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Active Podcast Count Jumps 39% As New Podcast Launches Dipped During First Quarter.

The number of new podcasts launching during the first quarter declined 4.5% from one year ago, despite January seeing the strongest pace of debuts since March 2024. Listen Notes reports there were 47,921 podcasts launched during the first three months of this year. The first quarter is typically one of the strongest periods for debuts, and at the current pace the total number of launches would fail to meet last year’s tally of 225,415 debuts.

Listen Notes, the podcast search engine and database, says there are at least 3.3 million podcasts that have been launched over the years. Those shows have dropped nearly 193 million episodes. So far this year, the total number of episodes has climbed 6.5 million — or about 3.5% of the total number. That is roughly on pace with the number of episodes released last year.

The upside to fewer launches is there are fewer so-called “dead” podcasts. The number has continued to shrink each year since the pandemic show debut frenzy gave way to a flood of podcasts coming to an end. Listen Notes says during all of last year there were 38,599 dead podcasts. And during the first quarter of this year another 4,472 shows passed on.

Listen Notes considers a show to have died when the RSS feed is deleted, or its iTunes “completed” tag is marked “yes” by the publisher.

Yet the number that arguably matters most to a majority of podcasters is how many shows are actually active. And that figure is far smaller than the 3.3 million podcast total would suggest. Listen Notes says 466,726 podcasts are considered active. It gives that label to a show if the latest episode of a podcast is published in a specific year. In what could be considered a measure of the industry’s health, the total of active shows is up from last year when Listen Notes counted 336,807. That is a 39% year-to-year jump in the total number of active podcasts.

Two-thirds of all podcasts at the end of the first quarter originated in the U.S. Listen Notes tabulates 60% were in English. That was steady with a year earlier. The tally shows 11% of shows were in Spanish, and six percent were in Portuguese — a figure reflecting the rapid growth of the Brazilian podcast market. Rounding out the top five languages were Indonesian (4%) and German (3%).

The top genre remained Society & Culture during 2024, which represented 13.9% of all shows. It is followed by Education (12.7%), Business (9.2%), Arts (9.2%), Religion & Spirituality (8.4%), Comedy (6.9%), Health & Fitness (6.4%), News (5.2%), Leisure (4.9%), Music (4.5%), Sports (4.4%), TV & Film (3.0%), Technology (2.5%), Kids & Family (2.2%), and Science (2.1%).

Listen Notes also says at year-end Spotify’s Anchor FM is the most used hosting platform, representing 56% of all podcasts. Buzzsprout is a distant second at 6%, followed by SoundCloud and Spreaker, both with a four percent share.

In its quarterly update, San Francisco-based Listen Notes says it quietly launched in January. It is a web-based tool for audio transcriptions and summarization, marked by its speed — it is able to transcribe one hour of audio in one minute — and its on-demand pricing structure. The company is currently reworking its user interface to give it a more polished look.

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