Podcasting is big business. In fact, according to some of the latest data, there are 464.7 million podcast listeners globally and the podcast industry market size is currently $23.56 billion. (Shewale, R, 2023)
With over 5 million podcasts existing globally, and a combined total of over 70 million episodes between them, it’s clear that podcasting is very much here to stay. A recent study found that about half of American adults listened to a podcast within the last year, with a very large proportion of the listeners engaging with podcasts for entertainment or education purposes. (Lupis, J.C, 2023).
With this data in mind, it should be apparent that podcasting is an area of audio production which should not be overlooked. Many people now actually choose podcasts over music as their audio of choice when on the go. As such, an important question to consider, for those of us working in other areas of audio production, is ‘Are we missing out by not getting involved in podcast production?’. A whole new industry has already emerged based on the spoken word, so how can audio businesses transition to podcast production?
One business which is already doing very well from podcasting is Voxpod. Based in South West London, Voxpod was set up by James Reynolds in 2020. With years of experience in the music industry and expertise in vocal production, he recognised the growth in popularity in podcasting and spotted an opportunity in the market. Following a conversation with a friend who headed up the podcast team at Spotify, James took the decision to transition an existing studio over from music production to podcasting. He took on an engineer, David Dargahi, who trained at Abbey Road and already had experience of producing podcasts for them.
David Dargahi has some thoughts on moving into this area of audio production. “These days I think you need to diversify. I think that the days of bands coming through the door with £2000 to spend are over. Any audio person who is ruling out our side of the audio business is doing themselves a disservice because I think James and I have found that our background in music has led to greater results in podcast”.
Certainly, the results speak for themselves and they’ve seen a steady growth in bookings, with lots of repeat business from clients. Voxpod expanded their facilities and it now includes two studio spaces, each with a control room. They‘ve seen an increase in corporate clients in particular. James Reynolds provides some insight into why companies are increasingly recognising the benefit and importance of podcasting. “Any leading company that now wants to become a market leader and be recognised as such, a lot of them are taking the view to do a podcast to show their expertise. It’s twofold really. One, it shows your expertise and puts you in front of people and puts you even more on the radar through social media and everything else. But also, a lot of clients we get through the door, maybe 50% is because they have an amazing guest and it will build the show, but the other 50% is relationship building with people that they might not normally get to in business that they sit in front of for an hour and they then have a relationship with that person who can help build their company. So it’s more than just the podcast on the face of it”.
It’s evident that there’s a very good business case for getting into podcasting. Those of us with music or post production experience are well placed to move into podcast production. Audiences have high expectations, and quality sound, along with video, presented in an acoustically controlled and nice looking environment, make for an engaging show. But where does the future of podcasting lie? James has some thoughts on this…
“Everything is becoming more immersive in the world we live in. Everyone wants more interactive experiences and I think the same will happen with podcasting. Whilst we have shows where people just love going to the studio, I think what will happen is people will want to do immersive podcasts. So if you’re doing a rugby podcast, you’re doing it at the stadium or we just did one with Chris Hoy in a bike shop. What we’ve done recently is launched a new arm to our business called Voxpod Remote. We send out an engineer to site with some incredible lapel mics, video cameras and remote upload technology. The engineer sets it all up and we do the show in situ. The content gets sent to a hub and uploaded to our studio via wifi. The sound is then treated and sent out to clients. We can eliminate all the background noise and then blend it to taste. So you’re able to do a podcast around a Formula One circuit and it will sound like you’re in a studio”.
Take a look at the video below to see how Voxpod remote works.
Get Into The Industry Early
Although the podcasting industry is already big business, it’s still a comparatively young industry so now is a good time to get into it. In an audio industry where many production companies are competing for the same work in music or post production, podcasting presents new opportunities and a sector where there are currently fewer players in the game on the production side. In Russ Hughes’ book, The Book Dad Told Me Not To Write, he talks about seven dogs chasing the same cat. With this analogy, he refers to the fact that if you just do the same as everyone else, then you’ll be fighting for the same customers and that’s a much harder game. We’re transitioning to a time when there will be more studios providing podcast recording facilities. Take the opportunity to get a head start on much of the competition by getting involved sooner rather than later.
Leveraging Existing Resources
One of the advantages of transitioning from music or post production to podcast production is the ability to leverage existing resources. The recording studios, sound engineers, and equipment used for music and post production can be repurposed for podcast creation. Podcast production opens up new revenue streams for businesses. Companies can explore sponsorship opportunities, advertising, and partnerships within the podcasting space. With the right content and marketing strategy, podcasts can attract a dedicated audience, making them an attractive platform for advertisers seeking to reach specific demographics.
Podcasting is an ever-evolving medium, with new formats and technologies continually emerging. Embracing innovation in content creation, distribution, and audience engagement is vital for long-term success. Voxpod are a good example of this with their Voxpod remote service. As well as remote podcasting, innovation could include experimenting with interactive elements, virtual reality, or exploring niche topics that cater to specific audiences.
In conclusion, the transition from other forms of audio production to podcast production is a strategic move that aligns with changing consumer behaviors and preferences. By capitalizing on existing resources, skills, and creativity, existing audio production businesses can seamlessly enter the podcasting space, opening up new opportunities for growth and diversification. As the podcasting industry continues to flourish, those who adapt and innovate stand to create a harmonious blend of music and spoken-word content, captivating audiences in this dynamic audio landscape. Perhaps speech truly is the new rock and roll.