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Insider: March 4, 2021 — Podcast Listenership on Spotify v Apple, Gambling and Pods, Clout and Clubhouse

Report claims podcast listenership on Spotify will surpass Apple Podcasts this year.  The report in question comes from Insider Intelligence-eMarketer, the research service arm of Insider, a.k.a. the web news publication formerly known as Business Insider.

Citing internal projections, the service says that: “This year, 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, while 28.0 million will listen via Apple Podcasts.” It also claims that the gap in podcast listenership between the two platforms is projected to widen over the next few years by quite a bit.

You can view the report for yourself here, which includes a handy graph. Note that the metric used is “internet users of any age who listen to podcasts on the Apple Podcast app/iTunes or on Spotify via direct download or livestream on any device at least once a month.”

The extent to which you should buy this data point depends on whether you believe the veracity of Intelligence-eMarketer’s internal projections, which might depend on how you feel about the service’s track record and the fact that the data collection methodology here is obscured. Personally, I’m keeping it at arm’s length unless another such projection from another research firm emerges, creating a cluster of this type of finding.

In any case, this report does feed into what feels like the forming conventional narrative: on the one hand, you have an aggressive entrant spending a crap-ton of money on the medium and have pushing the marketing dial full tilt, and on the other hand, you have an incumbent that seems to have been relatively quiet amidst the so-called “podcast platform wars.” (Then again, it’s been pointed out to me that the latter comes pre-packaged with the most ubiquitous mobile device at least in North America, so maybe I shouldn’t reduce their position too much.)

We’ll see about this, and I’m keeping an eye out for data points from other sources. In the meantime, I’m curious: let me know your thoughts, and if you’re a creator or publisher, whether you’re seeing similar things in your listener data. Though, I imagine the existence of Spotify’s exclusives strategy, and in particular The Joe Rogan Experience, is something that can only be reflected in the platform side data….

Speaking of Spotify… There appears to be a kerfuffle over K-Pop on the Swedish audio service this week. A few days ago, hundreds of K-Pop songs were removed from Spotify’s catalogue, which comes just about a month after the platform rolled out in South Korea.

There seems to be a little kerfuffle that sees K-Pop songs removed from Spotify’s catalogue, which comes just about a month after the audio streaming service launched in South Korea. According to the BBC, “Spotify said its ‘existing licensing deal’ with Kakao M had ‘come to an end’ but it hoped the disruption would be temporary.”

For background, Kakao M is the conglomerate that basically has a monopoly over music distribution in the country, though a South Korean buddy told me that’s a slightly American-centric reading of the chaebol.Other report rundowns.

Kids Listen has new survey research that dives into “questions of listening habits, technology usage, advertising preferences, and discovery methods, among others” — with respect to kids podcasts, of course. A few data points that stood out to me:

  • 62% of parents surveyed say that they do not like ads on their kids podcasts but are willing to put with them for the free content

  • 53% of families surveyed learn about new podcasts from recommendations on other podcasts, and the same percentage learn from recs from friends

  • 5pm seems to be peak listening time for kids.

Here’s the full Medium post that accompanied the report’s release.

Meanwhile, Edison Research’s annual Infinite Dial presentation is taking place next week, and ahead of the festivities, they dropped this data point: “Listening on a mobile device now accounts for 30% of all time spent listening to audio by those age 13+ in the U.S., an increase of 67% since 2014.”

I will, of course, be writing up the Infinite Dial 2021 study for an Insider next week.Over under. Axios’ Sara Fischer has a useful overview earlier this week on the trend of casinos investing quite a bit of money into sports betting media, which increasingly includes audio and podcasts. It’s a marketing initiative meant to cultivate strong relationships between their sportsbook products, though as Fischer’s survey of the scene illustrates, this takes the form of both shows that the casinos make themselves or — perhaps more prudently — through partnerships forged with actual sports media companies.

Publishers cited in the piece include Blue Wire, ESPN, Entercom, Barstool, and The Action Network. And if you’re wondering why now, it’s due to the on-going opening up of allowances for legal betting in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to strike down PASPA, a 1992 act that placed a federal ban on sports betting across the United States. Recode’s Peter Kafka had a good summary of that situation, plus its broader ramifications on the media industry, that was published around that time.

Shout-out to the other degenerate gamblers in the readership. I’m on the hunt for… ah, well, podcasts about NFTs, so if you’ve got a rec, hit me up.

Speaking of Kafka…Clouthouse. The dude’s got an interesting piece up yesterday on… well, it’s basically about the notion of clout, or the possibility of capitalizable clout, on Clubhouse, and the emergence of it within the context of the app itself seems both distinctly different from the organic/spontaneous youth-driven nature of other buzzy social media platforms (notably Tik Tok and Instagram) and, in my reading anyway, seems to be comparatively more manicured by those in power within Clubhouse.

Here’s Kafka:

There’s a particular kind of Clubhouse user that you’ll find on Clubhouse quite often: The Speculative Clubhouse User. That’s someone who wants to be on Clubhouse because maybe Clubhouse is going to be a Big Deal, and they want to get in before that happens.

“You’re looking at clay being molded right now. What you see happening on Clubhouse right now is going to turn into something else,” says Laurel Touby, who succeeded in the first internet boom by building and eventually selling MediaBistro, a job board and events company.

There’s also an appearance in the piece from this Guy:

“If I was starting a podcast today — I wouldn’t start a podcast, I would just come right here,” Guy Raz, the very successful host of the How I Built This podcast, told a Clubhouse room about … the future of Clubhouse.

Highly recommend you read the whole thing. Maybe it’s just me, but Clubhouse is shaping up to be an object lesson in the specific ways really rich and powerful people pull strings to make fetch happen, and presumably being successful in doing so and probably becoming more rich and powerful as a result.Revolving Door.

  • Lauren González has joined NPR as the new senior manager for its Story Lab. She joins from Luminary, where she oversaw programming and production, and at the Story Lab, she’ll be managing new pitches for podcasts and other content and will be working with the organization’s programming heads to develop them. A Name You Should Know, probably.

Got a new job? Tell me — would love to Let The People Know.