A recent market forecast has brought forth data that suggests that Spotify’s U.S. podcast listenership will overtake Apple Podcasts’ by the end of 2021. According to the forecast, Spotify will increase its monthly podcast listeners in the U.S. to 37.5 million, while Apple’s listenership will be at 28.8 million.
It appears that Spotify’s podcast investments are paying off. The company spent the last several years building on its podcast offerings with multiple acquisitions like Gimlet Media, Parcast, and Anchor as well as acquiring exclusive rights to popular podcasts such as The Joe Rogan Experience.
Spotify to surpass Apple in U.S. podcast listeners in 2021
As per eMarketer’s recent market forecast, 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify monthly, while 28.0 million will listen via Apple Podcasts. Spotify has experienced notable growth in recent years and is going to keep growing in 2021. According to the report, the company will grow by a staggering 41.3% this year.
Though Apple has also made efforts to improve its podcast roster, Apple Podcasts has been losing its podcast listener share in recent years. In 2018, the service represented 34.0% of podcast listeners, which will fall to 23.8% this year.
“By putting podcasts and music in one place, Spotify quickly became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Peter Vahle. “Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify’s pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology. Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools.”
Overall, there will be 117.8 million overall monthly podcast listeners this year, a 10.1% year-over-year increase. In 2021, podcast listeners will account for 53.9% of monthly digital audio listeners, surpassing 50% for the first time. The forecast anticipates that more audio listeners will start listening to podcasts monthly which will lead to a 60.9% share by 2024.
In 2021, an estimated $1.28 billion will be spent on advertising podcasts, surpassing $1 billion for the first time, representing a 41.0% year-over-year increase. Podcast advertising is continuing to gain a share of total digital audio ad spending, representing 24.0% in 2021.
Though the report offers some interesting statistics, it does not go into the reasons behind Spotify’s rapidly growing podcast listenership. Admittedly, the platform may be attractive to listeners since it offers music and podcasts within the same app, but that is not the sole reason.
Spotify’s recent growth took place at a time when the coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay indoors and turn towards digital forms of entertainment. Not only are more people listening to podcasts than ever before, but Spotify also bought out the top show which lured new users to its platform. The exclusivity of its newly acquired podcasts in conjunction with the growth of listeners because of the pandemic led to a huge influx in Spotify’s podcast listenership.
Despite its recent growth, we do not know if Spotify will be able to uphold its growth now that the end of the pandemic is closer than ever. Despite the company acquiring new podcasts and investing in other initiatives, it is possible that with the loss of pandemic listeners, Spotify’s growth in podcast listeners might become stagnant.