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Podcast Count Grows Two Percent During Q1; Pace Of Debuts Up Slightly From A Year Ago.

Despite several big publishers saying they plan to be more cautious about the number of new shows they release this year, the pace of new podcast launches held steady during the first three months of 2023. Listen Notes reports there were 50,173 new podcasts during the first quarter. That is 160 more debuts than was recorded during the fourth quarter when the holiday season typically diverts attention away from show launches.

The first quarter figure also likely shows more of a normalization in the pace of new show releases. Two years ago when the pandemic was still impacting media habits, Listen Notes says it detected 150,000 new shows during Q1. Last year that number was less than a third, with 45,195 podcast launches seen during the same period a year ago.

As is usually the case during the first quarter, January was the busiest month for new show debuts this year with 20,748 releases logged by Listen Notes. It was followed in February by 17,017 and 12,408 in March. That is a similar cadence as seen a year ago.

Listen Notes says the second quarter has begun with at least 3,075,671 podcasts available to listeners. That is a nine percent increase compared to a year ago. The number is also up 2.3% compared to the start of the year. And the number of episodes available for listeners totals 161,224,163. The number of episodes increased by seven million during the first quarter.

The tally of so-called “dead” podcasts is also largely more what it looked like in 2022 and 2021 – the two years after the pandemic lockdowns led to a flood of new show launches by podcasting novices. Listen Notes counts 7,770 shows that are considered dead so far this year. That is ten percent fewer than during the same period last year. 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.

Amplifi Media founder Steven Goldstein says that he is seeing a shift “to quality over quantity” and that while it is tough to see shows cut, it also feels “inevitable” and in the long-term it will be a good thing for the industry. “Organizations with too many podcast titles risk losing focus. They can spend too much of their limited money, time, effort and resources nurturing shows that won’t make the grade,” Goldstein writes in a blog post.

Listen Notes also says that of the nearly 3.1 million podcasts that now exist, it calculates 480,787 were active during the first quarter of 2023. It considers a show active if it published an episode during a specific year. That means just 16% of all shows ever created are currently active. That is one percent lower than at the end of Q1 last year.

Even with the growth of podcast listening in Latin America, Europe and Asia, the pace of content production in those countries has yet to catch up. Listen Notes says two-thirds of all podcasts currently released originated in the U.S. That is the same as it has been for the past several years. That also means most podcasts are still in English. At the end of Q1, Listen Notes tabulates 60% were in English. That was steady with a year earlier. The tally shows 12% of shows were in Spanish, and seven percent were in Portuguese – also similar to the past few years. Indonesian (5%) and German (3%) again rounded out the top five.

The top genre remained Society & Culture at the end of the first quarter. The category represented 13.8% of all shows. It is followed by Education (12.5%), Arts (9.4%), Business (9.0%), Religion & Spirituality (8.4%), Comedy (7.1%), Health & Fitness (6.2%), News (5.2%), Leisure (4.9%), Music (4.7%), Sports (4.4%), TV & Film (3.1%), Technology (2.5%), Kids & Family (2.2%), and Science (2.1%).

San Francisco-based Listen Notes was launched in 2017 by Webian Fang, who in the latest update to users says Listen Notes has just launched a new open-source project “microfeed.” It also integrated its podcast results on the search engine

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