Podcast Census Now Tops 2.6 Million.


The number of new podcasts continues to add up with 629,570 podcasts added to the tally during the first nine months of the year. But the pace slowed considerably during the third quarter as the podcast search engine Listen Notes reports 100,615 new shows debuted. September brought the fewest number of launches so far this year with 25,833 new podcasts detected during the month. That compares to the highpoint in March when 103,568 new podcasts were recorded. By Listen Notes’ count, there are at least 2,691,305 podcasts as of September 30, a 41% increase from the end of 2020.


More shows naturally means more episodes and that sea of content deepens by the day. Listen Notes says since the start of the year the number of new episodes published tops 21.5 million. At the current pace it is possible the number of new episodes will top the 28 million released during 2020, which currently holds the record.


Even as new podcasts appear on the scene, others fade away. The number of podcasts that are considered “active” represents fewer than half of the 2.6 million shows that have been released since podcasting was created. Listen Notes says 1,156,503 podcasts have released an episode so far during 2021.


The number of so-called “dead podcasts” is 51,661 compared to 23,367 at mid-year. The number of podcasts that died this year represent 1.9% of all shows. 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.


Two-thirds of all podcasts originate in the U.S. Not unexpectedly, most shows are in English. Listen Notes tabulates 60% of podcasts are in English. That is down from 65% at the start of the year. Listen Notes says 12% of podcasts are in Spanish, up from 10% at the end of last year. And 7% are Portuguese-language podcasts, up from 6% last December. Indonesian (5%) and German (3%) round out the top five.


The top genre remains Society & Culture, which represented 13.6% of all shows. It is followed by Education (12.3%), Arts (9.7%), Business (8.7%), Religion & Spirituality (8.4%), Comedy (7.4%), Health & Fitness (6.0%), News (5.1%), Music (4.9%), Leisure (4.9%), and Sports (4.4%).


San Francisco-based Listen Notes just celebrated its fourth anniversary. It was created by Webian Fang, who said in a recent blog post that he built the podcast search engine as his own personal tool to find podcasts. “There were so many podcasts, and I couldn’t subscribe to them all,” he said. “Gradually, I added new features to Listen Notes and turned it into my full-time job in late-2017.”

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