Podcasts and music: the opportunities… and the annoyances

Around 62 million Americans are listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, according to the latest edition of Edison Research and Triton Digital’s ‘The Infinite Dial’ report, which was published in March 2019. Another research firm, Ovum, predicts that there will be more than one billion podcast listeners globally by 2020. No wonder music-streaming services […]

Spotify encourages artists to create their own podcasts

“Do You Need Your Own Podcast?” asks Spotify’s latest blog post aimed at artists. The tone of the article is clearly encouraging them to give it a go, ideally via Spotify’s own Anchor podcast-creation app, which it acquired earlier this year. “A podcast is a great way to establish your personality as an artist and expand […]

Spotify’s Soundtrap cloud-studio moves into podcast creation

Soundtrap is the cloud music-studio startup that Spotify acquired in November 2017. Since then, the tool has continued to develop, including partnerships with schools and collaborations between emerging artists. Now it’s also part of Spotify’s push into podcasts, with the launch of something called Soundtrap for Storytellers. Spotify is describing it as “a cloud-based one-stop shop […]

Spotify tests making podcasts more prominent in mobile app

Spotify is testing a design tweak to its mobile app that gives podcasts more prominence in the ‘library’ screen for its listeners. Bloomberg reported yesterday that the new layout involves two main tabs at the top of the screen to switch between ‘Music’ and ‘Podcasts’, with sections for new episodes of shows that you follow; shows that […]

Universal Music to develop original shows with podcast firm Wondery

Spotify and Pandora are throwing their energies into podcasts… but now so is the largest major label, Universal Music Group, via a partnership with podcast publisher Wondery. The pair have signed a deal to develop original podcasts based on the label’s catalogue, artists and labels. No specific shows have been announced yet, but when they […]

Blueprint Radio launches podcast-plugging service for artists

In recent years, the traditional discipline of radio-plugging has been joined by playlist-plugging, with people who specialise in pitching tracks to streaming services’ playlist curators. Now get set for a new variant: podcast-plugging. British radio-promotions firm Blueprint Radio has launched a new division called Blueprint Pods, which it says will focus on matching artists “with podcasts […]

$100m-funded Luminary podcasts app to launch on 23 April

Music Ally wrote about Luminary earlier this year: it’s a US-based podcasting startup that emerged from stealth mode brandishing pre-launch funding of $100m, plus plans to launch more than 40 podcasts with hosts like Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien. But the company was more than just a podcast production-studio: it had plans […]

Could podcast listening be more social? Castbox thinks so

Music Ally is thinking about podcasts a lot at the moment, given the interest in that world from Spotify, Pandora and other music-streaming services. These companies have the chance to innovate around content, technology AND business models for podcasts, so we’re keeping an eye on interesting stuff that independent companies are up to around those […]

BBC hopes to compete with Apple and Spotify for UK podcast listening

British broadcaster the BBC has just published its ‘annual plan’ for the next year, outlining its strategic priorities. One of them is its BBC Sounds app, which the corporation says has now been downloaded more than 1.8m times in the UK, and attracts a weekly audience of more than one million listeners. “A major part of our […]

BBC pulls its podcasts from Google Podcasts and Assistant

Amid all the excitement around new distribution platforms for podcasts, there are also some tensions. For example, British broadcaster the BBC has pulled its catalogue of shows from the Google Podcasts app, as well as Google Assistant. The Beeb explained why in a blog post. “Last year, Google launched its own podcast app for Android users […]

Sandbox Issue 224: Up Hit Creek. THE DRY STREAMS PARADOX

Lead: The Dry Streams Paradox is when there is a huge gap between the number of streams an act gets and the number of fans they have or can reach. Just because someone plays one of your songs, it does not follow that they even know what your name is. Does this all mean that […]

Anghami adds more than 250 local podcasts to its catalogue

Soon, it’ll be quicker to list the music-streaming services that *aren’t* streaming into podcasts as an additional content format. Middle Eastern / North African service Anghami is the latest, having added more than 250 shows from more than 40 local podcast studios, as well as global shows from outside the MENA region. “The local podcasting community is […]

Gimlet Media staff plan to unionise after Spotify acquisition

Fresh from being bought by Spotify, the staff of podcasting firm Gimlet Media have announced plans to unionise – which would make them the first US podcasting company to do so. “As Spotify’s reported $230 million acquisition of Gimlet makes clear, however, Gimlet is no longer the small, scrappy operation memorably documented on the first […]

UK broadcaster Fearne Cotton turns curator for Apple Music

We’re not sure how well-known Fearne Cotton is outside the UK: in Music Ally’s homeland she’s become a familiar face and voice through her TV and radio broadcasting. Now she’s become the latest curator on Apple Music. This is a proper partnership: Cotton is maintaining four different playlists on the streaming service, which is promoting […]

Blossoms get the pints in for their very own ‘pubcast’

If you’re reading this, Daniel Ek and team, we have another idea for what the existing podcasts ecosystem is missing: traditional British boozers! But UK band Blossoms are here to change that with the launch of their own ‘Blossoms Pubcast’, recorded in the pub in Stockport that inspired the band’s name. “In the first episode Tom, […]

Spotify podcast plans: discovery, experiments and ‘superpowers’

We know Spotify is splashing up to $500m on podcast acquisitions this year, but the company’s wider strategy around spoken-word content is also coming together. The Verge has done a good job of bringing together the various strands of Spotify’s plans, including recent comments from various executives. It includes the company’s determination to bring its music-discovery algorithms […]

Podcasts startup Luminary launches with $100m of funding

Another day, another podcasts startup attracting significant investment, amid the wider excitement around the spoken-word format. This time it’s a Los Angeles-based startup called Luminary, which is launching a slate of more than 40 podcasts including the likes of Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien as hosts. What’s more, the New York Times reports that […]

Podcasts app Pocket Casts is launching an Amazon Alexa skill

For people who aren’t using iTunes or Spotify to get their podcasts, Pocket Casts is one of the better independent podcast apps. Now it’s making an interesting leap from smartphones to smart speakers, courtesy of its new Alexa skill. “You can play any of your podcasts by name, ‘Alexa, ask Pocket Casts to play the latest […]

iHeartMedia buys Radiojar to power ‘pop-up’ broadcasting

US radio group iHeartMedia has announced its latest acquisition: a Greek company called Radiojar, which offers “a centralised, cloud-based audio playout platform”. According to iHeartMedia, the deal gives it “a platform to easily combine or parse individual audio elements such as DJ voice tracks, music and broadcast spots to create, manage, distribute and monetise streams, […]

Pandora launches ‘stories’ as a blend of podcasts and playlists

Pretty much every social-media service now has ‘stories’ as a format, so why shouldn’t music-streaming services? However, Pandora’s launch of a ‘stories’ feature isn’t what you might expect (i.e. short video clips that expire after 24 hours). Instead, it’s a format that blends podcasts with playlists. “Podcasts can tell stories about music, but generally don’t include full […]

Around 91m Americans may be listening to podcasts every week

“We’re entering the Golden Age of Podcasts” claims a headline on a blog post by Chartable, a company that focuses on podcast analytics. This is based on an online survey conducted by the company recently, which aims to track some trends in the US podcasting market. Among them: 10.8% of respondents report listening to podcasts every […]

Spotify’s ‘Word’ category highlights spoken-word content

Spotify has made it clear that podcasts are just its first push into non-music content, so what’s next? A blog post by the company highlighting its ‘Word’ category offers some hints. “A category home to recordings of everything from poetry to guided meditation, audiobooks, and short stories,” as the post puts it.  We floated the idea of […]

Spotify paid €300m for Gimlet Media and Anchor acquisitions

When Spotify announced that it was buying podcast companies Gimlet Media and Anchor, it declined to say how much it was paying, other than that they were part of a wider $400m-$500m earmarked for podcast acquisitions. “We’re not commenting on that today, because we have other transactions in the works, and I don’t want transactions […]

Spotify gets Chuck D for eight-part podcast about The Clash

It was clear last week just how much welly Spotify is willing to put behind podcasts in the year ahead, with up to $500m earmarked for acquisitions of tech and content – including its deals for Gimlet Media and Anchor. Now Spotify has announced details of its next original, exclusive podcast: an eight-part documentary called […]

Sandbox Issue 221: Fake Views. Lies, damned lies and music statistics

Lead: Smoke and mirrors have always been part of music, but when it comes to data, truth is starting to play second fiddle to hype. The nefarious and ruthless are finding ways to “massage” social media and streaming numbers while offering the desperate and gullible a quick fix. But the platforms are getting wise to […]

Podcasting startup Himalaya Media raises $100m funding round

It’s the week for big podcasting news. Spotify has made waves with its acquisitions of Gimlet Media and Anchor, but other podcasting firms are also capitalising on current interest in the medium. US startup Himalaya Media, for example, has raised $100m in funding to push its podcast-listening app and distribution platform. The app launched in […]

Spotify buys podcasting firms Gimlet Media and Anchor

Rumours that Spotify was about to shell out $200m-plus on podcast production company Gimlet Media were correct: the acquisition was announced today. But Spotify is also buying a second company, Anchor, which makes an app that people can use to create their own podcasts. The value of the acquisitions has not yet been announced (Spotify […]

Hungama Music launches radio-style ‘original audio programming’

It’s not just the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Pandora trying to take a bite out of traditional radio by moving into podcasts. Indian streaming service Hungama Music is following suit with the launch of what it’s terming ‘original audio programming’. That means radio-style shows in languages including Hindi, Telegu, Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi, but starting […]

Podcast listening on Spotify grew by 175% in 2018

Spotify’s push around podcasts at the CES technology show last week included the release of some new figures about how people are listening to this content on its service. “On Spotify, we saw listening increase by 175% over the last year,” explained the company in a post on its Spotify for Brands blog. And yes, […]

Spotify reveals more about its podcast plans in 2019

Besides having a party with posh food and Rita Ora, Spotify’s presence at the CES technology show in Las Vegas this week has seen podcasts loom large. We reported earlier this week on its announcement of a new, exclusive deal with journalist and broadcaster Jemele Hill to launch a new podcast on Spotify. Now the […]

Spotify signs former ESPN host Jemele Hill for new podcast

Jemele Hill used to be a host on sports TV network ESPN, and was in the news herself last year when she tweeted that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists”. Hill left ESPN in September and subsequently joined The Atlantic, but now she’s also signed a […]

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