Podcast News Round Up | Spotify’s Expansion Into Audiobooks & More!

Welcome back to the HeadStuff Podcast News Round-Up were we take a look at what’s happening in the world of podcasting and give you a recommendation or two along the way. This week we look at Spotify’s expansion into audiobooks, the Hot Docs Podcast Festival and an issue with Facebook’s podcast data collection.

As always, we have our podcast of the week to look out for!

Podcast of the Week

After surviving October – otherwise known as spooky season, I was hunting for something light-hearted to boost my spirits (pun intended). That’s how I stumbled upon I’m Grand Mam – and what a perfect podcast to find! I couldn’t stop laughing from the moment I hit play on their pilot episode, first released back in 2019. Each week, Cork natives, Kevin Twomey and PJ Kirby come together for a cuppa, to discuss how they’ve navigated their new lives through London while battling with the one thought every Irish gay man deals with when living away from home – “what would mam think?” Paul Mescal even makes an appearance in one episode recorded at the start of lockdown last year, shortly after Normal People hit the airwaves.

Whether it’s recounting their first move away from home, navigating life amongst the gay scene in London or just their every day lives, I’m Grand Mam pays homage to mammy’s and Irish lads wherever they are. Complete with, high energy, and hilarious tongue-in-cheek humour, Kevin and PJ are sure to make you laugh as they share their stories including wild nights out on the town, or exploding hairdryers. This is definitely a podcast to listen to this weekend to put you in a great mood! 

Although the series is currently taking a break, I’m Grand Mam is heading out on tour, starting on November 27th in their home city of Cork! You can get tickets here.

Spotify Expanding into Audiobooks

Spotify is best known as a music streaming platform, however in recent years the app has also become synonymous with podcasts. Now, Spotify have announced their ambition to expand into the world of audiobooks. They have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Findaway, an audio technology company which brings audiobooks to listeners around the globe.

“It’s Spotify’s ambition to be the destination for all things audio both for listeners and creators. The acquisition of Findaway will accelerate Spotify’s presence in the audiobook space and will help us more quickly meet that ambition,” said Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s Chief Research & Development Officer.

According to Spotify, Findaway is set to grow from $3.3 billion to $15 billion by 2027.

This acquisition will broaden Spotify’s already expansive audio library and give independent authors the tools needed to bring their stories to an audio platform.

Söderström went on to say: “We’re excited to combine Findaway’s team, best-in class technology platform, and robust audiobook catalogue with Spotify’s expertise to revolutionize the audiobook space as we did with music and podcasts.”

Hot Docs Podcast Festival Returns January 2022

Hot Docs Podcast festival is one of the world’s leading podcast events of the year and will return January 25-28 2022. The festival, based in Toronto, Canada, will take place both live and virtually. So if you are unable to make it to the event in person, you will still be able to participate from the comfort of your own home.

Hot Docs Podcast Festival is a place for podcast lovers and creators to come together and celebrate great storytelling. The festival will host a series of live performances, conversations, masterclasses and more. There will be plenty of creator forum sessions which explore the art and craft of podcasting. If you are based in Canada, you can also submit to the Hot Docs Podcast Career Accelerator, open for Canadian creators aged between 18 and 34 to help jumpstart your audio career.

Early bird passes for the festival go on sale November 23rd. Check out the festival website here.

Facebook Data Causing Trouble for Podcast Creators

As a podcaster, one of the things you tend to keep track of is your show’s listenership. It’s the prime indicator which tells you how your show is doing. Hosting companies will typically gather listenership data, and other handy analytics across all podcasting channels to keep you informed.

However, many hosting companies are having difficulties harvesting such data from Facebook.

Facebook allows podcasters to attach their RSS feed links directly to their Pages, allowing podcast episodes to populate there, and for US-based app users to tune in to their favourite shows. But many hosting companies are unable to make sense of the data coming from Facebook.

Outlined in this article by The Verge, it looks as if iOS devices are getting confused by which server is sending back information and some Facebook listens are being submitted as Apple Podcast listens instead. However, Facebook have stated they are apparently in the process of solving this issue, and more accurate data should start to appear as the app updates.


Find more podcast related content on the HeadStuff Podcast Section – News, Reviews, Interviews and How-To Guides for all you podcasters out there. 

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