Podcasts are by no means a new platform, but in the last few years they’ve grown significantly in popularity. And the numbers don’t lie—monthly podcast listenership has increased by 75% since 2013, adding up to about 57 million Americans listeners (Convince & Convert).
Serial, This American Life and Radiolab are a few that have opened the door – but it leaves a great space for artists and those in the music industry to talk about their craft. As the fan:artist relationship becomes closer and closer, people increasingly want the “behind the scenes” style content podcasts provide.
Podcasts have spread to become a pillar in the entertainment industry as well as a means for brands to reach consumers in new and innovative ways.
Don’t Call It a Comeback!
While their last big music hits were in the very early 2000s, rappers such as N.O.R.E. and Joe Budden (to name a few) have managed to relaunch their careers by creating popular hip-hop focused podcasts. N.O.R.E. also known as Noreaga, is getting major press for his latest podcast called Drink Champs. It immediately became one of the highest rated podcasts under CBS, and is known for being a place where musical guests share huge announcements. For example, Fat Joe announced his joint album with Remy Ma on Drink Champs, which helped bring N.O.R.E’s viewership “All The Way Up!” (pun intended).
N.O.R.E. has always been known for killing the hip-hop game with songs like “Nothin” which dropped in Summer 2002 and reached #10 on the Billboard charts, but 30 podcast episodes later, N.O.R.E. is able to celebrate new career heights with the success of his new endeavor, Drink Champs.
But Will the Celebrity Hosted Podcast Withstand Time?
Celebrities obviously have an advantage in launching podcasts. By leveraging their existing fan base, podcasts naturally become an extension of their social media success, but does this always position them to succeed?
Interestingly enough, while celebrity podcasts get “downloads galore”, they don’t necessarily have loyal fans when it comes to their podcasts. When Winq, a social media app for millennials, asked consumers how they felt about celebrities making podcasts, “67% said that they don’t take celebrities as seriously as hosts, since they seem under qualified.” Even still, celebrities have a better chance of initially attracting listeners compared to non-celebrity podcasters.
According to Adweek, the key to sustaining a successful podcast is doing something unique and delivering consistently rich content. But is that too much to ask of a celebrity with no hosting experience? With the new wave of celebrity podcasters like Corinne Bailey Rae, Snoop Dogg and Shaquille O’Neal, only time will tell with which podcasts will rise to the top, and which aren’t able to sustain their success.
Brand Podcasts = Increased Consumer Engagement
Could it be possible that branded podcasts are becoming the new branded blogs? Adweek posed this question in their recent article exploring the success of brand-podcast partnerships.
Brands are partnering with podcast companies to craft stories that are relevant to consumers.
When it comes to branded podcasts, subtly is key for sponsors. For example, Gimlet Creative—a Brooklyn based audio company—partnered with eBay to create a podcast series called Open For Business. It was a “curriculum style guide to starting a business.”
Its success landed the #1 spot for business podcasts on iTunes. “No one wants to hear a 30-minute eBay commercial, but there is a large audience that’s interested in a show about starting a business in 2016 and what the elements of that are,” said Matt Lieber, co-founder and president of Gimlet Media.
The eBay and Gimlet Media partnership was successful in creating content that didn’t feel like a long ad, but one that was truly relevant and interesting to the consumer.
With the above in mind, there’s great opportunity for brands to make a splash in live music through the growing medium of podcasts. Take Pepsi for example, they recently broke new ground by hosting the “The Official Sasquatch! Festival Podcast”. Connecting the passion felt for live music, to the deep engagement brought about by podcasts creates a ripe platform for brand integration.
Written By Christina Charlery