Spotify Poised to Surpass Apple Podcasts in U.S. Listeners This Year

Spotify has been making inroads in the podcasting market over the course of the last few years, ramping up its original podcast offerings and making major acquisitions like Gimlet Media, Parcast, and Anchor, as well as scoring key deals such as the rights to the popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

spotify vs apple podcasts feature
Spotify's efforts may be paying off, according to a new forecast shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch) that predicts Spotify could soon have more podcast listeners than Apple.

According to eMarketer's estimates, 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, while 28 million people will listen through Apple Podcasts. Though Apple has also made efforts to improve its podcast offerings, ‌Apple Podcasts‌ has been losing listener share.

spotify apple music
In 2018, ‌Apple Podcasts‌ represented 34 percent of podcast listeners, a metric that will fall to 23.8 in 2021. Spotify's rise in popularity can be attributed to Apple's failure to match Spotify's pace of investment and innovation in the podcasting space, according to eMarketer analyst Peter Vahle.

"By putting podcasts and music in one place, Spotify quickly became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio," said eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence 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."

Apple is working to counter Spotify's deep investments in podcasting with its own original content. Apple recently debuted the first podcast based on "For All Mankind," one of its Apple TV+ shows, and more TV-related content is expected to come out.

Rumors suggest that Apple is also working to purchase exclusive original podcasts for the Podcasts app, with those original podcasts also perhaps serving as inspiration for future television content.

As of November, Apple allows ‌Apple Podcasts‌ to be embedded on the web to increase visibility, and in January, Apple launched a new Podcasts Spotlight feature to highlight rising podcast creators. Apple is also said to be working on a podcast subscription service to better allow it to compete with Spotify by luring content creators with the promise of more money.

It's worth noting that eMarketer's analysis is based on estimated podcast listeners, and there is no concrete data available from Apple on the number of people in the United States who are listening to podcasts.

Top Rated Comments

grantew1 Avatar
21 months ago
Spotify experience > Apple music experience.

Dont @ me :)
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Suckfest 9001 Avatar
21 months ago
Spotify app continues to provide a much better experience overall and suggests far better music. Same goes for Podcasts. There’s a reason apples afraid to let you specify default music apps. Even the current implementation is hokey and requires a convo with Siri lol
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rob_2811 Avatar
21 months ago

Spotify experience > Apple music experience.

Dont @ me :)
Spotify had around 30 million paid subscribers when Apple Music launched, that number is over 150 million now.

People on here said Apple would kill Spotify!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
panjandrum Avatar
21 months ago
This does not surprise me in the least. Has anyone at Apple actually attempted to use Apple's Podcast app? It's absolutely terrible. I mean, it's not even intuitively obvious how to play episodes (reliably) in proper chronological sequence! That's really important for those podcasts with intense, literary, plots to follow. You know, like My Dad Wrote a Porno*. Try figuring out what's going on in that if you get them out of order! Heck, try figuring out what's going on in that in any given sentence for that matter, even if you're listening to it correctly! But really, Apple's Podcast app is hands-down the worst Podcast app I've ever seen, so it's not surprising that people are using other ones. Think Different! Overcast is pretty nice. Or Spotify.

* Not MY dad. Do not listen to while driving. Do not listen to while wishing to appear sane. Do not listen to while mowing lawn. Do not listen to during sex. Do not listen to without installing sense of humor first. Do not listen to with conservatives. Do not listen to if you work in the pots and pans industry.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kevinpdoyle Avatar
21 months ago
Spending a boatload of money on content will do that.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
21 months ago
Podcasts started out great. Then, like everything, through a combination of bloat and neglect, the podcast experience has become yet another sewer.

Nothing gold can stay, I guess.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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