On the 2nd of April 2020, global cases of COVID-19 surpassed one million. Well over 100 countries had launched full scale lockdowns. Global unemployment was sweeping across the west. America experienced its worst depression since the post industrial revolution. Long time insoluble economies like Australia, Canada, and China were decimated. Businesses folded, economies tanked, planes were grounded. Scarcity became a defining characteristic of the 2020 spring; scarcity of supplies, of employment, of information on the virus. …

We advertised a job for a Podcast Producer during the pandemic. The results are a fascinating insight into the current state of the podcasting industry.

This is what we learned:

The podcast industry is big business. According to PWC and IAB - the auditing firms that gather financial statistics - US advertisers were predicted to spend over a billion dollars in 2021 on podcasting advertising.

In May, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast was purchased by Spotify for a reported $250 million - a sum that will almost certainly make him the best-paid broadcaster in the world. (Guardian, 2020)

A quarter…

Is it okay to enjoy True Crime podcasts?

Waking up this morning I followed my usual “get ready for work” routine and quickly selected a podcast episode to play in the background. I decided to skip my usual, more light hearted comedy podcast in favour a true crime series I’d hear a lot about: Phoebe’s Fall.

I managed to get through the first two episodes before the discomfort became too much — why was I listening to this morbid account of a young woman’s death, told by two men with the obvious agenda of needing to entertain? Did they make…

Luminary launched in April 2019 as a paid-subscription service for podcasts. The company has been developing this idea since its founding last summer. They were able to raise $100 million dollars in venture capital, which is an unprecedented number for this industry.

Luminary has also set up partnerships with exclusive popular podcasting creators such as Love+Radio and the makers behind the popular political podcast Slow Burn. They have even started to sign up some big celebrity names, such as Trevor Noah and Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown.

However, the company has come under fire as it was reported that the app…

BBC listeners and viewers are understandably starting to get fed up of the broadcasting house’s seemingly perpetual plugs for its Sounds app. According to the Times, BBC radio stations broadcast “1,475 minutes of adverts for the radio, podcasts and music app last year” — more than 24 hours collectively, despite not having been launched yet. And that’s just on their audio channels… Further analysis showed the BBC televised a further 582 minutes of promotion. The Sounds figures do not include adverts bought elsewhere with licence fee money. In fact, The Times revealed last year that the BBC had set aside…

Apple is showing a renewed focus on podcasts. Bloomberg reported last month that the tech giant had been engaging in talks to ensure certain shows’ exclusivity to Apple Podcasts, the company’s podcast listening app. This made waves in the industry as the company has always played a neutral role in podcasting, allowing anyone to upload their podcast’s RSS feed into Apple’s app and distribute it through the platform. Whilst Apple Podcasts curates lists and highlights recommended shows, these were never Apple-funded. If what Bloomberg reports is true (Apple declined to comment), the tech company would be in a position to market and suggest its own shows over its partners’ programs. Watch this space!

APPLE ANNOUNCES ITUNES CLOSURE

During the 2019 annual developer’s conference, Apple announced the end of an era: the discontinuation of iTunes. Instead, the tech giant confirmed, it will be separating the iTunes offering into three different apps: Apple TV, Apple Music, and Podcasts.

This won’t come as a surprise to those within the industry, as the unintuitive, outdated platform has been something of a standing joke for several years now. Remember that time every single user automatically had U2’s latest album synced to their device? Yeah.

So, what will change for the average user? Not much. You’ll still be able to access your…

CHINA CRACKDOWN ON PODCASTS

Audio apps are becoming increasingly popular in China. In fact, market research from iiMedia shows the number of Chinese online listeners currently exceeds 400 million, representing a significant growth of 22.1% compared to figures from the previous year.

On Friday, however, eyebrows were raised as the Chinese government clamped down on the sector, ordering twenty-six audio-centric apps to suspend, and in some cases, terminate their services.

This news follows last month’s reports that Apple has imposed new restrictions that prevent Chinese listeners from accessing podcasts not hosted by local partners. Ultimately, this means anyone with a Chinese Apple account…

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