Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The decline of podcasts

A message to influencers: Please stop podcasting

For influencers and celebrities at the height of their careers, it seems the new necessity is having a podcast. They’re everywhere. From Emma Chamberlain, Joe Rogan and now Alix Earle joining the scene, the rise of podcasting is palpable. For many, this is seen as a positive phenomenon, likening the spread of podcasting to a newfound freedom to say what you feel, along with the opportunity to see new sides of influencers in media. In 2023, Forbes reported: “It’s a fun, unique way to ask questions of interesting people and learn more about them through their answers.” While the conversation around these rising podcast trends is generally positive, I have an alternative message to send to influencers purchasing some shiny new podcast equipment: put the credit card down.

The first problem of influencers entering the podcast scene is that it seems they’re getting bored of it quickly. The Guardian reported in February that the creation of new podcasts declined by 80 percent compared to the previous two years, despite viewership staying at an all-time high. Their experts point to the “Post-Pandemic Boom” of podcasts, a desire to create a podcast that has since depleted. As an avid podcast lover this drop in new podcasts is worrisome.

People often don’t consider the ways money flows through our economy, and I doubt that many understand the size of the podcast industry’s pockets. The Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates that ad revenue from podcasts will surge to $4.2 billion by 2024. I hope the reason these influencers are clinging onto the idea of a podcast is because of their personal desire to spread a substantial message- but we all know that is naivety speaking. Influencers are likely starting podcasts just for profit.

Take, for example, Pierced Media — a podcast studio entirely dedicated to flipping content creators into podcasters, hoping their followers will follow tout de suite. One content creator working with Pierced Media, Komal Nambiar, wrote “I already have a devoted audience (…) I feel like (being a content creator) will kind of give me a step up.” The idea is that podcast success is much easier for influencers due to their pre-existing stardom, recklessly disregarding influencer’s lack of experience.

Pierced Media certainly isn’t alone in this venture. As one article puts it, the uniqueness of an influencer doing podcasts comes from the fact that these podcast advertisements aren’t doing just short Instagram posts or TikTok ads- they’re dedicating entire chunks of ad time for any company with the highest bidder, as “Most advertisers have started showing interest in influencer-led shows.” The influencer to podcast pipeline is invaluable. Podcasting is a huge industry, and influencers are making the most money, as they can bring in all types of viewers from their myriad of platforms. Even after all this cash greed, they still can’t do the podcasts right. But what did we expect from people that are only famous because of their grandiose lives and beauty?

Personally, sitting through an influencer podcast was by far the worst experience I’ve had. One such podcast, We’re All Insane, is hosted by influencer Devorah Roloff, and is insanely famous. It’s also hard to follow, doesn’t introduce anybody involved in the podcast and involves the influencer monotonously repeating words such as “right” and “yeah” in a valley girl accent for an hour. Even worse, the podcast is video recorded, a growing phenomenon as more who join the podcasting realm rely on their image more than their words.

Despite these podcasts being generally bad, they gain viewers because of the hosts existing fame. For podcasters trying to independently break out without any existing renown, this creates a culture of making it exceptionally hard to be a successful podcaster. This is especially true considering how expensive it is to start a podcast. In many ways, influencers joining the world of podcasts will destroy it. The scripts are hard to follow, and they rely too heavily on their previous audiences and personal images. So, if you’re an up-and-coming content creator with an inclination to start a podcast, a message from this vexed writer: don’t.

Conor Johnston can be reached at [email protected]

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    LucieOct 23, 2023 at 9:01 am

    This was such a humorous and informative read. Great work, Conor!