gareth

Five things we’ve learnt from producing 200 podcasts

As the Independent Music Podcast reaches episode 200, I’ve been thinking a lot about what we’ve learnt along the way, and whether we have any lessons to help podcasters who are just starting out.

A creative name might be detrimental

I stressed for ages at the start to come up with a creative, witty name for our podcast that played independent music. ‘Independent Music Podcast’ was essentially a holding name whilst we came up with something more intelligent. However, over the years when we’ve asked people how they found the podcast, many have said that they just searched for ‘Independent Music Podcast’ in order to find a podcast that plays independent music. If you can call your podcast exactly what it is, you might end up reaching a lot more people than that whacky name you might be sick of in a few years’ time.

Feedback is hard to get

The one true measure of your podcast’s success is listener figures, and I’m a keen subscriber to the mantra ‘if the listener numbers are going up, you’re doing it right’. Having said that, the best moments of running the podcast come when someone gets in touch, leaves a review, or becomes a Patron. That’s because it’s the only time somebody is actively taking an action to give you positive re-enforcement other than listening to your show.

Word of mouth is your best benchmark of quality

If you can’t really afford to promote the podcast and your listener figures are going up, the only explanation is that you’ve got word-of-mouth. The chart below shows our listener growth day-by-day over the past four years (up to 30 September 2018 where the chart flattens out because we have no data yet).

What you see is an increased rate of growth every year. 2016 (red line) grows quicker than 2015 (blue line), and 2017 (yellow line) grows faster than 2016. That shows that every year we’re adding more listeners at a quicker rate. That shows that we’re doing the right things that ensure our listeners are recommending the show to others.

Marketing is important

The question then is, ‘but what about 2018?’ The green line is growing at roughly the same rate as the yellow line. That shows that – whilst we’re not losing listeners – we’re not really gaining any new ones either. It was at this point that we thought about marketing.

The ‘Field of Dreams mantra of ‘build it and they will come’ is a fallacy. The chart above proves that you can grow organically for a few years, but eventually you’ll hit a ceiling. What you can see from the angle of the lines is that, for the second half of the year, the 2017 line is growing at roughly the same rate as the 2016 line.

Our marketing has been fairly modest – we’re a podcast that barely covers its hosting costs – but since late July 2018 we’ve put around £100 into Facebook and Google advertising. This has been to get the podcast in front of more people – people who might be searching for ‘independent music podcasts’ and not have found us yet, or people who like other podcasts and experimental music. As you can see from the surge in the 2018 (green) line, this has had an exceptional impact. Most of those listeners are staying with us too – and we will have surpassed our total 2017 listens in just three weeks’ time.

Your instincts are probably right…

When we started the show, it was to fill a need. We wanted to hear some new experimental music every single Monday and there was no real outlet for that. We bet on the fact that other people would want that too, and the fact that we found an audience of hundreds – then thousands every week is testament to that.

… and Just do it

Which leads me to the last point: ultimately, if you have a podcast idea – just do it. We knew a bit about music and little about broadcasting (although we do now have solo radio projects), it was the content that we thought was important and – if your instincts are right – you’ve got nothing stopping you from starting.

There are lots of guides on starting podcasts so I won’t go into too much detail (although feel free to contact us on Facebook if you have questions). One piece of advice I will give is this: don’t worry too much about getting the quality perfect from the start, or dropping loads of money on a good host (we use Libsyn, but used Acast for a long time – they’re both great) you’ll make loads of mistakes and learn as you go. Our first podcast is embarrassing to listen to. When Freakonomics did their first podcast, it also sounds like a car crash compared to what they have now. It’ll sound bad at first, but it’ll get a lot better very quickly.

Hopefully that helps you out. We’d love to hear your thoughts on podcasting. If you’re doing it yourself, what have you learnt along the way? If you’re thinking of doing a podcast, what’s holding you back? Get in touch in the comments.

#200 – Shackleton, Jerusalem In My Heart, Etienne Jaumet, Tomás Urquieta, Lucinda Chua

Episode 200 is here but for regular listeners it’s just another Independent Music Podcast. We have the usual trapse around the globe finding innovative, exciting music. So whether is Chilean techno from Tomás Urquieta, Arabic-Canadian experimentalism from Jerusalem In My Heart, or contemporary dance soundtracks from England’s Sebastian Reynolds we have you covered. We also have stunning cello drone from Lucinda Chua, the electro reimaginings of classic jazz tracks from Etienne Jaumet, post punk from Collate, something mesmerising from Mildred Maude and a whole lot more.

Tracklisting
Sebastian Reynolds – Drum Pyramid (stereo mix) (self-release, UK)
Vessel – Argo (For Maggie) (Tri Angle, UK)
Pokus – Wizard (self-release, UK)
Mildred Maude – CPA III (The Weird Beard Records, UK)
Tomás Urquieta – La Sustancia de la Materia (Infinite Machine, Mexico)
Lucinda Chua – Somebody Who (self-release, UK)
Jerusalem In My Heart – Wa Ta’atalat Loughat Al Kalam (Part III + IV) (Constellation Records, Canada)
Etienne Jaumet – Caravan (Versatile Records, France)
Collate – Phone Call (self-release, USA)
Shackleton – Furnace of Guts (Woe to The Septic Heart, UK)

#199 – Mountain Man, The Oscillation, The Field, Parly B & Mr Benn, Alter Echo & E3 meet Ishan Sound & Rider Shafique

Our last show before we hit the 200 episode milestone starts with us in Israel and the fuzzy sounds of the brilliant Hynom. From there we move into gorgeous accapella music from the much-missed Mountain Man, globe trotting dubstep, groovy psychedelia, dancehall, abstract electronics and techno.

Tracklisting
HYNOM – Beware of Pickpockets (Raash Records, Israel)
Mountain Man – Stella (Bella Union, UK / Nonesuch Records, USA)
Liberez – Here is the Proof (Alter Records, UK)
Alter Echo & E3 meet Ishan Sound & Rider Shafique – Ah Mi Guide (Egoless remix) (Scotch Bonnet, UK)
The Oscillation – Drop (Fuzz Club Records, UK)
Moontribe – Osmium (Fortuna Records, UK)
The Field – Who Goes There? (Kompakt, Germany)
Parly B & Mr Benn – Gwarn Go Bathe (Nice Up! Records, UK)
David Allred – The Garden (Erased Tapes, USA)
Brassfoot – Surfing on Haemoglobin (Don’t Be Afraid Recordings, UK)

#198 – Giant Swan, Soap&Skin, E.M.M.A., JK Flesh, Guttersnipe

Back on normal duty this week, and what a selection we have: from the opening from the irrepressible Bristol duo Giant Swan through to “Leeds’ answer to Melt-Banana” in the closer from Guttersnipe. In between those delicious bookends we have a lot of tasty morsels, including the beautiful soundtrack from E.M.M.A., depression-busting sounds from Madagascar by Damily, the first record in five years from Austria’s Soap&Skin, delicate Mexican drone from Alejandro Morse, the new JK Flesh and a lot more

Tracklisting
Giant Swan – IANAH (Whities, UK)
Hen Ogledd – Problem Child (Weird World Recordings, UK)
E.M.M.A. – Liberty (Pastel Prism, UK)
Soap&Skin – Italy & (This is) Water (PIAS Recordings, UK)
Beans – Midnight (Hello L.A., France)
Damily – Malay Nama (Les Disques Bongo Joe, Switzerland)
JK Flesh – Genetics (Electric Deluxe, Netherlands)
Randall Dunn – Something About That Night (Figureight Records, USA)
Alejandro Morse – Farewell Twilight Bird (Umor Rex, Mexico)
Guttersnipe – Loaded From Vector Trap (Upset the Rhythm, UK)

#197 – Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Pisitakun, Orchestra of Spheres, Uwalmassa, Jun Kamoda

Recorded live at Milhões de Festa, this week’s show has the usual blend of excellent new music from the farthest reaches of experimental sounds. The idyllic setting is matched by the new track from New Zealand’s Orchestra of Spheres, less so than the morbid techno of Thailand’s Pisitakun. Elsewhere we have new hiphop from Queens D.Light, the new one from our favourite swines Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Indonesian experimentation and the first track from the long-awaited Jun Kamoda LP

Tracklisting
Orchestra of Spheres – Koudede (Fire Records, UK)
Pisitakun – SOSLEEP01 (Chinabot, UK)
Magnétophonique – Bon Voyage (Not Not Fun, USA)
Queens D.Light – Flavor of Green (self-release, USA)
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – GNT (Rocket Recordings, UK)
Uwalmassa – Untitled 02 (Linear Perspective, Indonesia)
Graham Massey & Umut Çağlar – Appian (Samarbeta, UK)
Angels Die Hard – Tears of the Cobra (Jesus Factory Records, UK)
HHY & The Macumbas – Wilderness of Glass (House of Mythology, UK)
Jun Kamoda – Nightmare Club (Black Acre Records, UK)

#196 – Esben & the Witch, Shit & Shine, Tiny Leaves, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Kristin McClement

Modern classical seems to be the order of podcast 196. We kick things off with Roberto Musci and Giovanni Venosta’s collaboration using plunderphonics. We also have New Orleans modern classical artist Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Yarn Wire, and beautiful music from Tiny Leaves.

Elsewhere there’s folk, bleak goth metal, techno, and the latest from podcast favourite Shit & Shine.

Tracklisting
Roberto Musci & Giovanni Venosta – Dusty Zebra (Soave Records, Italy)
Kristin McClement – Love Doesn’t Have To Come At Such A Price (self release, UK)
Dengue Dengue Dengue – Semillero (ft Mikongo) (On the Corner Records, UK)
Popera Cosmic – Poursuite (Finders Keepers Records, UK)
Turantula – Llanyblodwel (Concretetapes, UK)
Esben & the Witch – The Unspoilt (Seasons of Mist, USA)
Tiny Leaves – The Fullness of Things (Pegdoll Records, UK)
Shit & Shine – Yeah I’m On Acid (Rocket Recordings, UK)
Elizabeth Joan Kelly – Electropop Swimming Pool Gymnopedie (self release, USA)
Yarn/Wire – Vermillion Becomes Cobalt (Northern Spy Records, USA)

Milhões de Festa Festival 2018 Special

A little special episode for you this week as Gareth and Anthony look forward to the excellent Portugese festival Milhões de Festa. It happens 6-9 September in the beautiful town of Barcelos and has a killer line-up, including the first ever live recording of the Independent Music Podcast.

On this show, ten tracks from artists on the bill:

Pharoah Overlord – I Drove All Night By My Solar Stomp (Ektro Records, Finland)
700 Bliss – Ring the Alarm (Don Giovanni Records, USA)
Os Tubarões – Stranger Ê un Ilusão (Sons D’Africa, Portugal)
Miss Red – Murder (self-release, Israel)
Afrodeutsche – And! (Skam Records, UK)
Kink Gong – Hit Qin Qin (Discrepant, UK)
Electric Wizard – Black Mass (Rise Above Records, UK)
Gazelle Twin – Belly of the Beast (Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, UK)
The Evil Usses – Preop Pop (Stolen Body Records, UK)
UKAEA – The Rake, The Loam (Extreme Ultimate Recordings, UK)

#195 – The Necks, Kommerzklaus, Sauna Youth, Accü, Roy of the Ravers

From 111 year old whistling music to bang up-to-date Japanese dub, it’s fair to say that this week’s podcast is eclectic. We have a sample of the 56-minute opus from The Necks, experimental hiphop from Kommerzklaus, Tanzanian singeli from Bamba Pana, acid house from Roy of the Ravers, indie rock from Sauna Youth, extremely good Welsh pop from Accü and more.

Tracklisting
The Necks – Body (excerpt) (Northern Spy Records, USA)
Kommerzklaus – Being Lovesick at War (Prrrrrrr Records, Germany)
Al Vomano – Mayon – The Grave of Love (self-release, UK)
Bamba Pana – Agaba Kibati (Nyege Nyege Tapes, Uganda)
Sauna Youth – Percentages (Upset the Rhythm, UK)
Roy of the Ravers – Supremacy Royale (Acid Waxa, UK)
Nzamba & G36 – Vex (Pressure Records, Germany)
Alice J. Shaw – In Venice (Canary Records, USA)
Perhaps – The Number of the Priest (Riot Season Records, UK)
Accü – Am Sêr (Libertino Records, UK)

#194 – D Double E, Snapped Ankles, Bliss Signal, Kathryn Joseph, Deafkids

Grime veteran D Double E finally has his first LP coming out and it kicks us off in fine style. Elsewhere on the show there’s Brazilian noise from Deafkids, Mumdance’s new metal direction with Bliss Signal – his collaboration with Altar of Plagues’ James Kelly, the latest from hiphop stalwart Jeremiah Jae and more.

Tracklisting
D Double E – Back Then (Bluku Music, UK)
Deafkids – Espiral da Loucura (Neurot Recordings, USA)
Snapped Ankles – Tailpipe (The Leaf Label, UK)
Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake the Want Is (Rock Action Records, UK)
Bliss Signal – Bliss Signal (Profound Lore Records, Canada)
Get The Blessing – If It Can It Will (Kartel Music Group, UK)
Tarawangsawelas – Tetap Terbit (Morphine Records, Germany)
Jeremiah Jae – All Me (ft Karenbe) (Hit + Run, USA)
Norvis Junior – Not Normal (New Math Records, USA)

#193 – Aphex Twin, Anna Meredith, Disrupt, Enzo Elia

This week we have a stunning selection of leftfield electronic music. Not only is there a new record from Aphex Twin, but stunning Mexican electronics from IntiNahual and the brilliant new record from Brandt Brauer Frick’s Daniel Brandt. We also have Anna Meredith’s rework of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a collaboration between Throwing Snow and Will Plowman under the Swaabi Maa moniker to celebrate the birthday of their A Future Without Records, and lots of good music from Portugal, Germany, Niger and beyond.

Tracklisting
Aphex Twin – T69 Collapse (Warp Records, UK)
Anna Meredith & the Scottish Ensemble – WINTER – Low Light (Moshi Moshi Records, UK)
Beautify Junkyards – Aquarius (Ghost Box Records, UK)
IntiNahual – Tierra Maya (Shango Records, Greece)
Pill Fangs – Bison Grass (Sunstone Records, UK)
Swaabi Maa – 000 (A Future Without Records, UK)
Daniel Brandt – Flamingo (Erased Tapes, UK)
Etran de L’Aïr – Agrim Agadez (Sahelsounds, USA)
Disrupt – Observation Deck (Jahtari Records, Germany)
Enzo Elia – Don’t Let it Go (Black Pearl Records, Germany)