This is an “I told you so” moment I do not wish to have.
On the other hand, I am not surprised with the outcome. The closure of BuildBubbles reinforces our belief at gaathastory to stick with the “OGs (Original Gangsters)” of podcast hosting: Libsyn, Blubbry, even Spreaker*. They have been around to know what works.
Background: Appsumo Deal(s) for Lifetime Podcast Hosting by BuildBubbles
Even for the base plan at US Dollars 59, the numbers did not add up. My post in a Facebook Group, written originally in August 2020, highlighted the same. On Appsumo site, my comments were published under user name gaathastory.
Space offered was too generous
Here I would like to use an example from a 1,000 word blog post, the analysis is based on our experience from our podcasts at gaathastory.
A narrator typically can speak between 120 and 140 words per minute, if they are really fast. The disclaimer read by narrators at the end of an insurance ad (or sometimes real estate companies) is produced at 1.5-2x speed. So at 140 words per minute, the narration might sound something like that.
So a 1,000 word episode would be about 7 to 8 minutes.
As a data point, Play.ht takes about 8 minutes for a 1,300 word post.
For 128 Kbps mp3, 1 minute of audio requires 1 Megabyte of storage space. Therefore an 8 minute audio will need 8 MB.
for a wav file, the ratio is approximately 4 to 5 MB per minute. That is, the same 8 minute audio will take between 32 MB and 40 MB.
So the 150 GB storage is adequate for several hundred episodes of 10 minutes. That is, even when all audio is in .wav format.With that in mind, comes my next set of questions:
a. is the 150 GB ‘storage’ or bandwidth? Remember, they offered 150 GB of storage per license or subscription. One could easily stack them.
This was also my question for podcast.co. They had originally mentioned 1 Terabyte of storage space in their pricing plan. It was was actually bandwidth. Apples and Oranges.
b. If it is the former (i.e storage), then the math does not make sense at all.
If we have a customer who converts all 15 episodes to audio every month., and let us say all are 30,000 characters, or roughly 1,500 words. That translates roughly to 23,000 words every month. That is a lot of writing!
Say all recording happens at standard bitrate (128 kbps mp3). As mentioned earlier, 1 minute = roughly 1 megabyte of storage.
At this rate,
One would require more than 12 years before the storage runs out.
In other words, the storage was generous, but wasteful in my opinion. The killer in this case would be the bandwidth (in hindsight, the ‘unlimited’ listens should have been the biggest red flag.
“Lifetime” deals often result in one compromise or another.
Lower the bitrate, lower the bandwidth, lower the costs that the podcast host will have to bear.
Closure comes at a cost to customers
The closure of business does not surprise me, it is the short lifespan of the project that is unfortunate. The customers might get a refund or credits from the SAAS marketplace. But imagine the time and effort involved in moving all your audio, images and metadata to a new provider! This would also mean updating links on your blog or website and podcast streaming services.
I know first hand the pain and the effort required, I had to move nearly 20 audio feeds from Audioboom to Spreaker, update the links, change the URLs (or links) in marketing promotions, and it is a nightmare we continue to live with at gaathastory.
I do wish Max and his team at BuildBubbles all the best. Below is the message sent by the BuildBubbles team announcing the closure of their service.