The Nashville Briefing
is excited to announce that we have teamed up with Project Music
to highlight local startups each week. This week, we spoke with Osiris
, a company that creates and curates music/culture podcasts. See out conversation with founder RJ Bee below.
TNB – Tell us about Osiris. How does it work for creators and consumers?
Bee – We started Osiris to connect music fans more deeply to the artists they love. Originally a group of 10 existing music podcasts, we’ve expanded into original content, including artist-focused podcasts and narrative stories about musical events and topics that music fans would be interested in. Now at 35 podcasts and growing, we’ve worked with artists like David Crosby, Trey Anastasio and Jon Fishman of Phish, and many others. The artists we’ve worked with have said that it’s an important outlet for them and a good way to stay connected with their fans.
TNB – Why does it stand out in the marketplace?
Bee – We’re the biggest and fastest-growing music-focused podcast network. We’ve held unique events that combine the live music and podcast experience, and we’re doing live video chats with artists and other video content for people who are looking for more entertainment and some distraction during the coronavirus lockdown.
TNB – Any highlighted shows or episodes we should listen to right now?
Bee – Our newest podcast, Eric Krasno Plus One, features interviews with a bunch of high-profile musicians, like Dave Matthews, Chris Robinson, and Laura Lee of Khruangbin. Eric is a Grammy-winning guitarist and producer, and has interviews with Questlove, Derek Trucks and many more coming soon.
TNB – What is the business model?
Bee – All of our podcasts and video content are free, and are ad-supported. We have a mix of sponsors from companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Harry’s and nugs.net, and we also have dynamic ad insertion through our hosting company, Acast. We’ve also gotten into the live event sponsorship business, but that has been put on pause for a bit. We’ve also created branded podcast content for companies like Splice. We’ll continue to pursue partnerships with companies that want to connect with passionate music fans.
TNB – Any funding history?
Bee – We did two crowdfunding equity campaigns in the last year, and raised about $500,000 between the two campaigns. We are currently seeking additional funding from a variety of individual and institutional investors.
TNB – Streaming services like Spotify are doubling down on Podcast creation at the moment. In the next ten years, where do you predict podcasts will sit in the audio consuming world? Will the average ratio of music listening vs podcast listening change?
Bee – As a music lover, I think there will always be room for music, even as other kinds of programming mature. I think podcasts will continue to evolve, and will probably become more interactive (more two-way communication between hosts and audience, more live events based on podcasts, etc.). I also think production quality and the quality of storytelling and narrative will increase as well, which will lead to more competition. Podcast companies like ours will increasingly have to innovate to try and capture the audience’s attention, which is a really exciting place to be.
TNB – Tell us about your background and how the company came together.
Bee – I’ve been obsessed about music for as long as I can remember, from joining Columbia House to get as many tapes and CDs as I could, and later collecting as many Phish and Grateful Dead recordings as I could get my hands on. I spent the first 20 years of my career in storytelling and communications, working with foundations, nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations to help them create brands that connected with people. In 2013, I co-founded the Helping Friendly Podcast, which is dedicated to the music of Phish.
In 2016, I met my co-founder, Tom Marshall, the primary lyricist for Phish, and we immediately started thinking about how to create a podcast company. Tom and I have grown the business to where it is today, and look forward to continuing to grow!