The podcasting space is fast-paced. What starting picking up steam 10 years ago in 2012 has now exploded. So we’re here to share some of our podcast predictions for the year!
A Little Background on Podcasting
Before we dive into what we think is next in the exciting world of podcasting, let’s look back at where it all started.
I mentioned podcasting picking up some steam in 2012, but it really started several years before that in 2004 by two guys named Adam Curry and Dave Winer (International Podcast Day: Podcasting Historical Timeline and Milestones).
Later that year Libsyn launched the first podcast hosting service, which is still very much alive and well today. Libsyn is who we use to host all of our podcasts (if you’re looking for a great podcast host, use promo code FIRE for the rest of this month and next month free at Libsyn.com!)
Podcasting from 2005–2012
Fast-forward to 2005 and Apple iTunes is taking notes: their 4.9 release includes native support for podcasts! And “podcast” is declared the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary.
Several notable milestones take place between 2005–2012, including Marc Maron launching the ever-famous WTF podcast (2009), and in 2012 Edison Research reports that 29% of Americans have listened to a podcast.
While 29% might not seem like a lot, it does say one thing loud and clear: there is still a lot of room for growth in the podcasting space, making 2012 a perfect time to dive in.
Just one year later in 2013 Apple announces it has 1 million podcast subscribers on its platform, and in 2014 a podcast that would change the space forever launched: Serial.
Podcasting in the late 2010’s
And 2019, 2020, and 2021 begin to show us how massive podcasting really is with acquisitions of major companies, like Spotify acquiring Gimlet Media; and podcast licensing deals for podcast exclusivity, like Joe Rogan’s multi-year licensing deal with Spotify.
What Podcasting Looks Like Today
And that bring us to today, where podcasting is essentially mainstream. Daily news and TV series across Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon mention it often.
And according to Edison Research, it just keeps on growing.
What’s very exciting for the world of podcasting right now is that it’s not just overall podcasting awareness and listening that’s growing. Those who listen to podcasts average eight podcasts per week!
Podcast listeners listen to podcasts. This might seem like an obvious statement, but it continues to be one of the most forgotten facts for podcasters themselves.
The growth potential and the number of strategies you can leverage based on this one fact alone is powerful.
Just one example: if you know that podcast listeners are — on average — listening to eight different podcasts in one week, don’t you think it would be beneficial as a podcaster to start appearing on other podcasts in your industry or niche for exposure?
There’s more than just podcasting data from surveys
In addition to the growth potential for the podcasting space that we get from surveys like the one from Edison Research, we can also gather it from mainstream news.
Headlines like these have popped up in just the first couple of months of 2022:
- Spotify is reportedly paying Joe Rogan $200 million, double what was previously known (Mashable)
- Spotify is acquiring two major podcast tech platforms (The Verge)
If you feels like Spotify is in the news a lot these days when it comes to podcasting, you’re absolutely right. They’ve acquired three major podcasting companies in less than two months, including Whooshkaa, Podsights, and Chartable.
Podcast sponsorships are also on the rise
The growth of podcasting is at an all-time high, and the increase in listenership isn’t just resulting in big acquisitions and exclusive deals — it also has major brands and companies vying for a piece of the pie via podcast sponsorships.
Top podcast sponsors in January 2022 according to Magellan include:
- BetterHelp (December spend: $7,209,000)
- HelloFresh (December spend: $3,782,000)
- Athletic Greens (December spend: $2,130,000)
And companies across the globe like Trader Joe’s, Blue Apron, and Sephora are just a few examples of major brands launching their own podcasts to share their knowledge, grow their community, and provide value to an audience — for free.
For more on the topic of branded podcasts, check out Riverside.fm’s post about the Best Branded Podcasts & What You Can Learn From Them.
The Future of Podcasting
Now that we have a better understanding of where it all started — plus some current stats and fun facts on the incredible world of podcasting — let’s take a look into the future with a few podcast predictions from myself and John Lee Dumas here at Entrepreneurs On Fire.
1. The number of subscription podcasts will continue to rise
Notice anything different about some of your favorite series-based podcasts recently?
While binging one of my recent favorite podcasts, Bad Blood, I realized that if I wanted to listen to newer episodes I had to pay to subscribe (or wait until their release date).
Twin Flames is another example of a podcast that will give you 1-week early access to episodes if you sign up for a Wondery+ subscription.
Love it or hate it, subscription podcasts are finding success with a pay wall, and based on the amount of TLC and effort that goes into creating these shows, I don’t blame them.
Will Entrepreneurs On Fire ever go subscription-based?
No, for several reasons.
To name a few:
- Our podcast isn’t a series, so there are no cliff hangers
- Our episodes are evergreen, so there’s no time-relevant urgency
- Our podcast is the top of our funnel: it’s how we provide free, valuable and consistent content to grow know, like, and trust with our listeners
But that’s not to say you shouldn’t consider charging for your podcast.
With platforms like Apple Podcasts now offering up subscriptions right inside their platform, it’s now easier than ever to create a subscription offer.
2. The explosion of Crypto, NFT, and Metaverse focused podcasts
Skeptics can continue on in the Web3 space, but there’s a big fact present in the podcasting space: shows that focus on Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the Metaverse are becoming more and more popular.
The Bad Crypto Podcast, which has been around since 2017, is proving itself (among a couple of others) as a very early-to-market show in the crypto podcasting space.
3. Many more purchases of big podcasts by Spotify, Amazon, and the like
The Joe Rogan Experience, Call Her Daddy, and many other podcasts that have been purchased in order to make them exclusive on a certain platform aren’t going to be the exception.
We predict there will be many more podcasts going exclusive in the year to come.
4. Series-based, produced podcasts are only getting better
You’ve probably heard the term “indie podcaster”, referring to individual like us who podcast from their home without the help of fancy studios and million dollar ad budgets.
But those big guys aren’t going anywhere.
In fact, we predict that the major productions from networks like Gimlet Media, Wondery, and NPR will continue to grow in the next 12 months.
5. Podcast Networks are taking hold, and in a new way
In 2020 HubSpot launched its own podcast network: The HubSpot Podcast Network.
What started with just five shows (including Entrepreneurs On Fire), is now a network of nearly 20 curated, top business podcasts — and growing!
Another one to recently hit the scene: LinkedIn just debuted its own podcast network.
The difference between these networks and The HubSpot Podcast Network is that HubSpot is curating existing content to build their network versus creating it on their own in-house.
Smart business decision to gain brand awareness and show the business world (aka their ideal customer) that you’ve got their back?
We think so!
Have You Considered Starting a Podcast?
If your answer is yes, then you’re clearly not alone. Right now in Apple Podcasts there are a reported 2 million+ podcasts, and that number is increasing daily.
Whether you already run a business, are considering starting your own business and want to launch with a podcast, or you’re looking for a fun side project, podcasting has so much to offer.
Want to skip ahead? The Podcast Journal will guide you from idea to launch in just 50 days!