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Welcome in and happy new year.
I don't think those three words have ever carried more weight than they do now. Happy new year, finally, glad to be gone of 2020 and into 2021. I thought we would take a look today at what to expect in the upcoming year, in terms of podcasting, from some very smart people, as well as me. Podcasting is obviously getting so much bigger. Monthly podcasting went over a hundred million American adults this year. And that was before the pandemic. It's only grown since.
In terms of technology, the pandemic did pause things. We all kind of scattered in March, but then came back. Desktop listening ticked up as more people were at home overall. Listening shifted a little bit later into the morning as we started getting up later and not having commutes in our cars and forming new routines. Now, some people went back to work and got into old routines. Some people adapted new routines,
Another pandemic technology effect: grandparents are now on Zoom and FaceTime and so much more, which means more people have access to podcasts. It also means that more people are creating podcasts. We went over a million podcasts in 2020, and at our current pace, we'll hit 2 million in 2021. Now the key is going to be quality. Anybody can create a podcast, but it could have mediocre content or mediocre audio quality. The key is, the cream will rise to the top if your content and your audio quality are both on point. Nick Hilton has a nice piece on making tech more accessible in Medium. https://medium.com/pod-culture/podcasting-in-2020-the-audit-9b5d495a4b3a
Also, look at shorter shows. Increasingly in our on-demand world, more online content is competing for our attention. It is much better to be too short than too long with your show. Leave your audience wanting more.
Advertising is going to be a very fascinating piece of podcasting come 2021. It was forecast that podcast advertising overall would hit $1 billion in 2020, and it would have had not been for the pandemic. So in 2021 podcast advertising, we're definitely going to hit that $1 billion mark. Now, top tier shows are starting to hit a saturation point. Bank of America, and McDonald's combined dropped $3.5 million on podcasting in the month of just November alone.
Now, Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane tells Podcast Business Journal that what he calls "second tier shows" are going to start seeing some spillover, with more of those advertisers buying second tier shows. He means shows that are between 1,000 and 20,000 downloads per episode. https://podcastbusinessjournal.com/8150-2/
Dynamic Ad Insertion in Podcasts
Something to keep in mind in 2021 is dynamic ad insertion or targeted advertising. The industry is getting better at sending custom ads to you based on your location, your interest, and more. For example, not in podcasting, but I have YouTube TV for cable and I'm getting targeted ads based on whatever my wife and I talked about that day. Little creepy and privacy concerns are starting to grow. Should you opt in? Should you opt out? In California and in Europe people need to opt in to tracking cookies, as opposed to opting out. So it's going to be interesting to see how technology and privacy come into conflict with each other, and if we get any kind of resolution for that across the industry in 2021.
Something that's been asked about a lot in podcasts, is including copyrighted music. Prior to 2020, the answer was no, absolutely no, a thousand percent no, you cannot use copyrighted music in your podcasts. However, with Spotify's massive growth in the space, including their purchase of Anchor, they are now allowing you to put certain copyrighted songs in your podcast. The system's a little wonky. It has some kinks to work out, but this could position Spotify as an industry leader in 2021. If they have access to those music rights for artists, people can use their songs in podcasts and the artists can get paid. So that could be a big point of focus to watch in 2021.
Diversity in Podcasting
Podcast movement looked a lot more diverse in 2019 than it did in 2018. A lot of new faces, which was great. Podcast movement of course, was online only this year. It was virtual and there were a ton of hosts all over the world doing presentations. So, yes, we're seeing more American voices, especially with the racial reckoning we've seen this year, so many podcasts related to that. But we're also seeing more voices from more countries, English may not be the dominant podcast language for long.
The Big Podcast Companies
The biggest thing(s) I'm watching in podcasting are the big names. Spotify, as I mentioned, is on fire. They purchased Anchor and a whole bunch of other platforms in their own vertical. Apple is still the dominant one in the space, but they've gotten kind of fat and lazy. So I'll be curious to see what Apple does for their podcasting come 2021- maybe more integrations to Apple TV and seeing where that goes. But Spotify is gaining ground quickly. Google finally is getting their act together. The Google Play platform is dead for podcasts. Please do not direct your listeners to Google Play or have a link that goes to Google Play. It is now Google Podcasts, on desktop Android, and iOS apps. Google podcasts is the right term for those.
iHeartRadio the biggest radio owner in the country, is no longer as interested in radio. They are interested in podcasting. If you don't believe me (I've talked about this in previous episodes), they have cut a ton of radio staff this year while purchasing different podcast platforms. In 2021, they are going to be a digital company first and a radio company a distant second. So keep an eye on them.
The big one to watch though in 2021 is going to be Amazon. Amazon Prime of course had a massive year with people getting stuff delivered all the time, not leaving their homes. There's Alexa integration, and now there's Amazon music for podcasts. You can listen to your podcast on Amazon Music. You can submit your podcasts, Amazon Music, and Amazon also has integrated their Audible platform to listen to podcasts as well. So Amazon, as massive as they are as huge 2020 as they had, look out for them in 2021. They may become a top five player or a top three player in 2021.
And finally, a little Easter egg for you. Everybody's talking about that Pixar movie Soul. My wife and I watched it the other night. If you like Pixar movies, it was of course great. There is a Spotify exclusive podcast called Soul Stories. They talked to John Batiste and Trent Reznor who worked on the score and the music of the movie. Yes. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. They also talked to actors that were in the movie, like Jamie Foxx and Angela Bassett as a Spotify exclusive. So see what platforms have platform exclusive podcasts in 2021.
As always. stay healthy, stay safe. If you made it this far and you're here in 2021, you're doing all right.
Find JAG on social media at JAG in Detroit. Or on the web at JAGinDetroit.com.