From the Android Official Blog:
To that end, today we’re launching a portal for podcasters to start uploading their shows to Google Play Music before we open up the service to listeners. Along with direct searches and browsing for podcasts, the service will connect new listeners with podcasts based on what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, or what they’re interested in. Similar to our contextual playlists for music, this will give podcast fans and new listeners a way of finding and listening to content that’s unique to Google Play Music.
Portal is currently in beta, so podcasters in the U.S. can start adding their shows.
If my reading of their TOS is correct, it looks like Google themselves will host a copy of every episode a podcast creator posts. As Federico Viticci posited on Twitter, they may have software that goes through the content of each podcast episode to better target recommendations, so the idea that they'd suck in copies of episodes and host them makes sense to me.
In theory, this seems very cool, but I'm torn. As much as I'd like another avenue to expand Limitless Adventure and potentially introduce it to a larger audience, I do take issue with how they're planning on injecting ads. I'll save you a quote from their Terms of Service (section 7 for those of you who are daring), since it reads like a robot was force-fed a dictionary until it vomited back up a combination of words that loosely resembles English. Here's what their Podcast Portal Help article says (emphasis mine):
Google reserves the right to show display (image) ads alongside podcast content. Google will not insert any pre-roll ads before podcast content starts or mid-roll ads during a given podcast episode. Google reserves the right to serve post-roll video or audio ads after podcast content. Google Play Music does not provide direct payment or revenue share for podcast content.
No injecting ads before or during a show, but there can be ads after the show is over. Google obviously sees this as serving an ad that is separate from the show itself–and the TOS says that they won't sell or target ads against episode content or individual podcast creators–but there are plenty of shows (mine included) that end with a cold close. It's reasonable to assume that in that case, an ad that follows directly after would be misconstrued as being connected (even tangentially) with the show. This bothers me, but even more so because Google has no plans to share this ad revenue (that they would be gaining after someone listened to a specific program) with creators. All well and good that creators get to keep all of their sponsor revenue, but if someone is in Google Play Music and listening to a show, Google is the sole benefactor with their post-roll ad.
Would it soften the blow if Google decided to share that ad revenue with me or other podcasters? I don't know. Possibly. I don't know how I'd feel about having no say whatsoever in the advertisements that get associated with what I'm creating. That's not fair to me or the listener. Advertising should be a mutual agreement between all parties.
So, fair Android listeners of Limitless Adventure (all one of you), it may be awhile before you see us in Google Play Music. Let's be realistic, though, we spend way too much time talking about Apple on the show anyway.