Listen Up – Podcasts

Beyond talk and personality to moments of audio narrative eloquence? – the power of the spoken word

The podcast business is booming. The number of podcasts on Spotify has more than tripled in a year to 2.2m by the end of 2020.

That 314% growth has benefited the creators (most notably Joe Rogan’s supposed $100m Spotify deal) and the platforms (Spotify shares spiked 11% after the Joe Rogan announcement), as well as leaving listeners spoilt for choice. There’s now a podcast for every niche. Just take a look at the list of last year’s British Podcast Awards!

We are confident that podcast usage has been a factor in the accelerated net additionssaid Daniel Ek, founder and chief executive of Spotify

What was once the early adoption corner for geeks and tech nerds is now truly mainstream. 50% of US households are fans of podcasts. And these listeners are skewed younger – the percentage of monthly podcast listeners among 12-to-34 years old has grown from 27% in 2017 to 49% in 2020.

No wonder brands, advertisers, and platforms are waking up to this opportunity! And the money is growing: estimated podcast ad spend was $800 million in 2020, and will more than double to $1.7 billion by 2024.

Savvy advertisers caught wind of this opportunity early. They realized the potential to specifically target niche audiences and build on listeners’ trust in creators to generate impressive returns on investment.

Live shows and platform deals such as Spotify’s with the Obamas and the ‘other Royals’ have opened up new revenue streams for creators. But the real battle now is in the paid subscription space.

Creators now have their pick of several different models to earn from their work. Following in Patreon’s footsteps, Apple has unveiled a premium podcast subscription service whereby more podcast creators will be able to claim a slice of the platform’s revenue by setting the subscription price instead of a blanket subscription. Spotify is hot on both platforms’ heels, recently announcing a similar feature.

The battle for the ears and wallets of listeners will only get fiercer as more platforms enter the podcasting world. With more options, how will podcasters navigate the space and will they continue to earn a greater share of revenue as the industry grows? With platforms fighting over the top creators, will listeners prove to be loyal to their favourite platforms or their favourite podcasts? The future looks bright for podcasters and listeners. Let’s tune in, turn on, drop out, and see what happens next!


By: Simon Stokes

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