Staples is blowing the dust off its traditional and somewhat humdrum public image as an office supply retail company by experimenting with community-focused coworking ideas. From now on, in addition to pencils, staplers, printer ink, A4 sheets, and other typical office supplies, Staples will let you purchase actual sessions in its podcast studios. You read that right. Staples has officially entered the podcast arena.
America's top office supply chain is collaborating with a company called Spreaker, according to the latter's blog post on Tuesday, by opening up podcast studios in six Staples stores in the Boston area. So if you're in Boston, Cambridge, Needham, Brighton, Danvers, or Somerville, you'll have access to these podcast studios through the Staples Connect program.
How does it work? — So far, here's what we know about these podcast studios:
- Thanks to a dual partnership with iHeartRadio and Spreaker, Staples' podcast recording rooms will be soundproof.
- An hour-long recording session will cost $60 and has to be scheduled in advance through its Reserve a Booth option.
- Each studio can accommodate up to four people.
- If you want, Staples will offer in-house recording specialists and discounts for editing services through We Edit Podcasts.
- Staples suggests that you bring a USB 3.0 drive or upload your content to a cloud storage program once it's all done.
As a bonus for newbies, Staples will conduct free periodic podcasting workshops through its SpotlightSpace in case novices want to learn how to make the perfect podcast.
Retail is having a renovation moment — Staples isn't the only company that's renovating its services and image. It's a trend that took off a few years ago with giants like Apple and Target ditching the conventional brick-and-mortar store image that was strictly transactional and opting for something more open and fluid for local communities.
Not bad, Staples, not bad at all — You might think that the popularity of podcasts is short-term and that these studios may become redundant but for now, Staples deserves a thumbs up for its efforts. Especially in Boston's cutthroat tech ecosystem, publicly available podcast studios make the activity much more democratic and attainable for everyone else, including students, teachers, small business owners, and more. Who knows, we might even get the next best podcast series right out of a Staples' recording room.