Category Archives: Podcaster Tips

Peak Podcasting in the USA in 2024?

By Rob Greenlee, Spoken Life Media and

The podcasting industry in the USA has experienced steady and consistent growth over the past 20 years, transforming from a niche hobby to a mainstream medium. By 2024, the podcasting landscape has reached a critical juncture, characterized by high awareness and saturation. This maturation phase brings both opportunities and challenges as the industry navigates a plateau in audience growth and shifts in platform dominance.

High Awareness and Listener Saturation
Recent data from Edison Research and Triton Digital reveals that the awareness of podcasting among Americans is nearly universal, with 80% of the population aware of podcasts and 67% having listened to a podcast at least once. This significant penetration underscores the widespread acceptance and integration of podcasts into everyday life. However, this saturation suggests that the any more rapid growth phase of podcasting may be behind us, and the industry is now entering a period of maturation or stabilization.

Further supporting this, a survey conducted by Edison Research indicates that the number of new podcast listeners growing only by 5% from 2022 to 2023 and only up 3% from 2023 to 2024. This plateau in audience growth necessitates a strategic pivot for podcasters and advertisers who must now focus on retaining and deepening engagement with existing audiences rather than relying on the influx of new listeners.

YouTube: The Dominant Podcast Consumption Platform?
One of the most significant perceptional trends shaping the podcasting market in 2024 is the rise of YouTube as the leading platform for podcast consumption in the research data. Known for video content, YouTube’s user-friendly interface and vast audience base have made it an attractive platform for audiences to think they are watching podcasts. According to research from Media Research Group, YouTube now accounts for 30% of all podcast consumption in the USA, rivaling traditional audio-only platforms.

This shift towards YouTube underscores the evolving nature of podcast consumption. Listeners increasingly favor platforms that offer a seamless and integrated experience, combining audio, video, and social engagement. For podcasters, leveraging YouTube’s algorithms and expansive reach can drive potentially higher visibility and audience engagement with a YouTube specific strategy. However, it also demands a reevaluation of content strategies to incorporate visual elements and optimize for video consuming audiences.

Spotify’s Dominance Beyond the USA
While YouTube is a key leader in the podcast consumption race in the USA, Spotify maintains a stronghold in international markets. Spotify’s aggressive expansion and strategic acquisitions have positioned it as a global podcasting powerhouse. The platform’s user-friendly interface, personalized recommendations, and exclusive content have attracted a substantial listener base outside the USA.

Research by Global Web Index shows that Spotify commands a 40% share of podcast listeners in Europe and a 35% share in Latin America. Spotify’s dominance is particularly pronounced in these regions, where the platform continues to invest heavily in localized content and partnerships. This international focus provides Spotify with a diversified audience base and revenue streams, mitigating the impact of market saturation in the USA. For podcasters with global aspirations, Spotify remains a crucial platform for reaching diverse and engaged audiences.

Decline in Podcast Advertising and Investment
Despite the high levels of awareness and engagement, the USA podcasting market faces challenges in terms of advertising and investment. According to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), podcast advertising revenue grew by only 5% in 2023 for a total of $1.9 billion, a stark contrast to the double-digit growth rates seen in previous years. We have yet to see if 2024 reaches the IAB projected 12% growth to $2.6 Billion in advertising revenue. Advertisers are becoming more cautious, scrutinizing the return on investment and reallocating budgets to other digital channels that offer more measurable and immediate results.

This shift in advertising dynamics is compounded by broader economic factors. The uncertainty in the global economy and tightening marketing budgets have led to a more conservative content safety and suitability approach to podcast advertising. Additionally, the proliferation of podcasts has led to audience fragmentation, making it more challenging for advertisers to achieve the same impact as they did during the medium’s early boom years.

Investors, too, are reevaluating their approach to the podcasting market. While there is still interest in innovative content and platform developments, the fervor for pouring large sums into podcast startups has tempered. According to PitchBook Data, investment in podcast-related ventures declined by 15% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Investors are now seeking more sustainable and proven business models, focusing on profitability and long-term viability over rapid growth and market share.

The podcasting market in the USA has undeniably matured
Podcasting has reaching a peak in terms of awareness and listener penetration. The dominance of YouTube as a podcast consumption platform and Spotify’s strong international presence illustrate the shifting dynamics within the industry. However, the current decline in podcast advertising and investment signals a need for strategic adaptation.

As the podcasting landscape continues to evolve, stakeholders must focus on creating high-quality, engaging content while exploring new monetization strategies. The era of rapid growth may be over, but the potential for sustained success in a mature market remains promising.

What is Considered a Podcast in 2023? Convergence of Audio and Video Replayed Again

By Rob Greenlee, Co-Host of and Host of Trust Factor with Rob Greenlee

Rob Greenlee

Podcasting has always been an audio and video medium, plus PDF files, a user request-based distribution and consumption medium. Some more recent medium participants and consumers think that podcasting is an audio-dominated distributed medium via RSS feeds. These folks are incorrectly perceiving podcasting as an audio-only medium.

Podcasting is becoming so much more TODAY.

The podcasting landscape has been shifting for a few years, especially with platforms like YouTube and Spotify bringing back the focus to video AGAIN and blurring the lines between audio and video content. The question is, who started this evolution back to more videos? was it viewer consumers of videos on YouTube or YouTube and Spotify? Well, I think YouTube and Spotify and platforms like StreamYard and Zoom are all contributing to this expansion of perception of what a podcast is TODAY. So, as we navigate the media world of 2023, what constitutes a podcast?

The Traditional Definition of a Podcast:
Historically, a podcast was a series of spoken-word content focusing on various topics. These audio and video recordings were distributed through RSS feeds as MP3 and MP4 media files to be downloaded or progressively downloaded playback, allowing listeners to follow and access new episodes on their devices.

The YouTube Podcasts Paradigm:
In an intriguing move, YouTube has begun to classify video playlists as podcasts, especially when these playlists follow a thematic or episodic structure similar to traditional podcasts. By integrating these “video podcasts” into its new YouTube Music area, the platform acknowledges the convergence of music, spoken word content, and visual elements. This move expands the definition of podcasting by suggesting that when serialized and thematic, visual content is increasingly perceived by YouTube viewers as much as a podcast as an RSS-only distributed audio and video counterpart.

Spotify’s Video Foray:
Not to be left behind, Spotify is dabbling and expanding into video content, which is increasingly being seen as Spotify expanding into video podcasting. Though Spotify initially launched audio podcast content, it now provides creators with tools to publish videos directly alongside their ingestion of audio files from podcast RSS feeds. This move positions Spotify as a competitor to YouTube in the “video podcast” space, reflecting the changing consumer appetite for versatile content that can be watched and or listened to.

Implications for Content Creators:
For creators, these changes mean more comprehensive tools and platforms to disseminate content. They can now cater to audiences who prefer traditional audio podcasts and those who lean toward video content. This flexibility can potentially expand their reach and offer diverse monetization opportunities.

The Essence of Podcasting:
Despite these changes, the essence of podcasting remains consistent: serialized content that delves deep into specific themes, stories, or topics. Whether in audio or video format, a podcast in 2023 is about creating episodic content that resonates with its audience, offering insights, entertainment, or information in digestible chunks.

The podcasting landscape of 2023 is more diverse and dynamic than ever. With platforms like YouTube and Spotify redefining what a podcast can be, it’s an exciting time for creators and consumers. While purists might argue that “podcasts” should be reserved exclusively for audio content, the industry’s evolution suggests a more inclusive future where audio and video coexist under the podcasting umbrella. Regardless of the medium, the content’s quality, relevance, and engagement will determine its success.

Evolving Consumer Habits:
With the ubiquity of high-speed internet and advanced mobile devices, consumers in 2023 have become more platform-agnostic, seeking content that can cater to their dynamic lifestyles. They might listen to an audio podcast during their morning run but switch to the video version of the same episode while having lunch. This fluidity between audio and video has driven platforms to accommodate both formats, reflecting the multifaceted consumption habits of the modern audience.

Niche Content and Personalization:
As the definition of podcasting expands, so does the variety of content. With the inclusion of video, genres like instructional guides, visual tours, and even short episodic dramas have found a home within podcasting platforms. Personalization algorithms, powered by advanced AI, ensure that consumers are exposed to audio and video content tailored to their preferences, further blurring the traditional boundaries.

Interactivity and Immersion:
One significant advantage of live video podcasts in 2023 is the potential for interactivity. Platforms have begun incorporating features allowing viewers to interact directly with the content – polls, Q&A sessions, or clickable links embedded within videos. This interactive layer adds a dimension of immersion, transforming passive listeners into active participants.

Challenges and Critiques:
While many celebrate audio and video mergers within the podcasting realm, it’s not without its critics. Some argue that the term “podcast” is becoming too diluted, losing its original identity. There are also concerns about discoverability; with the surge in content types, it can become more challenging for consumers to find high-quality content that resonates with them. Content creators, on the other hand, may feel pressured to produce both audio and video formats, stretching their resources thin.

The Future of Podcasting:
The trajectory suggests that the term “podcast” will continue to evolve. As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) become more mainstream, we might see podcasts not just heard or seen but experienced in immersive 3D and 360-degree visual environments. Integrating haptic feedback and spatial audio could redefine what we consider a podcast.

The Dying Era of Podcast Exclusives

By Rob Greenlee, Co-Host of and Host of Trust Factor with Rob Greenlee

Rob Greenlee, VP of Content and Partnerships, Libsyn

Many say that we are in a time of change and need to be open to innovation in the podcasting industry. Could some of these new ideas change podcasting in ways that may slow or harm the medium with such strong and consistent growth over the past 19+ years?

There is an explosion of interest in the video at large dominant platforms like YouTube, Spotify Video, Rumble, and all the other short and long-form video-consuming platforms.

Podcasting originated 19+ years ago around the idea of open distribution that gave the potential to reach as many listeners as possible. For most of that period, it has been assumed that to be considered a podcast by strict original definition; one must distribute via an RSS feed to many listening platforms and go to where audio listeners and, back then, video viewers were too.

The idea behind podcasting was to create an eco-system that is open and filled with new innovative ideas from software developers and content creators to do their craft in a way that was not limited by gatekeepers or large companies trying to control the creative process and to a large degree the distribution of the results of that creative process.

Exclusives have been an old media construct to create control and monetization for the platform and have been less about what is best for the creator. In most cases, the listening or viewing platform or network is the only beneficiary of exclusives.

See the quote below.

“I also think it means that broadcasters, or production companies, can probably be too quick to make things exclusive. Hiding them away when they aren’t significantly famous doesn’t probably generate you that much value.”  The quote above from Matt Deegan

This topic of podcast exclusives has been evolving since the very early days of podcasting and is now declining with a challenging economy. Over the years, podcasting is still dominated by the RSS feed but has recently shifted to the model of RSS feeds being optional. That makes one go. Hmm, what is going on?

In a growing number of examples, more recently, these exclusives have meant shutting down the use of RSS feeds, and Spotify’s Anchor podcast hosting platform has made generating an RSS feed an optional ask and not a default function.

See the quote below from Spotify’s Anchor platform head, Michael Mignano, in a post earlier this past spring of 2021. This post explained the reasons for this change are that it gives the content creator more significant control over the distribution of the audio content. Still, this change at Anchor also has the unsaid benefit of getting Spotify exclusive shows on its platform for FREE in exchange for Free hosting, as their automatic ad insertion monetization strategy never reaches scale.

Greater control over which platforms ingest, publish, and monetize creators’ content: “As more and more new audio platforms emerge and look to capitalize on the growing audio space, creators must have control over which platforms are aggregating their content from the web (and in some cases, building their businesses on top of creators’ content without their consent). When a creator launches a new podcast on most podcast creation platforms (including Anchor), the platform automatically generates an RSS feed and publishes it to the open web. This published RSS feed makes it possible for any platform or website to ingest the RSS feed and display and even monetize the content. This can happen without explicit permission from the creator. As part of our distribution update, we will only generate an RSS feed if the creator explicitly wants one (and we’ll present clear options on how to do so at the time of publishing). This will ensure that each creator can explicitly publish their podcast with an RSS feed (enabling any platform to ingest, display, and monetize that content) rather than happening automatically without the creator’s consent.

Suppose you’re already an existing Anchor creator and would like to opt out of your RSS feed being published and available to be ingested by any platform. In that case, you may contact us anytime to request we change your distribution settings to your liking.” Quote from former Spotify’s Anchor platform head Michael Mignano

I do like the message and idea of giving content creators more control. We are emerging into a time when content creators or podcasters need to value their work more, and limiting access to it is one approach as Spotify Anchor is driving here, but doing it through a platform like Spotify may not be the best approach for most podcasters that are looking for growing an audience and potentially monetizing. The history of Anchor and now Spotify for Podcasters is not one with a solid history of generating and consistently publishing podcast shows with a growing audience. Still, it has been a platform full of podfaded shows.

Most shows created on the Anchor platform have exploded the false perception that the podcasting market is flooded with millions of new successful podcasts. Many now feel like it is too late to get into podcasting because it is too crowded, and the truth is it is just not too late.

What is the State of the Podcasting Industry in 2020? What is ahead in 2021 Q & A?

By Rob Greenlee

(12/18/2020) Podcasting globally is growing fast in all aspects and is increasingly diversified around gender, ethnicity, and race. We are seeing innovation and talented people entering the podcasting medium in many areas now that is becoming increasingly less about speaking into a microphone to host a podcast show and increasingly around the business of podcasting.

Podcasting has been increasingly upping the quality game of content development. The listening platforms compete for users by pushing the envelope around discovery metadata for search, production and marketing support, full transcriptions, and monetization. 

Advertising revenue is up less than expected before COVID-19 but is up still and will continue to grow and accelerate into late 2021. Reaching $1 Billion+ in ad revenue will take longer than many have hoped, and filling more podcasts with spots that value podcast ad inventory, whether baked-in host reads or prerecorded dynamically inserted talent reads with higher CPM, is key.

Privacy and changes to Internet protocol IPv6 will continue to impact digital advertising. It will hold back podcast advertising as long as we rely too much on IP targeting and selling IPs of listeners to re-target advertising. 

Global listening, content creation, and monetization from all parts of the world are key to the rapid and sustained growth of the medium.

What have been the big podcasting stories over the last year?

Global growth and expansion started many years ago by Apple iTunes Podcasts and has seen gradual and faster expansion by listening services platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Gaana, Amazon, and iVoox. The expansion to new listening platforms around the world is not done yet.

Content production companies like BBC, CBC, ABC Australia, and many other smaller audio creation companies like SoundCartel in Australia and Kelly & Kelly in Canada have shifted from radio audio to podcast audio production services.  

Who has benefited the most in the podcasting space over the past few years?

Benefits from podcasting vary and depend on podcasters’ goals and achieving those.  I am not sure that I can say who has benefitted the most from the growth and development of podcasting over the past few years, but I can comment on how many have benefited. 

I know that many people help their work careers, grow their brands, grow a businesses, gain direct revenue from donations, earn paid subscriptions, and build advertising revenue with a podcast. 

Many think big corporate podcasting and the largest audience podcasts have benefitted the most. This assumes that podcast monetization, VC investments, mergers, and acquisitions are the most important factors in who has benefitted the most. Still, all these advancements and attention have helped independents and corporate podcasting, which sometimes can be independent podcasters.

The line between corporate and independent podcasting is getting less clear as so many individuals build teams around their productions and big companies. 

What are the chances an independent podcaster can become successful in today’s podcasting world without being part of a network?

I believe this has not changed much since the early days of podcasting.  As long as podcasting remains dominated by independent creators and the industry keeps supporting opportunities for those types of creators, it will be a 16-year-old new medium that continues to offer a level playing field. 

It is also true that larger companies and networks are getting more attention than ever.  That increasing attention, size, and cash resources are driving increasing success for some of these companies. It is also true that the number of employees and money resources do not guarantee success in the podcasting space. 

Successful content can come from anywhere in the podcasting or media space. Larger companies can have some advantages in the market, and market forces are helping to increase the advantage to larger listening publishing platforms. However, content creation is still where the medium is a blank canvas of opportunity as the cost of quality audio production continues to fall.

How successful can an independent podcaster be as part of a network?

A key question in today’s podcasting space is a podcast that is part of a large network of independent podcasts.  I think it is if the content is still wholly owned independently by the creator.  

Some networks have owned and operated podcasts where the talent is hired to produce the podcast. However, independent podcasters affiliated with a large or smaller network own all the rights to their content but still can potentially get support from a network.  

I consider the podcasts that the hosts still own all the rights to be independent podcasters.  I think the definition of an independent podcast has been confusing for many. Some have judged some shows as not part of the indie side of podcasting when they are independent podcasts while being part of a big corporate media or podcasting company. 

I believe Quality Cream rises to the top in podcasting; all a podcast needs to do is spark word-of-mouth sharing in its listener base, and it will grow over time if trust and value exchanges are created in people’s lives. 

Has the measurement issue been solved?

We have solved the measurement issue as much as we can at this moment in time. 

The future of podcast measurement is facing some very large challenges shortly as we struggle to obtain client-side listening data, the very limited path to listener opt-in tracking, internet protocol (IPv4 to IPv6) technology, elimination of the cookie, and growing privacy-related global legal restrictions change and develop. 

As we face all the above challenges, we must always keep in mind that podcasting has been rooted for 16 years in being mostly a non-commercial medium that is free, open, and accessible. 

It is important to continue recognizing the trust-building rooted in the medium’s history in protecting listeners’ privacy. This trust-building has resulted in strong ROI via host reads ads without violating listener privacy.

Has the discovery issue been solved?

The discovery issue has never existed in the way it has been commonly understood. Many complain that podcast discovery is the core reason their podcasts have not grown in the audience they have as fast as they would like. 

The discovery of podcasts can certainly be better. Still, most of that issue falls on the backs of the podcast creator and how well they have developed the topics and program, show marketing and promotion, website SEO, and their efforts to inspire the audience sharing to others.  

What is the best advice you could give someone thinking about podcasting today?

I mostly give the same advice today as I did years ago. The opportunity to succeed in podcasting has not changed.  It just takes planning and goal setting, focus on relevant content, good-sounding audio, an aggressive distribution, and a promotion plan that connects with listeners.

What will happen in the future in the podcasting space?
The podcasting medium will keep steadily growing in all areas in the near and long term. It is up to all of us to evolve podcasting in a way that preserves its roots as a trusted and level playing field for all to contribute and participate.

Rob Greenlee is the Former Chairperson of The Podcast Academy “Ambies Awards” and was inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame in 2017. His career started around offline and then online marketing. Then, on the radio in 1999 and podcasting on Sept 15, 2004, with the first nationally syndicated radio show, “WebTalk World Radio Show”. He co-hosts the “New Media Show,” a weekly audio and video podcast streaming LIVE at Connect with Rob at rob. greenlee(at)gmail(dot)com.

He is available for podcast interviews and other media opportunities here –