The Rise of Audio Content
The signs of impending change are everywhere – big tech is making big investments and consumer behavior is gobbling it up. The topic of this article lies in the common ground between the music industry and content marketing that seems to grow deeper every day.
Audio content – be it hi-res audiophile-quality music recordings, or spoken-word content like podcasts is gaining traction in a big way. We’re going to dive into the green part of the blue and yellow Venn diagram that is content and music marketing and explore how record labels and music publishers can be ready to ride the wave.
Hi-Res Audio Content – The Year of the Ear
One of the newer developments in the audio world is the investments being made by big tech companies such as Amazon and Spotify. They have been beefing up their audio capabilities in order to provide users with hi-res audio content.
For music industry professionals this offers more channels for making streaming revenue, though it is difficult to say how this might affect those niches that are built around particular formats.
One example would be of Jamaican roots, dub and electronic bass music, where vinyl test-pressings known as dubs are fundamental to the culture. Producers send test pressings to various DJs. Crowd response and feedback drive which music is released, and that have served to keep artists in genres that subscribe to this culture fed.
Remember, until now hi-res content such as lossless, hi-res audio recordings was not to be found on streaming services. To find or sell lossless recordings or even hi-res physical copies, one had to either find a distributor, an online marketplace such as Bandcamp or go directly to the label or artist site.
For the consumer, this is more expensive, time-consuming and if they are going to go through this much effort – they are more likely to buy a different format like vinyl, which has been its own growth market.
This begs the question: What impact will hi-res streaming services have on that industry which has been slowly revived over the course of the past decade? We can only speculate at this point. We will have to wait and find out, however, there is another form of audio content that is making waves like no other.
Podcasts and the Power of the Spoken Word
Spoken word audio content has been around since ancient Greece. It was live, plays, shows and of course, the invention of the radio has now evolved into podcasts and live streams. It should come as no surprise that as streaming sites like Spotify have made a push towards podcasts and spoken word content that listenership is up.
What is somewhat surprising, however, is the speed and scale at which it has risen –users are spending about 30% more time listening to spoken word content. It was around 2017 when Spotify first began efforts to push podcasts with an announcement and exclusive shows. By 2018 it was available to everybody and in 2021 podcasting alone was forecast to be a $ 1 Billion industry. Insider Intelligence reports that the market is set to grow at an average of 10.1% year over year.
One of the great things about spoken-word audio content is that the listeners really get to know the creators. Even though performers – actors, musicians, celebrities, and creators may not be practicing their primary disciplines, the audience actually gets more engagement. There is a certain power to sitting down with your audience and having a conversation, a coffee or a hot wing.
That genuine connection cannot be ignored.
As a music industry professional it is time to start thinking about ways that you can use spoken-word audio content to enhance your brand. Some fairly obvious ideas are talk-show and radio-style formats for presenting music and artists, but there is always room for creativity.
Let’s think about a couple of other mediums that musicians have done in the past. Major Lazer had an animated show by the same name as the group, here is a list of 10 musicians who have written comic books – both of these ideas can be fairly easily reformatted to a podcast format, so you don’t need to become Narduar, Ed the Sock or George Strombolopolous just to put out spoken word content.
To speak of established professionals in the field – it is always worth collaborating. Marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily have to be direct to the consumer. Reaching out to podcast creators is an absolutely viable strategy for music businesses to reap the rewards of the market without starting from scratch. Of course, you get what you put in, so the best strategy for each business will be determined by individual circumstances.
Using the Tools Around You to Enter the Audio Market
Reprtoir is a platform that takes the guesswork and the disorganization out of your music business. You can manage entire catalogues, create playlists for businesses and manage all of your marketing assets – like audio files from one place. Get your free demo to see how you could use Reprtoir.