In 2019, I drew a cartoon poking fun at the explosion of new podcasts, with one podcaster saying to another:
“Thank you for being a podcast guest on my new podcast about podcasting for podcasters starting podcasts to podcast to other podcasters.”
At that point, Apple claimed 700,000 unique podcasts on iTunes. Then came Covid. In 2020 alone, over a million new podcasts launched. Today, Apple claims to have 2.5 million podcasts on its platform. There are currently around 150 million podcast episodes.
Many of these new podcasts came from marketers. Some brands evolved from advertising on others’ podcasts to starting their own. Agencies started their own podcasts by the score.
And yet half of podcast episodes attract only 32 listeners seven days after publishing them, Buzzsprout reports. Only a quarter of all podcast episodes have more than 112 listeners. The top one percent draws 5,097 listeners.
Podcast producer Kate Taylor recently observed:
“Let’s not forget the vast majority of podcasts are not listened to by very many people anyway. It’s all smoke and mirrors when it comes to listenership. But size is not necessarily the main thing.”
We may have reached Peak Podcast. Recent research from Listen Notes revealed that new podcast launches fell by 80% in 2022. At the same time, Edison Research reports that listener numbers are plateauing after the last few years of growth.
With podcasts, like any communication channel, we can’t break through the clutter by adding to it. How many slightly different B2B marketing agency thought leadership podcasts (for example) does the world need?
I think we always have to ask, how are we meaningfully unique?
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: