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Podcast Stats (listennotes.com)
66 points by wenbin 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 33 comments

While it's interesting to see how many podcasts there are in general, it would be more interesting to know how many dormant podcasts there are and how long the average podcast lasts. The original podcast, The Daily Source Code, is still technically active (there is an RSS feed that works) but you cannot download the history and there aren't any new shows (mainly because the RIAA threatened to sue Adam Curry out of existence if he published another one).

They did? I can't seem to find anything about that on Google. I wonder which other podcasts have disappeared off the web. I'm a paranoid bastard so I have complete archives of several shows I used to listen to.

> best podcast search engine and database

Interesting - I had never heard of this particular search engine before. All I really use is iTunes and (rarely) spotify. And the occasional cross-promotion from within a podcast.

Of particular interest from their dataset is the "Dead" vs. "New". It's interesting how the "Dead" is level around 30k, while the new is a simple exponential curve.

With no commuting, I have stopped listening to podcasts. Is that showing up in the data?

No. The data doesn't include any listening activities.

But you can see what podcast episodes are people listening to on Listen Notes right now: https://www.listennotes.com/realtime/

I listen to mine when doing chores, or any low-concentration task that I used to listen to music during. This has not completely replaced the time I used to spend commuting.

Working out, walking the dog, doing chores, putting the baby to bed, while playing games with no big story element. It's less total time but I still go through quite a bit.

With no commuting, I find myself going for walks or bike rides outside specifically to listen to my podcasts.

The podcasts I listen to are like shows to me - I wait for the episodes and listen to them as entertainment.

It's not showing up in this specific dataset, but listenership is down ~20% basically across the board.

Edit: At least as of last month, when I last talked to my friends in podcasting / in advertisement purchasing for podcasts.

Given that this is details about new podcasts created, no.

But on your topic I've taken to walking in the morning and evening just to get my podcast time in.

I got to a point where listening to people become more neurotic as things got worse wasn't helping me, so likewise, I've pretty much stopped listening.

Those are the podcasts you chose to listen to?

Yes. I liked Merlin Mann, so I listened a lot of his stuff. I also liked ATP and CGP Grey's two podcasts.

It was fun a couple years ago.

As things get worse, it's less fun.

The high figure compared to other medias need to be put in perspective. It's possible that a lot of content is just a duplication for different languages.

Where a movie can get subtitles or dubbing, where a music don't need any translation, an English podcast will only be listened by people fluent in English and will need to be adapted for other languages, either by the original podcaster or by a local one without any fear of copyright infringement.

Thus it's hard to directly compare movies, music and podcasts figures together.

I listen to podcasts in other languages and have never encountered translated podcasts, or rather, I don't think your hunch explains any significant numbers. Edit: I just looked and lost interest before I could find a single example of what you're talking about.

You may get spin-offs for other languages like Radio Ambulante (Spanish) for NPR. But that's a whole other podcast in its own right, not a translation.

The difference in numbers should be obvious to you: anyone can start a podcast that lands on podcast aggregators, and the production is just recorded voice at minimum. Few people make movies or music that lands on imdb and spotify, and the production is more than just recorded voice at minimum. Why wouldn't you expect podcasts see much higher numbers in its stats?

I found it very satisfying the perceptual lull I felt between essentially stopping listening to podcasts between 2009 and 2012 echoed a period of slower growth after the explosion of 2004-2007. Somewhat disappointing the charted data only goes back to 2007 but very interesting just how dominant the United States it when it comes to sheer volume.

Given how similar the current podcast "cultural gold rush" feels compared to the way it did slightly more than a decade ago, I can't help but wonder if we're heading for another bust. The economic boomtimes that created so many willing sponsors of the last four or five years are coming to an end, and the onrushing economic difficulties are driving more and more people into podcasting as a potential source of income. Can a whole industry support itself on the pockets of Squarespace and Casper mattresses?

I've heard podcasting called the slowest-growing new medium of all time... The exponent for number of podcasts seems to be much higher than the exponent for number of podcast listeners, for example.


Doesn't look too bad. Monthly users are up 3x from 2008 to 32% of Americans.

I'm surprised English and the US are that dominant. Assuming it's not a data problem, does anyone know why this is? Do other countries have different outlets for a random person's "I want to make a show" impulse, or is it just not really a popular idea outside the US?

US just has a massive podcast culture. All of my US friends listen to podcasts in some way, even if it's just when flying.

Meanwhile it would be news to me if any of my friends in Mexico and Spain (the two places I spend time in nowadays) listen to podcasts at all. I also listen to Mexican/Spanish podcasts to practice the language, and there just is no contest with the top 1% of US podcast -- what most people are listening to. So you need to also have a sufficient proficiency in English to get into podcasts.

The sibling comment focusing on public RSS feed is looking down the wrong rabbit hole when there's a simpler answer: US has high absolute and per capita numbers for podcast listeners which is what you need to have a culture of podcast production.

From my personal experience, podcast is more of a "main stream" thing in US/UK than most other countries. Most people know what it is, and sometime people recommend shows to you in casual conversation the same way they might recommend a tv show or a book.

In HK and Japan, while it is still quite widely used by the relatively more tech inclined people, you can't randomly ask a new friend if they like any podcast and expect them to know what you are talking about.

Also, English is a widely used language. My native language is Cantonese, but the amount of shows in that is very low, and I'm more comfortable with English than other Chinese dialects including Mandarin, so I listen to mostly English podcasts. I imagine similar thing might happen in countries with more than one spoken languages. I know some Indian friend who has a podcast that they did in English even though the topic and target audience are mostly Indians as well.

The data only include publicly accessible RSS-based podcasts, which is a very narrow definition of podcasts.

There are exclusive "podcasts" on Spotify that are not publicly accessible and not distributed via rss.

There are other forms of spoken audio contents that are publicly accessible but not distributed via rss.

Open RSS-based podcast ecosystem is less developed outside US, for countries with comparable (or larger) population.

There are many walled garden audio platforms in countries like China. For example, probably most of you haven't heard of Lizhi FM [0], a "podcasting" platform from China that just went public early this year. Most of its audio contents are not distributed via RSS.

[0] https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1783407/000119312519...

There are exclusive "podcasts" on Spotify that are not publicly accessible and not distributed via rss.

An audio program that isn’t published via an RSS feed is no more a podcast than the proprietary pages that AOL use to host are “web pages.”

Even if all of what you wrote is true, in the Listener Notes statistics the US still makes up 10X as many as the next largest country (~800,000 vs 80,000), and would be the highest per capita by a significant margin of any large country. Assuming it's not a data problem (which I think is actually likely due to hosting), let me offer an unpopular possibility—Americans are just the most productive creatives on Earth. A culture full of side hustle.

I thought the UK would have been higher up, I wonder if the fact that most people use a US based host skews the results? I don’t know how listennotes do heuristics for “podcasts by country” but I’d be interested to see.

In terms of dead podcasts, most podcasts don’t actually set the complete tag (most likely to leave the door open for future eps) they just stop. So that figure will be way higher in reality. When crawling Podcasts I came across a lot of RSS feeds that were still up but hadn’t had a new episode for over 3-5 years etc

We recently published a study on the podcast market based on Apple Podcasts [0].

I'm surprised by the episodes numbers they claim on the site as we see around a half of those numbers across Spotify and Apple, but we deduplicate them, so maybe that's why.

In any way, very interesting statistics.

[0] https://blog.pex.com/podcast-growth-doubles-every-year-over-...

Semi related, I find it fun to look at patreon top creator stats, which includes a lot of podcasts: https://graphtreon.com/top-patreon-creators

Notable are Chapo Trap House, a communist/socialist podcast making nearly $2M a year, and Cum Town, a low production value comedy podcast pulling in almost $700k.

It’s crazy that there aren’t better tools for paid podcasts.

Chapo and C*town provide 2 RSS feeds. The free/paid feeds don’t show up next to each other in your podcast app because they’re named differently (dumb). No way to merge feeds in the popular podcast apps.

Smart producers like Stratechery/Dithering provide individual personal RSS feeds that combine the free and paid. And deliver only the free if your subscription lapses. But those are one-off CMSs that most Patreon podcasts don’t have the means to deploy.

I spent some time looking into this business model a while ago and most of the top podcasts on Patreon simply have loyal subscriber bases and then offer a bonus show each week/month for $3-5 a month and thousands sign up because of FOMO/being fans. It seems to work really well.

A similar scheme has worked in the screencast space as well, I recall Railscasts followed a similar approach of free "shows" and then you got more of the same if you paid. It seems to work really well as a format.

Patreon seems much better than the ads model. Maybe the next generation of tech and media companies can finally break the century old shackles of ad-driven businesses.

The podcasts-over-time statistics remind me that podcasts are like the new blogs.

wenbin, for stats on hosting providers, when it's like podtrac, do you count both podtrac and the real host?

If there's redirect, then we use the final destination url, e.g., http://feeds.podtrac.com/fRt6e7vOZ-19 redirects to civilbeat.org..., so we use civilbeat.org

If there's not redirect, then we use the exact url, e.g., http://feeds.podtrac.com/nice-peter doesn't redirect, then it's podtrac.com

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