The IAB Podcast Upfront Promises a Diverse Future


PodMov Daily: Monday, May 17

Episode 430: Your Monday Mix

The IAB Podcast Upfront Promises a Diverse Future

Diverse voices took center stage at last week’s IAB Podcast Upfront, writes Sara Guaglione of Digiday. Growing ad revenue was far from the only focus: Of approximately 30 presenting companies, most “signaled they had or were going to add more diversity to their programming, both in hosts and content.”

IAB CEO David Cohen reported that 43% of podcast listeners in the United States are non-white. “[Podcast] content is increasingly reflecting the audiences that make up America,” said the organization’s Media Center VP. A directory of minority-made diverse publisher creators is currently in development.

More women, people of color and LGBTQ+ people took part in programming this year, Guaglione observes. Large announcements included BET’s podcasting plans and a new Latinx initiative from iHeartMedia. My Cultura Podcast Network is expected to grow from six to 30 shows between July 2021 and 2022.

For Podcasters, Music Affordability is Spotify Exclusive 

Spotify-exclusive “shows with music” dance around copyright constraints in a way no other podcasts can, writes Reggie Ugwu of The New York Times. He characterizes the blend as an “arranged marriage” between podcasts and music that takes a novel approach to one of the industry’s oldest problems.

“The format, designed to exploit Spotify’s existing deals with music companies, isn’t compatible with other platforms,” Ugwu explains. Shows like Black Girl Songbook and 60 Songs That Explain the ’90s are packed with full songs that would be practically and financially impossible to license anywhere else. 

To compete, music podcasters have little choice but Spotify exclusivity. Individual licensing costs, which “can range from $500 to $6,000 per use, add up quickly.” According to a music clearance expert, DIY creators have to choose “whether or not [that song is] worth the few dollars they have in their budget.”

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Narrow lead: No one’s podcast, not even Seth Rogen’s, is for “everybody,” says Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. If you view your content as universal, lose the tunnel vision. The most valuable exercise is to “get some real clarity on just who ‘everybody’ really is — it's people like you.”
  • Over with: Fixing audio issues during recording, not ‘in post,’ can save podcasters significant time. For The Podcast Host, sound designer Matthew Boudreau offers troubleshooting for problems like distortions and interference. “Sound recording is a garbage in, garbage out process.”
  • Nailed it: What makes an audio translation ‘work’? For Bello Collective, Clizia Sala gathered advice from multilingual production experts. “Relatability, adaptation rather than translation, and a culture-specific tone are three main ingredients for a successful multilingual podcast.”
  • Small lesson: Congratulations to the six teams chosen for the Ready To Learn Podcast Accelerator. The Brooklyn-based creators of Book Adventures and others will receive support to develop educational content for children ages 4-8. Pilot shows may be distributed by PBS KIDS.

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