Why more musicians need their own podcast

Podcasts, Podcasting, Podcasts About Music, Music Podcasts, Musician podcasts, music biz, music marketing, digital marketing

With a growing global audience and low startup costs, podcasts are the next step in digital marketing and fan engagement.

Did you know that 50% of all US homes are podcast fans? How about the fact that over 44% of the entire US population, or roughly 124 million people, listened to podcasts over the last twelve months?

On a global scale, more than one in four residents of Japan, France, Canada, Italy, the United States, Australia, Sweden, and Spain listen to podcasts monthly. In South Korea, more than half of the entire population (58%) listens to podcasts on a monthly basis.

These figures and other available online are growing with each passing month. Podcasts were practically unknown a decade ago, but today there are more than 500,000 shows offering millions of hours of entertainment for listeners. Studies show the average podcast fan commits to six or seven shows each week, and most (80%) listen to each episode in full. Podcast listeners are, on average, smart and loyal listeners who actively support the shows they enjoy through either digital promotion, crowdfunding, or engagement with sponsors who make their favorite programs possible.

All this data is impressive, but what is even crazier is how few musicians have decided to engage their fans through podcasts.

A podcast can be anything you want. Some choose to interview people they find interesting, while others stick to a theme or subject. Pop-punk band Waterparks host a series where they read fan fiction about their group. The possibilities are endless!

The perks of having a podcast are numerous, including:

  • Direct engagement with fans
  • Ability to deliver new content to fans regularly
  • A promotional vehicle for tours, albums, and anything else
  • Creates future promotional material (you can share clips on your social media)
  • Allows fans to know you better (they don’t have to stalk you, they just have to listen)
  • Provides a platform to discuss and dissect your art
  • Potential to create new fans for your music through conversation
  • Fill time while at home or on the road that is otherwise spent scrolling social media or staring out the window
  • Potential for extra income, either through fans buying merchandise or sponsors getting behind the show

Podcasts are also incredibly cheap to create. Many shows are recorded using a smartphone voice memo app, but others use the same microphones artists use to create demos in their home studios. Hosting is available through a number of providers, including several that have offers for free hosting to first-time users, as well as free distribution to major platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

Furthermore, with Spotify’s recent acquisition of Gimlet Media and Anchor the streaming giant — who already has a large stake in podcasting — is planning to promote podcasts heavily in the months and years to come. Artists with shows will not only be able to promote their music and vice versa through a single platform, but they will also be able to earn streaming royalties from their podcast. That’s money which, unless otherwise agreed to in a contract, goes directly to the artist behind the show. It’s a side hustle that helps the main focus of an artist’s career in many ways.

Competition is music is growing fiercer by the day, and most acts use the same tricks as every other artist or business or consumer to build their audience. But right now, for what will likely be a very short window of time, there is a market for musicians willing to open up in podcasting that is largely overlooked. Any artist would be foolish to not take advantage of this opportunity. Podcasting offers a chance to grow closer to fans, build an audience, and earn a few extra bucks. What more could you want?

Need more reasons to start a podcast? Watch this:

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.