If podcasts now act as your constant companion on a commute, at the gym, or while you’re in the bath at the end of a long day, you’re not alone: millions of listeners across the UK are making podcasts part of their lives every day.
The BBC was one of the first podcast creators in the world when it made Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’ downloadable online in 2004. Today, the BBC podcast library boasts hundreds of programmes across thousands of episodes and caters to millions of listeners across the UK and worldwide.
“The BBC is one of the largest content creators in the UK, and have worked with the biggest and best audio talent in the world,” explains James Cator, Spotify’s Head of Podcast Partnerships, EMEA. “To have a comprehensive audio catalogue in the UK, the BBC are essential, so adding the BBC to our rapidly-expanding catalogue of podcasts was a natural partnership.” To that end, Spotify has added podcasts from iPlayer Radio and BBC Sounds to the platform, making hundreds of BBC podcasts available to Spotify users in the UK from today.
That’s thousands of episodes across a number of diverse genres – all in one place. To access the podcasts, users can simply visit the podcast section in Browse on Spotify and browse categories including Comedy, News & Politics, Educational, Sport & Recreation, Lifestyle & Health, Business & Technology, and Kids & Family.
“You can now be assured of finding the perfect podcast for every moment and mood on Spotify,” says James. “Whatever you want to learn about, or whatever mood you want to feel, it is all available to you, however you want to listen – on your laptop, phone, or on your connected devices via Spotify Connect.”
The number of podcast listeners in the UK is growing rapidly every year, with many of those streaming original BBC shows. And, in James’ opinion, everyone has their own unique reason for streaming.
“Podcasts allow people to turn time that would otherwise be wasted into time that is productive and full of interest and wonder,” James says. “You can satisfy your innate curiosity, listen to some of the best storytelling in the world, and hear gripping true crime stories, all while travelling to work. Escapism, personal development, education, comedy, there are so many reasons to listen, and there really is a podcast for every situation. You can find people talking about topics with an honesty that doesn’t exist in any other medium.”
And although podcasts are growing more and more popular, James notes that it isn’t for everyone – yet. “I think there is so much left to create, and the majority of the population doesn’t listen to podcasts – yet. The beauty of podcasts is that it is so easy for everyone – whether you’re an individual self-starter, a small independent media company, or a huge corporation – to create a podcast and experiment with new formats. The breadth and variety of podcasts are growing at an incredible rate, and I think we will see podcast listening become truly mass market in the not-too-distant future.”
If you’re an aspiring podcast listener in the UK but aren’t sure where to begin, check out some of James’ recommendations from the BBC, all of which you can stream on Spotify in the UK from today:
Short Cuts: Short documentaries and adventures in sound presented by Josie Long.
James’ take: “I love this show. Each episode is based around a theme, and can be anything from short stories to poetry to documentaries. Some themes have been ‘tough love’, ‘fear’ and ‘magical realism.’ One episode was about ‘nothing.’”
Desert Island Discs: Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: What would you take to a desert island? Kirsty Young invites her guests to share the soundtrack of their lives.
James’ take: “A classic show that has interviewed some of the biggest names in the world and reveals so much about them from just the few items they’d take to a desert island. Bruce Springsteen’s is a particular favourite.”
The Infinite Monkey Cage: A witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince, updated weekly.
James’ take: “Brian Cox and Robin Ince look at the world through science, but in ways that are always surprising, often hilarious and fascinating from start to finish. Great podcast for ‘did you know…’ pub facts.”
To listen to BBC podcasts in the UK head over to the Podcasts within Browse on Spotify.