Podcasts advertisements are a sign of how the podcast industry has been flourishing, especially during the time of this pandemic, and as the pandemic continues, passionate groups are hitting the podcast world.
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“… that’s pretty much what Off the script with Salil is. You have never heard them before like this and I doubt you ever will. Streaming now on Spotify originals!”
If you are a regular, avid (even if sadly an unsubscribed) user of Spotify, you must be tired of listening to this, and other such advertisements popping up, and ruining the whole music experience. By now, you must have noticed how every other week various actors, stand-up comics, social media influencers, singers are either promoting their podcasts or featuring in such advertisements on Spotify.
Podcasts advertisements are a sign of how the podcast industry has been flourishing, especially during the time of this pandemic, when everyone is working from home and isolating. Various applications platforming podcasts have seen a rise in their user and podcasts streaming rates. Whilst, Spotify has seen a 29 percent increase in their monthly active users with around 299 million monthly active users, IVM (Indus Vox Media) podcasts witnessed an increase of 125% in consumption of some of its content, and Aawaz.com has seen about 18 to 22 percent increase in their listenership.
So what makes podcasts so popular? Podcasts by nature are an attractive medium to explore, discover, and learn new things, without having to read upon much. Often they encourage one to traverse the area of interest even more. Apart from cutting down the screen engagement time, it is also compatible with our daily life routine as one could hook on to a podcast while carrying their daily (and often mundane) household chores. Podcasts are often not only free from language barriers, as they provides content in languages like English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu etc. but above all, they provides content from wide genres: education, entertainment, politics, mythology, languages, comedy and more! That means that it has content to offer for every type and mood.
If I were to take up one genre that really upped the game in the podcast industry, it is the education and news-politics genre. There are big names and players adopting the podcast medium to reach to a wider audience. And, for me it has to be EPW’s Research Radio. EPW (Economic and Political Weekly) being one of the oldest and trustworthy journals among the Indian academia, coming on to platform like Spotify and starting up a weekly podcast series could be seen as a great step forward in the India academia.
These podcasts are based on the insights that the academicians have published in the journal. Listening to an audio version of an article which could have only been accessed through a paid subscription almost gives a feeling of attending a conference or lecture in the university. The only exception lies here, or I would say an advantage, is that one can pause, rewind, make notes at one’s own convenience and, could also be multitasking! That’s not all, if one is able to find an almost audio version of research papers, one is also able to venture into the insights of the academicians which might not be available in printed formats. This is possible precisely because the podcasts are more like discussions flowing freely from both the ends.
Other podcasts which are on my list, regularly pushing great informative and educational content in the world of podcasts are: Online Gods, Polis Project, J-POD, and the Brown History Project.
As the pandemic continues, there are still passionate groups who are hitting the podcast world on various applications. Keeping the exponential vitality of the podcasts in mind, it would be interesting to see how it could change the various fields it has intersected with.
The views expressed are the author’s and do not reflect the views of DEF.
Sana Alam is Research and Advocacy Officer at Digital Empowerment Foundation. When she is not analysing the various intersections between society and the technology, she enjoys painting t-shirts, and listening non-stop to podcasts.