Spotify’s Podcasting Expansion

Yesterday’s StreamOn, a 90-minute presentation from Spotify extolled the virtues of its streaming audio world. Alongside digs at radio, music stores and the digital advertising market, Spotify positioned their platform as the perfect place for artists, podcasters, advertisers and listeners. Good news for all, except perhaps other middlemen.

The event covered a lot of ground – the expansion of its service to 80 more countries and 36 languages, HD audio, new advertising and promotional opportunities for music companies, more products for advertisers and a range of podcast initiatives, including a new Spotify Original podcast series with Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. I’ll be disappointed if neither does a Squarespace read.

On the podcasting front there’s a few interesting things for creators to think about.

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Global and Bauer’s Busy Week

Both Global and Bauer were newsworthy last week for some recent corporate developments. Global’s family owners have purchased a share of the US iHeartMedia and Bauer plan to remove Absolute Radio from the London FM airwaves, replacing it with their new station Greatest Hits Radio (GHR).

Bauer’s portfolio management continues to be ever-evolving. GHR replaced many heritage local radio stations late last year, building the network out to a significant size. It did, however, lack a sizeable outlet in London – historically important to ad agencies to demonstrate your station is a big player – as well as an opportunity to garner more audience.

This has been corrected with an application to Ofcom to swap out Absolute Radio from 105.8 and replace it with GHR.

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Are Your Listeners Just Button Pushers?

All radio stations are not created equal. Talent, content budgets, marketing, positioning, distribution, coverage and heritage all vary. For stations to grow, these elements have to exist in the right quantities, alongside a decent dollop of luck too.

Like anything, we often analyse failure but rarely interrogate success. We’re so relieved that something’s gone well, we just celebrate it. For disaster on the other hand, we have post-mortems, lessons learned and blame storming sessions. It seems that’s probably the wrong way round. Understanding why something works is probably significantly more valuable.

For a few years I had a standard section I trotted out when I went to speak at radio conferences around the world. It was a good ‘bit’ because pretty much every market in the world was the same, and audiences could (hopefully) relate to what as I was saying. I also got to have a bit of a go at the audience, always fun, before I then won them all back. Mostly.

The bit talked about how in the analogue world I felt that most stations had put way too much emphasis on their success coming from their programming, and less about how they were usually the monopoly provider of a format, sitting on a platform with virtually no competition. That perhaps really they weren’t the best at what they were doing, and just merely the least worst option.

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Why Clubhouse isn’t about audio

At the moment there’s a huge amount of buzz about Clubhouse, a new audio social network. Indeed there’s so much buzz, the recent investments (of around $100m) have made it worth (well, on paper at least) $1bn.

Personally, I’m still not particularly sold. I think Clubhouse has definitely done some interesting things, but I don’t think the ‘killer feature’ is much to do with audio.

So, what it is?

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