Overwhelmed by the sheer number of podcasts? It’s not just you.

Standing out from the crowd has never been more important

Too many podcasts. Not enough time.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless flood of brand new shows coming out on a regular basis. Personally, I have a hard time keeping up with all the new shows I want to check out, let alone the growing backlog of old favorites in my listening queue.

And if the podcast landscape seemed especially crowded in 2018… well, that’s because it was.

More podcasts launched in 2018 than ever before

I wanted to get a sense of how many podcast series launch each year, so I analyzed 578,165 unique podcast series, and grouped them together by the date of their earliest available episode:

Number of podcast series launched, based on release date of earliest available episode in January 2019

More than 25% of the podcasts I looked at published their earliest episode in 2018, making it the biggest year for podcast launches in history.

N.B. The datasets I used in this analysis have an inherent recency bias: they only include podcast series and episodes that were publicly available as of January 2019. Some podcast series go offline over time, and others limit the depth of their available back catalog episodes.

2x episode growth

Not only has the number of new podcast series grown year-over-year, but the number of podcast episodes has also exploded in recent years.

I analyzed a sample of 12,420,282 podcast episodes available in Apple Podcasts, then grouped them by release date:

A sample of ~12.5 million podcast episodes, grouped by release year (fetched January 2019)

The number of episodes released has doubled each year since 2016.

And if we zoom in to a month-by-month view of 2018, we see that more than twice as many episodes were released in the last month of the year than the first month of the year:

A sample of ~5.5 million podcast episodes released in 2018, grouped by release month (fetched January 2019)

Crowdedness matters

The podcast landscape gets more crowded every day. Competition for listeners’ ears is increasingly fierce.

Successful podcasters know they need to earn listeners’ time, attention, and loyalty. It’s never been more important to produce original, high-quality, creatively brave shows. It’s never been more important to invest in audience development and show marketing.

The crowd is getting bigger. How will you stand out?

Sign up for the Pacific Content Newsletter: audio strategy, analysis, and insight in your inbox. Once a week.

Related Posts