Is The Drink Champs Podcast Ushering In A New Music Industry Era?

By Gary J. Nix

  • Warner Music Group becomes exclusive distribution partner of Drink Champs Podcast
  • The global podcasting market size grew from $20.14B in 2022 and is expected to reach $25.85B in 2023

At the moment, it feels apropos to say, “Give it up for N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN for the new deal *insert applause here*),” as they’ve secured an exclusive audio licensing deal for Drink Champs with Warner Music Group. As we’ve seen vigorous podcast growth over the past few years, we’ve also seen consistent partnerships with Black-led podcasts and companies known for their musical ties. They are all looking to cash in on the global podcasting market which is expected to grow from $20.1 billion in 2022 to $25.8 billion in 2023.

Why This Matters: One of the objectives here at CultureBanx is to prove the power of culture-driven relationships for businesses. Historically, large media companies have tried to leverage their distribution channels to attract those who drive culture via significant, up-front financial promises. For N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, their Drinks Champs podcast embodies culture and is number eight in music podcasts in the U.S.

The music industry was known very well for this strategy, at one time hedging their bets on their power of distribution, until things started to change in the late-90’s. During that time, record labels and their subsidiaries without a library of music from which they could continue to collect mechanical royalties disappeared or were purchased. 

Now, after technology loosened its grip on distribution, they appear to be trying to regain real-time relevancy. These labels are using their legacy of reach to distribute culture to the masses and make money on the back end as they used to do with recording artists.

Situational Awareness: To be clear, this article is not designed to point one way or the other in terms of how to monetize one’s podcast. There are advantages to partnering with a known media entity, their audiences and sponsors, creating your own network, and growing your own paying community. 

What is essential, however, is to learn from history. The music industry took advantage of many recording artists for a long time with unbalanced contracts until they were no longer the only game in town. The key is to understand your value in the partnership, especially regarding the distribution of culture. Otherwise, as history has proven, it can be quickly vultured.

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