The evolution of the podcast into one of today’s most important broadcast mediums didn’t happen overnight.

Just a few years ago, the podcast seemed to be fading gently into that good night – not setting new records for the number of series, number of listeners, number of downloads, and, so on – you get the idea.

We stumbled across an article on a Medium blog the other day – Josh Morgan is the author –  not a new article, but a thoughtfully written and well put together article from last year, and decided that we’d write our own article about this one.

Josh looks at ten years worth of stats about the podcast and its listeners; he also asks a few good questions, that we think we have some answers to, another year down the road since he originally wrote the blog.

Part of the allure for content producers is that podcasting is a wild frontier in the new media landscape, waiting to be shaped and settled. Some have questioned if podcasting is the new blogging, referring to a similar boom during the early and mid-2000’s, but that remains to be seen.

 The popular number circulating at the moment for total number of podcasts listed in iTunes is 325,000+.

Apple doesn’t actually give out the number, so it’s a best guess from one of the analytics and research firms, but it’s probably pretty close to accurate.   That’s a lot of podcasts that never get updated (probably 60% or more) but still a lot of active shows too, we’re guessing somewhere in the 60,000 range.

[LISTEN: How Much Does It Cost to Successfully Market Your Podcast – PODCAST EPISODE 27]

Josh also did some serious research on his own to create his stats view of where the podcast was last year.

Here’s a graph he produced showing the 20 categories with the most podcasts listed in them:

Josh Morgan's Top 20 iTunes Categories, 2015

Josh Morgan’s Top 20 iTunes Categories, 2015

 

Honestly, we had no idea that Christianity was the #1 category for podcasts, or even in the top 3.  So there you go.

If you want more stats, click through on the links to Josh’s article, it’s definitely worth the read.

Let’s talk for a minute about why podcast stats even matter.

I suppose we could say that they don’t, other than to give you a snapshot of what the rest of the world is doing.  If your podcast isn’t about Christianity – or music – or comedy – then why do you even care about what categories get more listeners and which ones don’t?

There are two schools of thought on this topic.

#1 – Be competitive in a category that gets the most eyeballs and ears.  Rather than trying to go it alone in some niche market that no one cares about, work your way up (as far as you can) in a category that has mass quantities of listeners so that your overall volume is good.

[WATCH: Why You Want The Podcast Marketing Guide – VIDEO]

#2 – Screw the mass market; go for an underdeveloped niche and build a small but loyal following that will continue to listen and support you.

There’s plenty to be said for each side of this argument, and we’ve seen, over the course of many internet years and many types of product marketing, both sides making big, giant, leaps and bounds forward by following each of these theories.

Growing your podcast audience is going to take work on your part, no matter the category, the purpose or the content you have in your corner.  If you’re relying on iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, etc to send you traffic and make you rise to the top of the charts, you’re wasting your time, unfortunately.

There are a lot of things you can do to promote your podcast – mobile wallet advertising is just one of them – and we’ve covered a lot of these topics individually on this blog.  A quick search will lead you to the how-to’s and the why-to’s and all that good stuff.

 

Maybe it’s enough to know that the podcast, as a medium, is still growing like wildfire and doesn’t show any signs of stopping any time soon.