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LONDON — The new format of Podcast Day 24 — an in-person and online conference hosted from three locations around the world, with over 100 speakers across a 24-hour schedule — truly reflected the ambition and continued rapid growth of the global podcast sector. Guests across the day ranged from the stars of A1 The Show — a hip-hop “show with music” on Spotify in Australia; Knud Brix, Denmark’s number one podcaster hosting “Genstart” (Restart); to the hosts of Mexico’s “Leyendas Legendarias” (Legendary Legends).
The day opened in Australia, with a physical event held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal close to Sydney Harbour Bridge. Managing director of Podnews, James Cridland, welcomed attendees, noting it had been a long time since many in the room were part of an in-person conference. Cridland also thanked the ABC for its annual “Ozpod” events, which were, he said, “responsible in large part for the health of the podcasting industry in this country.”
Alongside the regular conference speakers, part of the day in Australia was set aside for “Upfronts” — a showcase for podcast networks to talk about their upcoming shows, activities and special projects to an assembled group of advertising agency guests. “Right now, in the rest of the world a live event isn’t possible,” said Peter Niegel from Podcast Day 24. “But for Australia this is an important opportunity for podcasters to meet and to showcase their podcast plans.”
At the end of the Australian day, the baton was passed to Rhianna Dhillon in London, hosting the European leg of the event. Speakers included Tolani Shoneye, Audrey Indome and Milena Sanchez — also known as The Receipts — who have taken their hit podcast from early commercial success onto the BBC, and to its new home as a Spotify exclusive.
Shoneye said they moved to Spotify for “money and freedom — there was something really nice there. They’ve allowed us to be The Receipts — they’re a really cool brand but they allowed us to stay us.” The team stressed a need for authenticity: “Audiences pick up on what’s genuine,” said Indome. “Talk about things you’re genuinely interested in — if you love what you talk about, that makes for good listening.” Meanwhile, for partnerships, Shoneye advised: “Say yes to the right thing for your brand and wait it out and do what feels right for your topic.”
Spotify’s head of podcasts for the United Kingdom and Ireland, James Cator, echoed the importance of a clear vision. Citing the platform’s successes alongside The Receipts such as “JaackMaate’s Happy Hour” and “Rose and Rosie: Parental Guidance,” he said: “All these people have an incredibly strong idea of who their audience is and how they communicate with them. Everything is about knowing your audience, who they are, where they are, how you’re going to reach them and speak to them. All the success stories we have are based off that.”
The hosts of the U.K.’s most popular true crime podcast, “RedHanded,” Suruthi Bala and Hannah Maguire, explored the economics of the show. Subscriptions to the show via Patreon generate over US$66,000 (about €54,000) per month, from 9,000 patrons. “Our listeners asked us to start a Patreon because they wanted to support us,” Maguire said. “We had absolutely no idea that it would get as huge as it is. It gives us a lot of freedom to take risks elsewhere because we’re in control of our income at all times.” The success has allowed them to take on an office and three additional producers to support the show.
For the final leg of the event, from North America, speakers included Shima Oliaee, the co-creator of the podcast “Dolly Parton’s America” on the behind-the-scenes evolution of the project, being in the “Dollyverse,” and what she learned from the country legend. Pop culture discourse was explored by the host of “Pop Chat,” Elamin Abdelmahmoud.