A better way to YouTube

An all-black version of the Installer logo.
Illustration: William Joel / The Verge

Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 16, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome to our delightful corner of the internet, sorry about all the productivity apps, and also, you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.)

Hope you all had a great holiday, or at least a great week with one fewer email in your inbox. This week, I’ve been testing Supernotes as a daily diary app, reading about what it takes to make an iPhone in India and whatever “gamified theater” is, unsubscribing to every brand that sent me a “Happy Holidays!” email, hunting for games to play on my new Backbone controller, watching Mike Birbiglia’s excellent The Old Man and the Pool special (and listening to his…

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Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

The second ‘Halo’ season has a release date and a teaser trailer

Master Chief, the Spartan hero from Halo, will continue his live-action adventures with two episodes of its second season premiering worldwide on February 8th next year. Paramount Plus announced the date, along with a teaser trailer, during CCXP in Brazil.

The teaser trailer doesn’t reveal much about the story, of course. But Paramount Plus says in its release that the new season will see Schreiber’s Master Chief trying to prove that the Covenant (the alien antagonists from the show and the games) are preparing to attack Reach — the humans’ military stronghold that fell prior to the story’s beginning in the first Halo game.

If you’ve played that game, you know where this goes, and Paramount Plus hints at it in the release. The Master…

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Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

Fortnite’s Eminem concert teased the future of the game

A screenshot from the video game Fortnite.
Image: Epic Games

Fortnite’s latest virtual concert was more than just Eminem stomping across a destroyed city — it also teased a number of experiences coming to the game in the future.

The Big Bang Event, as it was called, lasted around 10 minutes and whisked players through a variety of spaces. At first, everyone was gathered on the Fortnite OG island to witness a few moments from the game’s past happen again: a rocket launched, a meteor crashed, and then everything was sucked into a black hole.

From there, players were sucked into a number of portals, each with a different theme. First, there was an island full of Lego characters running around, fighting and building things. Then there was a futuristic race. Finally, Eminem appeared, and while he…

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Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

Fortnite and Lego join forces for ‘survival crafting’ game

The next chapter of Fortnite will introduce a new island — but it’s also adding a Lego-themed game experience. Following The Big Bang event, which marked the conclusion of Fortnite OG (and also starred Eminem), developer Epic Games revealed a new in-game experience called Lego Fortnite. It’s described as “a new survival crafting game” that will be available within Fortnite starting on December 7th.

Lego Fortnite is the first announcement out of a previously revealed partnership between the two companies. In April of last year,…

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Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

Amazon’s first Fallout trailer welcomes you to the wasteland

A still image of a ghoul in the live-action Fallout show.
Fallout. | Image: Prime Video

War never changes — and neither do the vibes in Fallout. After a bit of teasing, Amazon just released the first teaser trailer for its live-action adaption of Fallout, and it starts out a lot like the games: a vault dweller leaves the comfort of their home to explore the dangerous postapocalyptic wasteland outside. And boy, are things dangerous.

This time around, the vault dweller is named Lucy (Yellowjackets’ Ella Purnell), and she experiences a lot of the series’ key moments in the short trailer. That means horribly mutated animals, slapped-together cities, the militant Brotherhood of Steel, vault uprisings, some Wild West shootouts, and a very good dog who is also a killer. And of course, there are the classic tunes — in this case,…

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Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

Here’s how a bridal photo captured a single person in three poses at once

A picture of a woman, taken from behind, who is standing in a bridal gown in front of two mirrors. In all three instances of her, her hands are in different positions.
This is decidedly not evidence of the existence of parallel realities. | Image: Tessa Coates / Crop: The Verge

Depending on how “online” you are, you may have seen a picture floating around socials with a strange quirk: a woman — comedian Tessa Coates — is standing in front of two mirrors in a bridal gown and, somehow, holding three poses at once. Coates insisted in her Instagram post that the picture wasn’t altered; it just came out that way.

So what happened? Was it a glitched iOS Live Photo (the iOS feature that takes short videos and picks out the best one)? A faked image manipulated with Photoshop? A brief glimpse into three different, parallel realities?

Nope, it’s simpler than all of that. Faruk from the iPhonedo YouTube channel posted a short video to Threads explaining exactly what happened, and it’s much more straightforward than you…

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Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

Audiochuck To Launch Exclusive SiriusXM Channel

SiriusXM announced a new agreement with independent media and podcast company audiochuck and its founder Ashley Flowers to launch a new channel exclusively for SiriusXM subscribers. 

Expected early next year, the channel will be curated by Ashley and the team at audiochuck to present episodes from the deep archive of its flagship show Crime Junkie – one ofthe country’s top-ranked podcasts – along with selections from its other top rated shows, such as Anatomy of a Murder, The Deck, CounterClock, and Park Predators.

In addition, Ashley Flowers will host a new series for the channel featuring in-depth conversations with celebrities and special guests about how they became Crime Junkies.

“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity of reaching entirely new audiences with our content through SiriusXM’s wide reach. There has never been a true crime channel in audio, and I’m thrilled SiriusXM chose us to create the first ever channel by and for Crime Junkies,” said Ashley Flowers, audiochuck’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer. “We have such a deep catalog of content to share, but I am most excited about the new original programming we will do specifically for SiriusXM subscribers. SiriusXM has been an incredible partner to us over the last two years and I’m looking forward to working with them in even more ways in the years to come.”

The new channel and show is an expansion of SiriusXM’s relationship with audiochuck, which started in 2021 with an agreement that gives SiriusXM exclusivity to ad sales rights for the network’s acclaimed and award-winning podcasts via SXM Media, the combined advertising sales group from Sirius XM Holdings Inc.

“Ashley and her team at audiochuck have become the leaders in the incredibly popular true crime podcast space through their passion for high-quality audio and a storytelling style that’s both compelling to the listener and respectful of the subject matter,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer. “With this new channel, and the combined marketing power of SiriusXM, audiochuck will be able to super serve their loyal listeners through an entirely new way to experience and interact with their shows, while further growing their fanbase by reaching audiences who may not yet be podcast consumers.”

This new audiochuck channel is SiriusXM’s latest endeavor to give popular podcasts a new platform, and SiriusXM subscribers exclusive access, having previously launched the Freakonomics Radio channel, which features programming from across the popular Freakonomics Radio Network catalog; as well as the Crooked Radio takeover last year, which brought Crooked Media’s Pod Save America and many of their other hit podcasts to Progress (channel 127) in the lead up to the midterm elections.

More details will be announced soon.

Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

SoundStack Hires Digital Audio Vet Michael Fischer To Expand Streaming Audio

SoundStack, the audio-as-a-service (AaaS) company, announces the appointment of Michael Fischer as Vice President of Business Development. The appointment bolsters the company’s growing publisher discipline – which also includes customer enablement, support, and podcast business teams – with a further focus on broadcast audio enterprises, including National Public Radio member stations.

“With years of experience in multiple ends of the audio ecosystem – from mobile, to enterprise tech platforms, to renowned communications companies – Michael brings tremendous knowledge that will make it easier for an array of streaming businesses to grow,” stated Rockie Thomas, CRO of SoundStack. “He’s a perfect addition to the team as we continue to work with publishers who understand how partnering with an independent tech platform will open up to more choices and, in turn, more listeners and streaming/podcast revenue.”

An all-encompassing tech platform, SoundStack combines podcast/streaming audio hosting/delivery, monetization, and insights in one place. Advertising and publisher partners on or off “the stack” can also buy and sell audio ads programmatically in the SoundStack Marketplace.

Fischer has been selling digital services to media companies for more than a decade, with an emphasis on audio streaming. He joins the team after nearly seven years as EVP/Business Development with mobile application provider AirKast, where he guided broadcasters, podcasters, and independent audio communities on content and sales strategies. His varied experience includes over four years at Triton Digital as SVP of Engagement, and he was Director of Business Development RAIN (Radio and Internet News).

First focusing on a range of broadcast audio enterprises in the U.S., Fischer will also spearhead development of global markets.

About SoundStack

SoundStack is the audio-as-a-service (AaaS) company for every kind of digital audio business – podcasters, digital broadcasters, platforms, advertisers and more. Giving those businesses equal access to big tech that’s easy-to-use, and the ability to connect with any provider across the market, SoundStack makes audio hosting/delivery, monihtazation, and analysis simple and effective for everyone. Fully independent, the company’s team of 70+ audio tech experts is guided only by what delivers the best results for its 14k+ customers. SoundStack is headquartered in Pittsburgh with offices around the country, and is the parent company of Live365.

Visit www.soundstack.com for more info.

Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News

Spoken Word Audio In U.S. Hits Highs For Audience Reach and Share

Spoken word audio listening time and audience size attain record highs in the U.S. according to The Spoken Word Audio Report 2023 released from NPR and Edison Research. The fifth iteration of the annual report places special focus on listening locations and explores spoken world audio consumption at home, at work, in-car, or other locations. The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by National Public Media (NPM) VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and are available now at npr.org/spokenword audio.

Key findings from the report include:

Spoken Word Audience size and listening time attain record highs: Almost half (48%)— approximately 135M people — of those in the U.S. age 13+ listen to some type of spoken word audio daily, up two percentage points (46%) from last year. Listeners in the U.S. age 13+ spend 31% of their daily audio time with spoken word, which is a 55% increase over nine years ago (20%).

Spoken word listening at home has grown dramatically: Sixty percent of the total daily audio time spent with spoken word audio is at home, 24% in the car, 13% at work, and 3% at some other location. The time spent listening to spoken word audio at home has grown to 41 daily minutes in 2014. Increases in at-home spoken word audio listening are seen across every hour in the listening day.

Spoken Word listening in-car has shifted post-pandemic, but AM/FM radio remains on top: Of all the daily time spent listening to spoken word audio, time spent listening in the car has declined from 36% in 2014 to 24% in 2023. In the car, 62% of spoken word audio consumed by those in the U.S. age 13+ is to AM/FM radio content, including over the air and streams.

For the first time ever, the mobile device is the primary way people listen to Spoken Word: 39% of spoken word audio consumed daily by this age 13+ in the U.S. is on a mobile device, followed by 35% on an AM/FM radio receiver. At home, 41% of spoken word audio is consumed on a mobil device, and at work, 47% of spoken word is consumed on a mobile device. AM/FM radio receivers still dominate in-car, garnering 60% of the token word audio listening there.

Podcasts represent a large and growing share of spoken word listening: Podcasts now represent over one-third (36%) of time spent with spoken word audio. Twenty-eight percent of time spent listening to podcasts goes to NPR/public radio. At home, 40% of spoken-word audio listening goes to podcasts.

“Each year we keep a close eye on the number of people who are listening and the amount of time spent with Spoken Word Audio. We’re happy to see that for 2023, more people than ever are listening and they are spending even more time with Spoken Word, providing a powerful opportunity for brands looking to expand and engage their audience.” said NPM VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson.

“Podcasting now accounts for over one-third of the time spent with spoken word audio. The cultural shift to digital benefits this space, or perhaps, it’s vice versa – the growing enthusiasm for podcasting is shifting the culture digital. Either way – podcast listening continues to grow,” said Megan Lazovick, VP at Edison Research,

How the study was conducted

Edison Research’s Share of Ear is a quarterly survey of Americans who are asked to keep a detailed one-day diary of their audio usage. Share of Ear utilizes a nationally representative sample of those age 13+. The sample for this study was 4,193.

Posted by Experimentor in Podcast News