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According to the latest podcast analytics, Apple's Podcasts platform recently surpassed 2 million titles, however almost a quarter of those shows have only published one episode, suggesting the numbers are inflated by so-called "once-and-done" podcasts.

Amplifipodcastpyramid_V5.jpg

Breaking down the latest statistics provided by Podcast Industry Insights, industry advisor Amplifi Media found that 26% of listed podcasts have published just one episode, suggesting that many content creators immediately went out of business or else never intended to continue creating beyond their opening act.

Adjusting the mark, Amplifi found that 44% of podcasts have published three or fewer episodes, meaning if the arbitrary benchmark of a "real podcast" is set as a series of at least four episodes, then the total number of shows on Apple Podcasts is closer to 880,000.

Looking at podcasts offering ten or more episodes, a little more than a third of all titles have achieved this number (around 36%), which places around 720,000 podcasts at the ten-episode level.

The statistical breakdown suggests that "once-and-done" podcasts clutter up the Apple Podcasts library with what might be considered "dead-end" content. Indeed, according to Podnews.net's James Cridland, 63% of single episode podcasts came via Spotify's Anchor and another 16% came from iHeart's Spreaker, both of which are free-to-use hosting providers that appeal to new podcasters who are still experimenting with the medium.

Amplifi suggests that the way single-act runs inflate the 2 million number is equivalent to including TV shows that produced a pilot but never became a series in a list of all-time TV shows. Despite that assessment, however, Amplifi noted that not all podcasts are suited to multiple episodes:
Not all podcasts are meant to be unending series. You can find plenty of great and evergreen content designed to run for just a handful of episodes. That’s part of the beauty of podcasting, but the one-and-done titles unfairly inflate the overall number of podcasts, and it is revealing that 44% have three or fewer episodes.
Right now, the Podcasts app is free and Apple has no paid podcast content, but rumors have suggested that Apple is working on a paid podcast subscription service that would charge people to listen to podcasts.

With a paid subscription service, Apple could potentially lure high-profile creators with the promise of more money, stealing them away from other platforms like Spotify.

In perhaps a related move, Apple is making a small but notable change to the way listeners can sign up to get updates on new podcast content, with the company changing the word "Subscribe" to "Follow" in the Podcasts app in iOS 14.5.

The word "Subscribe" may have misled Podcasts users into thinking that the podcasts cost money to listen to, in which case the change in language could facilitates the later introduction of a podcasting subscription service and will prevent confusion in the future.

Article Link: Apple Podcasts Now Lists 2 Million Shows, But Almost Half of Those Titles Have Only Three or Fewer Episodes
 
Last edited:

jinx.pt

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2014
17
3
That's one way to look at it...or you can spin it the other way around: 1/3 of published podcasts massively successful, with at least 10 or more published episodes! This shows how easy it is to start publishing continuous content in this platform.

...feel free to add whatever spin you want, really. These statistics don't tell us much, except that it's a really really easy platform to get into, and to keep churning out content!
 
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InGen

Contributor
Jun 22, 2020
155
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The problem with the mentality that everyone should stop consuming content/things and produce something of their own is that every “creation” requires many times the consumers to be in any way successful. And without any meaningful merit systems to filter out the truly valuable content from the mediocre rubbish, the system just becomes overloaded with everyone’s “creative content”. There isn’t a stronger argument against an open Internet than articles like this.

I would be interested to see listen statistics on the masses of those podcasts, or more interesting how many have never been listened to once, or less than 10 times. In the same theme YouTube statistics paint a similar picture, with a majority of the terabytes of video uploaded to YouTube daily, millions will not have a single view a year after being uploaded.

I would gladly trade 90% of the known Internet for a more meaningful 10%.
 
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axcess99

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2005
69
61
What's the problem here? Shouldn't this be what we expect from a medium with such low barriers to entry? Sounds like the apple podcast directory is being very effective at finding even unpopular and "failed" podcasts, which is a good thing.
 
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dirkprimbs

macrumors newbie
Well... statistics is a b*tch.
  1. For starters: I did a crawl myself over the Apple podcast directory and found "only" 1.5m shows. May be my crawler though... of those 680k have 3 or less episodes.
  2. Turns out of those over 157k just released episodes in 2021 which means they are relatively new. Let's give them some time to establish themselves, shall we? ;-)
  3. btw, in case you wonder: over 550k of all podcasts I found released episodes in 2021.
  4. Some shows only release 3 episodes in their feed as teasers and point you to some walled-garden for the full show. The reason is monetization, so I guess having 3 episodes or less online in Apple's directory could also be a sign of a successful show...
  5. There are publishers releasing audiobooks as "podcasts". Chances are you'll find a 4 hour long file and that's it. Remember: Podcasts do not necessarily require you to run serialized content. For some it is enough to know that their content shows up in clients and directories and it may very well be evergreen content we're talking about.
  6. While we're at it: podcast concepts vary widely. It makes a difference if you release 5 minute long episodes daily of 4 hour long shows monthly.
  7. Apple "caps" their directory listings at 300 episodes. If you like to know how many episodes a podcast has you'll need to look into their feed, not at Apple's data.
  8. Some podcasters cap their feeds as well. That is why over 15k shows seem to have "only" 100 episodes in Apple...
From top of my mind these are only the first 8 reasons why I think this article is mildly interesting but largely useless. Things are usually more complex than they look on first sight ;-)

//D
 
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PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 603
Mar 7, 2007
5,793
2,529
Midwest America.
That was the depressing part of podcasts. I subscribed to quite a few of them, and so many just disappeared. Some, I was left wondering what happened to continue the podcast, and was left cold. There were a few that I subscribed to that were like c-grade cheesy movie actor deaths, in that they lived far longer than they should have before death, having flogged their reason to exist far too long. Oh, and then there were the ones that just up and disappeared. *POOF* And taking all of the back episodes with them. Yikes...

Podcasts sounded like a great thing, but the reality has been kinda not so great. It's got to be tough doing one continually, so I can't fault some of the creators much... *shrug*
 
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AxiomaticRubric

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2010
697
767
On Mars, Praising the Omnissiah
The App Store has the same problem and I always giggle when Apple announces total app milestones during WWDC. Many of the apps are throwaway garbage or school projects, so having millions of apps available isn't necessarily something they should be gloating about.
 
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suns93

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2017
8
6
Well... statistics is a b*tch.
  1. For starters: I did a crawl myself over the Apple podcast directory and found "only" 1.5m shows. May be my crawler though... of those 680k have 3 or less episodes.
  2. Turns out of those over 157k just released episodes in 2021 which means they are relatively new. Let's give them some time to establish themselves, shall we? ;-)
  3. btw, in case you wonder: over 550k of all podcasts I found released episodes in 2021.
  4. Some shows only release 3 episodes in their feed as teasers and point you to some walled-garden for the full show. The reason is monetization, so I guess having 3 episodes or less online in Apple's directory could also be a sign of a successful show...
  5. There are publishers releasing audiobooks as "podcasts". Chances are you'll find a 4 hour long file and that's it. Remember: Podcasts do not necessarily require you to run serialized content. For some it is enough to know that their content shows up in clients and directories and it may very well be evergreen content we're talking about.
  6. While we're at it: podcast concepts vary widely. It makes a difference if you release 5 minute long episodes daily of 4 hour long shows monthly.
  7. Apple "caps" their directory listings at 300 episodes. If you like to know how many episodes a podcast has you'll need to look into their feed, not at Apple's data.
  8. Some podcasters cap their feeds as well. That is why over 15k shows seem to have "only" 100 episodes in Apple...
From top of my mind these are only the first 8 reasons why I think this article is mildly interesting but largely useless. Things are usually more complex than they look on first sight ;-)

//D
All excellent points. My guess is the company that produced this report is glossing over these details because as a Podcasting Consulting company they want people to think they have to pay for services like theirs in order to “make it” in Podcasting.
 
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RevTEG

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2012
1,168
905
San Jose, Ca
The problem with the mentality that everyone should stop consuming content/things and produce something of their own is that every “creation” requires many times the consumers to be in any way successful. And without any meaningful merit systems to filter out the truly valuable content from the mediocre rubbish, the system just becomes overloaded with everyone’s “creative content”. There isn’t a stronger argument against an open Internet than articles like this.

I would be interested to see listen statistics on the masses of those podcasts, or more interesting how many have never been listened to once, or less than 10 times. In the same theme YouTube statistics paint a similar picture, with a majority of the terabytes of video uploaded to YouTube daily, millions will not have a single view a year after being uploaded.

I would gladly trade 90% of the known Internet for a more meaningful 10%.
I‘m not disagreeing with you at all. However one persons “meaningful“ is another persons “meaningless”. We can’t let one persons opinion of what’s meaningful dictate content to everyone else.
 
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theDanielJLewis

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2005
27
11
Cincinnati, OH
Hi there! I'm the creator of Podcast Industry Insights, which was the source for much of this data. I'm happy to provide further insight if desired.

Well... statistics is a b*tch.
  1. For starters: I did a crawl myself over the Apple podcast directory and found "only" 1.5m shows. May be my crawler though... of those 680k have 3 or less episodes.
  2. Turns out of those over 157k just released episodes in 2021 which means they are relatively new. Let's give them some time to establish themselves, shall we? ;-)
  3. btw, in case you wonder: over 550k of all podcasts I found released episodes in 2021.
  4. Some shows only release 3 episodes in their feed as teasers and point you to some walled-garden for the full show. The reason is monetization, so I guess having 3 episodes or less online in Apple's directory could also be a sign of a successful show...
  5. There are publishers releasing audiobooks as "podcasts". Chances are you'll find a 4 hour long file and that's it. Remember: Podcasts do not necessarily require you to run serialized content. For some it is enough to know that their content shows up in clients and directories and it may very well be evergreen content we're talking about.
  6. While we're at it: podcast concepts vary widely. It makes a difference if you release 5 minute long episodes daily of 4 hour long shows monthly.
  7. Apple "caps" their directory listings at 300 episodes. If you like to know how many episodes a podcast has you'll need to look into their feed, not at Apple's data.
  8. Some podcasters cap their feeds as well. That is why over 15k shows seem to have "only" 100 episodes in Apple...
From top of my mind these are only the first 8 reasons why I think this article is mildly interesting but largely useless. Things are usually more complex than they look on first sight ;-)

//D

I especially wanted to address a few of your points, @dirkprimbs.

#1: If you "crawl" the Apple Podcasts directory as most people think to, you'll actually not find all the podcasts listed. I built a special engine with some secret methods that is finding all the podcasts (and excluding the iTunes U content). My numbers must be quite close to Apple's because they mention their own milestones within a day or two of my confirmations.

#7: Yes, the catalog currently caps at 300, but Apple is raising that cap with iOS 14.5 to 2,000 episodes.

#8: But this is still the catch and why I lump 10 and more together. There are many long-running podcasts that list only the latest 10 episode (like the TWiT shows), thus making longevity data difficult or impossible to measure beyond 10 episodes. 10, 50, 100, and 300 seem to be the most common feed limits podcasters use.
All excellent points. My guess is the company that produced this report is glossing over these details because as a Podcasting Consulting company they want people to think they have to pay for services like theirs in order to “make it” in Podcasting.
I can't speak for Amplifi Media's motivations, but I've had many conversations with Steven Goldstein, the author of the article, and I think he's most interested in simply bringing light to the podcasting industry. That's why I created Podcast Industry Insights, too. I discovered a lot of interesting data when I first started tracking things in 2018, and I started building a way to automatically track that. For a while, I displayed it as a page on the My Podcast Reviews service, but then I spun it out onto its own site. So the statistics and insights I provide are just to help better understand the podcasting industry, and it can also help podcasters, too. For example, knowing that most podcasts don't make it past episode 1 gives a simple first goal for a starting podcaster. Then, they can have the goal to stay in the very small number of podcast that published an episode in the latest 7 days. And then they can look forward to surpassing the 10-episode barrier.

Let me know if you have any other questions on the actual data (or my own interpretations of it). I'm happy to help!
 
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Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
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It’s embarrassing Apple allowed Spotify increase market share they once dominated.

True.

Though Spotify is using podcasts as a way to make money. Right now... every song you listen to on Spotify actually costs Spotify money.

So the more people who listen to podcasts on Spotify... Spotify is actually saving money.

Apple never even thought about charging for podcasts... and allowed podcasters to monetize on their own.

I wonder how podcasts would look today if Apple charged for podcasts over the last 10-15 years. I quite enjoy their organicness.

:)
 
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DeepIn2U

macrumors G3
May 30, 2002
8,441
3,131
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
As someone who listens to a lot of podcasts, I find this interesting.
Well... statistics is a b*tch.
  1. For starters: I did a crawl myself over the Apple podcast directory and found "only" 1.5m shows. May be my crawler though... of those 680k have 3 or less episodes.
  2. Turns out of those over 157k just released episodes in 2021 which means they are relatively new. Let's give them some time to establish themselves, shall we? ;-)
  3. btw, in case you wonder: over 550k of all podcasts I found released episodes in 2021.
  4. Some shows only release 3 episodes in their feed as teasers and point you to some walled-garden for the full show. The reason is monetization, so I guess having 3 episodes or less online in Apple's directory could also be a sign of a successful show...
  5. There are publishers releasing audiobooks as "podcasts". Chances are you'll find a 4 hour long file and that's it. Remember: Podcasts do not necessarily require you to run serialized content. For some it is enough to know that their content shows up in clients and directories and it may very well be evergreen content we're talking about.
  6. While we're at it: podcast concepts vary widely. It makes a difference if you release 5 minute long episodes daily of 4 hour long shows monthly.
  7. Apple "caps" their directory listings at 300 episodes. If you like to know how many episodes a podcast has you'll need to look into their feed, not at Apple's data.
  8. Some podcasters cap their feeds as well. That is why over 15k shows seem to have "only" 100 episodes in Apple...
From top of my mind these are only the first 8 reasons why I think this article is mildly interesting but largely useless. Things are usually more complex than they look on first sight ;-)

//D

The one critical aspect not mentioned is there are many older podcasts that just blurred themselves out from 1-5 episodes. Apple has been in the Podcasting game near the very beginning.
 
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Elastic Love

macrumors regular
Sep 2, 2010
200
172
True.

Though Spotify is using podcasts as a way to make money. Right now... every song you listen to on Spotify actually costs Spotify money.

So the more people who listen to podcasts on Spotify... Spotify is actually saving money.

Apple never even thought about charging for podcasts... and allowed podcasters to monetize on their own.

I wonder how podcasts would look today if Apple charged for podcasts over the last 10-15 years. I quite enjoy their organicness.

:)

Apple also pays every time a song is streamed.
 
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Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
6,235
8,067
NC
Apple also pays every time a song is streamed.

Very true.

I should clarify by saying that streaming music was once Spotify's only revenue source. So it was actually hurting them every time someone streamed a song. Spotify had difficulty turning a profit because the music licensing was costing them more that people were paying in subscription fees or in the money they made in advertising.

And that's why Spotify started to diversify into other ventures... like podcasts.

On the other hand... Apple has always multiple revenue sources... hardware, software, services, etc.

In short... Apple Music is one of Apple's "side gigs"

While streaming music was pretty much Spotify's whole deal... until they started getting into podcasts.
 
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