The Nod hosts ditch Spotify to relaunch their original show

The co-hosts of The Nod are back, and this time, they’ve separated from Gimlet Media and Spotify and are instead taking their work to SiriusXM’s Stitcher. Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings said today that they’re relaunching their Black culture show For Colored Nerds this fall, which they created, hosted, and produced prior to working at Gimlet. The podcast will be available widely and isn’t exclusive to one platform.

Stitcher will produce the show along with them, and SXM Media will exclusively sell ads for it. The co-hosts last published a For Colored Nerds episode in 2017, but the same feed will be revived for the comeback.

Notably, Eddings and Luse retain total control over their show — they own the audio masters, the feed, and rights to derivative works — and they’ve landed on a revenue sharing agreement with Sirius. (The specifics of the deal, like how much Stitcher paid them to come over and the percentage of ad revenue they’ll receive, weren’t disclosed.)

“I can’t tell you how great it feels to be able to have the type of flexibility, and independence, and true support, that we have right now,” Luse says in a chat with The Verge. “The industry is no longer in its infancy; the industry’s maturing, and so I think people’s desires for what they’re looking for out of ownership deals and things like that are changing.”

The ownership part of the deal was especially critical for Luse and Eddings, who spoke out in June 2020 about their frustration with Gimlet’s control over The Nod’s feed and IP. The two pitched, hosted, and produced the show and felt like they owned it, but they never did.

“Providing institutional support is not the same as producing the actual product,” Luse says in this recent chat. “So I think that eventually the industry is going to have to bend toward a situation where there are organizations that are providing institutional support to people who want to make quality audio without demanding that they also hand over all of their ownership.”

The industry still faces challenges around IP and ownership, even if it’s a top-of-mind issue. The Ringer and Gimlet unions strived to reach an agreement on IP, but weren’t able to secure anything in their final contract with Spotify. In a chat with Hot Pod’s Nick Quah last August, prior to any finalized contracts, Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America East, called fighting for IP rights an “uphill battle.”

“Having some ability to share in the fruits of the creative labor and maybe even exploit it on your own or stay with it either financially or creatively if it becomes something bigger… yes, that’s definitely been an issue,” he said at the time.

And Eddings acknowledged in our recent chat that more resources need to be readily available to independent creators who might not know how to get started with creating, pitching, and ultimately owning a show, especially when negotiating with massive corporations.

“I feel like we have to whisper sometimes in terms of asking about a lawyer,” he says as one example. “It needs to become a thing that that is normalized and standardized because it’s super important.”