In February this year, we entered into a two year exclusive agreement with Spotify for four of our podcasts. gaathastory podcast on Spotify include Baalgatha, Devgatha, Veergatha, and Fairytales of India. We launched our exclusive series on April 19th 2021. Over the next 2 years, we plan to publish one new episode every day. Nearly two months into our journey, I thought of sharing some updates and experiences.
Some fun facts and figures:
Number of podcasts: 4
Languages published in: 6
Number of independent audio feeds: 14
Till Mid-April 2023, Number of episodes planned: 730
Note that the first two months were practically in the lockdown period, which means severe constraints on recording the content in a studio. Read along to learn how new episodes of gaathastory podcast on Spotify kept getting released.
Publishing gaathastory podcast on Spotify
The story so far: read about our key takeaways and learnings during our 50 day journey of gaathastory podcast on Spotify.
Takeaway Number 1 : Planning and batching
At gaathastory, we have always believed in planning and batching out episodes. This helps in creating large volume of content in a short period of time. In March and April 2021, we worked with several story writers, editors and translators to get the script readied for the podcast episodes. These were recorded in studios across multiple cities in India, which helped in creating three months’ worth of content in less than two weeks’ time. During lockdown period, this offered us the flexibility to keep publishing the episodes and even re-edit some of them. We did not have to worry about running out of content.
Takeaway Number 2: Spread out your production process
Instead of concentrating on a smaller number of studios and artists, we went wide. Our narrators, editors, authors and translators are located in 10 different cities in India. Some are even located outside the country!
This helped us in responding quickly to any lockdown situation. For example, some episodes of a podcast were scheduled to be recorded in Pune. Because of lockdown in Maharashtra, we moved the recording to Bengaluru. Same langauge, different city, different narrator. Similarly, some episodes of one show (baalgatha Telugu) were scheduled to be recorded in Hyderabad. Because of the COVID-19 situation there, we moved the recording to the next best location in Andhra.
Takeaway Number 3: Communicate, communicate, communicate!
I am not talking about micro-management here. Instead, reaching out to the creators, asking them how they were doing. And being flexible in case the production got delayed by a day or two. All helped in planning and scheduling the episode release.
Takeaway Number 4: Always stay positive
In a long and complex project like publishing hundreds of gaathastory podcast episodes on Spotify, some things are bound to go wrong. Some things did not go as expected, while others bomb’d completely. But lets’ face it: we published nearly 60 episodes non stop during peak COVID — induced lockdown. Something must have gone right!
Gearing for the next months
As we near the end of lockdown period, we are begining to set up conversations with studios and artists to batch the next several months’ content. That way, we will have enough stories recorded, edited and produced in case the third wave of COVID prompts another series of lockdowns. While we hope that is not the case, planning for the worst but hoping for the best is indeed a prudent approach.