How Robbie Williams’ Cousin broke through Pop Cricket’s 2000 downloads!

OD’ing on Music Autobiographies
7th March 2018
The Pop Cricket podcast – Wide Eyed & Legless!
15th June 2018

My (somewhat shameful) history with Robbie Williams is well documented in the book My Old Man’s a Busman – in a chapter entitled I stole Robbie Williams’ Underpants! The book was going to be called this, and in hindsight probably should have been, but I was concerned at the time about the legality of using his name, despite the fact that it’s a true story, given that he has slightly deeper pockets than me to pay for lawyers! The story of the theft of Robbie’s underwear is one of the highlights (according to those who have read it) and was the focus for an article that was written about the book.

Leap forward a few years and the idea for the Pop Cricket podcast was born. Pop Cricket, as a game idea, had also originally featured in My Old Man’s a Busman.

The podcast, Pop Cricket, is a light-hearted, guest interview based podcast which also includes playing Pop Cricket with each guest using their Top 10 song choice. Initially guests have been people who also appeared in the book and so many stories are re-told on the podcast.

For example, the story of the origins of Pop Cricket are explored with my brother Jonathan (a.k.a. Joff) in episode 7 (which is a Q&A special) while Robbie’s pants is one of the topics covered in episode 9 with Dave McNulty, Robbie’s Cousin.

As a podcasting ‘Noob’ (or newbie) my early episodes were mainly listened to by family, friends and a percentage of people from my various Face Book pages (although not all!) and averaged about 50 downloads, despite having (although I say so myself) great guest and content including: Shian (Christian) Smith – Pancorvo (ex Razorlight drummer), his brother Ben Fox-Smith (Lead singer of various 90s and current bands including Serafin, who’s claim to fame could be the use of their song Day by Day being used on Madden NFL 2004 video game), a cross channel swimmer (Chris Minall), a Lands End to John O’Groats cyclist (Andy Richards) and a bona fide BAFTA nominated TV producer (Nic Bathurst). But despite ‘pushing’ on social media I couldn’t seem to break the pattern.

On that basis, planning to use Dave’s Robbie connection, I hoped to double that episodes downloads and push through the 500 download mark for episode 9.

Then I hurt my shoulder in what I like to manfully call an ‘extreme gardening’ accident!

So what?

I was in pain and couldn’t sleep and so had a few extra late night hours to spare. Once I’d caught up with Gotham on Netflix, I turned my attention to the podcast.

How to promote?

Ben! Could I leverage his song, Day by Day, being used on a video game…14 years earlier? I joined and posted on various NFL, video game, EA and music nostalgia sites and posted a link to the episode (Episode 5). I finally got to sleep, despite the pain in my shoulder (brave solider that I am!)

In the early hours, awoken again by the pain in my shoulder, I switched on to check out the stats for the podcast…

I had to double-take. 135 downloads, just for that episode – the night before I’d been at 259 for total downloads and here I was at nearly 350!. I refreshed…354!

It pretty much carried on all morning and the episode ended the day at around 250 downloads.

My episode with Joff (episode 4) was now languishing at the bottom of the download ‘league table’. It’s a great episode focussing on another true story about us getting a Hazel O’Connor song (Will You) used on a Terry’s All Gold TV advert, in the 90s, and I thought that it deserved to be higher, so I employed the same tactic; this time focussing on Hazel fans and music nostalgia sites.

To date (May 30th 2018) this has over 600 downloads…and sits at Number 2!

Number 1? Well obvious I suppose. Today, the story of Rob’s pants (plus chat about Quo, The Macc Lads, lad culture, executive producing a Callard & Bowser toffee promotional music tale and Rolf Harris!) overtook the Hazel episode and has 611 downloads. I’m guessing the Robbie Fan Club face book pagers wanted to hear his cousin.

Nine episodes in and sitting at 2011 downloads, this is a happy Noob.