How Will the Metaverse Affect Podcasts?
By Olly Hutson
We keep hearing tech CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg talk about “The Metaverse” as the future of the internet. But what is it exactly? Should we care? Will it affect how podcasts are consumed? How will it affect how consumers buy online? Read on to find out how the interactive capability of the metaverse could redefine how we consume media.
Seriously, what is the “Metaverse”?
“The Metaverse” generally refers to shared virtual world environments which people can access via the internet. It has a few different definitions and some argue that it already exists, causing confusion over the term. Essentially, the concept is still being created and will evolve over time as innovations continue.
Gartner describes it as “... a collective virtual space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. In other words, it is device-independent and is not owned by a single vendor. It is an independent virtual economy, enabled by digital currencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).” (Gartner)
How do podcasts fit into the metaverse?
As the concept of the metaverse is in its infant stages, and podcasts are still a relatively new medium, the answer to that question has infinite possibilities. The metaverse has the potential to affect how we consume all media and interact with brands. It is not yet clear if this will be mostly positive or negative.
On one hand, you could view the metaverse with potential to expand and improve how we consume podcasts. There is potential for listeners to connect with their favorite shows in new and different ways such as watching a live recording online, having a real time debate with other fans in the metaverse, or simply listening to a podcast whilst multitasking in the metaverse, creating a new consumption moment. Imagine listening to a podcast on France and being able to wander around the virtual landscape of Paris whilst listening, then being able to seamlessly purchase flights to the country, conversing with locals in the metaverse with a view to potentially meet up with them IRL.
On the other hand, some metaverse skeptics will argue that more screen time isn't good for our mental health and the appeal of podcasts is that they are screenless and immersive - a way to disconnect from our technology-reliant lives.
The latest Infinite Dial study, the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior revealed that group-listening to podcasts is on the rise.
One in five (19%) surveyed said they frequently listen with others and 28% said they sometimes do. Younger demographics (12-34) were most likely to listen to audio with other people (26%), compared to 20% of 35-54 year olds and 10% of those 55+. (The Infinite Dial 22)
It’s often been assumed that podcast listening is mainly a solo affair, but these insights indicate that the Spotify generation like to listen in groups quite often, alluding to more talkability around podcasts. This trend indicates that the opportunities for shared listening that the metaverse could be welcomed by consumers.
For example, in June 2022, iHeart announced a partnership with State Farm to launch iHeartLand on Roblox (a global gaming platform) to feature “live experiences combining major album releases, some of the biggest hit podcasts and interactive gaming.”(Newsroom).
Why have they done this? Conal Byrne, the CEO at iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group explains “You can come and see live podcasts, live artists, musicians performing, interact with them in ways that the metaverse lets you sort of level up how you might interact with them in IRL, amidst all the awesome gameplay and interactivity that these platforms are really good at.”
Imagine watching your favourite podcast hosts record a live episode virtually, online with a “crowd” of other listeners you can interact with in real time. This deepens the podcast experience out of audio and into virtual reality.
Marketers will have a new opportunity to research audience demographics in the metaverse, but should note that the way consumers engage with brands and purchase products in real life could be completely different in the virtual realm.
Games like Fortnite and Roblox have held live music concerts with millions of attendees. Their reach was even greater when counting the people that watched the events through streaming platforms like Twitch. In the metaverse, the data analytics power of Web 3.0 will bring great opportunities for target marketing at these events, redefining the customer journey.
There will be an opportunity for podcasts to reach new audiences (particularly Gen Z) if they take off in the metaverse, allowing the new generation of digital natives to be introduced to the world of podcasts.
54% of Gen Z shoppers claim that people should be able to shop anywhere they go online, while 45% suggested that metaverse shopping environments should replicate shopping malls. (Venture Beat). Imagine listening to a podcast in the metaverse on fashion and being able to purchase a new outfit for your avatar seamlessly. The evolution of d-comm is already happening and could have exciting consequences for the already highly effective capabilities of podcasts to drive conversion.
Podcasts about the metaverse
If you’re keen to learn more about how the metaverse could change life as we know it, here are some great podcasts that will give you everything you need to know.
The Future of the Metaverse. “The Future of…” podcast explores the future with experts from different industries, markets, and technology verticals.This episode focuses on the metaverse and the implications of this transition on society at large.
GM Metaverse. GM METAVERSE is a podcast covering the latest innovations in web3, NFTs, and the intersection of creators and community.
The Money Movement: The Acceleration of Digital Finance. For a perspective on the crypto currency element of the metaverse, this podcast explores and chronicles the ideas and opportunities that are driving this new world of digital money.
Building the Open Metaverse: This podcast looks at game engines, AR wearables, real-world scans, and VR with a broad range of technical experts sharing their insights on how the community is building the metaverse together.
The metaverse has the potential to dramatically evolve how we exist and connect with one another online, and it is swiftly growing into a multibillion-dollar industry. To discuss this further with our team and learn how you can be at the forefront of the latest podcast innovations, drop us a line anytime.