It’s no secret that podcasts have entered the mainstream. They are an excellent way to consume a massive variety of content without sacrificing time. In fact, this year saw the amount of people who have ever listened to a podcast cross the 50% mark for the first time. With podcasts, audiobooks, and new music constantly coming out, there is a lot of competition for our listening time. Record labels have been dipping their toes in podcasts for a few years and are feeling the pressure with Spotify’s acquisitions of major podcasting platforms Anchor and Gimlet Media.
As a result of the growing podcast listener base and Spotify’s shopping spree, major labels are moving forward with podcasts of their own in an effort to expand artist content on a different medium without compromising listener time. Sony announced a joint venture with WNYC veteran Laura Mayer and NPR’s Planet Money co-founder Adam Davidson to produce original podcast series. Universal Music Group in April announced a partnership with independent Dirty John podcast producer Wondery to develop new programs around UMG’s artist roster. Warner Music Group began podcasting with Atlantic Records’ What’d I Say and Inside the Album and a Rhino Records catalog-specific podcast last year, and has more on the way. Each of the major record companies is now looking at developing podcasts in collaboration with artists, though none have launched.
Spotify has a pretty firm grip on the streaming industry but has been losing steam since they went public and needed to actually make money. By expanding into podcasts, they can increase their chances of profitability and put less reliance on the music part of their platform. This move could gain them leverage in licensing deals with record companies in the future. The development of major label-owned podcasts, however, levels the playing field with Spotify. It puts more pressure on the streaming service by featuring label-owned songs in the podcast and pushing them back to the music section of Spotify.
Got a favorite music industry podcast? Let us know below!