4 Reasons Why African Musicians Should Care About Podcasts
Podcasting has finally announced itself as a mainstay in digital media having grown from strength to strength over the last decade or so. Podcast genres are limitless but today let’s focus on music podcasts and particularly why they should be of interest to African musicians, established and upcoming.
1. The Way People Consume Music Is Changing
The dynamics surrounding radio have been changing since podcasts started around 12 years ago. FM/AM radio has been losing listeners for years. With the way life is set up these days, people are busy, very busy. This means that less and less people are tuning in to their favourite FM/AM radio station at 6.45pm to listen to their favourite show for 3 hours every day. Even less are tuning into radio all day hoping to possibly catch their favourite song along the way.
Instead, they are opting to plug in their earphones and play their favourite podcast from iTunes, iono.fm, TuneIn, PlayerFM, Google Play Podcasts etc while at work, the gym or on the go. That is what Podcasts are; on demand radio. Likewise on demand services such as YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify are becoming the default ways young people consume music. They listen to what they want, when they want. Podcasts are the new radio shows that facilitate people to listen on their own terms. The consumer holds the power these days; that’s your fans. Podcasts give them the ability to fast forward, rewind, save for later and more, something Radio cannot do. Oh, and people hate those annoying ads on radio. Honestly. This is exactly why podcasts are becoming popular. Who still owns a radio which is not in their car nowadays anyway? Where do you want to be as an African musician when the tide fully shifts?
2. Podcasting is the new Blogging
Blogs have been major drivers of music hype and news for African musicians for years now and continue to be a strong vehicle for marketing. Where bloggers would spend hours writing articles about you, your music or album, these days podcasts are doing that. In terms of content marketing which any good musician’s manager should know, podcasts are the new blogging and the blogging of the future. This is particularly important because the world is changing fast in how it consumes media - this includes music as stated in Point #1.
As an African musician, the same way you want the trendiest blogs to write about you and your projects to reach their audience, is the same way you want the hottest podcasts to review your projects and play your music. In the near future podcasts and vlogs will be the platforms pulling the most traffic on the internet and possibly off it. There are some fantastic African music podcasts out there like AfroPop Worldwide, Moto Moto, South African Music Show and more that are promoting African music using new avenues to reach the wider market. Traditional forms of marketing music are making way for new ones and you want to reach your fans faster, easier and efficiently. Musicians like any business, should innovate.
3. The Corporates Have Realised The Value of Podcasts
Large businesses all over the world are producing high-quality podcasts as a marketing vehicle for their organizations. They are also investing in podcasts more than ever before. Musicians always rely on corporates to chip in with funding and endorsements. If these large businesses are creating and supporting podcasts as marketing vehicles, it means that they are LISTENING to podcasts as well. They also know their value and what they can do from a business perspective. As an African musician, getting your songs on podcasts and interviewing is a way to market your brand to stay ahead of the curve. Who knows who might pick up on it?
4. African Music Is No Longer for Consumption Only Within Africa
Millions of Africans live and work overseas. This is why artists such as Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Jah Prayzah, Cassper Nyovest, Diamond Platnumz and more are always travelling overseas each year to do shows. If those musicians had refused to embrace technology, engage on social media and commanded that their music only be played on radio while fans can only access physical CDs, they wouldn’t be where they are. Part of their success owes to keeping abreast with technology and exporting their music via the internet to reach the overseas markets. A lot of those overseas fans are technologically savvy and adopt new forms of media fairly quickly. They listen to podcasts. Most of the artists are making money from the strength, relevance and recognition of their brands, not particularly from music sales. Podcasts come in to collate and playlist the best music and create relationships with the fans which in turn increases and reinforces brand equity for the musicians.
It’s up to you as an African artist to get on it now, or get left behind.