The last couple of years have been dramatic, to say the least. As the new year comes into effect, it’s safe to say many individuals would like to keep 2020 a distant memory. Through the horrible year of job losses and the isolation of the pandemic, many streaming outlets have increased in performance, especially through podcasts.
A podcast is a digital audio file made for consumption through the internet for downloading in form of a series or various episodes.
Podcasts range in content but mainly centre on the spoken word (conversation). Mainstream podcasts consist of two or more people discussing topics such as reality TV, music, aliens, and even veganism.
With listeners gravitating to various subjects, podcasts could be about anything! As global society becomes more aware of political and social issues, podcasts have also become a beacon of reliable sources and information.
With the consumer strength and power of the spoken word, could music be fading in the background?
Your Brain Will Thank You!
Podcasts and music both show mental health benefits in various ways. A study conducted by Frontiers in Psychology discovered that high tempo music can inspire individuals to push themselves to exercise more efficiently, allowing them to maintain their stamina. Podcasts show a different type of benefit.
A study discussed on the podcast Freakonomics formulated positive outlooks on the correlation between the brain and podcast listening.
Jack Gallant, a computational and cognitive neuroscientist, proclaimed that listening to various forms of storytelling creates a large amount of activation in the cranium. Podcasts could be a strong functional source of energy.
Podcasts additionally are more focused on information consumption and, as we visualise the content, it requires a high degree of active listening. Through the positive outcomes of both entities, these artistic offsprings still can be mortal enemies.
The Streaming Race
The streaming world has been declared the future of music. Many music industry professionals believe that there will be more than a billion music streaming subscribers globally by 2030.
However, according to RollingStone.com, 2019 began to notice a decrease in streaming revenue growth from Universal Music Group.
As the pandemic caused streaming content to rise, companies such as Spotify have not limited themselves to just musical content and has morphed into a more advanced service due to the popularizing of podcasts.
With $400 million invested in podcast content and distribution companies, Spotify may have tapped into a growing consumer market. Should music be afraid of the growing podcast market?
The worry would come more from the artists rather than the streaming sites. Spotify has researched that podcasts are more cost-efficient. Music played through streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify must be paid out through music royalties, whereas podcasts (through these services) require $0 royalties.
The more podcasts play, the more money the streaming services keep.
A scary prediction for artists could be that the growing desire for spoken content could prompt streaming services to encourage their customers to listen to less music. Rolling Stones.com further predicts that more than 20% of all listening on Spotify will be non-music content.
A study conducted by NPR additionally investigated the listening habits of US citizens. The study of 4,000 (13+) individuals concluded that Americans listen (on average) to four hours of music, podcasts, and radio daily.
To be frank, I use to hate podcasts! As my family took long road trips in my adolescent years, my memories of podcasts would put me in an uncomfortable sleep in the backseat of my parent’s van. I could not comprehend the fascination my parents had in long hours of radio conversation. In recent years my hate for podcasts developed into a smooth simmer. Distinct podcasts such as funny, comedic spoken word content entice me.
My favorite podcast Sibling Rivalry with RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, Bob the Drag Queen and Monet X Change, never disappoints to tickle my funny bone.
Every week, content is released on YouTube which builds an entertaining weekly routine that I look forward to. Similar to musical content, the podcast also builds a strong micro-community of listeners that share commonalities from various walks of life.
As a musician, it does flush a sea of worry within my artistic nature as music content fades to a close second on streaming services. The love-hate relationship between artists and streaming sites may continue to battle in a toxic artistic war if companies such as Spotify and Apple Music begin to favour spoken word content more than their original musical breadwinners.
Nonetheless, music will continue to serve as an important part of people’s lives. Music will never fade.
Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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