Some podcast platforms invest in celebrities, paying them a high price for exclusive podcast content. Bloomberg reports that Apple has just joined the club, by signing a deal with Futuro Studios. This deal gives them exclusive access to a whole team with Pulitzer and Peabody award-winning standards, working in the service of empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world.
What does this new partnership between Apple and Futuro mean for podcasters and listeners? What does it mean for the podcasting ecosystem as a whole?
What’s Apple Up To?
Apple was synonymous with podcasts as long as the iPod was their primary vehicle. Recently, Spotify and iHeart Media have diminished Apple’s market share as the #1 podcast platform.
iHeart Media regularly tops the Podtrac publisher chart. They recently made a deal for a scripted fiction podcast with Eva Longoria. Spotify’s exclusive celebrity offerings dominate the podcast news (whether negatively or positively). But sensationalist headlines don’t sustain long-term growth.
For a digital content platform, audience demand is where sustained growth starts and ends. Recent reports indicate the greatest growing demand is in the Latinx community.
Are You There, Edison? It’s Me, Apple.
In 2020, Edison launched the first Latino Podcast Listener Report. Since then, the results have been compelling enough that podcast publishers ignore them at their peril. The Latinx population in the US reached more than 62 million in 2020. Their growth rate over the previous decade (23%) far exceeded the nation’s overall (7%).
- 59% of U.S. Latinos age 18+ have ever listened to a podcast, “a high mark for the measure,”
- Just over half (51%) of U.S. Latinos have ever listened to a podcast in English
- 33% have ever listened to a podcast in Spanish
- 47% of Latinx podcast listeners are women: of any year of the study, this is the highest portion
- 17% of listeners identify as LGBTQ+.
In a nutshell, if you want to make a podcast that will find an audience easily, make it for Latinx women, especially LGBTQ+ podcast listeners. Apple has clearly been paying attention to Latinx podcast demand. Edison published The Latino Podcast Listener report 2022 on August 16. Apple and Futuro announced their partnership on August 10.
Futuro Media Group is an independent, non-profit organization that produces multimedia journalism. In 2010, founder and journalist Maria Hinojosa founded this organization to create “independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience.” Today, Futuro has won many journalism awards, has two long-running news and politics radio shows on PRX, and now, Futuro Studios focuses on original podcasts. The company’s Code of Ethics states that its mission is “investigating and reporting untold and underreported stories and presenting diverse points of view… (to) be standard-bearers for journalistic excellence… to promote freedom of speech and expression while contributing to constructive public discourse.”
Apple and Futuro are poised not only to make terrific podcasts but also to share news and information in a way that can change the world for the better.
Apple and Futuro: What Does This Mean for Podcasting?
Apple’s wide reach of devices and networks and Futuro’s depth of investigative reporting mean the quality of nonfiction pods can improve greatly, thanks to this new partnership.
If you make a current events podcast or a true crime podcast, you have even more impetus to ensure your material is well-researched and your sources cited properly. There’s a new player in the game, and they win Pulitzers.
Apple and Futuro are riding a wave with no sign of crashing.
What Can Podcasters Learn From The Apple and Futuro Partnership?
Elsie Escobar was one of the presenters of the Latino Podcast Listener report for 2022. She summarized her key takeaways in a Twitter thread. In a nutshell, there’s a lot of demand for podcasts for, about, and by Latinx people. “Topic drives consumption…we are interested in all the things.” If Apple had a podcast exclusive with one celebrity, it wouldn’t cast the net wide enough to satisfy the broad listener demand. As noted, Latinx audiences don’t have to consume podcasts in Spanish; English is fine, too.
Podcasters can learn from Futuro’s commitment to multi-platform media. Futuro Studios’ projects, such as Latino Rebels, combine audio, video, and social sharing. Since young people tend to discover podcasts via visual media, it’s podcasters’ responsibility to educate them on how to listen to a podcast on any device.
Escobar also said that “Latinos love to consume things that affect them IMMEDIATELY – NOW. Local information is something our communities crave because it affects us directly. [This is a] Great opportunity for local organizations.” Futuro’s Community Podcast Lab is an incubator to help newer podcasters share stories about their communities. Producing a hyperlocal podcast is always a good idea because people in your community can share it and benefit.
No matter what language you podcast in, quality and inclusivity will make your show better. This partnership between Apple and Futuro shows that commitment to quality, attention to detail, amplifying voices outside mainstream media, and a moral compass far outweigh celebrity and sensationalism.
Should I Change My Podcast?
Changing your podcast abruptly to capitalize on a trend is never a good idea. You should remain true to your podcast’s unique value proposition and niche. Don’t copy someone else’s model verbatim. Instead, expand your listening diet and expectations. Try listening to Latinx podcasts. Let yourself be inspired. What are they doing that’s interesting? How are they doing it?
You could also try a trailer swap or another cross-promotion opportunity with a Latinx podcast that has traits in common with yours. Expand your definition of your ideal listener. If you have resources on your podcast website, share them in English and in Spanish. This partnership between Apple and Futuro shows that the more we work together to make and share better podcasts, the more we benefit.