Pinpointing podcast popularity

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Podcast hosts Emily Forbes and Sophie Gatfield say podcasts are a healthy way to connect. Photo: Supplied.

A boom in podcasts sparked by the pandemic will only continue to grow in Australia, according to a popular podcast platform. 

Head of Studios at Spotify in Australia and New Zealand Ben Watts said podcast consumption increased significantly during the pandemic, with people using their free time to listen to their favourite content. 

“We have seen so many more people fall in love with podcasting during the pandemic. The growth has been incredible,” he said. 

“There is so much content out there to be consumed, I can only see that increasing in the future.”

Spotify is a digital music and podcast service hosting 3.6 million podcasts globally.

The Australian Podcast Ranker report, produced in March, shows podcast consumption has grown.

The total downloads of all shows by all participating publishers in August was 72.8 million, which represents a 31 per cent increase based on the same time last year.

Mr Watts said the recent trends have shown particular types of podcasts have become popular among listeners.

“Mindfulness podcasts spiked dramatically, particularly in the earlier days of the pandemic.

Ben Watts

“People were really seeking content that would help them stay mindful and calm and podcasting absolutely rose to the fore.

“I think the personal nature of podcasting, has seen it emerge as a platform where vulnerability is encouraged.

“In Australia, it’s been amazing to see podcasting being used as a platform for honesty.”

Edison Research is one of the leading market research groups in both radio and podcast trends.

Vice president Nicole Beniamini said the range of podcasts available had led to a more competitive industry, with better quality content being produced.

“Podcasts are targeting more types of people and offering better quality shows,” she said.

“It’s really helped the industry grow and appeal to more people.

“There has been a newfound creativity in terms of content and it’s because content creators know what people want to listen to it.”

Statistics from the Australian Podcast Ranker show podcast demand is on the rise (reporting period: 1 March – 31 March). Source: Australian Podcast Ranker.

Local podcasts have become the norm with many Perth podcasters taking on the challenge of producing engaging content for an audience.

Students Emily Forbes and Sophie Gatfield recently joined forces to combine their passions of psychology and nutrition to create the Feed Your Mind podcast.

Ms Gatfield said the podcast was created as an outlet that allowed them to discuss their passions within the field and have engaging conversations with their audience.

“We both had the idea of starting a podcast individually but we thought what better way than to come together and combine our two passions and have those conversations,” she said.

Forbes and Gatfield said the most surprising aspect of their podcast journey has been the positive response from their audience.

 “The response so far has been amazing.”

Emily Forbes

“To hear that other people are engaging with us and our content has been great.

“We are encouraging conversations to be had on issues that need to be discussed, we are really proud of that.”

Ms Forbes said the engagement with their listeners also motivated them to continue to produce content.

“Our audience are the ones who keep us accountable and to see them staying so interested in what we are talking about definitely motivates us to keep going,” she said. 

Ms Forbes said the best thing about more relatable people starting podcasts is that personal issues were being discussed, which had led to more engaging conversations.

“We talk about issues like mental health and the aim for us is to be able to normalise these issues and make people feel okay about their struggles,” she said.

“Personal experience is hard to talk about, but we feel it allows us to be more relatable to our audience.”