23 Jul Casting Call For All Pods
Any role at any technology related company will require you to be an early adopter. You need to know about new tech before it makes its way through the grapevine and embeds itself into the lives of every tween, teen, and teenybopper. When I applied for my role at a tech startup I thought I was an early adopter, and to a certain point I was. My only problem was that as an early adopter in the current generation of new tech, I had completely avoided all the previous generations. So when my boss recommended I listen to podcasts for content inspiration, my immediate reaction was to cock my head to the side and wrinkle my nose in complete befuddlement. Not only were podcasts unbelievably geeky, but how were middle aged men talking about computer processors and StarWars going to help me stay on top of my game?
In hindsight, I was ridiculously stereotypical and very prejudice. I had never listened to a podcast and i’d never even considered it because I thought they were dead. I thought that only a niche group of people (like 5 people) were making and listening to them. If I was any further away from the truth I’d have to pack my bags and move to a new galaxy.
Before tucking into my very generous slice of humble pie I should probably add at this point that murder documentaries have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I stay up every night watching them until I’m paranoid to the bone and go to bed convinced that I won’t wake up. So when my boss recommended that I listen to Serial before embarking on a podcast journey, I was sold.
Having binged on Serial and listened to the whole series in less than a day, I couldn’t get enough. Within those 24 hours a giant hole in my world was created and filled with this podcast. When it was over I knew I needed sustenance, so I did a quick Google check to see what other podcasts were popular. I no longer listen to music. As far as i’m concerned, it is music that’s dead now.
I’m not going to regurgitate what the rest of the internet is saying and tell you that it was Serial that was the game changer for podcasts, and I won’t make a listicle of podcasts you should listen to. However, I want to understand why they’re so great and why they’ve become a staple ingredient in our entertainment diets.
First of all, for anyone looking to produce a podcast, there is a low barrier to entry. Anyone with great ideas, a laptop, a microphone, and audio editing software can enter the market. This leads me to my second point, expenses for content producers are relatively low compared to other forms of media which is why podcasts are free for listeners!
Mobile and on-demand
Unlike reading blog posts or watching a video, to listen to a podcast you don’t need to remain still in front of a screen. You can multi task whilst absorbing great information. Yes, blog posts and videos are also on-demand but would you be able to read or watch a video whilst you’re driving without endangering both yourself and others? This is exactly why podcasts are so unique.
One of my favourite parts of binging on Netflix TV shows is that I don’t need to go through the hassle of clicking around to find the next episode. Once an episode is finished, Netflix will load up the next episode without you needing to leave your cocoon of a blanket. Podcasts, also offer this same level of efficiency as episodes that have been listened to will be deleted from your app with a new one downloaded and waiting.
85% of total podcast downloads come through the iTunes store and because of the global reach of Apple, you can download and listen to podcasts almost anywhere in the world. If you’re unable to connect to the internet, feel free to download ahead of time and listen when you please.
Just because any and everyone can make a podcast doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all of good quality. However, the abundance of producers and listeners equates to a large amount of training material. Dan Benjamin has even created a great podcast about making podcasts whilst Alex Blumberg offers a video class that can help viewers “learn how to tell powerful, [and] memorable stories through audio”. These resources are just some of the content out there that are helping raise the quality of even the most amateur podcasts.
It was the surge of professional radio producers entering the podcast market in 2014 that created a huge influx of new listeners like me. Viral podcast series Serial is a spin-off from the equally viral This American Life. These masters of the audio world saw storytelling as the future of podcasts, and sure enough it was. This new format has not only raised the number of people listening to podcasts, but they have changed the demographic as more and more women are tuning in. Lena Dunham, writer and actor in popular TV show Girls, included This American Life in an episode of her series. Whilst Khloe Kardashian created her own podcast, it was hardly a success but it introduced advocates of popular culture to this once geeky and male dominated entertainment format.
Podcasts are slowly becoming the sandwiches of our entertainment diets: they’re portable, on demand, everywhere, customisable, and whilst some are fantastic, others aren’t so great. But that’s ok because there are plenty of sandwich making recipes out there. So what’s the future of our entertainment sandwich?
Rumour has it that both Apple and Google are currently trying to sign deals with automotive manufacturers to get their systems into cars and onto dashboards. Soon enough we’ll be welcoming Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into our lives, and both these systems will be backing the podcast’s journey to ubiquity.
What do you think the future holds for podcasts? Are you listening to a podcast and feel like you’re the only one listening to it? Tweet us at @SwipeStation and let us know, we’d love to discover new content.