Are Podcasts a Fad?


This post was originally sent to our newsletter subscribers in March 2019. To be the first to receive exclusive trend forecasts from Glen Nelson Center, subscribe here.

At Glen Nelson Center, we pay close attention to research investigating how audiences access media content and the rate they are adopting and using emerging media technologies. Our goal is to distinguish between media consumption patterns that are fads, which fade in a matter of months, versus trends that will stick around for decades.

New research from Edison Research and Triton Digital would indicate that podcasts and smart speakers are moving from fad status to being full-fledged trends worthy of investment. Even the press release announcing the new report defined the growth in podcast listenership as “explosive” with 90 million monthly listeners, fully one-third of the U.S. population, having listened to a podcast in the last month. Smart speaker ownership jumped from 18% in 2018 to 23% in 2019 with a quarter of all smart speaker households owning three or more voice-enabled devices.

What isn’t surprising is that these trends are being driven in large part by younger audiences. The number of Spotify listeners ages 12-24 who reported listening to podcasts increased by 65% in one year. This alone indicates that the adoption rate of podcasts is only going to increase and the podcasting audience will be around for a long time.