict is still up for debate on AI generated art. What we do know, is AI generated art can’t generate anything original. Yesterday, Getty Images announced taking legal action against the AI generation tool Stability AI. The tool has scraped 100,000 gigabytes of images from the Internet in order to train its models to generate “new” art. Some of the images it’s scraped are images licensed by Getty for resale. Stability AI is claiming Getty’s claims run afoul of the law and the owners of the original works should have a say in how their images are being used. Stability’s CEO, Craig Peters, didn’t say he asked the creators’ permission did he? So he just took them. As a former photographer, and someone who was hemmed up by Getty one time before, it truly is important for image creators to get credit and pay for their work. AI’s scraping their content to generate prompted images also amounts to theft. There is a broader line of thought worth exploring. These AI models are hungry for data. Text generation models require lots of input from news sources, blogs, books and more. How are they paying for all of this content? Are they?

Also Noteworthy

They latest news coming out of the SBF FTX drama is that some $415 million of crypto has been hacked out of FTX. SBF says this number is being overinflated by…the current management of FTX. He thinks he’s being smeared.

Thanks for reading this week’s theSync, and for listening to our last episode of The Cloud. More content options are coming as we expand what we offer. I sincerely appreciate all of the opens, subscriptions, and comments that come back. We’re working to bring the most interesting, thought provoking, and exciting news and pieces your way.

Have a great weekend!


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