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Editorial comment

White noise has played a big part in my life over the past year or so. My wife and I have tried various different apps, and lots of different sonic hues, in an attempt to get a good night’s sleep.

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It’s not that we are discerning customers of aperiodic sound, but rather, our 15-month-old son is. And although he now sleeps peacefully through the night (karma will probably get me for writing that), we dare not change any aspect of his bed-time routine for fear of returning to the realm of insomnia. So white noise (or more specifically, brown noise) will continue to play softly from a speaker in his room until we’re brave enough to wean him off it!

We recently had to find a new source for our son’s brown noise addiction, as our subscription to a ‘paid-for’ app expired during the summer. After careful consideration, we decided that we couldn’t justify spending £30 for continued access to a “library of 60 premium sounds” (which seemed wholly essential a year or so ago). After all, we have found the genre of noise that works for us, and there are plenty of free white noise apps to choose from, as well as – we discovered – podcasts dedicated to playing nothing but white noise on loop.

These white noise podcasts recently hit the headlines after Bloomberg reported that Spotify has a “US$38 million white noise problem.”1 It seems that the music streaming service has been inadvertently pushing white noise and ambient podcasts to its listeners as part of its own “algorithmic push for ‘talk’ content (vs music)”. These podcasts are said to account for 3 million daily consumption hours on the platform (and I’m guessing that newborn babies are substantial consumers). Bloomberg reported last year that the creators of these podcasts could make at least US$18 000/month through advertisements that Spotify placed in their programmes.2 Once Spotify realised how much attention these white noise podcasts were attracting, it considered removing the shows and banning future uploads in order to redirect its audience to “comparable programming that was more economical for Spotify,” according to Bloomberg. However, this proposal did not come to fruition, despite some content creators reporting suspicious activity, such as their shows going missing from the platform.

Of course, there are hundreds of podcasts available that are substantially more rewarding than these white noise podcasts (unless, of course, you are a new parent). If you’re on the lookout for a new show to help you keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the oil and gas industry, then I’d like to point you in the direction of the Palladian Energy Podcast. The second season of the podcast is out now, and focuses on ‘sustainability in the oil and gas sector’. We talk to a number of experts on a range of topics including transitioning towards a greener future; learning to drive strategic sustainability goals; developing and implementing sustainable chemical solutions; and why climate change-related legal disputes are on the rise. By subscribing to the podcast, you will also have access to a whole host of interesting conversations that took place during season one, which explored ‘digitalisation in the energy industry’. Topics here include the role of digitalisation in the downstream sector, the benefits of embracing automation, the importance of cybersecurity, and how downstream companies can begin their digitalisation journeys. You can access the Palladian Energy Podcast from wherever you usually get your podcasts.

  1. CARMAN, A., ‘Spotify Looked to Ban White Noise Podcasts to Become More Profitable’, Bloomberg, (17 August 2023).
  2. ‘CARMAN, A., ‘Spotify Podcasters Are Making $18,000 a Month With Nothing But White Noise’, Bloomberg, (1 June 2022).

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