Podcasts: The Growth of Another Media Form

Think of a topic, any topic at all. I can almost fully guarantee that there is at least one podcast episode, if not an entire show, about that very topic out there somewhere on the internet. As of 2021, there were over 2 million different podcasts available for consumption online, according to Podcast Insights. And that number continue to rise and rise every day. I, personally, record two podcasts of my own- The Totally Valid Podcast and The Part Time Sad Boy Show (check those out wherever you listen to podcasts!). 

Podcasts have become an extremely large section of the media. As stated above, there are over 2 million different shows out there. Almost six of every ten Americans over the age of 12 have listened to at least one podcast. And the average weekly podcast listener consumes about seven different shows in a week. 

Different companies have tried to, and in some cases succeeded in, building up this segment of the market. There are many different podcast networks, such as Earwolf, Maximum Fun, Barstool, etc., which produce many different shows under one umbrella. These networks are meant to help podcasts reach larger and larger audiences and even advertisers so the creators can make money and continue producing content. 

Other companies have found success in hosting podcasts and distributing them out to the masses. Companies like Spotify, Apple, and Google for example, are how most people listen to podcasts. Other companies, like Serial, Radiolab, Stitcher, as well as many, many others also own a segment of this space. 

The data is from the firm’s second-quarter Podcast Consumer Tracker, its subscription service that covers the podcast industry. Respondents were asked “what platform or service do you use most to listen to podcasts?” and Spotify came in at No. 1, at 24% of weekly podcast consumers. This put it ahead of Apple Podcasts for iOS (21%) and YouTube (18%). Edison Research says its sample is in excess of 8,000 weekly podcast consumers. (Spotify is an Edison Research client.)

With the popularity of podcasts continuing to rise, I think it fair to investigate what podcasts people listen to the most. 

This list comes from Edison Research.

Looking at this list, we can see two of the top 10 podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience and Call Her Daddy, are exclusively available on Spotify. The Joe Rogan Experience has seen its insanely high listener rate drop off after confining itself to only the one platform, but not so much that it would move the show out of that top spot. The deal that made The Joe Rogan Experience a Spotify exclusive, inked back in May 2020, was worth over $100 million. Conversely, Call Her Daddy signed with Spotify for more than $60 million. 

Podcasts are, and will continue to be, a major part of the media landscape. The continued growth of the content, as well as the continued growth of the listener base is proof enough of that.

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