If you live in Brooklyn, there’s a good chance that you’ve been several drinks in, waxing poetic about a niche topic with a pal, and said out loud, “Dude, we should start a podcast!” If not, most likely every other person you see on the street with AirPods in is likely listening to one, whether that be true crime, pop culture, current events, or something weirder. Podcasting is on the rise, with the Verge predicting the industry will be worth $4 billion by 2024.

Multitude Productions, a podcast collective, studio, and ad sales provider, invited Greenpointers on a tour of their space. Two Greenpoint locals, Amanda McLoughlin and Eric Silver (who also recently got married!) started the company in 2017. Only a couple of minutes into our interview, their passion for the neighborhood is evident.

The collective consists of member-owned shows that come out every week. The studio is the physical space where shows are recorded and where the other full-time employees help keep the whole enterprise running. Multitude also runs advertising sales for their member shows, as well as other podcasts. We got the scoop on how they do it all, plus advice for any aspiring creative out there.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Image credit: Danielle Salerno Photography

Tell us about how you got your start in Greenpoint.


Eric Silver: Amanda and I have been living in New York City for over a decade now. We both went to NYU. I started in 2009, and Amanda in 2010. I stayed in NYC and lived in Bushwick. When Amanda and I started our first podcast together, Join the Party, which is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast, Amanda had done Spirits, the first podcast of Multitude, and when we started the show, we started dating and getting together while doing that.

Amanda McLoughlin: We had a long-distance relationship between Astoria, where I lived, and Bushwick. It was brutal, and how we knew it was true love.

Eric: We were looking for a new apartment, and we wanted to move into together, and it was about the time that Amanda and I both quit our jobs and our respective places to do Multitude full time. That was wild, we should not have done that.

Amanda: Yeah, over three months, we both quit our jobs, do Multitude full time, and found first the office and then an apartment. We knew we wanted to live and work in the same neighborhood. If we could choose, we would love not to have a commute, save that money and time. A lot of our collaborators had day jobs or our guests can only record at night or on the weekends, so we knew it would be great to have a space where we could record nearby for us to live and work. We had collaborators in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, so Greenpoint was a great central location to access all the trains and buses.

Eric: I had, also, a ton of affection for Greenpoint. I had an ex-girlfriend who lived over here, on Greenpoint Avenue. I loved being here…so when Amanda found this place on the Listings Project, we were so lucky to do that.

A: It was a lease takeover from a photographer.

E: Shout out to Brian.

A: His wife was imminently about to have a baby and got a job in Japan. So I really appreciated it, because the lease takeover was as is, and we were able to be tenants as soon as he needed it and then get ourselves on the lease. He had built a walk-in closet in this space…We were able to take over a lot of the things he didn’t need anymore, and my dad, who is a carpenter, and I made the walk-in closet into a studio space. We ordered glass from some man in Queens, we made a window so we had some natural light in there. We basically built a room in a room with laminate flooring and acoustic underlay and hung new sheetrock and dropped the ceiling to make it a soundproof room.

E: We did that with our head of production, Brandon Grugle, who was living in Astoria at the time, and he also created Join the Party with us. We had this for a few months after it was finished, and then in February of 2020, he said, “I’m moving to LA ,” and taught us how to record remotely, which came in handy starting in March 2020.

A: The plan always was to say, there are lots of creative people in North Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island, who might want to rent studio time. The whole thing here is, we are a small business, we help people make podcasts, and we also have a bunch of member shows that use our resources in exchange for us selling their ads. So that’s the collective model, everybody can give the expertise that they have, if they have questions, the idea is to be the coworkers you wish you had. Everyone leaves you alone as you do your job, but sometimes if you have questions or wanna chat at the water cooler, there’s people there. Having a studio that our collaborators could stop by and use any time, any day of the week, and then rent it out when no one was using it was always the plan.

Podcasting is a medium that can be done from anywhere, and the hosts don’t have to be in the same room in order to record. But Multitude seems to be a particularly community-oriented enterprise. How did the pandemic affect business as usual? Do you think that listeners had a newfound appreciation for podcasts since people were spending so much more time bored at home?

A: I think it really clarified for us what is important and what we care about. In the first couple weeks of lockdown, all of our sponsors canceled. I do all the ad sales for all of our podcasts, plus 15 of our friends and colleagues who have independent shows but want to make a little money with sponsors. We also don’t work with terrible companies, like personal loans and shitty supplements. We try to work with at least not shitty, values-led businesses.

All those sponsors canceled in March 2020. Our revenue went from whatever was projected for the end of the year down 80% from what we expected. But our Patreons went up. Listeners really came through for us when companies wouldn’t and knew what all of us did, trying to support local businesses, trying to keep the businesses and creators that you really care about it, trying to support them with your money where it counts, and our listeners did and came through. Our business has always been a mix of direct audience support via Patreon, some merch, some live shows, some teaching, some consulting, and ads.

It really clarified even more that we are a part of people’s lives. When you commit to listening to a weekly podcast, it’s the thing you listen to when you walk your dog or go to the gym or clean your bathroom or have personal time. It’s really important to us that we’ve never missed an episode, we’ve never released one late, we always come through on our commitments, and when listeners tag us as, like, “Walking in Switzerland with their children,” that means the world. Even though we had to adapt in a lot of ways, we went from selling physical merch to a lot of digital merch. Eric wrote a bunch of guides for the Join the Party game, we did some coloring books, ringtones, and virtual live shows, and we opened up a Discord so people could hang out with each other in our digital space, it all has made us a lot stronger.

E: We still are appreciative that the studio exists. It’s nice being able to take photos, even if it’s just Amanda and I in here, the majority of the time, it feels like Multitude HQ. And when everyone is in their apartments, they have an office.

It’s nice knowing that this is where Multitude hangs out. I feel like there is the vibe people used to get from old College Humor videos, where like, “Oh, we’re all hanging out together,” and yeah that was the comedy bit, but it was also the place where the people that they liked were together. And for podcasting, you don’t see that, but you hear it.

A: We have our wall of listener mail, and even though Eric and I are the two who see it every day, there is still a physical embodiment of the community that we built…One of the first things we do when we start a new podcast is put a canvas on the wall, and that’s an exciting moment that people can enjoy photos of.

A podcast collective is a really interesting approach. You also offer Starter Kits, consulting, and other resources through your website. What does it mean to you to democratize the podcasting space?

A: Our whole thing, if you manage to cultivate an audience, to make a bond with them, to come through for them every week, to make a podcast that people love and want to make a part of their lives, you deserve to be compensated for your work. Whether that’s helping and encouraging creators to launch Patreons, to helping them with ad sales, or showing them a way to do live shows and merch in a way that doesn’t require a huge outlay of money at the beginning, that is what we really care about.

It’s important for us to help people get into podcasting if they want to. The genesis of Multitude and the reason why we went from making individual podcasts as passion projects to uniting under one banner is that people take you more seriously when you look like a company. People take you more seriously when you have other people next to you, flanking you and at your back. If just one person who makes independent podcasts pitches a festival or conference, then it’s like, “Hmm, ok” but if there’s ten of us, and we have the collective size of our audience, then you have something worth engaging with. We have from the very beginning published articles about our process, how we do this, and those resources that you’re alluding to, for free.

I wish those things existed when we were getting started. I didn’t have internships at radio companies. I didn’t get into podcasting until after college when I was working full-time in finance and still couldn’t find a job anywhere. The goal is very much to say, you shouldn’t have to work for free at a public radio station, interning and going to school at the same time, to have someone think that you’re worthy of teaching these things to. Between the free consulting and the resources, plus we just had a “pay what you want” conference in September, where people can learn from other podcast professionals on how they do this. I think our industry is stronger when more people have the tools and choices and resources to make a living their own way, and I’m not claiming our playbook is the only one, I’m just saying, this is what we do, these are the mistakes we’ve made, go make different ones.

E: I’m not claiming it’s the only playbook, but it’s working, and I don’t know who else is saying that their podcasting industry is working…I don’t know who else can say confidently that their podcast business is thriving andgrowing, and we can 100% say that.

A: We’re a stable, profitable business that employs six people and makes a living for 25 podcasters, and our community is proud of the choices we make, and I’m proud to come to work every day, and that’s something that I’m really grateful for.

What’s your advice to people who either want to start their own podcast or run a business with their spouse?

E: If you want to start a new podcast, it has to be unique. Either the subject matter, the spin on your show, or who you are should be unique. I’m not gonna tell anyone not to make a “talking about movies” podcast, because fucking 6 foot tall straight white dudes have been doing it for so long. You should also make that show and be able to say it from your own perspective. At the same time though, make sure you’re doing something different. It has to be different. Because people with massive marketing budgets get to do the basic shows. “This celebrity is going to talk about feelings” or “mental health” or “pop culture.”

A: Maybe you’re talking about movies and you are a set decorator and talk about being a set decorator. Some angle about it has to be different, because your goal and the way podcasts actually grows is listeners say to their friends, “You won’t believe this new podcast I found, you’ll love it, it’s ABC and D.”

E: You have to be able to explain it and say it’s the one thing. It has to stand out in a way. Especially because every single niche has so many shows in it now.

A: I think that the unique Venn diagram of you is really important to lean into. I had an English degree, I was working in finance at an investment bank, and I was super into mythology and folklore and having a drink with my friend on air. And I thought, “God, I missed out on it.” I didn’t work in media, my degree is not in communications, didn’t intern where I needed to intern, and I will never make it. But it turns out that five or six years later, the thing that I do really well and that makes my value proposition to the industry useful is that I’m a creative person who worked in finance for three years! I know how how to read accounting spreadsheets, and I can put that knowledge to work for other podcasters.

Much like Eric’s first point, if you think of yourself as a hyphenate, or if your day job isn’t something that you want to do, or you know a ton about something strange and you want to make a podcast about something new, it’s a benefit to you to have diversified experience outside traditional podcasting. Whenever we post a job, the people who have worked in podcasting companies their whole careers are kind of the least interesting to me. Similarly to podcasters, bringing other parts of life to this medium and to other people is really wonderful.

E: If you have ten years of experience in podcasting, man, you have like weird experiences from whatever podcasting was like 10 years ago. This is such a fledging business or industry where the best practices probably will come from outside.

A: The best preparation for being a creator is working in or around any other kind of small business. The more that you think of yourself as having the thing you do, setting goals, making enough money, and having a product, those are all really useful things to do. During the pandemic, Evergreen – Your North Brooklyn Business Exchange was so helpful to use, with classes in support and thinking of yourself, whether you are a person who streams a couple of hours a week or writes indie games, or is a YouTuber or TikTok creator, thinking of yourself as a small business is incredibly helpful because the idea of just going viral and being popular and big on the internet forever is crushing. That’s not how it goes. Particularly because platforms are not our friends. TikTok is not there for you, it’s there to use your content to make itself profitable. Spotify is not there for me. It’s there to own all of audio and make a lot of money as it goes and not really care about what you think.

Being directly connected to your audience, having them support you directly, email list, making sure you’re in touch with them, and being as transparent as you can be about the process of making a living. People are curious, and they’re very smart, they know the deal and the more honest you can be with your audience as you figure things out makes it so much easier to pivot, change, experiment, bring in collaborators, keep things from getting stale for yourself. Your audience wants to see you succeed as a person, most likely, and they are following along because of that and not because of the exact kind of episodes you release. All of our shows have gone through so many renewals. That’s what keeps it interesting for us, and the audience is down for the ride because they know that the important things, which is us telling a story or learning things together with them, in a way they can enjoy, is the thing that’s constant.

E: But it’s our responsibility to turn that thing into money so they can keep doing it.

A: It’s never gonna be one thing, and for creators especially, it can be really terrifying to think “God, I have to do this one thing I’m known for forever or the audience won’t come with me.” Assuming that you’re gonna change and grow over time, have a little business meeting for yourself. Set your goals, and have your colleagues. That’s the final thing I would say on the business front — other people making podcasts are your colleagues and not your competition…It matters so much to have a community around you, whether that’s your community of audience, other people who are creators and get it, or small business owners in your community.

E: In terms of us working together in life, love, and podcasting, as we say, I think Amanda always has my back. We’ve had a lot of conversations about how our relationship, on what attracted us to each other as people, and how that relates to the stuff that we do at our job. I mean, I think Amanda is the single smartest person who has ever existed ever. But she’s also the person who gave me the opportunity because she saw my strengths. And I’m really thankful for that, and she’s definitely gotten accustomed to me. When I have an idea, I wanna talk about it all the time, and I know that our office and our apartment are just blocks away, but I’m like “No, but I have this idea, and it’s 11 and we’re on the couch, and I need to talk to you about this!” And she’s accommodated me with that, while I’ve pushed her to be the best creative CEO that I know that she can be.

A: The things that come really easy to me are organization and practicality, spreadsheets, and figuring out insurance. I felt very well-equipped to organize and launch a business, but it’s really been a challenge to grow into how to lead one and inspire other people, but something I never had to question was Eric took a bet on me as much as I took a bet on him. We both left jobs that weren’t treating us well or letting us grow and decided to do that with each other. Even if we have to work the odd weekend, we can come through for each other if we have a late morning and come into work, this kind of job takes over your whole life, but knowing that you’re beside me for all parts of it is really huge.

It is an uncertain career. Five years ago, I couldn’t describe the podcast landscape to you. Five years from now, I have no fucking idea what’s going to be happening in the industry. But the thing I think that we’re best at is accessing new opportunities and figuring out what is real and what is bullshit….The things that I enjoy about my job now are different from the things I enjoyed four years ago. And I know that we have the honesty and trust in each other to say if we need a break or need help…

Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A: Podcasts are a great way, if you do any kind of e-commerce, you should try a podcast ad. We do affiliate-style ads, we do, like, a revenue share. If people are curious about what podcasting could do for them, or what it might mean, our door is always open, metaphorically. It’s a terrifying and beautiful thing to run a small business. But I wouldn’t do it any other way. So anyone else who wants to do it and find community hit me up!

E: All of our shows are great. Join the Party, our Dungeons and Dragons podcast, which is telling a story through the mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop RPG shows…Games and Feelings, a games advice podcast about any type of game that exists, from video games, board games, escape rooms, sports. Next Stop is our fiction show that we did, which was like a 90s-style sitcom but updated for 2022. Spirits is a boozy dive into myths and legends from a queer and feminist perspective. Queer Movie Podcast. And Exolore is a podcast about worldbuilding and worldbuilding from a folklorist…And new shows coming very soon! [update 11/14/2022: The new podcast coming soon, Pale Blue Pod, just released a trailer and will launch its first episode on November 21]

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