The most crowded categories in Apple Podcasts (February 2020 edition)

If you want to stand out from the crowd, understand the crowd

. 3 min read

If you want to stand out from the crowd, understand the crowd

Back in October 2018, I analyzed 390,000 podcasts in an attempt to find the most crowded categories in Apple Podcasts.

Since then, much has changed:

  • In 2019, Apple significantly revamped their list of podcast categories. They removed some categories, renamed others, and added several new options (including True CrimeHistory, and Fiction).
  • The sheer volume of podcasts has increased dramatically. Depending on who you ask, the number currently sits around 900k shows.

So I decided to run the numbers again in February 2020, using a sample of 764,379 shows.

Religion & Spirituality remains the most crowded category

As of early 2020, Religion & Spirituality is the is the most crowded top level category, followed by Society & CultureHere’s the breakdown (click to expand and explore):

Apple Podcasts categories with the most shows

Among the the least crowded categories: several of the 2019 additions (Science: MathematicsSports: Swimming, and Science: Chemistry). With a scant 14 shows on the Apple Podcasts US Swimming charts, it’s one of the least competitive categories to chart in.

If you’re trying to decide between two different podcast categories, and both seem like a good fit content-wise… choose the less-crowded one.

Which categories have the most episodes?

Another way to look at crowdedness is the total number of episodes that belong to shows within a given category.

In my sample, Religion & Spirituality was once again at the top of the list, bolstered by a large number of Religion & Spirituality: Christianityepisodes.

Apple Podcasts categories with the most episodes, based on my sample of 764,379 shows

A related question: which categories contain the most prolific shows (on average)? Or to put it another way, which podcast categories produce the highest average number of episodes per series? Let’s take a look:

Like in 2018, Religion & Spirituality: Buddhism and Religion & Spirituality: Christianity were the most prolific on average.

But it’s worth noting a new entrant on this list: News: Daily News. This makes a lot of intuitive sense, given that daily news shows are by definition, daily.


A lot has changed since 2018. There are several new podcast categories to choose from, and there are far more shows and episodes than ever before.

But my advice still stands:

  • If you want to stand out from the crowd, understand the crowd
  • Your podcast’s primary category matters. Not only is it part of your show’s product packaging, it also determines the company you keep within Apple’s ecosystem.
  • Whenever possible, choose a specific subcategory (Society & Culture: Personal Journals instead of Society & Culture) as your show’s primary category
  • Crowdedness applies to both the number of shows within a category and the number of episodes in a category
  • Choose your primary podcast category wisely. Don’t forget to consider how crowded your chosen category is.

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