What the podcast industry looks like after 15 years

The podcast industry has taken off and looks to continue expansion.

It’s been roughly 15 years since podcasts first came into the world as a game-changing medium for audio entertainment.

In many ways since then, new podcasts have become communication outlets similar to the blogs of yesteryear. People are highly opinionated, they want to be heard, and there are few barriers to starting a podcast. As such, any determined host can create and sustain a podcast show of their own—regardless of its actual content value.

Furthermore, a large number of celebrities and companies that are looking to boost their public presence seem to have one. From Oprah Winfrey and Alec Baldwin to Home Depot and Sephora, most branded names either have or had, a podcast.

Today, over 700,000 shows are available for download, with the phrase “everyone has a podcast” becoming something of a tongue-in-cheek expression. The New York Times has even begun to question whether the medium as a whole is beginning to peak.

However, when looking at the bigger picture, evidence suggests that podcasts are going to grow for some time yet.

Not Everyone has a Podcast, but More Will Soon

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, by 2021, podcasts are expected to bring in over $1 billion in revenue.

Their projections also represent an increase of over 50 percent in industry revenue gain from one year to the next. Together, these stats imply that podcasts have the room they need to expand, and even now, many emerging enterprises are based on stimulating their growth.

Moreover, there are ample books on the subject, with more on the way, and an ever-increasing list of podcasts about making podcasts. At the same time, Google and Spotify are both pushing their services aimed at empowering podcasters. Plus, according to Bloomberg, Apple is about to initiate a podcast exclusivity program to remain competitive within the sector as well.

These examples alone prove that the podcast industry still has room to grow before it shows any signs of slowing down.

But how Long are Podcasts Going to Last?

While some, like the Times, have expressed concerns about podcast oversaturation producing lesser quality content and too many similar shows, there’s a lot more to consider.

For one, quite a few people believe that the exponential number of newly launched podcasts is a good thing. Their reasoning is that all these shows offer listeners more quality selections. Due to a higher volume, people may need to curate their choices a little more carefully than in the past. However, the same is true of books, and people do just fine, despite always “having too much to read.”

Furthermore, specific international audiences engage with podcasts significantly more than U.S. consumers. China’s podcasts alone make up the bulk of the nation’s $7 billion pay-for-knowledge industry. So, apart from U.S. listeners’ activity, podcasts are evidently performing highly enough elsewhere.

Overall, it’s uncertain when and if podcasts will finally fade away. However, until the industry starts showing a real decline, people shouldn’t expect them to go anywhere anytime soon.