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The Growing Popularity of Music Podcasts

Podcasts have grown in significance over the years. It has become so huge that Spotify paid $100 million for an exclusive licensing deal for a podcast. The streaming company’s market cap also increased by $1 billion with the news of this deal. Sony Music believes that podcasting is now a key area of creative and business development. The company has formed a team at its office in New York for podcast production. 

In 2018, Atlantic Records launched its own team dedicated to podcasts. A deal with Wondery was announced by Universal Music sometime back for podcast production. Launching a podcast has become a standard part for musicians. It helps them in their promotions. This trend began with the success of several podcasts from musicians like Jessie Ware, George Ezra, and Pixies.

Involvement of labels and artists

This rush of musicians and record labels into podcasting makes a lot of sense today. It seems that podcasting and music are closely intertwined in recent times. A study conducted by Pex lately found that a considerable percentage of podcasting space is dedicated to music. Record labels have access to artists as well as music archives that can turn their podcasts into massive successes. 

Craig Kallman, the chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records, had announced the label’s foray into podcasting sometime back. He, along with COO Julie Greenwald gave a joint statement that the label has a constant stream of artists. It was, therefore, essential to create an environment for nurturing them. They could tell their stories and talk about their music through podcasts. 

This makes a lot of sense for the business as well. They can partner with the best in the industry for podcast content. Among the industry leaders in this space are Apple and Spotify. They give major labels a big platform with their streaming services. It puts musicians at an advantage. 

When they get started in the podcasting space, they already have the benefit of a massive fan base. All their fans would be desperate to interact with them. This helps a lot in using the existing fan base to increase their popularity. Among the biggest challenges for podcasters is finding an audience. So, music artists don’t have to invest their time and energy in massive promotions. 

The rest of the job is done by the record label’s support and huge market resources. In this way, a record label and an artist leverage their resources and create a buzz. The creator of the Washed Up Emo Podcast, Tom Mullen, believes firmly in podcasting. 

According to him, artists and labels must make their own podcasts today. He says that labels must look at the medium and understand that they can tell some good stories. He further adds that even two shows about an artist on a podcast can make a big difference.

The right timings and partners

Promotions can involve a significant amount of work. Many new podcasts sign up with Acast, a Sweden-based company that supports podcasts. When they sign up, the company consults with these podcasts. They’re told about the best practices for launching and increasing their audience from day one. Some aspects of marketing and PR are also handled by Acast. 

One thing that podcasts must remember is that they must not rush things. It doesn’t take long for a podcast show to go live from its development stage. So, podcasters think that they can promote it in the same manner. They need to understand that just like any piece of good content, a successful launch campaign takes time. Planning must be done in the most efficient manner. 

There are several options to be considered for promotions. You can reach out to other podcasts to get some cross-promotion done. Paid campaigns are another good option if you’ve got the necessary finances. Social media can also be effective for promotional campaigns. These are some of the things that have to be thought about before launching your podcast. 

Frequency is an important aspect of a podcast. Listeners always like a regular release slot. However, the record labels and artists might not want to be overburdened with commitments. If a podcast is irregularly updated or abandoned abruptly, those associated with it would look bad.

A lot more than just being ‘the new radio’

Many of the artists certainly won’t launch their own podcast for the purpose of promotions. Regardless of whether they launch their podcast or not, the promotional power of this format cannot be downplayed. There are major music commentary podcasts such as Switched On Pop and Song Exploder that have reached millions. 

With this massive reach, such podcasts have become a vital part of the promotional trail. The importance of these shows is not merely in their listenership. It is the connection between the hosts and the listeners that do wonders. Podcasts are quite an intimate form of listening. A music recommendation on an immensely popular podcast would be taken seriously by almost all its listeners. 

It is also important to note that nobody listens regularly to a podcast by chance. This format is something that people have decided to listen to. So, the levels of engagement are quite high in podcasts. When people listen to podcasts, they pay a lot of attention. A podcast can be compared to a chat show. What makes it really work is the conversation covered in it. 

You can be a brilliant musician, but it is not necessary to restrict yourself just to reviews. You can talk about different aspects of life besides just music in a podcast. There are many ways of pitching an artist to a podcast, but reaching out to a podcaster directly is the best approach. With this, many possibilities open up. Getting featured on a special episode can be one of them. 

Additional support can come from a paid ad campaign across similar podcasts. Some podcasts are among the biggest music commentary podcasts on a global level. They may receive between 50 and 100 requests every day for a special feature. In order to get selected for a special feature, there needs to be a good story. Only then can the listeners be influenced by the artist or the record label.

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