Forget about streaming . . . what about this? Especially now.
Streaming is all the rage these days . . . whether that means an opportunity to watch a musical shot in New York City like this one, or whether that’s a blogger like me who turns his camera on weekly to talk to an industry hot shot.
And streaming has a very distinct place in our present and our future (although not exactly how you might think – keep your eye on this blog for more on that later this week).
But there’s another type of recording that I’m surprised hasn’t taken off in our world . . . and based on current trends AND the current COVID-19 crisis, I think it should.
And . . . gasp . . . this one is more suited for PLAYS than musicals.
Why aren’t more plays being podcasted?
Audio-recorded content has surged over the past several years.
- In 2018, there were 550,000 podcasts. In 2020, there are already over $1mm.
- The audiobook market has been growing by 25% a year.
So why aren’t more plays appearing on Podcasts or in audiobook format?
I know, I know, plays are meant to be seen . . . but ahhhh, not sure if you’ve read the news lately . . . people can’t actually see them. And since shooting a play on video is so very expensive and logistically difficult (and again, please check the news about why even that’s problematic these days), why not turn to the done-for-peanuts-and-in-one-day audio version?
The growth of consumers’ appetites for listening to recorded content on their phones, iPads, and in their cars has proven that they devour content that they love.Audible is doing a bit of this downtown, but the rest of us just aren’t serving enough content to our audience.
And we should. (It’d also get some cash to our artists who could use it now, before we lose many of them.)
I’m not just talking about why The Hangmen, which canceled its Broadway run because of COVID-19, might think of putting out an audio version with that original cast. Or what about To Kill A Mockingbird?
I’m also taking about EMERGING plays.
Podcasted or Audio book-ed plays could be the new “Demo” for emerging playwrights looking to get their plays produced.
It’s HARD to get people to read a script. It’s EASIER to get them to listen (evident by the growth in podcasting and audiobook devouring referenced above).
So doesn’t it make sense that if you were a new playwright and wanted a Producer to “read” your script, you might have a better shot of them listening to it?
Just imagine this query letter:
“Hi. I wrote a play. It’s 110 pages. Will you read it?”
“Hi. I wrote a play. I recorded it with actors and you can listen to it on the treadmill.”
Isn’t the experience easier and the product better?
Selling anything, whether that’s a bar of soap or a brand new play, is about reducing the friction between the buyer and the seller, and having audio versions of what we produce does just that.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.