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Podcast Stats Q4 2019: Latest Industry Growth & Listening Stats

Looking for podcast stats? We’ve got ’em! Industry growth, listener numbers, equipment, software, discovery. Read on to find out.

There are so many podcast stats out there on the interwebs, from listener numbers to industry size. It's hard to know where to start. So, to make your life easy, I thought I'd bring as many of them together here, for your reading pleasure.

I'll keep this article up to date as new reports come out. Therefore, below, you should find the latest numbers, according to the industry.

So, let's get into it. Here are the questions we'll cover. Take your pick!

How Many People Know What a Podcast Is?

There has been great growth in the simple act of knowing what a podcast is, since 2018:

70% of people in the US are familiar with the concept of Podcasting

Up from 64% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Stats: Familiarity

What Does this Mean?

“Familiarity” doesn’t necessarily mean that the respondent has listened to a podcast, or even really knows how podcasts work, but that they have been exposed to the term.

As podcasts grow in their references in more traditional media and enter general conversations, so too will we see growth in familiarity; it’s a good benchmark for analyzing entry into the mainstream consciousness and out of the podcaster bubble. Indeed, this year, familiarity continues to rise at a rapid pace, with 7 in 10 Americans now aware of the term “podcast”.

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How Many People have Ever Listened to a Podcast?

Familiarity is one thing, but actually taking action on it is another. So, how many people have actually gone ahead and listened to one?

51% of people in the US have listened to a Podcast, at least once

Up from 44% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Stats: Listening

What Does this Mean?

Infinite Dial analyzes listenership in steps: have ever listened to a podcast, monthly, and weekly. The gap between listenership and familiarity has often seemed insurmountable. How do we get the people who are familiar with the term to become interested in trying a podcast, or invested enough to learn how to listen? What kind of tools can we use to get them there?

Infinite Dial’s work in studying listenership is key to knowing what kind of work the industry has ahead of them. This year saw the amount of people who have ever listened to a podcast cross the 50% mark for the first time, starting to close the gap between listenership and familiarity with a remarkable 6% leap (an accelerating rate, as compared to the average growth of 3-4% from previous years).

How Many People Listen on a Regular Basis?

Both monthly and weekly listenership grew as well.

32% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last month

Up from 26% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019

22% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last week

Up from 17% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019

11% of adults in the UK (15+) listen on a weekly basis

Up from 6% in 2013

Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR)
Podcast Stats: Monthly Listening

What Does This Mean?

In fact, this year’s 32% in monthly listening was the largest percentage point gain yet; weekly listening was similar to previous years with a 4% point gain. This means there are an estimated 17 million more monthly listeners and 14 million more weekly listeners in the United States than in 2018.

Monthly listenership is also broken down by demographics, which all saw significant increases–especially, it must be said, in the age range of 12-24, which grew by a whopping 10%. The segmentation of demographics in Infinite Dial’s monthly listenership continues to show a steep drop-off once it hits the 55+ range, even though that bracket does continue to increase their engagement.

College-aged students and young professions are a major target audience the podcast industry, and, anecdotally, 2018 produced more podcasts aimed at children and families with children, so this large percentage increase is not a surprise.

Podcast Stats: Monthly Listening

How Many Podcasts are There?

This is a difficult one, as there haven't been any solid stats published since 2017. But there have been numbers put out there by industry professionals that can still give us a good approximation.

It's estimated that there are approx. 750,000 podcasts in existence

The last solid stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:

In 2018 there were 550,000 active podcasts on iTunes

Apple, WWDC 2018

How Many Podcast Episodes are There?

Similarly, we're going by industry estimates here, rather than solid facts:

It's estimated that there are over 29 million episodes currently published

Again, the last solid stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:

In 2018 there were 18.5 millions episodes published

Apple, WWDC 2018

How Many People Have Listened to an Audiobook?

Infinite Dial’s “online audio” term refers to streamed AM/FM radio and any other streaming audio available online. Online audio listening has gone up across the board, especially in the 55+ age bracket. There was generally an increase in the listenership for spoken word audio across the board, between podcasts and audiobooks. Audiobook listening (“% ever listened to an audiobook”) saw a similar increase to podcasting, also breaking 50% of people who have ever listened to an audiobook.

Podcast Stats: Audiobook listening

What Equipment Do Podcasters Use?

In Spring 2019 we published our latest gear stats: The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019. Here are some of the top line numbers:

Rode is the most popular microphone brand in Podcasting (19%) with Blue in 2nd place (17%)

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018

The Blue Yeti (17%) is the most popular mic, with the Blue Snowball in 2nd place (9%)

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018

35% of people use a dynamic mic, 29% use a condenser mic and 33% use a USB mic

(stats not mutually exclusive – the Blue Yeti is Condenser AND USB)

74% of podcasters record with headphones, while the rest choose not to monitor

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018

You can also see 2018's stats here: Podcasting Gear Stats: The Most Popular Equipment, Software & Tools

Do Podcasters Record Video Too?

In most cases, no! Again, these stats are from The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019:

Only 17% of podcasters record video along with their podcast

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018

Only 10% of podcasters live broadcast their podcast recording

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018

What Software Do Podcasters Use?

There's definitely a big range of software in use, by podcasters, but one option commands the bulk of podcast editing and recording usage:

48% of podcasters use Audacity to edit their podcast, with Adobe Audition in 2nd place (31%)

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018

How Do People Find New Podcasts to Listen To?

Let's find out how listeners are actually finding new shows:

Ask on Social Media or Online Community – 43%
Directly Ask Someone I Know Who Likes the Same Stuff – 23%
Search My Podcast App's Directory – 16%
Search on Google – 12%
Browse Through a Podcast Chart – 6%

The Podcast Host Discoverability Survey
podcast stats - discovery

This was one result from The Podcast The Podcast Host Discoverability Survey. The report is essential reading for anyone who wants to grow an audience. It highlights the most effective areas to concentrate on when it comes to promotion and marketing.

We're always looking to run interesting new surveys too, so if there's any specific podcast data you'd like to see here in future be sure to give us a shout!

Where in the World is Podcasting Growing Fastest?

Voxnext released a set of stats last year, which showed the countries in which podcasting is growing fastest. It makes for an interesting read:

Chile (83.9% growth)
Argentina (55.28%)
Peru (49.1%)
Mexico (47.84%)
China (43.62%)

Voxnest, March 2019

How Has Spotify Changed Podcasting Stats?

What should not be ignored when thinking about podcasting’s reach is Spotify’s growth as a recognizable audio brand, and how this plays into the podcasting surge.

How Many People Listen to Spotify?

Spotify have increased monthly listening by American audiences overall (24% of all people have listened in the last month, up from 20% in 2018) and especially by those people in the 12-34 age bracket (46%, up from 39 in 2018).

24% of people in the US (12+) have listened to Spotify in the last month

Up From 20% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019

46% of 12-34 year olds in the US have listened to Spotify in the last month

Up from 39% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Listening: Audio Brand

How Many People Listen to Podcasts on Spotify?

Leading on from Spotify's general growth, above, it seems that their work in podcasting has had a pretty big effect over the past year. The growth in podcast listening within the Spotify audience is huge.

53% of monthly Spotify Listeners, 12-24 years old, also listened to a Podcast in the last month

Up from 32% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Listening age 12-24

Takeaways

Podcast Growth is Accelerating

The biggest takeaway for advertisers is certainly that podcast listenership is growing steadily, and is not showing signs of plateauing; in fact, some demographics, it is clearly accelerating.

Advertisers may also care about the stability of how many podcasts per week people listen to on average (seven). This is good news for independent podcasters who are still looking for sustainable monetization via advertising.

Spotify is Creating New Podcast Listeners

The next biggest takeaway is that Spotify is a serious boon for listenership, and it seems likely that many of those new listeners who have ever listened to a podcast may have done so because of Spotify. This puts the Spotify-Gimlet-Anchor deal in a different light, even if not surprising to some.

Having the data to clarify and verify is useful and needed to be able to speak to whether Spotify’s audience will actually sustain their future premium podcasts platform. And that does seem even more likely now. At the very least, podcasters: get your podcasts on Spotify if you haven’t already.

What Organisations are Collating Podcast Stats?

The Infinite Dial report, a survey conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, is probably the most popular databank and survey on the state of Podcast industry statistics in the United States, especially audio.

Infinite Dial has been conducted phone-based surveys since 1998, including podcasts since 2006–that means since nearly the inception of podcasting, making this incredibly valuable data. The respondent pool of 1500 is composed of people aged twelve and over, weighted against the US census data for population, and split proportionally between landlines and cell phones.

References

I've drawn from a range of great sources of Podcast Industry stats in this article, including:

Discussion:

3 Comments

  1. […] In fact, this year saw the amount of people who have ever listened to a podcast cross the 50% mark for the first time. With podcasts, audiobooks, and new music constantly coming out, there is a lot of competition for […]

    • Lindsay Harris Friel on 24th May 2019 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing a link!

  2. […] The Podcast Host, ya hasta siete de cada 10 consumidores están familiarizados con el término […]

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Written by:

Colin Gray

Colin has been teaching people how to podcast since 2007. He's worked with Universities, businesses and hobbyists alike. He started The Podcast Host to share his experience and to help as many people as possible get into Podcasting. He runs Podcraft, to spread the art of podcasting, and does the Mountain Bikes Apart podcast whenever he can. Who doesn't like to talk bikes, after all!

November 15th 2019