The rise and rise of artist podcasts


Written by Hatti Rex

It’s undeniable that the rise of podcasts is a huge deal. Ever since the first one was released in 2004, the previously niche medium of podcasting has grown to such a size that one in eight people now listen to them in the UK

Even more interesting is that music artists are increasingly turning to podcasting to reach out to fans in ways that would never have been possible before. 

Last year, Bello collective, a newsletter about podcasting and audio production, explored the rise of artist podcasts and identified that Spotify was investing more in podcasts as a way to “sidestep media gatekeepers” and share their narratives directly with fans. 

More recently, this year Vulture published an article calling artists to promote their album by making a podcast with all the best outtakes of their recordings. 

So we decided to catch up with a handful of our favourite artists with recent podcasts to see what goes into making their series’ and how they got experimenting with the format.

Becky Hill

Having been the interviewee for a while now, pop singer-songwriter Becky Hill loves how having her own podcast The Art Of Rave makes her into the interviewer for a change. 

As you can tell from the title, the podcast is a deep dive into how rave culture has evolved over the years, giving the chart-topper a chance to explore her early love for genres such as Trance and Drum ‘n’ Bass. 

“For the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the Pete Tong Ibiza Classics Tour with the Heritage Orchestra,” Becky tells me. “There’s something quite special about watching that audience and realising you are part of other people’s nostalgia. My brother got me into raving when I was younger, but as I’m only 26, I really wanted to find out if I had missed out on a golden era of rave. I thought the best way to do that would be to speak to legends like Pete Tong, Sister Bliss, Andy C, etc. and hear how rave has changed from their perspective.“

The podcast has allowed Becky to reach a slightly older audience than she’s used to which she admits has been fun to witness.

“It’s been massively fun to work on something that isn’t music, I’m a huge fan of all of the guests that I have on the podcast so I feel super grateful to be able to do it. I’m pleased it’s being so well received, always nice to see other people be passionate about the things that you are.” 

The series is a refreshing example of how the artists we listen to are actually relatable people with varied interests and not just a voice from the songs we recognise.

I asked Becky why she thinks podcasts have recently become so popular.

“We live such busy lives these days,” she considers. “I always find podcasts are really easy to digest whilst you’re doing something else: travelling, exercising, etc. and because there’s such a wide variety of podcasts for people choose from these days, there’s something for everyone whether it be knitting, an unsolved murder mystery from 1982, or raving.” 

So how does Becky suggest artists get started if they want to begin podcasting?

“I’d say, make sure you have some good recording equipment, do your research and find your audience. Try to talk to a wide range of people and make it something that you’re passionate about.” 

Creeper

Creeper’s second album Sex, Death & The Infinite Void reached fifth spot in the UK album charts recently and, in tandem, they also have a podcast which details how they defeated the odds stacked against them to create the LP.

In the third episode and trying to hold back tears throughout a long and intense pause, guitarist Ian Miles opens up about his mental health, and a manic episode that left him in hospital and with his life changed forever. Whilst it’s a totally raw snippet of what happened, the frank discussion of such an experience is rare and refreshing whilst mental health issues are still so stigmatised. 

As the podcast explains, most bands claim they go through hell and back to make a record but this one really did.

Having known both Ian and frontman Will Gould from the punk scene in their hometown Southampton, podcast producer and founder of Mighty Moon Media, Giles Bidder tasked himself with the pleasure of creating the series. 

“Creeper have a constant, coexisting fictional story running parallel to what they do in the flesh and this podcast documentary is about the non-fictional side to their story,” Giles tells me.

“When they started bringing out singles for Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, I felt there had to be some kind of actual story behind how the record was made. It turned out that there were some really big stories left unturned there, and the band decided to bring them to the world in the format of this podcast.” 

Giles approached the project initially from a journalism standpoint, interviewing Will, Ian, their bandmate Hannah, manager Ian Dickinson, producer Xandy Barry, and music journalist Beez to fully understand the narratives at play. 

“Next stage is editing, telling that story, piecing it together in a coherent rhythm in a way that’s relatable to anyone, whether they know the band or not yet. That’s one of my big aims: to help tell this story that is fascinating to anyone, making it accessible.” 

“When Episode III came out, Ian painstakingly describes the day he went to the hospital,” Giles goes on. “And watching the tweets roll in supporting Ian was a real feeling of positive energy. My Twitter feed was teeming with love for Ian and the band. It was incredible. Moments like that make it all become real, and you can just feel the truth in that unfiltered communication. Creeper fans are one of a kind.” 

Being able to tell this story with full control of the output allows fans to hear what happened directly from the band they loved, without any hidden agendas or pressure from things like magazine angles or sales targets. 

“We can close our eyes and let our imaginations run wild. I think people are realising that saying you don’t like podcasts is like saying you don’t like stories. The format is so flexible. They can be about anything.”

If you’re in need of a podcast producer or sound engineer to help you along the way, you can always commission an expert from our website.