Today, September 30, is the International Podcast Day. The celebration of podcasts perhaps seems more in tune with the spirit of the age now, than it has ever before. Chances are, you are consuming more podcasts now than ever before as well. On your phone, in your car while driving to and from work, on your smart speaker at home or even on the smart TV in your living room or bedroom. There are multiple platforms that you can choose from, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, TuneIn Radio and a whole bunch of third-party apps. Yet, none have perhaps been as active as the world’s most popular music streaming platform, Spotify. At this time, Spotify has more than 1.5 million podcast titles, and as many as half of those were launched just this year. The interest in podcasts? Perhaps best understood by the data that suggests as many as 21% of Spotify’s total monthly active users engage with podcast content regularly. Not like me, occasionally, but regularly. Spotify’s podcast play has a strong India flavour too.
The streaming platform has seen more than 5x growth in the number of podcasters from India, a number that has been arrived at by understanding data of the podcasters who have used Anchor to create podcasts. Spotify’s originals for podcasts, between last year and now, include cricket podcast 22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur, fictional drama Bhaskar Bose, Special Mission with Gul Panag, Maha Bharat with Dhruv Rathee, Our Last Week with Anuvab & Kunaal, Off Script with Salil, Life Gone Wrong with Sundeep Rao, De Taali - Life of a Transgender and Mission ISRO. There is also the first Spotify original for kids, Talking Tales from Tulika. “Storytelling is intrinsic to India, and almost nostalgic because most of us have grown on stories that our grandparents and parents told us; Spotify wants to re-establish that listening culture here, especially as users seek more screen-free moments,” Amarjit Singh Batra, managing director - India, Spotify, had said in a statement back in November 2019. Safe to say, that mission to re-establish the listening culture, has been achieved.
Podcasts have proved to be a relief too, over the testing past few months as everyone struggled with the forced changes to life, because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The latest edition of the Spotify Culture Next Trends Report says that more than 53% of the younger Spotify users in India (also lovingly known as Gen Zs and millennials), turn to podcasts to stay informed and entertained. Nearly a third of the Spotify users in India listen to mental-health related podcasts.
In July, Spotify rolled out video podcasts globally, available for free as well as premium users. Spotify also announced an exclusive licensing deal with Joe Rogan, one of the world’s most popular podcasters. In June, Spotify confirmed a deal that will see DC’s cast of superheroes and supervillains have their own podcasts on the music streaming platform. The global streaming giant has signed a multi-year partnership with DC Comics and Warner Bros for an exclusive series of podcasts with DC’s characters that include Batman and Harley Quinn. Earlier this year, Spotify announced the acquisition of The Ringer, a sports and entertainment venture that gives Spotify access to more sports and entertainment content for its platform. The Ringer had clocked a 100 million strong userbase at the time Spotify acquired it.
Spotify has, in the past few months, signed multi-year agreements with The Obamas’ media company Higher Ground Productions for exclusive podcasts, Kim Kardashian West and Joe Rogan for The Joe Rogan Experience. At the end of July, Spotify had clocked 138 million paid subscribers globally, an increase of 27 percent from the same time the year before.
The journey for the International Podcast Day started back in 2013, when Dave Lee heard an announcement on the radio for the National Senior Citizens’ Day and thought that a day to celebrate podcasting is very much the need of the hour. An active podcaster himself, and he has been podcasting for more than 10 years and is a co-founder of the International Podcast Day.
Spotify believes that any new podcaster should take inspiration from each letter in the word Podcast. P should be for planning, O should be for originality, D is where you need to focus on distribution, C stands for consistency in terms of dropping your content for listeners, A is for the artwork that should be able to grab eyeballs among the plethora of podcasts that listeners can choose from. At the same time, S is for setting up, including a phone that you’ll record the podcast on and a microphone that you’ll use, along with finding a quiet corner at home. T is for testing the content you have created with a few friends and family who may be close to you while everything closes with S for sound—such as a gripping narration, background music if need be and transitions and elements to keep the listeners hooked.
If you are interested in podcasting, you can take advantage of platforms such as Anchor, which just makes it easier to get started into the world of podcasting. Anchor is a pretty elaborate and free to use tool for podcasters to use to create, distribute and monetize their podcasts. The platform also provides analytics in terms of what users are listening to, the demographic details, the trends and more. This is available for Android phones, the Apple iPhones, iPads and on the web.