Podcasts are an increasingly popular form of sound media that generate active listeners and fandom around them. These programmes present an opportunity for scholars to analyse not only new forms of consumption around convergent and on-demand media, but also the particular phenomenon of fandom related to audio productions in the current digital context. Scholars have mainly focused on studying how fandoms use podcasts to create content rather than on podcast fandoms. This paper analyses podcast fandoms in Europe, what distinguishes them from other active audiences, and how they engage with this digital media through online tools. To explore this, a method of triangulation is used, relying on content and netnography analysis, and both top-down and bottom-up strategies are considered across the biggest European markets. Results show that around a third of the podcasts in the sample have an active fandom that engages with these programmes through social media, primarily on Instagram, through the creation of content. This content usually highlights the brand identity of the podcasts through the creation of fan art and fan accounts, and that there are more consistencies across European fandoms than exist across European audiences. This suggests that social media sites, and particularly Instagram, are used by fandoms across Europe in an equivalent way to extend their textual productivity and that this is still what distinguishes audiences from fans. These findings have important implications for scholars and producers alike, both to build upon the knowledge of reception and fan studies and to understand how to encourage fandom engagement on social media sites.

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Published on 27/10/22
Accepted on 27/10/22
Submitted on 27/10/22

Volume 31, Issue 5, 2022
DOI: 10.3145/epi.2022.sep.25
Licence: Other

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