Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular, and they garnered additional attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. But don’t confuse their rapid growth for a fluke.
Streaming services are rising to the demand and adjusting their services accordingly. Apple Music and Spotify have both launched new subscription-based podcast services, with Spotify also making significant modifications to its desktop and mobile search capabilities.
So, what accounts for this expansion? This article will answer that question as well as explore the influence of podcasts on streaming services.
How Popular Are Podcasts?
Edison One and Triton Digital will release the latest version of their annual “Infinite Dial” survey in March 2021. When compiling their statistics, the companies discovered that 41 percent of Americans over the age of 12 had listened to a podcast in the previous month.
The number of weekly podcast listeners increased as well. According to Edison One and Triton Digital’s research, 28% of individuals have listened to a podcast in the last week. In comparison, in 2020, 24 percent of people did so, up from 22 percent in 2019.
However, the growth of podcasts appears to be far from over. According to a Forbes report published in February 2021, by 2022, 125 million individuals will have listened to one. If this occurs, the company will have grown by 25% since 2020.
Why Are They Increasing in Popularity?
The convenience of podcasts is one of the reasons they are becoming more popular. Audio episodes can be listened to while running, cooking, cleaning, and in a variety of other situations. As a result, they provide a convenient means of absorbing information while doing anything else.
Listeners can also educate themselves without having to spend a lot of money thanks to podcasts. The world’s attention will be drawn to social issues in 2020. People could learn more about these topics or hear a wider spectrum of voices—or listen to people who shared their viewpoints.
Keeping with the educational theme, podcasts can also assist listeners in learning more about areas that they are interested in. They can also learn new skills or pick up information about the business they work in. They can also acquire vital insights for school exam subjects.
Podcasts, on the other hand, aren’t just for education. They serve as a form of entertainment for many listeners. This is similar to popular BBC radio shows like “The Archers.”
Aside from the shows themselves, podcasts provide listeners with access to a similar community. Hosts frequently interact with their listeners via social media, newsletters, and their websites. As a result, they provide a means for people to meet others who are similar to them.
Impact on Streaming Services
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, remarked at the company’s spring event in April 2021 that the subscription service was “the largest update to Apple Podcasts since its debut.” Customers with Apple Podcast Subscriptions will be able to access premium content, listen ad-free, and more as of May 2021.
A podcast subscription service has also been created by Spotify. Users can subscribe to the site and receive exclusive content from their favorite shows.
Apart from these services, both organizations’ platform interfaces have been extensively improved. Apple has updated the appearance and feel of Apple Podcasts, while Spotify has changed the way users can search for shows on the platform.
Are the changes having an effect? It’s far too early to tell. Spotify did attribute its 24 percent increase in subscriber growth and 29 percent increase in ad revenue during Q4 2020 to podcasts. Listening hours on the platform more than doubled in the final three months of that year.
Podcasts Aren’t Going Away!
Though some may argue that the growing popularity of podcasts is a passing fad, statistics suggest otherwise. This type of content allows listeners to connect with interesting people and broaden their knowledge on areas that are relevant to them.
Podcasts are also a source of entertainment. The arrival of Apple and Spotify’s premium membership services could help creators earn more money and produce higher-quality content.
If listening to podcasts isn’t your cup of tea, consider making your own. In the process, you might discover a new interest.