With comedian Joe Rogan having licensed his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, to Spotify for $100m, the format is firmly back in the headlines.
Podcasts have been around since the early-2000s, when Ricky Gervais first popularised them in the UK, but the last few years have seen an explosion of new shows. Podcasting’s home-made aesthetic lends itself well to the conditions created by the lockdown, so many artists have been considering taking the step themselves.
Here, we’ll take a quick look at some of the benefits of podcasting, as well as some potential drawbacks. We’ll then offer a few pointers on best practise for those looking to begin their journey into the world of podcasts.
First up, the pros!
Growing Your Audience
Appearing on other peoples’ podcasts is a great way to gain exposure with new audiences. Similarly, if you host a podcast with guests, fans of those guests will in turn find your show, and hopefully your music alongside it!
Podcasts are a unique medium. The fact that they are usually listened to through headphones, often have a lo-fi feel and are released regularly, creates a feeling of intimacy between the host and the audience. This level of artist-fan relationship is much more likely to generate fan loyalty, and greater engagement. In the age of the superfan, this connection is more important than ever.
Podcasting’s use as a promo tool is probably most obvious in the comedy world, where comedians use the platform to promote upcoming tour dates and TV shows – but they can be similarly effective in the music industry. As well as a means of gaining new fans, podcasting is a great way to keep your current audience up-to-date with your latest news, upcoming shows and new releases.
This is probably the last thing you should be thinking about when starting a new podcast – but a successful podcast can be very profitable, as Rogan’s latest deal has shown. As well as the boost in reach a popular podcast can bring, selling advertising space within a podcast can be lucrative as well. However, if you are staring a podcast to promote your music – then ad revenue shouldn’t be one of your early goals.
Already searching Amazon for a microphone? Take a look at some of the potential cons first:
Time & Money
Podcasting can be a very time-consuming endeavour. While the DIY aspect is something that draws a lot of creators to the format, it also means you are responsible for every aspect of the show. And there’s a lot of work to do: Purchasing equipment, sourcing guests and recording space, recording and editing, uploading and promotion… Then you’ve got to do it all again for episode 2! While this effort pays off for many, a lot of investment can be sunk into the project without getting much in return.
Diluting Monetised Content
This one provides some insight into Spotify’s recent investments in podcasting. Advertising aside, podcasting is almost never monetised in the same way as music streaming. This means that if a fan decides to engage with your content for an hour on Spotify (as sterile as that sounds), they’ll be presented with a choice of your music, or your podcasts – only one of which will generate any direct revenue for you. So, while growing your podcast will ideally lead to growth in the amount of time fans spend listening to your music – the relationship won’t necessarily be as direct as you would hope.
Podcasting To Nobody
As podcasts become more popular, many artists are rightly seeing them as a great avenue for promotion. However, it’s important to remember that, if you are struggling to gain an initial audience for your music, you will have the same struggles with the podcast too. Audiences don’t want to listen to an artist talk about an album they’ve never listened to – the podcast can’t exist in a vacuum. You need some existing momentum to get the show up and running and, at that point in your career, it may not be the best use of your time.
For those of you not put off by those words of warning, and still keen to give podcasting a try, get in touch with your Absolute label manager or via the email address below. We deliver podcasts to all major platforms and will look after the uploading and setup of each episode on your behalf.