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How An Independent Record Label Gets The Most Out Of Podcasting

Nick Hollywood
April 23, 2018 - "I think keeping going, being consistent, and identifying your points of differentiation are all important."
Since 2011
Music
Label

►Tell us about you and your podcast

My name's Nick Hollywood and I present the Freshly Squeezed Radio Show and Podcast. We've been producing shows - primarily focused on music (more on this shortly) - since October 2011. Originally 2 hours a week broadcast on terrestrial FM stations worldwide and uploaded as podcasts, after 4 years we decided to scale back and switched to the more podcast-friendly 1 hour a month format. As more of a podcast fan than a radio listener these days, I felt much more at home this way (and it was considerably less work too which was a bonus!)

 

►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

I started the show because I run an independent record label and it was a great way to present the music we released, personalise it in some way, while also putting it into some kind of context. It also quickly became a chance to offer some behind-the-scenes insight into the music business, play some of the exclusive access stuff I heard (pre-releases, demos and so on) and also talk about stuff I was reading or just into as the fancy took me!

As I said - I am a huge fan of the podcast format anyway and listen to a lot of shows myself. Usually talking or drama while walking my dog! There is something very unique about the experience that is quite close to literature in that it is often intimate and solitary (like reading) and I think many people listen on headphones or while working so there's a really strong connection with the story and with the imagination.

I also really like the DIY, independent ethos of the podcast. Some of my favourite shows to record have been reading from music biographies. I'd really like to explore this more, but suspect it's a bit of a side line from the day-to-day Freshly Squeezed label stuff!

 

►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

I'm really lucky that the day job and the podcast align so well. I'm also very aware of the historical issues of music use in podcasts and am very lucky to side step that by having my own label. In some ways I justify the time spent on the show as 'promotional' although of course it would be tough to justify that way if it wasn't my business and I had to answer to an accountant!

In order to make the time to record the shows (and to preserve the spontaneous feel) I usually record in one sitting with minimal editing. So mistakes and mis cues all become part of the show. The real work takes place in preparation of the playlist but I don't use a script (usually) so everything is very much off-the-cuff and (I hope) better for it.

 

►What do you gain from podcasting?        

As I said, it's really a dubious side-line (indulgence) that has a promotional angle for my business. When we syndicated the radio show we had some sponsorship and an American agent working behind the scenes, but really I came to realize I like the independence of doing the show as we do it. If I could find ways to make it pay better as a podcast, I'd love to do a more involved show (like S*Town or one of the greats) on a musical subject. Probably jazz biography.

 

►How does your podcasting process look like? 

I'm really lucky in that I have access to a professional radio studio because of the way we started on FM. You can check this out at totallyradio.com - there are also quite a few other similar shows, mostly based here in Brighton (UK), same as us. From here we do interviews - when we do them - and use the facilities. As I say, most of the heavy-lifting for a show is done in advance, preparing the playlist which takes a couple of hours the night before. There is also an amount of 'hidden' work each month, putting new finds and ideas to one side that I know I will use at the end of that month in the show.

That's the general rule. However there are the shows - which I really enjoy - where I literally take a box of records into the studio and pick one to begin - press record - and see what happens. It's a fun, very old-school, radio jock style of show, but can also be quite stressful. It's nice to remind oneself sometimes that the technology can be deadening as well as liberating!

 

►How do you market your show?

We use our social media channels to promote our shows. We've built up a Mixcloud following of over 10,000 subscribers now which is a reasonably strong base. I tend to allow iTunes to do it's own thing. We also have over 100,000 followers across Facebook which helps. We have been instrumental in developing the Electro Swing genre which brought us a lot of attention as a label and put us on a secure enough financial footing to expand into other areas of music.

 

►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?

I think keeping going, being consistent, and identifying your points of differentiation are all important.

Do it for yourself and because you love it.

Remember, it's never perfect to start (and can always be better in any case) so don't try to make it perfect. I remember I recorded 3 pilot shows when I first started which were all absolutely awful (long destroyed now thankfully) - but I was very much encouraged and mentored by someone at the radio station. There are lots of obstacles at the beginning and it's a steep learning curve, but I think your journey with the show will probably make it interesting for people.

You can hear the difference between my early public shows here and those that I record now... I think the flow and confidence to own mistakes is completely different.

 

►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?

Updated: 4 months ago

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