15.16.17 SET‘21


Podcasts as marketing tools

June 8, 2020 MIL URL talks


Can podcasts be marketing tools for artists?

There’s a prominent trend that’s been happening over the past years, that podcasts are becoming important vehicles for the creation of micro-communities of fans and these are creating connections between those who listen and those who speak.

This was how Josh Greenberg, creative strategist and CEO of Green Mountain Lodge, kicked off the online panel on Zoom about podcasts as marketing tools.

The conversation that was supposed to take place at MIL 2020 was moderated by Josh and brought together Emily Gonneau, co-founder of Nüagency and La Nouvelle Onde, where she hosts an eponymous podcast focusing on the French music industry, Rodrigo Nogueira, Portuguese cultural journalist and host of Até tenho amigos que são podcast, and Xavier Filliol, COO of global radio provider Radioline. For about an hour, the 4 intervenients discussed the growing popularity of the format and how it can be a great vehicle for establishing with fan communities.


As Xavier put it, podcasts had a slow start, being that it started almost a decade ago and all of a sudden exploded. But what is it that is so appealing to this format? From the point of view of a listener, Rodrigo Nogueira, who was drawn to podcasts after listening to WTF with Marc Maron, enjoys the ability to have long conversations with highs and lows. Xavier reinforces this idea, affirming that the talk is the main engine of a podcast, while Emily likes the focus on sound and its accessibility: like music, you can do many things at the same time while listening to it.


When it comes to creating your own podcast, there are many things that must be taken into account before introducing this content into an overall communication strategy. Both Xavier and Emily note the deep involvement it requires, leading Emily to take into account the notion of scarcity. As a means of expression, on podcasts artists should also differentiate themselves in order to succeed. But are artists and labels investing in podcasts successfully? The unanimous call is that, at least in Europe, it is not yet a common getaway for artists, even though major labels have expressed their interest in it. However, the rare cases are worth following: Emily mentions #YTALK, a podcast launched recently by french artist Yseult where she welcomes everyone into her bedroom to speak about intimate issues such as her body, mental health, and such. Rodrigo referred the only case he knows in Portugal: Às Três Pancadas created by MC Sam The Kid, Sir Scratch and João Moura where they interview hip-hop artists and producers.


As it is the case with many other digital formats, there is a huge gap concerning licensing in podcast. Is the lack of knowledge about licensing a barrier to success for podcasts? The complexity surrounding this topic is as confusing as it seems because of the multiplicity of types of podcasts – some are just conversations, some play music of others and some play music of their own. In some cases, there are musical performances inside a podcast. Xavier Filliol notes the need to have different kinds of licensing and registrations to each case and not only just one, which is the case in France. This is an issue being thoroughly discussed with the country’s author’s society and GESTE, the organisation of publishers and content creators.


The intervenients note that Apple Podcast and Spotify are the services most used to listen to podcasts, while mobile and desktop are the most common devices, which reinforces the mobility aspect surrounding this kind of content. Emily notes an interesting fact: with the pandemic, podcast listening went down when the lockdown began as opposed to the radio, especially information channels. Later in time, this tendency was inverted, meaning that podcast consumption evolved during this time the same way music consumption did.

Podcast Listening Trends During the Pandemic / Source: Voxnest


The million-dollar question: what determines success for podcasting? Podcasts allow for artists to present an extension of the persona they present on stage in a way that might feel more “authentic”, or at least one that feels less fabricated. Rodrigo enjoys that podcasts allow people to not necessarily talk about what they’re promoting and just have spontaneous conversations. Xavier agrees: It’s something that should feel very natural or else it’s not worth it. And while it is a good medium to engage with fans on a deeper level, Emily points out the importance of setting goals first within an overall marketing strategyto see if it actually brings something new to the table. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only doing it, if it’s not good enough, it might not work that well for you.

All things considered, one might say to just go ahead and do it.

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