Date:Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Author:Christian Ward

In this episode, Stylus talks to James Cridland, editor of Podnews, about the current and future state of podcasting: how the pandemic has changed listening behaviours, what brands need to know about getting into podcasting, future trends in audio, and much more.

Guests on this Episode

James Cridland is the editor of the Podnews Network, which includes the daily Podnews newsletter and podcast. James has worked in audio and radio since 1987, including roles at Virgin Radio, the BBC and Canada's Vista Radio.

Episode Discussion Points

  • How James started Podnews [0:57]
  • How did the pandemic affect podcasting listening behaviours? [2:24]
  • On innovation in podcast production [4:24]
  • How celebrities have helped popularise podcasts [6:36]
  • On Spotify's mission to dominate podcasting [8:31]
  • How can brands use podcasting as a communication and marketing tool? [12:32]
  • How podcasts are reaching traditionally underserved voices [18:20]
  • What's the future of audio? [22:50]

Key Quotes

"There are an awful lot of people now consuming podcasts on Spotify. Apple is remaining there as being the connoisseur's choice, but one suspects that Spotify is going to overtake Apple." [9:25]

"One of the things that I've spotted over the last six months has been the rise of private podcasts: a podcast that you have to be invited to listen to. And actually, if you're part of a large company who are all working from home, then either you can get an email from your CEO every single week, which many people probably would never read and it would be quite dull, or you could get a short pithy podcast. And that's what quite a lot of larger companies are doing." [12:32]

"One of the most exciting things about podcasts is that instead of broadcast, where you have to get the best value out of your channel or your frequency, with a podcast you don't necessarily need to do that. You need to focus on your niche, and make sure that you are super serving that particular audience." [18:20]

"[Spotify have] been clever enough to look at individual cultures and gone, where are the underserved voices here? How can we actually help? And actually jumped in with both feet there. So that's been fascinating to see and exactly the sort of thing that an up-and-coming podcast network ought to be doing." [21:35]

[During the pandemic] the amount of speech listening went up and the amount of music listening went down. Part of that is wanting to know what's going on and wanting to hear from other human beings and all of that. I suspect that that has driven quite a lot of these social audio platforms like Clubhouse, Spotify, Twitter Spaces, and so on. But I also suspect that those won't go away as we begin to come out of the pandemic." [24:13]

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