Voices from India

Issue #9

Here’s issue #9 of Voices by Saif Omar.

Accolades & Anniversaries!

Hubhopper, one of India's largest platform for podcasts and audio content won the Oracle for Startups Award at TechSparks 2019. Congratulations Team HH. 

Joshtalks andAawaz.com  partner with FICCI - Indian Language Internet Alliance for "Bhashantara 2019", the symposium for Indian languages technology industry.

Agrahya technologies, which runs awaaz.com - the podcast company, celebrates 3 years!

Asia podcast summit is on Nov 9-10, get your free 48-hour pass now.

In the spotlight

Man's World India features a "Podcast Binge List" that includes popular Indian podcasts like Indian Noir, Cyrus Says, The Fan Garage, She Says she's fine, Maed in India & SynTalk among others.

Andhra Jyothy, a Telugu publication, covers podcasting.

The Telegraph published a full-page feature of their favourite podcasts, featuring a host of Indian shows from IVM, Chuski Pop and The Overthink Tank among others.

The Verve writes about cyber influencers who are leveraging the web to engage in constructive social criticism and open up dialogues. The list features popular podcasters Kedar Nimkar of Audiogyan and Radhika & Samyuktha of "In the Field". Kudos!

Economic Times features a host of ads that stand out - Tata Mutual Fund's Ishq Bhi Risk Bhi, launched on Aawaz.com has been featured as a first in audio!

IVM's new show "Boundless" by Natasha Malpani is featured in The Hindu

The Indian Express published a piece on Cyrus Broacha, the host of "Cyrus Says" about his podcasting journey

New shows

Fat. So? - A new podcast talking about the joys and pains of being fat, hosted by Ameya Nagarajan and Pallavi Nath will be launching soon. Watch out!

Rolling Stones India launches a podcast called Haq Se HipHop.

Economic Fundas - a new show by Amit Verma and Vivek Kaul is available as a Storytel Original.

Moar regional language shows! This time by Ep.log media and Gaatha Story

Bioscope Marathi.

Being The Change Marathi/Badal Pernari Maanse.

Baalgatha Kannada

IVM adds more shows to its roster!

Heal and Hearty by Rachna Chhachhi (@RachnaRestores).

Boundless by Natasha Malpani (@Natasha_Malpani).

Ep.log media's popular show Meri Kahani by Padma Shri awardee Bhawana Somaaya (@bhawanasomaaya) is back with Season 3.

Pod jobs

NewsLaundry is looking to hire Video/Podcast producers.

Marketing and Partnerships Lead for a new podcast, Women and Work.

Bijay Gautam is looking to hire a podcast editor. Reach out to @bijayspeaks for details.

Voices from India

Issue #8

Here’s issue #8 of Voices by Saif Omar.

International podcast day round-up

As podcasters around the world celebrated International podcast day on Sept 30th, the communities in Bangalore (hosted by O2Pod Collective) and Hyderabad (hosted by Suno India) got together to network and share ideas about their journeys. Here are some pictures from the events.

O2Pod Collective also represented India on the International Podcast Day online event hosted by Dave Lee. The founders of the collective spoke about podcast community building in India.

More Awards

Aawaz.com won the 'Best Vernacular/Local-Language Content on Radio/Podcast' at the Indian Content Leadership awards 2019 #ICL2019. Check out the other winners in the audio category here. Kudos team.

Asia Podcast Awards has shortlisted its finalists for different categories, and several Indian podcasts have made it to the list. Go on and vote for your favourite podcasts here.

Best Business podcast

Shunya One by IVM Podcasts
Paisa Vaisa by IVM Podcasts

Best Technology podcast

Tech Careers in the New by IVM Podcasts in partnership with Accenture.

Best education podcast

Let's talk about, by Newslaundry

Best entertainment podcast

Varta Lab by IVM Podcasts

Asia's best podcast

The Awful and Awesome Entertainment wrap by Newslaundry
The Inspiring Talk by Bijay Gautam

The winners will be announced on November 9th.

Indian podcast coverage

Radhika Sen of Mashable India published a piece on the popularity of podcasts among millennials. Radhika also listed her favourite podcasts which include the critically acclaimed Indian Noir and the popular Film Companion by critic Anupama Chopra.

Business Today wrote about the rise of local content podcasts. The piece features inputs from the usual suspects - IVM podcasts, Aawaz.com, and Hubhopper.

Another opinion piece about India's podcasting landscape on the Economic times by Sreeraman Thiagarajan, founder of Aawaz.com. Sreeraman talks about the power of audio and how perhaps the Indian Prime Minister's audio address, Mann ki Baat, is also an example of a podcast.

Money Control also chips in with a piece about how podcasts are gaining momentum in India. The article features snippets from Amit Doshi, founder of IVM podcasts.

Founders of IVM speak to LiveMint about podcasts being a single sense experience, the role of a network like IVM in growing the medium, and what the future holds for the medium in India.

New shows

Pursuit of wellness, the podcast and video series hosted by Kabir Uppal that features experts and enthusiasts from the Fitness, Nutrition and Health space is back for season 2.

Podcast MD by Ketto, hosted by Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor, speaks to patients and caregivers affected by deadly diseases to understand everything from the medical aspect of dealing with doctors and hospitals to the emotional element and being able to cope with it all. Bravo team!

Use case, a show about the startup world in India. Learn from some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and CXOs in India.

Ishq bhi Risk bhi, is a byte-sized sponsored Hindi podcast by Aawaz.com for Tata Mutual Fund.


Woman power in podcasting

Cosmopolitan India features Chuski Pop, Maed In India, Culture Chaos, and Three Token Brown Girls, the amazing female-led podcasts from India. Kudos superwomen!

When I was 13 - The very innovative time travel podcast by teenager Aarushi Gupta is featured on CurryUp podcast, hosted by Priyanka Komala as well as the seasoned journalist Usha Raman's blog. Go champ!

The popular history podcast Echoes of India by Anirudh Kanisetti is featured in The Hindu. The podcast that explores 700 years of Indian history from the invasion of Alexander to the Gupta Empire. The interview delves into the backstory of the podcast and some interesting insights into the upcoming season.

IVM's brand new show, Feeding 10 billion, hosted by Varun Deshpande and Ramya Ramamurthy of the US-based Good Food Institute’s (GFI) India chapter, is featured in The Hindu. The hosts talk about how podcast as a medium has been ideal for in-depth conversations for such crucial topics.

Podcast Merch

Looking for your favourite podcast's merchandise online? Maed in India, the popular indie music podcast, also rated as one of India's top podcasts by iTunes for 2018, now offers Maed in India merch, and it is uber-cool! Check it out and order yours here!

Weekly round-up: All about Spotify

Issue #48

Hello podheads, here’s issue #48. Also, decided to change the frequency of the newsletter to fortnightly. But I’ll start publishing short updates throughout the week on important developments and dissect it with additional info in the “Fortnightly round-up.” Thank you for all your support.

Apple vs. Spotify

Voxnest published the Apple vs Spotify report for August. Spotify continues to steamroller its way through Europe. Since the last report in June, Spotify has now emerged as the dominant podcast listening app in Portugal and Bulgaria, while Apple reclaimed Romania. Spotify is also currently the dominant app in Algeria.

Spotify watch

Here’s an interesting L.A. Times profile of Dawn Ostroff, the chief content officer of Spotify. Here’s an interesting excerpt from the piece:

Ostroff said she’s looking for content that is “really going to be loud” so it brings in the largest amount of users to sign up and spend more time listening to it.

“The amount of content that we can make is endless,” Ostroff said. “Seeing how many of the existing talent in the Hollywood community and the news community are interested in migrating toward this new medium, it really makes it a lot easier.”

Spotify in numbers

A breakup of Spotify’s userbase by geography.

A short take

The Ringer is launching a new podcast called The Hottest Take exclusively on Spotify. The show will be under 10 mins and will be hosted by Bill Simmons and others from the network.

Game time

Spotify wants a piece of the sports podcasts action. It has hired Amy Hudson, former head of sports media partnerships at Facebook and David Rhodes, the former president of CBS News to develop original sports content.

Spotify will be competing with the likes of The Ringer, ESPN, SB Nation, Barstool, and The Athletic, among others. Sports podcasts are seeing some increased action off-late.

The Athletic

The subscription-based sports media site recently said that it hopes to have 120 podcasts by the year-end. Last week it also announced a new daily sports news podcast called The Lead, in partnership with Wondery Media.

Mather and his co-founder Adam Hansmann started the site on the premise that sports fans would pay to read original reporting about their favorite teams. It began in Chicago in 2016 and now has more than 400 reporters and editors covering more than 270 teams in nearly 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the English Premier League. - Bloomberg


A couple of months ago ESPN also announced a new daily sports news podcast. Last week the sports broadcaster also disclosed that its 35 podcasts now reach over 7.1 million listeners.


Recently, Erika Nardini, the CEO of Barstool Sports, disclosed that podcasts contribute to over 35% of the company’s revenues.

It now has more than 30 and ranks as the No. 6 largest U.S. podcast publisher with 6.75 million unique listeners in July 2019 — putting it ahead of rivals including ESPN, according to Podtrac.

The Ringer

According to a report in the WSJ, The Ringer, founded by Bill Simmons, is profitable.

The Ringer’s podcast ad sales topped $15 million in 2018 (and accounted for most of its revenue); its podcast network brings in around 35 million downloads across 28 shows; Simmons says the company is profitable. 

So, Spotify has its task cut out, to say the least. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against these entrenched players.


The music streaming giant acquired SoundBetter, the music marketplace that connects musicians with audio and music professionals.

SoundBetter already has more than 180,000 registered users in 176 countries and 14,000 cities across the globe. The acquisition reinforces the deep connection between Spotify and the broader music industry, as SoundBetter makes it easy for labels and artists to source a wide array of music services.

Spotify has been looking for ways to directly work with Artists. Last year, it made quite a splash when it announced that it was working on allowing artists to upload their music on Spotify directly only shut down the program in June. This acquisition seems like a roundabout way to achieve the goal.

Also read: Spotify is now a music-making marketplace, as it buys New York-based SoundBetter

Podcasts and print

The past decade has been increasingly brutal for publishers, both print and online. The rise of the internet and the increasing domination of the duopoly of Google and Facebook have made life incredibly hard for publishers. The end result? A host of closures, consolidation, uneasy alliances, harebrained and desperate experiments and a whole host of other calamities.


Source: Axios

An increasing bet by publishers, both ad-supported and subscription oriented off-late has been on podcasts. French publisher Le Monde, according to this Digiday piece, is seeing some success in using podcasts to drive subscriptions.

According to the publisher, 19% of the users who listened to the podcast have read at least one article of the original written series, others have subscribed to Le Monde. Delcambre couldn’t share exact numbers but said these articles were some of the most successful at converting subscribers this year.

More interestingly, two of the three podcasts have been funded by Spotify and are exclusive to the platform.

Over the years, some publishers have increasingly grown their podcasts operations. The Economist, Financial Times, NYT, The Guardian, among others have been trying to leverage podcasts to drive subscriptions and donations in the case of The Guardian.

Here’s what Alastair Mackie, the Financial Times's head of audio for commercial had to say a while ago:

“The majority of listeners to our current podcasts are not subscribers, but they are taking the time to spend 20 to 30 minutes a day on FT content,” said Alastair Mackie, head of audio for commercial at the Financial Times. “One of the challenges subscriptions businesses have is to engage people to the point where they convert. So to have a fertile hunting ground [for conversions] of highly engaged people, many of whom listen to 70-80 percent of the podcasts, is good.  You’ll see a lot more of us trying to refine that. There is a big opportunity in using it to drive subscriptions.”

Tom Standage, head of digital strategy and deputy editor at The Economist

The goal with “The Intelligence” is to broaden The Economist’s reach among podcast listeners who will then go on to subscribe.

Leveraging podcasts to drive subscriptions is a whole new ballgame than generating ad revenues from them. Vox Media, NYT, and Slate have been hugely successful in generating ad revenues from podcasts. Will keep tracking developments in this space.

Musical troubles

Licensing music to be used on podcasts has been devilishly difficult and using music by throwing caution to the wind has been a risky proposition, to say the least. While nothing came of podcasts using music on podcasts without licensing in the early days of podcasting, the risk of legal action is a clear and present danger. Last year, Universal Music and a bunch of other records sued PokerNews Podcast for unlawful use of music on its episodes.

This piece on Billboard explores the complexities of using and licensing music for podcasts.

In most cases, using music in a podcast is more like obtaining a synch license for video than making individual songs available online. Producers need permission from the owners of the recording and the owners of the underlying composition — which is especially complicated if a song contains elements of another composition, as in a sample. "If a song incorporates a sample of another song, then the number of rights holders basically doubles," says Hrishikesh Hirway, creator and host of 5-year-old podcast Song Exploder. "We might not know, necessarily, how to get in touch with those people, or maybe you're dealing with an estate. That can get really tricky. Sometimes the burden of clearing a song proves to be too much."

Anyway, there was plenty of excitement in podcastland a couple of weeks ago when SoundExchange announced that it was partnering with PodcastMusic.com to making this whole process easy:

“The podcast industry is rapidly growing, and this collaboration will provide SoundExchange’s music creators – both labels and publishers – with an additional way to monetize their work by making their music available on Podcastmusic.com if they choose,” said Michael Huppe, President and CEO of SoundExchange. “Our collaboration with SourceAudio will make the process of licensing music simpler through a one-stop licensing marketplace.”

Nothing much has come of it yet. But Another startup now wants to take a stab at this.

Last week Soundstripe, the royalty-free music service announced that it raised $2 million from Craft Ventures, the outfit led by David Sacks, the founding COO of PayPal and co-founder/former CEO of Yammer, and Bill Lee, a founder, and investor.

This investment by Craft will allow Soundstripe to continue taking tangible steps that give creators the most agile and seamless means to bring content to the consumer while attracting a wider-reaching subscriber base,” said Travis Terrell, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Soundstripe. “Our goals are as ambitious as our users’, and we look forward to welcoming more subscribers as we look to expand into the growing podcast segment and international markets.”

YouTube for podcasts

Julia Alexander published a really interesting piece in The Verge on how podcasters are using YouTube to grow their podcasts. This also reminded me of this slide from a survey by Futuri Media and the University of Florida.

From The Canadian Podcast Listener 2019 study, which is also referenced in the article:

YouTube is indeed the leading platform for past year usage among monthly podcast listeners. More than 4-in-10 (43%) say they went to YouTube for podcasts in the past year, ahead of Apple Podcasts/iTunes at 34% and a strong showing from the new arrival, Spotify, at 23%.

Slide showing why people use YouTube to listen to podcasts.

Another interesting growth hack by these podcasters on YouTube:

To reach even bigger audiences, YouTubers have figured out that they can break their show into pieces and spread it across multiple channels. H3 Podcast, Cody Ko and Noel Miller’s Tiny Meat Gang, and The Joe Rogan Experience run as full-length episodes on their main podcast channel, but those episodes are then broken down into tiny individual cuts. These cuts, often referred to as clips or highlights, exist on a completely separate channel. They’re also arguably more important when it comes to using YouTube as a way to grow the podcast.

Apparently, these secondary channels are seeing more views than the main channel where the original content resides.

Rogan’s show is one of the longest on the platform, often going beyond three hours, and like H3, he operates a secondary channel that breaks out clips from each episode. The clips collectively have more views than the videos on his main account, despite the clips channel having several million fewer subscribers.

Funding watch


Entale, the interactive podcast app that lets users engage with links, maps, pictures, quotes, etc., while listening to a podcast has raised £2m from the oner of Daily Mail.


Descript, the podcast creation and editing tool has raised $15 million in Seris A funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Redpoint. Descript makes it easy to record, transcribe, and edit podcasts. Descript also acquired Lyrebird, an AI startup that was working on making content creation easy with features such as text-to-speech synthesis, etc.

Lyrebird will power a new feature on Descript called “Overdub.” It allows you to correct audio just by typing using AI technology. Here’s a blogpost with more details.

In a similar vein, Soundtap, which was acquired and re-launched by Spotify earlier this year also has a text-to-audio editing feature.


Pocket Casts, the popular podcast listening changed its business model last week. The company made the app, which required a one-time payment previously free for everyone. It also launched Pocket Casts Plus, a new subscription that offers desktop apps, cloud storage for creators & listeners, and more app customisation options for USD$0.99 per month (USD$10/year).

Post the change; it offered a 3-year Pocket Casts Plus subscription for all users but soon caught some backlash from paid users. Pocket Casts quickly moved to rectify the situation and offered a lifetime subscription of Pocket Casts Plus to all previous paid users. Owen Grover, the CEO of Pocket Casts in a blog post, wrote:

We made some pretty big changes this week, and we’ve heard your feedback loud and clear. Although we intended to demonstrate our appreciation to our most loyal users, we know many of you feel we missed the mark. With that in mind, today we’ve decided to provide any user who previously purchased our Web version with lifetime access to Pocket Casts Plus. This includes the Mac and Windows apps as well. No renewal, no monthly charge, no questions asked. This means Desktop App purchasers will also gain access to all of the Pocket Casts Plus features on their mobile devices.

Voices from India

Here’s issue #7 of Voices by Saif Omar.

Short Takes (Bytes)

“The Daily” Hits One Billion Downloads

Vox Media announced the launch of a Reset, a tech news podcast to be hosted by Arielle Duhaime-Ross. The show was announced way back in February when the publisher struck a multi-million partnership with Stitcher.

TV Review: ‘Limetown’ with Jessica Biel - Caroline Framke/Variety

Malcolm Gladwell on Talking to Strangers and how podcasting changed his approach to writing - Tyler Aquilina/Entertainment

Spotify’s Gimlet Podcasting Arm Sets Fall Fiction Slate, Led By ‘Motherhacker’ - Bruce Haring/Deadline

Voices from India

Issue #7

Here’s issue #7 of Voices by Saif Omar.

Learn while having fun!

A great chance for podcast enthusiasts to learn and have fun! What better way than to learn podcasting in the lap of the Himalayas.

New Shows

As the podcast landscape grows in India, more new shows start by the day. It's great to see the full range of topics covered in the new shows as well. Here's hoping to many more.

The Last Courtesans of Bombay

After bringing you the brilliant series 'The Night Shift', a podcast series about women who go to work after dark, Kunal Purohit and Swaddle are back with another gem, The Last Courtesans of Bombay. The podcast probes the mysterious and often stigmatized world of courtesans of Bombay.

Get 'em young

Azim Premji foundation brings to you a Kannada podcast, 'Nakshatragalu', a collection of inspiring stories of incredible teachers, school leaders & teacher educators, who are working with dedication to make learning fun and meaningful.

More new shows on networks

Given the increasing interest in vernacular language podcasts, IVM kicks off an all-new Tamil podcast, the first on the network after shows in Hindi, Marathi, and Kannada. 'Kadhai Podcast' narrates the classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan in simple and easy to understand Tamil. 

Other new shows coming up on IVM

GAYBCD - a podcast about being queer in today's day and age

Feeding a billion - a podcast that looks ahead to the next food revolution

Suno India

Suno India brings to you 'Beyond Charminar', a podcast exploring the cultural heritage of Hyderabad and 'Raah - a career podcast', a Hindi podcast series which will highlight different career options that break away from the norm.

EpLog Media

The network continues to increase its catalog of shows, this time with 'Keshava - a magnificent obsession.' It’s a show about Sri Krishna’s relationship with nature, the tree, the plant, the flower, the flute, and the conch.

Awards and Accolades

The past few weeks have seen several podcasts lapping up accolades in various forums.

Digipub Awards 2019

The annual convention for web publishers, and the first-of-its-kind convention for online publishers, Digipub celebrated the third edition of the convention. Some of the podcasts that won accolades included:

Krishna Ki Nagari Vrindhavan by Aawaz.com which won the Gold for best Hindi Podcast. Read more here.

The Quint picked up the Gold and Silver in the Best Podcast category for 
Trials of Trans-ition and The Psychology of Students Committing Suicide in India. Read more here.

Play to Potential by Deepak Jayaraman, was among the winners at the Content Marketing Summit Asia 2019. Kudos!

Kahaani Express, in association with HDFC Life also picked up an award for Campaign Led by Audio at the SPOTT Awards presented at ET Brand Equity's iSTREAM Congress. See the full list here.

In the News

Spotify's Cecilia Qvist and Akshat Harbola talk to Indiatimes about Spotify's plan for India and how podcasts are a big part of the strategy, including the possibility of acquisitions.

Business Insider India features a piece on how marketers are warming up to podcasts in India. The article includes tidbits from Aman Gokhlani, Head of Operations, Audioboom India, Sreeraman Thiagarajan of Aawaz.com, representatives of Gaana, Spotify India and Storytel, as well as Amit Doshi and Varun Duggirala from IVM podcasts.  

The Agency Reporter features an interview with Sreeraman Thiagarajan, the Co-Founder, Agrahyah Technologies Pvt. Ltd that owns Aawaz.com where he talks about Agrahyah, its offerings, voice technology, the challenges, and looking ahead to the future.

The Hindu's column on podcasts, by Usha Raman, features Dear Pari, a podcast about adoption and IVM's show Agla Station Adulthood, which is about the journey of adulting.

ET BrandEquity's iSTREAM Congress, the Video and Audio Streaming Conference 2019 featured a panel on audio - 'Advertisers’ new found love' with Amit Doshi, Founder & CEO, IVM Podcasts and Sreeraman Thiagarajan, Co-Founder, Agrahyah Technologies Pvt. Ltd that owns Aawaz.com.

Pod jobs

Interested in the world of podcasting? You should check out these jobs below:

Sound Designer/ Producer at Express Audio

Intern at Customer Guru 

Multiple openings at IVM Podcasts

Voices from India

Issue #6

Here’s issue #6 of Voices by Saif Omar.

International Podcast day 2019 meetup  in Bangalore and Hyderabad!

Inviting all podcast enthusiasts and podcasters to the International Podcast Day meetups being organized in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Come listen to various stakeholders in the Indian podcast space share their views to celebrate podcasts and podcasting! Sign up now:

International Podcast Day 2019 - Bangalore Meetup

International Podcast Day 2019 - Hyderabad Meetup

Podcasts & Movements - Podcast Movement 2019 #PM19 

Podcast Movement saw another successful edition, this time at Orlando, Florida. Amit Doshi, founder of IVM podcast was at #PM19 on a panel talking about 'Podcast Discovery Everywhere You Use Google' along with Zack Reneau-Wedeen and 'Podcasts in Emerging Markets'. 

"India loves celebrity podcasts, likely due to the influence of Bollywood, as well as political talk and current affairs podcasts, which fill a great need for audio political coverage"

The Media Rumble

Closer to home, #MediaRumble featured a panel on podcasting - The immersive power of audio, including popular podcasters Amit Varma (The Seen and the Unseen), Padma Priya (Suno India) and Neha Mathews (Express Audio). Checkout the full session.

Anniversaries and new shows!

The Inspiring talk, hosted by Bijay Gautam celebrated its 2 year anniversary by hosting a live show for its audience. Eagerly looking forward for the episode to be live on the podcast.

Baalgatha, the popular kids' stories podcast has now launched a new podcast - Devgatha, a podcast on classic mythology stories in a new avatar! 

The first episode of #TheLostChild, a Suno India production supported by Firstpost is out now. The episode looks at the crime and abuse that was rampant at Balika Griha or shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Tune in now!


WhenIWas13, the podcast by 13 year old, Arushi Gupta, where prominent guests talk about their life when they were 13 was featured in the Hindustan Times. Kudos Arushi!

Amit Doshi and Kavita Rajwade of IVM podcasts are featured on DigitalStudio talking about the podcasting landscape in India, the power of the medium and the potential. 

Piyush Agarwal, host of Kahani Jaani Anjaani and Grow Daily, is featured in this piece on The New Indian Express where he talks about his podcasting journey and creative process. He successfully conducted a podcast workshop recently in Bangalore as well!

Enjoyed reading Voices? I would really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word about Indian podcasting by sharing this on social media or forwarding this to a fellow podhead. We are on a mission to ensure Indian voices are heard far and wide and we need your patronage.

Loading more posts…