A Paid to Play Podfade: Examining Motivation

There’s a term in the podcasting game called “podfading”. Podcasters and listeners use it to refer to when a show producer either suddenly or gradually stops producing regular episodes with little to no explanation or indication of when, or if, regular production will recommence.

I’ve podfaded a couple of times with Paid to Play. What I consider the second “season” of the show had only a handful of episodes, and it was only by season four that I had a plan in place for limited, 20-40 episode runs of the show. But now, I’m podfading again, and this time I want to explain to the show’s audience and fans and the friends I’ve made in the podcasting game, just why.

Yesterday, I went over our household budget after an electricity bill came in over $400.00 in credit. I have a handy spreadsheet where I plug our regular expenses in and it tells me what I need to transfer where every fortnightly pay, and some quick averages on our water, electricity and phone/internet bills identified that we actually had more wiggle room in our budget than I’d thought (it may even need adjusting further in a couple of weeks, once the first phone/internet bill after Vickie moved to a cheaper BYO handset plan comes through). I made the adjustments and for the first time in a while I allocated some cash personal fun money back in.

Prior to yesterday, the only place I’d been getting fun money was my Patreon backers when I put new episodes of The Paid to Play Podcast up. I’d been giving the leftover from Vickie’s pension and my salary after the budgeted necessities, saving and wants to Vickie (as I was earning around $100 a month from the Podcast and Vickie was getting around $20 less than that, it seemed only fair).

Following on from the last post about not wanting to chase the dollar: A couple of times over the past few days, I’ve found myself thinking, “Hey, I could get a little extra cash if I do an episode of the show every month.”

And then realised that that was the only reason why I was contemplating doing more episodes of the show.

I started Paid to Play because I wanted a podcast and, after chatting with my mate Marcus about his self-employed IT career for what became Episode Zero, the topic of earning an income from what you love doing seemed like a solid one.

After five years of making this show, I’ve pretty much got the answers to the questions I was asking myself, both in terms of skills and technique and what it means to get paid to play. Now, and for the past little while, the enjoyment of doing the show has come from the thrill of chatting to Someone Important and watching that PayPal balance increase each month.

There have been moments when I’ve felt obligated to keep making Paid to Play because I want some fun-money, when I’ve resented the fuck out of it because, “Well, how else are you going to treat yourself / take Vickie out to dinner / buy folks presents?” and dropping Vickie’s disposable income just so I could work mine back into the regular budget felt like the act of a selfish prick.

And as much as I get a high off with awesome folks – if you listened to Scott Doucet’s chat with me for the first season (which, I believe, is now only available to members of the show’s membership site) of his show, Podcast Bay, you heard me talk about how my guests are “single serving friends” (a reference to the movie/book, Fight Club). While I’ve occasionally berated myself for the selfishness of that outlook, it still sums up how the show works for me – I make a bond with someone, chat with them for an hour, and move on. It’s public networking, and maybe this is hitting forty talking, but nowadays I’d rather spend my time on forming deeper bonds with a smaller pool of people.

If there’s one downside, it’s that I may be disappointing a bunch of folks, including some close friends and my wife, who’ve enjoyed Paid to Play and even backed the show to the tune of $100 a month via Patreon. That said, though, I think that they’d rather me not press on with something I’m not enjoying (Vickie and I actually had a solid talk about it while she was in hospital), and there’s always something to be said about finishing while you’re going great instead waiting until your audience either yawns you offstage or simply doesn’t turn up.

So, for the time being, I’m winding production of new episodes of Paid to Play up. The website will remain live and the episodes available, but I’ll be shutting my paid Social Jukebox account down soon and focusing on what’s next – and once I have more on that, I’ll let you know!

  • I’ll be sad to hear the show come to an end, but totally understand where you’re coming from. If you’re not doing it for the same reasons you once were, sometimes it’s the best thing to do. Thanks again for having me on the show – and looking forward to seeing what you do next!

    • No worries, Ross! I’m glad you got in touch about being a guest, and it was great talking with you! I’m working on the next things at the moment, and I hope they intrigue and delight!