There was once a time when nobody knew what a podcast was, and then all of the sudden they become the ‘it’ thing that everyone was listening to.
The reason for the podcast’s success is down to quite a few factors, so it’s up to the individual to decide why they love them.
Why are podcasts so popular? The main reasons for podcasts’ popularity are that they cover more niche topics, can be enjoyed on your schedule, listened to while doing other things, and are easily accessible.
Compared to watching TV or turning on the radio, podcasts offer a host of benefits that make them a better fit for the modern listener.
If you’ve never listened to a podcast before or want to know what it is that makes them so popular, we’ve got all of the top responses.
We’ll also cover the history of podcasts and how trendy they’ve become today, to give you an idea of where they’re headed in the future.
The History of Podcasts
The podcast of today is a little different from how they were when they first started out, to a time in the 1980s when they used to be called ‘audio blogging’.
This form of media was recorded by bloggers who wanted to share their thoughts with others on a specific topic, and they would make a recording and then share it with others manually.
When the internet came into it, this audio blogging was a lot easier to share with others online, offering a place to download the MP3 file onto their listening device.
As one of the more common devices, the iPod was used for this, the term ‘podcasting’ was coined by a journalist named Ben Hammersley before being added to the iTunes Music Library as its own category in 2005.
The Popularity of Podcasts Today
Today, podcasts are one of the primary reasons for memberships to streaming services. With at least two million podcast series being created since 2005 and at least 48 million episodes available to listen to, there’s no shortage of topics, creators, or content that can be enjoyed.
Podcasting has become a lucrative business for this involved, with one of the most notable podcasters, comedian Joe Rogan, signing a deal for his podcast series with Spotify worth $100 million.
For regular podcasters, there are loads of ways to monetize this type of content and still get to discuss something you’re passionate about with the world, making it popular on both ends.
Today, podcasting has a much wider reach, with almost 60% of Americans aged 12 and over listening to podcasts regularly.
The number continues to grow as well, with statistics showing that the number of average listeners has doubled in the last decade, and only continues to grow.
What Makes Podcasts So Good?
The allure of the podcast isn’t just for one or two reasons, but the many ways that it gives people a personal listening experience that they can enjoy on their own terms.
Here are just six of the most common reasons people give for why they love listening to podcasts.
#1 Tailored listening experience
We now live in the age of content curation where everyone can decide exactly what it is they want to watch, listen to, and enjoy.
Having a multitude of streaming services on your devices and choosing content that specifically aligns with your interests is one of the reasons why people are drawn to podcasts.
A podcast can be as niche or as broad as you want it to be, whether it’s one discussing the latest episode of their favorite TV show or just comedians dissecting the week’s entertainment news in general.
The listener has a massive selection of topics and content to choose from when finding a podcast, and the sheer variety is what sets it apart from other forms of media.
This range of content means everything is always fresh and relevant, which is hard to come by in other types of media.
#2 Enjoy them on your schedule
As people are busier than ever these days, having enjoyable content that they can listen to when it suits them is a must.
It’s no longer feasible to have a screening of a TV show that only comes on once, with most people now streaming their movies, programs, and podcasts to suit their own schedules.
Podcasts give people access to content that they can listen to as they choose, whether it’s just 10 minutes a day or for a few hours at a time.
There’s no need to listen to them quickly as they remain available for years through streaming platforms, and you can even replay an episode as many times as you like.
This no-pressure feel of podcasts is an attractive feature and it means the audience decides when and how they consume it.
#3 Easy to access
If you can access the internet, you can listen to a podcast, so it’s just that easy. Thanks to the ability of smartphones and other devices to connect us to anything we want, it’s never been easier to have a podcast with you at all times and ready to be enjoyed.
It’s as simple as streaming it from the creator’s website or using a streaming platform like Spotify or iTunes to do so. As well as being easy to access with a device, podcasts also reach others who may have accessibility issues.
Podcasts are an easily available form of entertainment and information for people who may have issues going to public spaces like libraries or the movies, including those with medical impairments, disabilities, or those unable to leave their house for whatever reason.
They’re an inclusive media form that can be enjoyed by all kinds of people from any walk of life and you can make them work on your terms.
#4 Free to listen to
The accessibility of podcasts also relates to their costs, with most podcasts being available for no charge to listeners, as long as they have the internet available to stream them.
When compared to other streaming services that play movies and TV shows, this free form of entertainment is a major drawcard and it’s also helpful for people who find the rising cost of all of their digital media to be overwhelming.
Most audio streaming platforms like Spotify and iTunes offer free membership plans where people can listen to all of their favorite podcast series with just a few ads in the middle.
Other times, you can download it onto your device using public WiFi and listen to it later at home or in the car.
For the podcast creator, there are still plenty of ways to make money with the content, so it won’t impact you negatively, but it’s a major bonus for your audience that they can tune in for free.
#5 Multitasking friendly
We all love to feel as though we’re doing the most, but still enjoying the things that matter to us in life. Podcasts are perfect for this very reason because they’re one of the most multitasking-friendly forms of media out there.
Unlike movies or TV shows, you can play a podcast in the background and get other things done, because there’s no need to watch anything to enjoy.
People report listening to a podcast while doing all kinds of things like driving, cleaning their house, doing arts and crafts, or cooking dinner.
The ability to absorb the podcast content while you’re doing other chores or hobbies makes it a little easier to manage your time and helps to ease the burden of some of those that you don’t enjoy so much.
#6 Intimacy and community
When you’re listening to a podcast presenter speak, or if they’re having a conversation with someone else on their show, you can’t help but feel like you’re a part of it.
The natural flow of a podcast attracts listeners because it’s far more intimate than watching TV or hearing a radio DJ speak, and has a more conversational feel to it.
On a broader scale, listening to podcasts helps to connect you to the community that also enjoys them. Whether it’s a niche topic on a hobby you love or a podcast discussing political news, the thought that you’re joining other like-minded people to listen to someone speak builds a true sense of community and helps you feel connected.
The Power of the Podcast
Podcasts are a unique form of modern media that can change the way you consume content, and all for the better. if you’re considering starting a podcast of your own and want to know what draws listeners in, making sure it ticks all of the above boxes is a good start.