microphone podcast

Podcasting’s Next Frontier: A Manifesto For Growth

Just two weeks ago Edison Research’s Senior Vice President Tom Webster was at the world’s largest gathering of podcasters, Podcast Movement 2018, in Philadelphia. Tom’s keynote address, Podcasting’s Next Frontier: 100 Million Listeners, shed light on the gap between the awareness of the term “podcasting” and the actual listening behavior of American adults.

While 64% of Americans aged 18+ (180 million) say they are familiar with the term “podcasting,” only 17% (48 million) have listened to a podcast in the last week.

In the wake of Podcast Movement 2018, Tom has published a must-read piece that specifically addresses steps that the industry should recognize and take to increase consumption of podcasts.

What follows is, by Tom’s own admission, a long article. We believe it is well worth your time to read it — to see the charts — to watch the video of people who have never listened to a podcast. Podcasting’s Next Frontier: A Manifesto For Growth examines the state of podcasting and the steps needed to achieve growth.

Click here to read Podcasting’s Next Frontier: A Manifesto For Growth

 

The Next Frontier in Podcasting: 100 Million Listeners

Edison Research’s Senior Vice President Tom Webster presented a keynote address, The Next Frontier in Podcasting: 100 Million Listeners, at the 2018 Podcast Movement conference in Philadelphia last week. Podcast Movement is the world’s largest gathering of podcasters, and attendees were the first to hear the results of new research from Edison on consumers who are familiar with the term “podcasting” but have never listened to a podcast.

The number of Americans who are familiar with the term “podcasting” has dramatically increased in the past several years, but there are far fewer people who actually listen.

  • 64% of Americans aged 18+, a total of 180 million people, are familiar with the term “podcasting” in 2018. That’s up from 22% in 2006.
  • The number of people who actually listened to a podcast in the last week is significantly smaller than those who are familiar with the term. Only 17% of Americans aged 18+, a total of 48 million people, in 2018 have listened to a podcast in the last week.

The key to moving from 48 million weekly podcast listeners to the 100 million mark is understanding why those people familiar with the term “podcasting” have never listened.

 

Some of the reasons uncovered are actual barriers, such as not understanding how to listen to a podcast, and some are perceived barriers, such as the belief that podcasts use a great deal of a phone’s data.

Thirty-seven percent of those who are familiar with the term “podcasting” but have never listened, say they don’t really understand what a podcast is, and almost half say they are not sure how to listen to a podcast.

 

 

Despite the fact that many smartphones in the U.S. have pre-installed podcast apps, 80% of those who have never listened to a podcast believe that they don’t have a podcast app. In addition to perceived barriers with hardware when it comes to podcasts, there are misperceptions about the amount of data a podcast might use. Sixty-two percent say that listening to podcasts can use up a lot of their phone’s data plan.

The research was conducted with a sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+, using an online survey. All respondents were familiar with podcasting. The data was weighted toThe Infinite Dial , the longest-running study of consumer usage of media and technology from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

Podcasting’s Next Frontier: 100 Million Listeners. Podcast Movement Keynote

Edison Research, the leading research company in digital audio, will be unveiling the results of a new study on Podcasting in a keynote address on July 24 at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia, PA. “Podcasting’s Next Frontier: 100 Million Listeners”, presented by Edison’s Senior Vice President Tom Webster, will provide a research-based road map for the podcasting industry to grow audience and increase exposure to podcasts.

Edison has been researching Podcasting for over 13 years, and has produced the industry’s leading research reports, including The Infinite Dial (in partnership with Triton Digital) and the annual Podcast Consumer report. This year, Edison will provide Podcast Movement attendees with a look at the tens of millions of Americans who say they know what podcasting is, but haven’t (yet) become regular listeners to the medium. The presentation will include all new qualitative and quantitative research, along with some definitive action steps for attendees to start increasing their audience immediately.

“We are thrilled to once again be given the keynote stage at Podcast Movement, which has really become the premier event in the space,” said Tom Webster, Edison’s Senior Vice President. “It has been our great privilege to serve the podcast industry for the last 13 years, and we are committed to providing podcast producers with the highest quality information and insights to prepare them for the future.”

“Podcasting’s Next Frontier: 100 Million Listeners” will be delivered at 3:15 p.m. on July 24 at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia, and the underlying research will be released on July 25.

Click here to register for Podcast Movement 2018 

 

About Edison Research

Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of commercial clients, governments and NGOs, including AMC Theatres, The Brookings Institute, Disney, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, SiriusXM Radio, and Univision Communications. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.  Edison conducts more than 100,000 interviews in a single day for this project. For the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.

Closing the Gap Between Podcast Awareness and Listening — RadioDays Europe 2018

Tom Webster, Senior VP at Edison Research, was scheduled to speak at Radiodays Europe Podcast Day in Cophenhagen, Denmark, earlier this week. Unfortunately, the best-laid travel plans were not enough to get Tom past the travel hurdles and to the conference. Fortunately, we have a video of Tom’s presentation on podcasting that was viewed at Radiodays Europe Podcast Day 2018.

Highlights: Sixty-four percent of the U.S. is familiar with the term “podcasting,” whether or not they truly understand what podcasting is or why they would want to listen to a podcast.

Only 26% of those in the U.S. say they have actually listened to a podcast in the last month, and 17% in the past week. The numbers for Canada and Australia show similarly low ratios.

Tom identifies four areas that can close the gap between a high awareness and a low listening level, and #3 and #4 are within your control:

  1. Expansion of podcasting space beyond iPhone/Apple-centric models to include Android users
  2. Increased adoption of podcasting by major music streaming platforms
  3. Create content for more mass appeal
  4. Teach people what a podcast is, how to get it, and why they want it

 

 

 

 

Fixing Podcasting’s Music Problem

When I speak to audiences of podcasters, I often joke that if you feature licensed music on your podcast, a lawyer will shoot you in the face. Well, this week I got to speak in front of a room full of the people that ordered the hit: music industry executives. I was given the honor of keynoting the Podcasting Track at this year’s MusicBiz 2018 in Nashville. Given how little these two universes intersect in practice, I felt like I was giving a keynote extolling the virtues of beef to VeganCon 2018.

Now, there have always been music podcasts; they’re just difficult. I started listening to music podcasts all the way back in 2005, with Brian Ibbott’s Coverville and my friend Chris McDonald’s Indiefeed . In their cases, they had to individually clear the rights of every song. Today, there are some very popular music podcasts–but they often come directly from labels or artists who can successfully clear and/or monetize licensed music. I listen to Group Therapy and Anjunadeep Editions every single week, which are shows produced by the labels that own much of the music featured. Music podcasts could and should be successful–-according to Edison’s quarterly Share of Ear® research, we spend 77% of our time listening to music, and 23% to spoken word audio. But there is no clear path for the average podcast producer to include licensed music on podcasts.

There is still a lot of confusion out there amongst podcasters about using licensed music. Nearly every day in the various Facebook podcasting groups I belong to, I see someone claiming that it’s OK to include that Imagine Dragons song in their show, because it’s “fair use.” Fair Use is a legal term, not a general sense of fairness, and let me tell you–there is almost NOTHING you can think of in terms of podcasting licensed music that is considered Fair Use. For clarity on these matters, I always rely on the sound legal judgement of my friend David Oxenford, who summarizes the main issues succinctly here. TL;DR–see “Face, Shooting in the.”

Here’s the thing: back when podcasting was a Rube Goldbergian system of pulleys and gears to download a file and sync it with your Shuffle, podcasting music was essentially like printing your own CD’s–which means paying every royalty you could think of. But things have changed, both in music and in podcasting. Spotify Mobile lets you cache songs, which is functionally like downloading them, since you can “keep” them as long as you are a subscriber. More importantly, Both Spotify and Pandora are ramping up their podcast content, and Spotify is already claiming a spot as one of the leading podcast clients after the Apple ecosystem. There’s nothing “downloaded” about a podcast from Pandora and Spotify–it’s functionally streamed, just like the music. There’s not much that makes a show on these streaming services a “podcast” other than saying it is a podcast. Tech has changed, and with it so has the relevance of some of the various rights and licenses surrounding the performance of music.

Given those changes, it’s time for the music industry to change, too. With a simple, blanket license for podcasting that isn’t too onerous, the labels could print free money. If that isn’t impetus enough, consider the stat I posted earlier that we spend 77% of our time listening to music, and 23% spoken word. If the streaming services become more and more important to the podcasting space (and I believe they will), that means the labels will theoretically take a 23% haircut from the royalties the streaming services pay them, as some of the time formerly spent listening to licensed music shifts to podcasts. And that is if we believe that 77/23 is static. In four years, Podcasting has doubled its Share of Ear from 2% of all audio consumed to 4%. That is remarkable growth. To date, that growth has come from a shifting of the spoken word pie, but it’s not hard to see time spent with podcasts encroaching on music as well.

What all of this means is that figuring out a simple way to license music for podcasts is a win-win for everyone involved. Lowering the barriers here will result in more music, more royalties, and better podcasts! I can tell you from experience–doing a music podcast without actually being able to play music is like ordering the tasting menu at Gotham and spending the rest of the night having the dishes described to you in detail but not actually served.

And for my fellow podcasters, you want this to happen. Being legally impaired against frictionless use of music in podcasts locks you out of the earbuds of millions of Americans. Fix this, and watch podcasting explode. I was encouraged by the reception I got at MusicBiz on the topic. Let’s find a way in the next few years to stop the shootings.