I have to say — it is not the spiciest week in podcast news so far. But so it goes!
Today, Baby Shark podcasts go at a premium, BBC gets an unwelcome Twitter label, and Lemonada leans further into its audiobook club.
Lemonada and Apple Books launch audiobook club
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again until it gets annoying: the worlds of podcasts and audiobooks are becoming increasingly intertwined. Podcast studio Lemonada Media has found a new partner for its book club, this time teaming up with Apple Books.
The companies have selected three titles — A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung, Drama Free by Nedra Glover Tawwab, and You Can Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith — that are available as ebooks and audiobooks on Apple Books. Lemonada then plans to leverage its podcast network to feature author interviews and foster discussions.
It’s a smart way to bring large-scale book club tradition into the audio world. And this isn’t Lemonada’s first foray into audiobook clubs — the company did something similar with Penguin Random House last year, featuring titles like All Good People Here, the debut novel from Crime Junkie host Ashley Flowers. As audiobooks and podcasts start to live in the same spaces (Spotify, Audible), I wouldn’t be surprised to see more ~synergistic (sorry) plays like this one.
The studio behind ‘Baby Shark’ launches podcast slate
I thought this was a thing that had passed, but I guess not? Pinkfong, the studio behind the “Baby Shark” song and extension entertainment properties, has launched eight podcasts on Apple Podcasts — three in English and five in Korean.
Interestingly, the English channel has a premium tier. For $2.99 per month, subscribers get exclusive access to a bonus show, Exclusive Pinkfong Baby Shark Book Adventure, as well as early access to episodes of The Best Pinkfong Baby Shark Kids Story and My Favorite Pinkfong Musical Story. The episodes posted so far are between two and six minutes in length, with stories on kid-friendly topics like dinosaurs and fairy tales.
I am not going to lie, this does not initially strike me as the kind of content that would normally live behind a paywall, but the marketing minds at Pinkfong must know something I do not (like how much parents are willing to pay to keep their kiddos quiet).
Nick Cannon gets daily live show on Amazon’s Amp
As companies like Spotify and Reddit back out of live audio, Amazon is still trying to get headline-grabbing talent for its live audio app, Amp. The company announced Monday that it will launch The Daily Cannon on April 24th. Nick Cannon will host the show from 9AM to noon ET daily, during which he will play tracks from and interview emerging artists.
Like I noted last week, Amp is leaning on the idea that live audio can work insofar as it leans on music. This new deal with Cannon, which could have just been a talk show like any other, seems to underscore that thinking. Spotify, too, mentioned last week that the company will find ways to integrate its live audio tech to foster music-oriented engagement like listening parties. If (big if) live audio does have a future, it may look more like The Daily Cannon, which looks more like an old-fashioned radio show.
Like NPR, BBC gets the ‘government-funded media’ tag on Twitter
Last week, Elon Musk took a shot at NPR by tagging its main Twitter account “US state-affiliated media,” putting it in the same category as government mouthpiece publications like RT and China Daily (it’s, uh, emphatically not). Since then, the tag has been changed to “government-funded media,” even though it receives less than 1 percent of its funding from the federal government. Now, the BBC has been slapped with the same tag.
BBC reached out to Musk to challenge the label, saying, “The BBC is, and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the licence fee.” Musk responded by saying he was trying to provide “maximum transparency” for platform users but also said that he is actually a fan. “I should note that I follow BBC News on Twitter, because I think it is among the least biased,” he said in the exchange.
It’s not clear how the label affects BBC or NPR’s accounts going forward. When NPR had the “state-affiliated” label, that meant its tweets would be deprioritized. Even if that is no longer the case, NPR is taking a Twitter break — there hasn’t been a tweet from the main account since April 4th.
That’s all for today. I’ll be back next week with some exciting news!
Correction 5:40PM: A prior version of this article said that all of Pinkfong’s English-language podcasts are behind a paywall. The article has been updated to reflect that only one show, Exclusive Pinkfong Baby Shark Book Adventure, is for paying subscribers.