Podcasting Case Study - Coverville


 Podcasting Case Study - Coverville

I have to be honest. I'm not a big fan of podcasts. It's not because I don't like the idea of people sitting at home and chattering away about various topics; it's just that I find most podcasting to be boring, repetitive and mostly uninteresting.

But then Coverville came along. Coverville is a “podcast for music lovers” by Brian Ibbott, who reviews cover songs from all genres every week on his show. His reviews are usually around 30 minutes long and include both audio clips of the song he’s reviewing as well as program notes where he explains what makes it special or interesting to him in some way.

I first heard of Coverville when a friend of mine forwarded my a link to this week's show. I was in the car, listening to his show, and asked him, “Who is this guy? Why is he so interesting?” He told me it was Brian Ibbott, so I said “Well, let me give it a listen.” I didn't think I'd like it at all because of how lazy I find most podcasts to be, but Coverville didn't have that kind of feel at all. It was actually very well produced and the audio clips sounded great as well as the music itself.

Our conversation made me curious about Coverville, so I went to the website and saw that it had been around for almost 10 years...and that Brian had over 7,000 episodes to his name. My immediate reaction was shock that one podcast could have that many episodes. I guess it's like TV serials - the more episodes a show has, the more people are willing to keep watching. I sat back and thought “Well...if it gets 4,000 listeners every week then that means he has around 21,000 consistent listeners for his podcast. That's impressive!”

I decided to give Coverville another listen, this time focusing on Brian's show. I listened through every episode that I could find, and kept listening all weekend long to his show. After the first few episodes I realized that his intro and closing theme was so good (the song was called “Hush Mumble”) that I listened to it over and over again just for his intro alone. About halfway through the first series of episodes I wanted to see what he had planned for his shows in the future, so I searched Coverville on iTunes (you can find it by searching “Coverville”) and there were loads of past shows available. I started a folder on my iPod called “Priority List” and loaded those up.

I didn't want to forget about Brian's show, so I decided to start collecting links to his past shows on my website (miscblog.com) and having them ready in a convenient format for people who wanted to listen again or check out Brian's shows. Since then I've been collecting old show links and playing them back, making note of which ones are interesting, strange or interesting-sounding so that others can find them easily without going crazy trying to keep track of what shows he has available online...and it sure is fun finding all those ones that have awesome tracks or sounds.

Conclusion: I'm a fan of Coverville. It was the first podcast I ever gave a chance, and I was impressed by how good it is. There are only about 100 live shows left on iTunes to listen to, but the rest are all archived so it's not like he's disappearing or anything. Plus Brian does new shows every week or so, and he works on new plays so that it isn't just one long playing show every single week.

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