Is The Podcast Boom Over?

Jan 16th

As you know, we live and breathe podcasting at Content is Queen. We like to keep a keen eye on the latest news, insights, and trends. So, it’s impossible to ignore the gloomy headlines we’ve seen this month around the podcasting industry. 

With outlets reporting that Spotify shares have plummeted and predicting the industry could be in for a rocky 2023, we can see why alarm bells might be ringing. So, we’ve spent lots of time weighing up reports so we can offer further insight into the podcasting market right now. 

What’s happening with podcasting right now?

In October last year, we wrote an article on podcasting and the creator economy, sharing statistics on the industry. Here’s what we wrote: 

Demand Sage predicted that there will be around 424 million podcast listeners globally by the end of 2022, increasing to 504.9 million by 2024. At the same time, the industry is currently worth approximately $2 billion, and it’s set to be worth $4 billion in 2024

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that with hiring freezes, smaller upfront payments and fewer acquisitions, the podcast boom feels like a thing of the past. But what does that mean? 

We believe that while growth may slow, there is still plenty of opportunity in 2023. With talks of a global recession, podcasting isn’t the only industry forecasted to feel the pinch. Many businesses will approach spending cautiously, so there’s bound to be a trickle-down effect. However, that doesn’t mean podcasting and the opportunities to earn money from it will suddenly cease to exist. Instead, opportunities such as funding and sponsorship will become harder to secure but not impossible. 

In a nutshell, as global markets are facing uncertainty, the same goes for podcasting despite the mammoth growth in recent years. 

Is the market oversaturated?

One take we’ve seen cropping up is that the podcasting market is oversaturated. Yes, there are a lot of podcasters, but there are also a lot of listeners. In the UK alone, 10.5 million Brits are listening to podcasts for 69m hours every week! 

To put podcasting numbers into perspective, there are 2.4 million podcasts globally, versus 80 million Facebook pages, 1 billion active TikTok and Instagram users and 396 million Twitter profiles. The medium quickly seems less competitive and saturated than social media. 

There’s plenty of opportunity to carve out a niche on social media to reach the masses; the same goes for podcasting. 

Embracing an optimistic mindset

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. This week, Digiday reported that podcast teams are still growing as they hedge their bets on the medium in 2023. According to the report, companies including The New York Times, WSJ and iHeartMedia are expanding their podcast teams, and they’re confident the medium can grow, even during the economic uncertainty. 

Furthermore, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism surveyed over 300 media leaders, asking where they’ll be investing more resources in 2023. You’ll be glad to know 72% plan to focus on podcasts and digital audio more than any other category. 

As we researched the topic, we quickly found that for every gloomy headline, there’s an optimistic one, too. 

Our predictions for podcasting in 2023

While we wish we could tell you we’ve looked into our crystal ball and seen the future, no one can truly predict how things will play out this year. What we can say is indie podcasters who continue to show up despite hard times will reap the benefits in the long run. 

With that said, if we had to hedge our bets, here’s what we expect to see: 

  • Funding and commercial opportunities will be harder to come by, but not impossible 
  • Consumers will continue to listen to podcasts as much as they did in 2022 
  • There will be less hiring within the industry, and we’ll see layoffs
  • Bold marketers will continue to invest in audio, particularly those targeting Gen Z  
  • Podcast episodes may get shorter as budgets decrease 

In November, we shared the latest podcast statistics and what they mean for creators; if you haven’t already read it, you should do. 

If you’d appreciate the support of our inclusive community right now, you can explore our affordable membership options here. We’d love to have you!