Hosting your own podcast as an artist
The problem these days is that artists and musicians resort to already crowded social platforms, while the aim is to stand out. A podcast is a perfect way to be different, build your storyline as an artist and connect with your audience in an original and more in-depth way. You can look at a podcast as the voice of your brand. You might think podcasts are slightly out of date, but in reality, they aren’t. The podcast has been around since 2004, but its breakthrough only started in the last few years. In 2009, 9% of all Americans listened to podcasts, nowadays it’s more than 40%, which is almost sixty million people. The same growth can be seen in European countries such as Sweden and Germany. Starting a podcast can indeed be a very smart and lucrative move.
Aside from these conversion facts, the things we value most about podcasts are the story and brand building opportunities. A podcast has story-wise a lot more power than a simple picture on Instagram. You can literally shape your (artist) brand with your own voice.
Before you start
- Determine your target audience. Don’t try to reach everyone.
- Know what your audience wants you to talk about.
- Check out successful podcasts within the same genre. Analyze them thoroughly and write down all the things you like and would do differently. Use these benchmarks wisely to benefit of your own podcast.
- Set up a structure with the themes and topics you want to talk about
- Make a publishing schedule
- Choose a publication platform
- Pre-promotion is key. Start spreading the word on your social media channels at least 1.5 months in advance.
- Record at least 5 episodes before you launch. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering an awesome new podcast that stops after one episode. Since you’re new to the game you need to give the people the chance to fall in love with your podcasts.
How to create valuable content
Visualize how you want to reach your target audience. You can talk about things you like, but most importantly you need to find topics that are close to the heart of your listeners. Another thing to keep in mind is offering your audience some exclusivity. Give them something special they can only acquire by listening to your podcast.
We’ve taken a look at a few angles you can take on:
- The teaser
Give your listeners a teaser of some new work. People love the feeling that they’re granted access to something exclusive.
It’s also a great move to announce on your social media, in order to attract more people to your podcast. Especially in the beginning, it’s very important to find a way to drive traffic to you podcast.
- Exclusive performances
Give your fans an exclusive mini-concert, play a different version of one of your tracks or try out some new music.
- Your story
A podcast is a perfect opportunity to share a more in-depth side of yourself. How did you start, who were your teachers, what were your goals when you first started, where are you now, what are the biggest lessons you learned along the way? You can tell your story the way you want it, without the interference of anyone else.
- Sharing your experience
There might be a lot of people who share your goals. Share your experiences and be their teacher. Nothing is more valuable than experience.
Ask your listeners what they would like, which artist they would love to see on your next album, share an unfinished track and ask your fans for directions. It’s a great way of making your fans and listeners part of your journey as an artist. A big plus is that it will make them even more involved, since you trust them enough to contribute to your music while giving them the feeling you truly respect them and their ideas.
- Motivational talks
Motivational talks are always good. Use your story, your knowledge, your experiences to create a kick-ass inspirational talk.
- Invite fellow artists
Invite another artist within the same music genre. Have a cup of tea and talk about music. Combining two great musically minded people always leads to great conversations. Choose your guest with your fans in mind. The right artist can attract more people to your podcast, but the wrong artist can do the opposite.
- Gear talk
Talk about the gear you’re using, talk about how it sounds, why you chose it and if you’re still happy with the product. This will be very interesting for your fans who are also making music. Plus you might end up with a sponsor deal as well.
- Behind the scenes
Give your listeners a peek in the music kitchen. Record yourself building up one of your tracks from scratch or record yourself during a recording or writing session. Attract people to your podcast with smart captions like ‘Curious how I made my hit (track X)? Tune in today at 15:00 to hear me build it up from scratch!’ or ‘Join me in the studio this Tuesday at 20:00. Make sure you’re listening! #newmusic’
You might already own a mic. Take a look at this list if you don’t have a microphone yet.
- The Audio Technica ATR2100 USB is a great USB microphone for beginners. You can connect this microphone to your computer using the USB-plug. If you prefer a more professional approach, you can also use this microphone with your XLR connector.
- The Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone is a good fit if you want crystal clear recordings. The Procaster is a tad more expensive than the Audio Technica, but it might be worth it since this mic is very good at filtering out noise. The Procaster only has an XLR, so it cannot be connected to a PC without an external sound card or XLR to USB/jack cable.
- If you want to keep it simple or if you will be on the move a lot, you can also go for the Rode I-XY. This is a microphone you can easily plug into your iPhone.
If you’re using an XLR mic, you’ll need an audio interface. An audio interface is the bridge between your mic and your computer. It converts the analog signal from your microphone into a digital signal that your computer can process. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (2nd Gen) is an audio interface we would recommend.
There are various platforms you can use to host your podcast. Don’t simply publish some audio files on a regular website. Streaming large audio files will need a different kind of web hosting. Regular web hosting might even cost you money because of excessive bandwidth usage.
What you need to do is choose a good hosting platform. From there on you can link, share or RSS your podcasts to your website, iTunes or social media.
Take in consideration that your hosting platform can affect the submitting options for your podcast since some directories have ties to certain parties. Some hosting platform will have a build in RSS for iTunes while others have unique listening insights. Each platform has its own perks, so choose what fits you best.
Check out these podcast hosting platforms, and choose which one matches with your goals:
- SoundCloud – Podcasting on SoundCloud makes it easy for everyone to tell stories. Soundcloud might be a wise choice since you’re probably already familiar with the platform. You can create a podcast playlist within your artist profile, immediately using your followers as you audience, or you can choose to create a new account that is primarily focused on your podcast.
- Blubrry – Blubrry.com is a podcasting community and directory that gives creators the power to make money, get detailed audience measurements and host their audio and video. Whether you are a media creator, advertiser or media consumer, Blubrry is your digital media interface.
- Buzzsprout – Start podcasting today with free podcast hosting from Buzzsprout, the easiest podcasting software for hosting, promoting, and tracking your podcast.
- Libsyn – Libsyn provides everything your podcast needs: publishing tools, media hosting and delivery, RSS for iTunes, a Web Site, Stats, Advertising Programs, Premium Content , Apps for Apple, Android & Windows devices.
- PodBean – Ultra simple podcast publishing solution. Unlimited bandwidth and storage. Everything a podcaster needs to host, promote, and track your podcast.
- Simplecast – Publish your podcasts the easy way.
- Spreaker – Spreaker has it all! Set up your account and get ready to record podcasts or host live radio shows from your computer or mobile device.
- Podcast Jet – Premium Podcast Hosting: Accelerated and Optimized Delivery.
Useful free tools
- Free Music Archive is a place where you can find a lot of (free) royalty-free music you can use for your podcast. Never make the mistake of using music that isn’t royalty free. You don’t want to be forced to take your podcasts offline, or completely re-edit them.
- You can spend hours on Transom.org. This platform is filled with articles about the basics of podcasting, useful podcast ideas, tools and lessons. Teach yourself!
3 great examples
Last but not least, check out these 3 amazing podcasts which you can use as an example:
- Song exploder
An amazing podcast concept where musicians and DJ’s take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell us the story of how it’s made. Each episode features an artist discussing a song of theirs, breaking down the sound and ideas that went into the writing and recording process. This podcast is a good example of how you can give your audience a peek in the creation process.
- The passionate DJ podcast
The Passionate DJ Podcast is a weekly talk show dedicated to the art and science of mixing music.
- Act like a DJ
Hear your favorite DJs talk about their studio secrets and their lives on the road.