Peak Podcast: Have we hit peak podcast, or is the industry just on pause?

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Peak podcast...

We might be able to add podcasts to the list of trends that boomed in 2020 and are now coming back down to Earth. After soundtracking many lockdown-induced walks, major media empires were built around podcasts. There were multi-million-dollar deals for hosts such as Joe Rogan, Alex Cooper and many others as audio giants like Spotify poured money into the format.

But the exuberant boom may be over. Data from Edison Research shows that listener numbers actually fell last year after years of growth. Just 38% of adults surveyed said they had listened to a podcast in the last month, down from 41% in 2021.

...or just a podcast pause?

That cooling off, coupled with a slower ad market more generally, is leaving podcast producers struggling to fill ad space, with anecdotes from industry insiders suggesting that shows that used to claim 80% of advertising sales are now often forced to settle for 50%.

Clearly the "cons" column of your "should I start a podcast?" list is getting longer, and data from Listen Notes — a podcast database — confirms that launching a podcast has lost some of its pull. Its data shows that over 1 million new podcasts were started in 2020. Last year, the same database tracked only ~217,000 new shows, an ~80% drop.

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