Key Takeaways

  • Consider cultural audio content. In China, 90 percent of podcast listeners are under the age of 35 which has led an increasing number of cultural organizations to launch audio content to connect with Millennial and Gen-Z audiences. 
  • Start short and consider partnerships. Beijing’s Inside-Out Art Museum has created three to five minute episodes alongside Fake Festival, a company known for cultural podcasts — potentially setting it up to produce longer audio material in the future. 

Museums in China may have begun reopening in May, but this hasn’t stopped them continuing to pursue new engagement channels.  

For the Inside-Out Art Museum, a private institution located in one of the capital’s innovation zones, this has meant creating a mini audio series to accompany its new exhibition, “An Impulse to Turn”. 

Since early July, Inside-Out Art Museum has released weekly recordings hosted by individual artists featured in the exhibition. Episodes are short, typically three to five minutes, and appear embedded within the museum’s WeChat articles, allowing users to listen as they read. 

Cultural Podcasts

Image: Inside-Out Art Museum WeChat.

At a time when in-person attendance is yet to return to pre-Covid-19 levels, these episodes are a smart marketing tool, one connecting audiences to the exhibition through the voices of emerging Chinese artists. Video artist Ma Haijiao, for example, discussed the creative process and social context behind his biographical film on show at the exhibition.  

This initiative has been created alongside Fake Festival, a media company that specializes in podcasts focused on the performing arts. Since 2018, Fake Festival has operated Daotingtushuo (道听途说), a popular arts podcast series that takes listeners behind China’s latest exhibitions and dramatic performances often alongside industry professionals. 

In 2019, Daotingtushuo placed eighth on the Performing Art section of Apple’s China Podcasts, a sign that Inside-Out Art Museum has found a suitable partner, one that could potentially guide its first steps into the realm of cultural podcasts.

This would be a smart move.

Podcasts are rapidly gaining traction in China. The user base of audio platforms is growing at a rate of 30 percent a year and is expected to exceed 700 million by 2023, according to consulting firm Frost & Sullivan China. What’s more, podcast devotees overlap neatly with the target audience of contemporary art museums — in 2020, PodFest China found 90 percent of listeners were under the age of 35, 70 percent lived in Tier 1 cities, and 86 percent hold a bachelor’s degree. 

Expect China’s Millennial and Gen-Z-facing institutions to pursue cultural podcasts.

Edited by Richard Whiddington


Jing Culture & Commerce