whatever happened to the space between the notes?
May 20, 2019 8:23 AM   Subscribe

 
It's interesting to me that so many people think of entertainment as a checklist item. I have friends who get VERY STRESSED OUT if there's a backlog of TV shows they "need" to watch, and I wonder what the TV shows are for? Same with podcasts, I suppose. Most podcasts, TV shows, videos, and other things that people are speeding up to get through more quickly are supposed to be for recreational purposes, so why would you just try to cram in more of them in less time? Does that condense the fun? (It would be pretty cool if it actually condensed the fun, now that I think about it.)
posted by xingcat at 8:28 AM on May 20 [44 favorites]


When I first started subscribing to podcasts in 2012 I started speeding them up and then I realized I had no memory of what was said afterward. I think I was doing it because I was extremely bored on my long bus ride commute and I wanted to be listening to something but I didn't really enjoy what was on offer. But without any memory of what they were saying it seemed incredibly pointless.
posted by bleep at 8:32 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


Yeah, whenever I hear about these kinds of people who listen/watch things at high speeds...just why? Isn't this for enjoyment? What are you saving time from or for?

Like from the "Why I Watch Videos & TV Shows at Twice the Speed" link:
For most of us, time — or lack thereof — seems to be an issue. As an entrepreneur, founder, CEO, and parent, I’m always on the lookout for great ways to squeeze more time out of the day.

Like most of us, I love being effective at work and in my professional in life. I also like spending as much time as possible with my family. When it comes to “me” time, I love watching TV shows, and I figured out a way to do this faster, too: speed watching.
This reads like it was created by some Silicon Valley PR bot.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:33 AM on May 20 [66 favorites]


This is efficient in the same way as eating soylent instead of food is efficient, right?
posted by ominous_paws at 8:34 AM on May 20 [35 favorites]


I had a phase where I did this with many news/science podcasts and especially with instructional YouTube videos, which I felt were paced too slowly for me. I had ideas that it was connected to the informational density of language and amateurs pausing too much. The podcasts began to sound bizarre at normal speed: Michael Barbaro sounded like he was drunk or talking slowly as a joke.

Anyways, I stopped doing it after a year or two and my take now is that it was a period of my life where I really wanted to feel control, especially about accomplishing things.
posted by little onion at 8:35 AM on May 20 [25 favorites]


This is why I listen to my podcasts chopped and screwed
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:35 AM on May 20 [20 favorites]


There's this strong optimization/productivity-based subculture within podcast listeners that I'm clearly not a part of and this appears to be about them. I'm disappointed when I'm out of shows and enjoy a deep dive into subjects that are probably none of my business, let alone not focused on information that I need to consume as quickly as possible to improve my life by tomorrow.
posted by Selena777 at 8:40 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Tbh most every productivity podcast I've listened to has been pablum that sounds good in the moment but never sticks with me anyhow - may be as well to get through it in half the time?
posted by ominous_paws at 8:41 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]


I prefer normal speeds, but I have on occasion done 1.5x on Lynda.com videos where the instructor was just too slow. It wasn’t that I wanted to get done faster, it was that I was getting bored and my mind was wandering.

Most of the time the speed and pacing is part of the story, be it a podcast or video. I’ve noticed some even speed up the narration on their own. If the pacing is wrong, I’m more likely to nope out than speed up. Instructional videos that drag seem to be the one exception.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:42 AM on May 20 [16 favorites]


This makes as much sense as improving your culinary skills by eating food as fast as you can.
posted by ardgedee at 8:43 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I haven't spotted this in any of the linked articles against speed listening, but I had to beg my husband to go back to 1x because he was being unbearably intense and speed-talking at me after listening to the 1.5x speed. It really went away when he slowed down, and he admitted to being baffled about why he sped them up anyway.

Unless you're reviewing content for your company's ad spots, the idea of gulping down entertainment faster as productivity is baffling to me.
posted by carbide at 8:43 AM on May 20 [14 favorites]


Selena777 yeah, I like deep, long podcasts. One of my favorite, You Made It Weird is at least 2 hours, and hes has a few 3 and 4 hour bastards in there, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of them.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:44 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I speed up my podcasts, but not so I can get through them more quickly. I speed them up because they sound better to me that way. Everyone seems quicker-witted, cleverer, and more on-the-ball. Jokes land better, people stumbling for words isn't as interminable, and everyone holds my attention more firmly.
posted by painquale at 8:45 AM on May 20 [34 favorites]


I listen to podcasts with Overcast, which has a feature called "Smart Speed" that trims silences. It can usually shave about 10% off a podcast's run-time, give or take, depending on how dense the talking is. That is the only speed manipulation I bother with on podcasts. That and skipping the same boring-ass ad reads that every show does.

If you have so much stuff to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise consume that you have to materially alter the content to get through it faster, maybe you need to... I don't know... consume less content? Focus on the stuff you actually enjoy and get the most out of it, rather than cram more and more into your earholes.
posted by SansPoint at 8:47 AM on May 20 [13 favorites]


I watch a lot of Youtube at between 1.25-1.5x speed, depending on how quickly the speaker talks. I consider it equivalent to skimming a webpage. It's especially helpful when the speaker repeats themselves a lot, "Don't forget to like & subscribe & use my Skillshare referral code", or just talks too danged slow.

I do it when I'm watching to find out information, not when I'm watching for entertainment.
posted by Gordafarin at 8:47 AM on May 20 [22 favorites]


Well, I for one listen to my podcasts at 0.25 speed to truly savor the mouthfeel. Unlike you swine that gobble them down at 1x. Monsters.
posted by odinsdream at 8:47 AM on May 20 [56 favorites]


Overcast's Smart Speed is sufficient for me. Rather than speeding up playback, it dynamically shortens sections that have no audio.
posted by zamboni at 8:47 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


I've fiddled with speedup functions, for the odd podcast where the hosts are particularly slow in their manner of speech I've used it at 1.25x, although 1.1x would probably suit just as well.

But the idea of listening to all your podcasts at high speed is almost a meme on its own, it's such a signifier of a type of person who is maximising! every! moment! to increase their profit! potential! because they barely have enough hours in the day, what with their their 5am wake-up for an hour of meditation, new gym plan and PT appointment, delivery of a prosumer IoT 5k espresso machine, and networking dinner with other business luminaries.

It's absolutely critical for these people to save every moment of time, because they are better than us, their time is worth more, which is why they're in charge. If you listened to your podcasts on double speed, you'd be signing their redundancy cheque, not the other way around.

Cutting out dead air is a little more appealing, but that can have its own value, it's the time when the joke is landing, or the silence shows that other hosts are shocked or stunned by some revelation, and we have a second to be as well.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:48 AM on May 20 [8 favorites]


I would never do this for any well-edited podcast, because I assume the creator has structured and paced it to be as effective as possible. If you have to speed it up, possibly you’re just not listening to great podcasts? I mean, I absolutely would love a real life 1.5x and SmartSpeed for some of my lectures where the professors talk reaaaalllllyyyy slowly and pause for looooong moments, but usually popular podcasts are popular because the people creating them are, like, good at talking?

Maybe there’s more variation in smaller or more obscure podcasts, though. I can see a situation where a podcast has great information but the host is just not good at pacing or keeping an appropriate speed. But it sounds like the people in these articles aren’t selectively applying this to slow podcasts, it’s... indiscriminately applying it to all of them? Which, um, seems odd to me.

That said I only listen to The Adventure Zone (well edited) and Welcome to Night Vale (scripted) so maybe I just have a biased view of how good the pacing and timing of jokes are in most podcasts. I wouldn’t even use SmartSpeed on either of those because the pauses are often integral to the humor.
posted by brook horse at 8:50 AM on May 20 [11 favorites]


Yeah, whenever I hear about these kinds of people who listen/watch things at high speeds...just why? Isn't this for enjoyment? What are you saving time from or for?

I don't speed up many, but there are some that no, I'm not listening to for enjoyment, but a quick overview of how a particular group is discussing an issue, etc. So I'm fine listening to the It's Going Down podcast at x1.3 because there's not really a lot of there there. I wouldn't do this with an information rich or entertaining podcast though.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:51 AM on May 20


What this says to me is life has reached maximum media saturation.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:54 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


OK, I'll speak up for this practice. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts at 1.5 speed, because:

-There were a lot of weekly podcasts I liked, and it was sometimes hard to get through them all even though I wanted to.
-My commute was around 25 minutes, so if I used 1.5 speed I could get through most of an episode of an average podcast in a single leg of my commute.
-I mostly listened to chitchatty podcasts where I wasn't gonna ruin any masterful production values or anything, I was just getting the jokes delivered more quickly.
-It is very easy for me to zone out while listening to things, and faster delivery kept me more actively engaged in what I was hearing. I think this might actually be the most important point, and it might make more sense to other people with ADHD or similar disorders.

I think the first time I used that feature, it was by accident. But I quickly got used to it, and it didn't feel at all unnatural to listen to.

Nowadays I don't really use 1.5 speed anymore, but that's mostly because I just listen to fewer podcasts, and when I do listen to them I'm more likely to treat them as background noise than to actually try absorbing the info from them. But I find the anger at people who use it to be over-the-top. I mean, I read much more quickly than average too - does that mean I'm ruining books for myself when I read them?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:54 AM on May 20 [38 favorites]


I hate video instructions because they're full of useless chatter, and often don't answer my question, but that's not clear until the end. I'm patient about a lot of things, but when I want to install the thermostat, I want to fast forward through the blah-blah. I mean, sure, I need friends, but Youtube guy isn't a candidate (I tried, didn't work, restraining order expires soon.). I listen to podcasts while driving; if they're well-produced, it works, but if it's blah blah, I'm on to the next one, so maybe I should try a speeder-upper. You have a USB mic; that doesn't make you good at making podcasts.

The part of my life I'd like to optimize is housework, but I can barely stand it at 85%, 120% is not bloody likely. If I listen to podcasts at 120% while cleaning, will that help?
posted by theora55 at 8:58 AM on May 20 [11 favorites]


Buck the trends. Join me in listening at half speed!
posted by dobbs at 8:59 AM on May 20 [8 favorites]


Also, I'm pretty tired of I'm soooo Buuuusyyyyy. Take a breath, prioritize, and experience your life. Busy is usually a choice, and sometimes just a bad habit. People I know who do important work and lots of it don't fuss about it so much.
posted by theora55 at 9:03 AM on May 20 [11 favorites]


If these podcasters and lecturers would speak a little faster, I wouldn't have to speed them up. It's quite tedious sometimes to wait for the speaker, even on an interesting topic, to sputter their words out. Rhetoric is a dying art.
posted by likethemagician at 9:04 AM on May 20 [7 favorites]


people who listen/watch things at high speeds...just why? Isn't this for enjoyment?

Nope.
posted by amtho at 9:05 AM on May 20


About a year ago I spent a few days with a friendly tech-company person who was a voracious consumer of audiobooks. He reported that he listened to them at three times normal speed, which he said was an amazingly efficient way to consume media. He conceded that this sacrificed some of his ability to recall the content of any individual book, but maintained that he still retained knowledge of about half of everything in the book.

Later, when he mentioned that he had listened to a book about Nazi Germany, the conversation among our group turned to that subject. And he actually said this: "That's how Hitler took power, bro. He killed the Stalinnacht."

So, yes, at 3x speed there's maybe 50% content retention, but it's not concepts or structure or high points that's being retained. It's frequently appearing words and syllables.
posted by compartment at 9:06 AM on May 20 [35 favorites]


Incidentally, Audible has a 3x mode that seems to have been very carefully designed to pick up on the actual words being spoken, and breaking them up into their syllables and compressing them and playing them back. It's actually intelligible.
posted by odinsdream at 9:06 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


I don't like watching videos or listening to radio/podcasts because it's so much slower than reading and I get bored. I've been told that if I listened/watched sped-up materials I'd enjoy it more so I have some vague ambition to try.

~~

The whole "I am so busy I must always be self-improving via Watching All The Things" contemporary problem is something else - the colonization, as dear, dear Teddie Adorno put it, of leisure and the self by the forms of capital.
posted by Frowner at 9:06 AM on May 20 [34 favorites]


I don't speed read either.
posted by Splunge at 9:08 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


I'm a speed-listener on occasion. Recently listened to an audiobook at 2* speed. Let me tell you folks who cannot understand: there IS such a thing as reading aloud waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too slowly. There is nothing joyous or mindful or even remotely ~buddhist~ about slowing down my own life to appreciate the slowness of another person reading aloud... not a poem, not literature, not even a story... but a business concepts book.
posted by MiraK at 9:08 AM on May 20 [23 favorites]


I don't speed read either.

For me, I just...read fast? It's not a skill, it's not something I work on, it's just how I read. It's my largely useless superpower.
posted by Frowner at 9:09 AM on May 20 [32 favorites]


If "That's how Hitler took power, bro. He killed the Stalinnacht." doesn't stick as a mefi catchphrase...
posted by zerolives at 9:13 AM on May 20 [8 favorites]


I listen to audiobooks at anywhere from 1.0 to 1.5, but generally about 1.15. It all depends on the reader. There's a pace that keeps me engaged and allows absorption. It has nothing to do with cramming more in, and more about optimizing the experience.
posted by jetsetsc at 9:14 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]


Wow, those Micro Machines commercials really made a lasting impact on some people.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:19 AM on May 20 [19 favorites]


This makes as much sense as improving your culinary skills by eating food as fast as you can.

You kid, but this fairly accurately describes working your way up in a commercial kitchen. You eat soooo much food, often in a hurry.
posted by loquacious at 9:19 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]


Some podcasts are greatly improved at 1.5x playback because the people recording them don't know what the fuck they're doing and/or don't edit tightly enough.

The average podcast isn't like watching a scripted, tightly-edited TV show, where every pause is presumably there as a conscious directorial choice. Some of them are more like listening to the soundtrack of your Aunt Millie's vacation tapes, or maybe like listening to surveillance audio of a bar conversation between two drunk people you don't know. Sometimes the subject matter is interesting enough to justify slogging through this, but hot damn is it annoying.

Seriously, if you do a podcast and you're not spending 3-5x as much time in Audacity (or whatever) doing editing as you are recording, you are probably wasting your audience's time. And honestly if I could edit a 1 hour podcast in 3-5 hours, soup to nuts, I'd consider that a pretty good job. I am pretty sure some "podcasters" aren't spending more than 3-5 minutes. And it shows, or rather sounds. At best it's lazy, at worst it's disrespectful of the audience's time and other options for entertainment.

Given the amateurish nature of many podcasts I don't blame people from wanting to listen to them sped way up; it makes them a little more like traditional, tightly-edited media. And once that "Play 1.5x" button is there, it's pretty tempting to use.

The podcasts that probably suffer the worst are ones that really are tightly-edited, but don't sound obviously that way. The Angel of Vine, for instance, is pretty high production value, but is designed to sound like a bunch of wire-recorder dictaphone recordings from the 1950s. (They are actually too good to have been done on a wire recorder, but... suspension of disbelief has to start somewhere.) I think you are losing a lot of ambience and character development if you were to listen to it quickly.

OTOH, the average "lulz we're two [drunk|stoned|high] [guys|girls|whatever] talking about [thing]" podcast, full of "haha whoops your mic wasn't on! We should totes edit that out but we won't!" stuff... it begs for a 1.5x playback option, right next to the world's largest 30-second-FF button to get past the 10 fucking minutes of Territory and Squarespace midroll ads.

In conclusion, your favorite podcast sucks.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:26 AM on May 20 [38 favorites]


From this piece in the FPP:

Starting in the late fifties, researchers began experimenting with time-compressed speech and measuring the ability of subjects to comprehend material at high rates of compression. They determined that the average adult can readily comprehend spoken audio at 2X speed or at a compression rate of 50% [1]. This roughly corresponds to 275 words per minute. Although compression rate is a more helpful guide, words per minute is a good proxy that keeps things simple. Given that the typical conversational speaking rate ranges from 140–180 words per minute, we usually are able to comprehend even the fastest talkers

Being married as I am to someone who uses screenreader software, I've developed the ability to fully comprehend things when they're being read by Voiceover with the speech rate set to "chipmunk on meth." For fun, we sometimes get people who've never used a screenreader to enable Voiceover on their iPhone, jack the speed way up and see if they can understand their text messages.

But as a listener of a large volume of podcasts, I need to listen to podcasts at 1x. If a podcast has pacing that's frustratingly plodding, I just give up on it, because there's plenty more to listen to.

And yeah, a mis-paced audiobook that's tooo slooowww can be like nails on chalkboard, so I get the desire to goose the speed a bit if that's the case.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:27 AM on May 20 [14 favorites]


To be fair, every time I've done a MOOC I've jacked up the lectures to 1.5x and paused when I needed to ponder. Badly edited podcasts have nothing on university lecturers.
posted by phooky at 9:34 AM on May 20 [22 favorites]


Some podcasts are greatly improved at 1.5x playback because the people recording them don't know what the fuck they're doing and/or don't edit tightly enough.

Yeah, 100% this.

I don't listen at high speed on any of my favorite podcasts, because they're well edited and the content is limited and I'd prefer that it last. However, many podcasts are not well edited for pacing/timing. Many audiobooks are similarly not well edited. I have a long commute that I like to fill with audio content, but a too-slow piece will frustrate me enough that I would just give up on it, so sometimes I listen at 1.5x or 2x. I do this because frequently these pieces of content actually are well written and even well performed, except that their pacing sucks.

I'm not saying there can't be art in editing, and there's plenty of podcasts that do a good job. I'm just saying that if I have to choose between hearing this interesting story while messing with the artist's intent re: timing or just not listening to it, I'm going to choose the former, and it feels like the artist should be happier with that than having a smaller audience because their timing is bad or simply doesn't work for some listeners.
posted by tocts at 9:36 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


By the following comments, I think perhaps I am in fact overestimating the quality of editing and how good most podcast hosts are at Talking. I would not begrudge anyone speeding up people who talk like my professors. I still maintain some amount of discrimination is probably warranted, but there may be fewer podcasts than I thought whose quality would actually be lowered by this practice...

Frowner: I had the exact same problem, could not listen to podcasts for the life of me because of getting bored at how slooooow it was. Same with audiobooks, hated them my whole life. I still don’t do audiobooks because I can read so much faster, but there were one or two podcasts I really wanted to try that of course, weren’t available in print.

I tried speeding them up but still found myself getting bored and distracted (plus it made the podcast less funny). Then I discovered that doing something else at the same time that is largely mindless but still requires me to use a little brainpower (go-to’s are knitting, RPG grinding, and tap phone games) suddenly makes me able to concentrate and enjoy podcasts in a way I am utterly unable to do even if I’m doing something active like walking. If I’ve got this second undercurrent to focus on, my brain doesn’t mind that it’s slower and doesn’t get bored. YMMV and I know this doesn’t fit in with the “slow down and don’t multitask” crowd but I went from spacing out for 3 minutes every 30 seconds of podcast to actually listening to and enjoying almost every word.
posted by brook horse at 9:40 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]


Badly edited podcasts have nothing on university lecturers.

Oh this a thousand times. I understand why my lecturers don't love recordings, I do listen better when I can actually attend, but the recordings make absurdly obvious just how much they're trying to make sure every student can understand by pacing things.

Lectures can definitely be watched to at 1.5-2x speed, no worries, 90% of the time.

I'm probably too forgiving of amateur podcasts, I do listen to a couple that are absurdly poorly edited. Again though, I don't always mind the natural rhythm of conversation, and if they're funny hosts, the poor quality becomes part of the gag.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:43 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


I speed up my podcasts, but not so I can get through them more quickly. I speed them up because they sound better to me that way. Everyone seems quicker-witted, cleverer, and more on-the-ball. Jokes land better, people stumbling for words isn't as interminable, and everyone holds my attention more firmly.

I found this to be true for me as well! I used to have the attitude like others here that people who speed up podcasts are Type A over-busy always-in-a-hurry people. But, then I tried it, and I loved it. I don't even listen to that many (maybe 2-3 episodes/week).
posted by bluefly at 9:48 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


right next to the world's largest 30-second-FF button to get past the 10 fucking minutes of Territory and Squarespace midroll ads

Why are these things so damn long? I don't need a 3-5 minute testimonial from Leo Laporte on every product that sponsors This Week in Tech, and for the most part, I realllllllllly don't care about a comedian's take on ZipRecruiter ("I'm Slash Beef" excepted). 20-30 seconds would be just fine thanks.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:51 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


It sounds like a lot of you like to listen to terrible pocasts, but very quickly. That's very interesting.
posted by xingcat at 9:54 AM on May 20 [21 favorites]


The ... Daily ... is ... interesting ... but ... Michael ... Barbaro ... just ... takes ... too ... damn ... long ... between ... words. So I listen at 1.3x.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:56 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Buck the trends. Join me in listening at half speed!

You and David Lynch both.
posted by flabdablet at 9:57 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


It sounds like a lot of you like to listen to terrible pocasts, but very quickly. That's very interesting.

No, it sounds like a lot of us are looking for different things in a podcast. A story can still be really interesting and worth hearing even if the person telling it isn't the best at pacing, and if a relatively simple technological fix can improve the pacing while preserving the story, I'm gonna say that qualifying it as a "terrible" podcast is pretty extreme and unhelpful.
posted by tocts at 10:00 AM on May 20 [17 favorites]


I used to watch TV & movies with subtitles at 3x or 4x, but oddly I usually only listen to audiobooks at 1.2x max. I'm not multitasking for the former, but I am for the latter. That's the difference.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:01 AM on May 20


Is there any functionality for shifting the actual frequencies of sounds in sped up podcasts back down to the original?

That would be interesting in itself, and might make them more listenable – and memorable.
posted by jamjam at 10:08 AM on May 20


If I have a backlog of podcasts I just look at what I'm not listening to and unsubscribe? Like you don't have to listen to 50 podcasts a week?
posted by Automocar at 10:11 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


My friend and I produce an hour-long video game podcast (approaching 300 episodes! Join us!) and I spend about 90 minutes per episode carefully editing it to remove excess silences, um & uh stumbles, stray sniffles, and other impediments to enjoyable listening.

My thought is that if I wouldn’t want to listen to our own show, why would anyone else? Listen at extra speeds if you want but I like to think the show has been carefully crafted for maximum enjoyment at 1x speed.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:11 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Is there a button that can automatically fast-forward me past awkward host banter, repetitive in-jokes and annoying digressions?
posted by octothorpe at 10:11 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


I listen sped up because I prefer how people sound when sped up... I'd assumed that was why most people did it. (Although I do prefer having some granularity of control, some people sound better at 1.33 and others at 1.75)

For public speaking I always have to be careful to slooooooow down because my natural speed is too fast. So I do, but given the choice I really prefer listening to people at the speed I'm comfortable with, which is faster. I would happily use a 1.5x button in real life if it existed.
posted by Cozybee at 10:15 AM on May 20


I can’t be the only New Yorker that wishes this was an option when talking IRL to people from the rest of the country, right?

I’m truly sorry, I know we’re monsters, but get on with it

(I’ve done this with instructional videos, and as above, it’s because otherwise they do not hold my attention and I get pretty irritated, so...it’s just an unnecessary barrier, might as well speed it up and the replay if I need or want to.)
posted by schadenfrau at 10:26 AM on May 20 [14 favorites]


OK, podcasts, no. But at work I am required to listen to an endless series of taped webinars, safety videos, and educational powerpoint presentations. I certainly understand that sometimes something very bad happens and then we have to watch a new video on preventing dismemberment. And sometimes someone does something wrong, and we are the ones punished with a new video on how not to buy costly office furniture. Last week we had to watch a new video on how to travel to a foreign country without a) our computers being hacked b) angry people killing us. It is better at 1.5x.
posted by acrasis at 10:31 AM on May 20 [7 favorites]


You know how you clowns can save EVEN MOAR time? By not listening to podcasts or audiobooks at all. HA! HA! HAHAHAHAHA





Note: I do not actually think you are clowns.
posted by medusa at 10:35 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


Here's what happens. A person who made some stuff you like starts a podcast. Like most new chat podcasts, it's the person and 2 or 3 other people talking for 30-50 minutes off of 4-5 bullet points. So you start listening to it, just 40 minutes a week to keep you company while you're walking the dog or washing dishes, and even if it's a bit unfocused at times you appreciate the chance to hear some people you respect talk about stuff that interests them.

Then the social brain gets involved, on both ends. The podcast's hosts grow more comfortable talking with each other, and runtimes get longer. They just had such an interesting/funny conversation, it would be a shame to cut it out, right? The listeners don't mind the extra length (because the listeners who talk about that stuff on the hosts' social media are the most dedicated fans). Fast forward a couple years and now your 40 minutes a week is 2 and a half hours, and you've got 4 other podcasts on your smartphone at different stages of the same process.

So if it's not worth the time, why don't you just unsubscribe? Well then you start thinking about the good times you had listening to the podcast, all the funny bits and fascinating knowledge, and how much you've grown to like all the hosts, and oops you're in a parasocial relationship now. It's harder to unsubscribe from a podcast when some part of your brain thinks of it more like unfriending.
posted by skymt at 10:41 AM on May 20 [10 favorites]


If you have so much stuff to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise consume that you have to materially alter the content to get through it faster, maybe you need to... I don't know... consume less content? Focus on the stuff you actually enjoy and get the most out of it, rather than cram more and more into your earholes.

But... but, I might enjoy something else more. I must keep dipping my toes into this river of interesting content.

You're not my real dad anyway.
posted by DigDoug at 10:41 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


I have a podcast. And man, I spend a lot of time editing the show so I'm amazed at the number of emails I'll get from listeners who tell me they listen to us at 1.5x speed. Now while my co-host is a little more laconic, I have a note next to the mic saying "Slow Down!"

What I'm saying is good lord I sound like a meth head chipmunk after his second triple espresso if you put me on at 1.5x!
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:44 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Some people consume media in a way I find baffling. Possible responses:

a) Huh, interesting, I wonder why they do that?
b) This affects me not at all so I couldn't care less.
c) Those people are idiots and I'll see them in hell!!

I mean, really. Why opt for c? Who cares?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:56 AM on May 20 [19 favorites]


Schadenfrau, I grew up in Ohio, parents from New England, and my siblings and I are all fast talkers. I feel right at home in NYC, except that I have Midwest Politeness.


Thank goodness for Google Voice transcribing my messages;I hate listening to voicemail.
posted by theora55 at 11:05 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]


I've been purposefully taking an opposite approach to speed listening. Not listening slowed down, but less often. I realized that I'd started getting anxious if I forgot my headphones when I went out, or got into a car without enough podcasts downloaded (I have very limited data). I had a compulsion to fill my head with noise! So, I purposefully started not bringing my headphones with me sometimes, or playing, god forbid, music in the car. Listening to fewer podcasts now over all, but I can also, like, let my thoughts wonder sometimes -- come up with my own thoughts instead of only filling my mental space with someone else's.

We need to give ourselves space focused on neither consumption nor productivity.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 11:16 AM on May 20 [11 favorites]


I listen to guitar podcasts at 1.5x speed so I don't have to tune my guitar down a step and can use a capo instead.
posted by straight at 11:17 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


Even the podcasts that aren't unedited ramblings peppered with ums, ahs and dead air are, more often than not, too slow-paced for 1.0x to not be a waste of the listener's time. If it were a poetry reading, or the point were to savour the rich redolence of each word before moving onto the next one, that would be one thing, but if you're listening to something about (an unsolved murder/the design of manhole covers/view controller event handling/nuclear proliferation/&c.) and just want the facts, not so much. So I usually lean towards 1.5x.
posted by acb at 11:17 AM on May 20


I can’t be the only New Yorker that wishes this was an option when talking IRL to people from the rest of the country, right?

But are you one of those New Yorkers who talks 3x as fast as normal people but says everything three times? Says it three times? Three times? I don't know, maybe to compensate? To compensate? Does it to compensate?
posted by straight at 11:25 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


So, you're listening to podcasts all wrong?

Why TF should anyone care how you or I listen to them? I like, for example, You Must Remember This, but Longworth's delivery and elocution are just glacial and weird. I lose no comprehension or enjoyment speeding it up a notch. Listening at normal speed enhances nothing. Why should I do so?
posted by 2N2222 at 11:42 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]


Why TF should anyone care how you or I listen to them?

I think it's just an interesting discussion about something we usually do in private. Kind of like all the posts about bathroom habits. It's just interesting to hear what other people do with their business!

Also, with this, I'm looking askance at the lifehack/tech/optimization angle; seems reasonable to be wary of something that looks like a fresh new way to steal your labor and increase your consumption.
posted by witchen at 11:47 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


Because if we stopped getting mad about trivial things folks do that affect us not at all, 98% of Online would immediately vanish?
posted by ominous_paws at 12:06 PM on May 20 [9 favorites]


Also, with this, I'm looking askance at the lifehack/tech/optimization angle; seems reasonable to be wary of something that looks like a fresh new way to steal your labor and increase your consumption.

Oh yes, it kind of becomes yet another unacknowledged job requirement/hustle to fill up your leisure time and work time with the right kind of podcasts, books, and TV shows so that you can make conversation about them, even to the point of it becoming assigned homework and agenda items for meetings. That's rarely reciprocal and there's a fair bit of power, sexism, and heteronormativity behind what gets picked for that "homework." And the whole thing is about cramming more and more stuff into a 10- or 12-hour day at the cost of contemplation and reflection, which I have to now sell as useful parts of the process.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:10 PM on May 20 [8 favorites]


Yeah, whenever I hear about these kinds of people who listen/watch things at high speeds...just why? Isn't this for enjoyment?

Maybe it’s because I’m a New Englander and we talk fast but most audiobooks are way too slow. I do them 1.25 or 1.5 and then I don’t spend the whole time thinking the end of the words before they say them, hurrying them up in my head. I enjoy them much more that way.
posted by greermahoney at 12:15 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I like how artfully you incorporated twists and turns into the post.
posted by nikoniko at 12:17 PM on May 20


I used to read the daily newspaper, years ago. I read The Atlantic and Harper's every month. And, when I could afford it, I got the New Yorker. I couldn't keep up with it. They piled up and I felt guilty about not finishing them. I read slowly and, though some of my siblings claimed they could speed read from some course they took on post back before I knew how to read, I couldn't.

In short, this problem isn't completely new. Video or audio isn't as quick to convey information as text, but 1.25X is as fast as I can take before it turns into gobbledygook.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:37 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I've not done this in a while (I found the speed up function on the podcatcher I use on my phone uses a lot of battery, and would sometimes crash), but I used to when I used Windows Media Player a lot.

It was mostly that a lot of podcaster seem to come from the US South and they speak SO SLOWLY. I could get them up to 1.2x without them sounding odd, and at 1.1x they'd be speaking at a non-annoyingly slow pace. Conversely, I couldn't speed up the BBC broadcasts at all, as Brits talk REALLY quickly.

I couldn't do 1.5x most of the time though, that is just chipmonk speed.
posted by Canageek at 12:54 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


I have no particular desire to speed up podcasts (if they annoy me in that regard, I just quit listening), but I can very rarely listen to audiobooks because most readers are so slow. Hadn't occurred to me to try speeding those up.

If there is a magical app that kills the endless parade of ads for the same five or six services, though, I'd love one of those. As it is, there's the set of podcasts I have to listen to at home; because they have so many interstitial ads, it's just easier to drag the timeline forward than try to hit the fast forward button nine or ten times while I'm walking.
posted by tautological at 1:17 PM on May 20


Is there any functionality for shifting the actual frequencies of sounds in sped up podcasts back down to the original?

Most playback software will speed up playback without increasing the pitch. It's not like playing a tape at 3.75 ips when it was recorded at 1-7/8 ips (yeah okay I'm dating myself here) and everyone sounds like The Smurfs. You can change the playback speed of digital media without altering the pitch (or vice versa)… at least if the software isn't really badly designed.

In higher-end audio software you can actually choose the method that's used to stretch/compress the signal in the time domain; the one I'm most familiar with is called PSOLA.

Fun fact: the opposite of this, which is changing the pitch (frequency domain) without altering the playback speed, is how you get auto-tune.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:23 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I used to read the daily newspaper, years ago. I read The Atlantic and Harper's every month. And, when I could afford it, I got the New Yorker. I couldn't keep up with it. They piled up and I felt guilty about not finishing them.

The Good Place (or, I guess, the Bad Place) knows your pain.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:24 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I’m married to one of these people. And I’ll crank an instructional video to 1.5x until I get to the stuff I don’t know, sure, and have settled on a compromise speed of 1.2x for listening to Judge John Hodgman episodes on a road trip together. But those times when his phone connects to my car’s Bluetooth and his podcast app automatically starts playing at 3x+? That’s when I have to resist the urge to swerve and drive the car off the goddamn road, because omfg what kind of monster alien lives like that?
posted by deludingmyself at 1:29 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


I regularly listen at 1.25-1.5x for podcasts, and 1.5-2x for audio books (since they tend to be more slowly metered).

The catch is that I almost always will only be listening to either while on my commute to/from work.

In that roughly 1-hour each way, it's a good way to both pass the time and catch up on a variety of topics. Outside of that window, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to be trying to focus on a podcast or audio book anyway.
posted by mystyk at 1:33 PM on May 20


Another speed listener here... For audiobooks, x1.25 is really the sweet spot. I would try to check out both aubiobook and an ebook version of the same book, pause the audio when there's something particularly interesting, and highlight that part in the ebook for rumination later. This system has worked out quite well for me.
posted by of strange foe at 1:43 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


Stop listening to podcasts at 1.5x

You're not the boss of me! In fact, just because you want me to slow down, I'm pulling out my smartphone and bumping it up another step, from 2.3 to 2.4. Don't like it? Don't test me.
posted by pwnguin at 1:53 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


IIIIIIII        lllllllliiiiiiiisssssssstttttttteeeeeeeennnnnnnn        ttttttttoooooooo        ppppppppooooooooddddddddccccccccaaaaaaaassssssssttttttttssssssss        tttttttthhhhhhhhrrrrrrrroooooooouuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhhhh        PPPPPPPPaaaaaaaauuuuuuuullllllllSSSSSSSSttttttttrrrrrrrreeeeeeeettttttttcccccccchhhhhhhh........        IIIIIIIItttttttt        rrrrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllyyyyyyyy        ggggggggiiiiiiiivvvvvvvveeeeeeeessssssss        yyyyyyyyoooooooouuuuuuuu        ttttttttiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmeeeeeeee        ttttttttoooooooo        aaaaaaaapppppppppppppppprrrrrrrreeeeeeeecccccccciiiiiiiiaaaaaaaatttttttteeeeeeee        tttttttthhhhhhhheeeeeeee        ccccccccoooooooonnnnnnnntttttttteeeeeeeennnnnnnntttttttt,,,,,,,,        yyyyyyyyoooooooouuuuuuuu        kkkkkkkknnnnnnnnoooooooowwwwwwww????????
posted by scruss at 1:54 PM on May 20 [7 favorites]


Seriously though, I have optimized my life for a short commute, and the car is the American venue for podcasts, a lot of which are news oriented and timely in nature. No point really in savoring Kai Ryssdal read off the DJI numbers, even if the wah-wah trombones are expertly timed. If I could edit out the stock price puns section, I would but unfortunately we have not yet invented that button. I have seriously contemplated ways to edit out ad-rolls though.

I'm pretty sure most people could do 1.25x without even noticing, until the music is added in, and I've been accelerating over time. A blind friend of mine listens to email on her iPhone at like 4x. A form of privacy, I suppose =)

When I first started subscribing to podcasts in 2012 I started speeding them up and then I realized I had no memory of what was said afterward.

I worried about that for about 5 minutes, before I realized the same could be said of 1.0x. The key to learning anything is spaced repetition, and podcasts do nothing to help with that, unless you're listening to the same podcast multiple times.
posted by pwnguin at 2:03 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


There is no discussion quite so evergreen as "You are enjoying this wrong."

I habitually listen to podcasts at 1.25 and audiobooks at 1.5 because any less sounds unnaturally lethargic to me. I don't need to spend 20 hours listening to a book I could read in 5 hours. I can crank the speed up higher, but then I have to start actively focusing on the words rather than just listen while I wash the dishes or work on some project.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:02 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: You are enjoying this wrong
posted by salt grass at 4:13 PM on May 20 [7 favorites]


I find it interesting that the annoyance seems to be so unidirectional. Before this thread, I wouldn't have predicted that it would be the 1.5 listeners that are laid back and the 1x listeners that are tightly wound.
posted by Bugbread at 4:38 PM on May 20 [9 favorites]


Authenticity is for podcasts
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:10 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


To clarify my post from earlier, if you prefer listening to things at a faster speed, go nuts. It's your ear holes.

I just worry about the seeming need to cram more and more media into our brains, and the lengths we go to in order to do it. If you're listening to your podcasts and audiobooks at 3x and watching Game of Thrones at 2x just so you can get through them faster in order to get to the next thing, I think you need to really reconsider your relationship to the media you consume.
posted by SansPoint at 5:24 PM on May 20 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I have no animus towards people who are tailoring their listening to how they like to hear it.

It's the leisure-ought-to-be-productive optimize-all-the-things people I would like enwickermanned.
posted by salt grass at 5:28 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]


Oh yes, it kind of becomes yet another unacknowledged job requirement/hustle to fill up your leisure time and work time with the right kind of podcasts, books, and TV shows so that you can make conversation about them, even to the point of it becoming assigned homework and agenda items for meetings

Nuke this from orbit

It doesn’t even have to be from orbit, honestly
posted by schadenfrau at 5:59 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]


If there is a magical app that kills the endless parade of ads for the same five or six services, though, I'd love one of those.

at the risk of sounding like a cranky fun-hater I want a button that automatically skips the musical guest, is there some kind of union law that says you can't record a live podcast without a ratzerfratzing musical guest?

"I know you're here for these professional comedians being funny, and we'll get back to that after eight to twelve minutes of folk songs about how my ex-spouse reacted to my substance abuse problems"
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:12 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]


I’m married to one of these people. And I’ll crank an instructional video to 1.5x until I get to the stuff I don’t know, sure, and have settled on a compromise speed of 1.2x for listening to Judge John Hodgman episodes on a road trip together.

I'm proud of you both for reaching this compromise without actually having to go on Judge John Hodgman but I'm also very sad that you didn't.
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:14 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]


taquito sunrise: "at the risk of sounding like a cranky fun-hater I want a button that automatically skips the musical guest, is there some kind of union law that says you can't record a live podcast without a ratzerfratzing musical guest?"

It's interesting to see what complaints people see as universal. I think I've heard a musical guest on a comedy podcast...twice? Both of which were comedians doing comedy songs. There apparently is a whole world of "comedy podcasts with non-comedy musical guests" that I'm unaware of. I'm guessing that somewhere out there is my counterpart, who is scratching his/her head saying "Squarespace? What's that? Never heard of it."
posted by Bugbread at 6:39 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]


I don't do podcasts much but I listen to audiobooks whenever I drive alone. I usually do 1.5 unless the speaker has a non-US accent and then I start at about 1.10. I do want to get through the book as quickly as possible because I am really enjoying the book and want to find out what happens. More than half the time, there is anther book in the series, too. There are some books that really benefit from a slow pace - The Golem and the Jinni is one - but most of the stuff I read is good at a quick pace. None of this is to make me a better person, but it is to pass the time on the road.
posted by soelo at 6:49 PM on May 20


Suspect there is a bit of a generational aspect too. My son listens to podcasts when he is cooking in the kitchen, I listen to the radio - and as I live in Australia - I am spoilt for choice when it comes to ad-free content as the ABC has a range of stations.

And once you have listened to a well-edited radio segment, it is teeth-grinding to listen to some of the podcasts.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 7:05 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


The "you must be listening to bad podcasts if you speed them up" argument is so insulting and infuriating! I truly don't think it has anything to do with editing. In fact, the podcasts that have the most production and most professional editing, like Serial or This American Life or any NPR or Gimlet podcast, are the ones most in need of speeding up to my ear. They have the widest listenerships, so they dumb things down so that they lose no one, and they ask questions brimming with awful false naivete. They absolutely need to be sped up to be tolerable for me. It's the off-the-cuff podcasts with little editing and naturally fast talkers that I don't need to speed up. For instance, I always had to shunt The Bugle down to normal speed because John Oliver was a naturally fast talker in conversation.

I have trouble speeding up narrative or scripted podcasts. But power to those who can do it.
posted by painquale at 7:15 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


So, next topic:

People who order pie a la mode:
  • Geniuses who have discovered the secret of making pie taste even better?
  • Philistines who don't actually enjoy their pie, or they wouldn't have put ice cream on it.
posted by Bugbread at 7:19 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]


I'm speeding up my music listening to get more Pink Floyd out of my daily commute.
posted by omegar at 7:23 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


There’s only one speed to listen to Soren Narnia.
posted by triage_lazarus at 8:02 PM on May 20


I have a screen reader recite the POTUS megathreads to me but at 10x, which I record, and run through paulstretch, in this fashion generating self-renewing drones of the apocalypse.
posted by salt grass at 8:05 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


Hey speaking of which, does anyone know any good screen reading apps? I know Siri or whoever can't compare to a real person reading an audiobook but the idea of having whatever text I want read to me while I work sounds amazing.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:31 PM on May 20


salt grass: "I have a screen reader recite the POTUS megathreads to me but at 10x, which I record, and run through paulstretch, in this fashion generating self-renewing drones of the apocalypse."

Wow, that's terrible. And that's just your comment talking about it, I can't imagine what it would sound like on the actual POTUS megathreads.
posted by Bugbread at 8:51 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]


having whatever text I want read to me while I work sounds amazing.
I don't know how universal this is, but the second I have to read anything and not just skim it, I can lose the narrative of the audio. I would love to listen to books or podcasts at work, but it does not work well for me.
posted by soelo at 9:12 PM on May 20


Bugbread <3 <3 <3
posted by salt grass at 9:30 PM on May 20


i hate podcasts.

I did recently notice that my public library provisions time-media assets such as audiobooks via an app called Libby and checked a few out. i was mystified by the staccato, aggressive verbal tonality of the books, like, the exact thing I was fleeing.

Somehow I had defaulted the playback speed on any given book to 1.5x.

Don’t be like grandpa, kids! /shakes cane
posted by mwhybark at 11:35 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]


It's interesting to me that so many people think of entertainment as a checklist item.

Oh hai, guilty.

There's a genuine pleasure for me in finishing something that's distinct from the enjoyment that the item in question brings me in itself.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:03 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Soelo - absolutely the same for me. Is it generally accepted that human brains can only focus on one language-based thing at a time? So reading breaks focus on a podcast, talking breaks focus on reading, and so on.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:06 AM on May 21


It's interesting to me that so many people think of entertainment as a checklist item.

I think it's hard to get around this under capitalism, or really under any system where you have to spend most of your time doing things that are not at all in line with your goals for yourself. (Like, if you teach and teaching is your thing, that's different; if you are a chef and cheffing is your thing; etc etc.)

I am sorta-reading Neglected or Misunderstood: Introducing Theodore Adorno (Frankfort School mid-century Marxist theorist whose big thing was mass culture/mass production/mass aesthetics and fascism) and he is all "well leisure should not be colonized by the logic of capital", meaning that leisure should be free from the imperative to self-improve (which I think he means is different from just "I wish I could play something more complicated than 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' so I am going to practice the piano").

And I totally get that; I am indeed troubled by how much I feel that if I just...relax instead of reading something on my list, or just read instead of working on my house or exercising then I am wasting my time, being a less-good person, etc. The logic of self-improvement has totally colonized my thinking. And yet, while I actually like my job and particularly my colleagues and feel very fortunate in that, my job isn't a passion and doesn't really forward my goals for myself. Theodore Adorno got paid to sit around and read and think and write all day, so I think it was easier for him to say no to the logic of self-improvement/"excellence!". If I were an academic on the old-school, tenure-for-life, good pay model I would probably feel more leisured in my leisure time too.

That's not to say that studying in your free time is necessarily "colonization by capital", because there's a specific logic of "I am only worthwhile if I am always Setting Goals and Pursuing Excellence" that isn't the same as "I would like to know more about George Gissing" or whatever, but it's a lot easier to say no to capital's logic when you don't feel the pressure of work and time.
posted by Frowner at 6:28 AM on May 21 [6 favorites]


many podcasts are not well edited for pacing/timing

Well, I thought 'no editing' was the definition of 'podcast.' Otherwise what you're doing is called a "show".

Most hour long podcasts I ve listened to could have been five to ten minutes If they had been scripted and edited.
posted by eustatic at 6:51 AM on May 21


Well, I thought 'no editing' was the definition of 'podcast.' Otherwise what you're doing is called a "show".

I don't think that jives at all with the real-world usage of the word "podcast".

To be clear, I've never loved the term, particularly because in the early days it gave the distinct impression that it was a thing you had to be willing to buy Apple products to partake in (it's a riff on iPod + Broadcast --> podcast, but is not in any way tied to Apple technology). But, the term as used by people is more about the delivery method than the content. Just as you can have unscripted reality TV shows and heavily scripted premium TV shows, you can have podcasts ranging from literally unedited all the way up to slick, big-money productions.

The thing is, pacing issues can be present across the whole spectrum. Sometimes the lesser edited "people talking" podcasts have too much dead air, too many "umms" and "ahhs", etc. Sometimes the more scripted and edited podcasts have a presenter who seems to be talking at a snail's pace, or the writing is maybe trying a little too hard to be clear and is taking forever to get to the point. In either case, 1.25x or 1.5x often solves the problem.
posted by tocts at 7:16 AM on May 21


The "you must be listening to bad podcasts if you speed them up" argument is so insulting and infuriating!

I agree. I like listening to podcasts made by or featuring people who aren't professionally in the broadcasting space so, perhaps the editing is not as tight. It's nice to have a diversity of voices in my ears. And in my mind, one of the benefits of podcasts vs radio.
posted by bluefly at 7:17 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Well, I thought 'no editing' was the definition of 'podcast.' Otherwise what you're doing is called a "show".

Wha? According to whom?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:50 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Lots of podcasts, which refer to themselves as podcasts, have dedicated producers, researchers, editors. The name podcast does not map to the amount of polish invested in any given one.
posted by salt grass at 9:11 AM on May 21


If it doesn't have an RSS feed, it is not a podcast.

I listen at 1.5x right up until I have achieved PODCAST ZERO at which point I dial it back again. Then everyone sounds so bloody slow and awkward for a while. Usually I pop it back to 1.5x if I'm ingesting an entire back catalogue of some show.

It's not "entertainment" in the same way that listening to music is. I'm hearing stories, conversations, and news reports. It's informative, and I learn everything just fine this way.

The only time I ever feel bad about this is The Weather on Night Vale. But it's fine, I still enjoy it. Back off, busybodies.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:03 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]


For a more serious stab at a response - I think (productivity wangs aside) this is a preference that works at a more visceral level than a lot of the don't-yuck-my-yum preferences we talk about?

So personally, I listen to a lot of podcasts which are well edited already, and rely on comedy timing or general "good hang" vibes, and not a lot of dense information. The idea of listening to these at double pace gives me a kind of physical discomfort, that, say, someone disliking coriander or liking the later work of Dave Eggers does not. So I could rush to post that people who enjoy sped up podcasts are monsters, even if only in fun, much more easily in this kind of case.

(it's still weird)
(safety wink)
(maybe)
posted by ominous_paws at 11:14 AM on May 21


My favorite podcasts are mostly "hey, here is new music to check out", so messing with the speed would make it weirder than I would like.
posted by salt grass at 12:33 PM on May 21


There's that really annoying over-edit (Radiolab in particular is notorious for this) where people on have a single sentence chopped up into this whole thing where it sounds like whoever is speaking and one of the hosts are constantly interrupting each other with the same thought... I would be much happier listening to them if they were un-edited into a single coherent sentence spoken by one person, regardless of listening speed. I don't suppose there's anything that could do that?
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:26 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I usually do 1.5 unless the speaker has a non-US accent and then I start at about 1.10. I do want to get through the book as quickly as possible because I am really enjoying the book and want to find out what happens.

Ha, when this happens to me, I just switch from the audiobook to ebook. For the most part, if I'm listening to an audiobook rather than reading the actual book, it's for a specific reason: i.e., it's a full-cast audiobook so it's more of an audio drama experience, it's a first person POV book that benefits from a good performance by the audiobook reader, or it's a shorter book so I don't anticipate getting impatient and switching to an ebook to read it faster. I'd say a good 50% of the audiobooks I listen to are for books that I wouldn't actually read or enjoy as much if I read them in book or ebook form. (Daisy Jones and the Six is the most recent example of this; it was an excellent full-cast audiobook, but I don't know that I'd have been into it if I'd read it in book format.) So speeding up an audiobook is fairly anathema to me. I'm listening to it specifically for the performance, usually! I don't speed up songs to get through them faster, or movies, or TV shows, so I'd never do it for an audiobook or any narrative podcast.
posted by yasaman at 2:01 PM on May 21


When I was a kid, pirating music meant checking a record out of the library and recording it onto a cassette tape. I was into pop-Jazz and got a Maynard Ferguson album I'd never heard before (Primal Scream) and somehow recorded it at 45 rpm instead of the 33 1/3 rpm it was supposed to be played at. I listened to it a bunch of times before realizing what I had done. I guess I just thought, Wow, Maynard is really playing high up there.

When I discovered what had happened I remember thinking, well, you could fit more onto each cassette that way (cassettes were expensive!), but I don't think I ever considered the time-saving efficiency of listening to music at 1.3x speed.
posted by straight at 4:21 PM on May 21


I accidentally listened to the first bunch of Night Vake episodes in 1.5. Yeah, that show is a lot more spooky when you listen at the original speed.
posted by Biblio at 7:34 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


> I want a button that automatically skips the musical guest

I want Reply All to stop including the bits of phone calls where they're waiting for someone to pick up, then they pick up, then everyone asks how everyone is a few times.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:16 PM on May 23


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