Podcasts have been around for some time, but it was only until the last decade or so that they’ve become an incredibly well-recognized facet of modern society. It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without bumping into somebody listening to a podcast on their headphones. Even age-old pastimes like a road trip through the country have gotten a retrofit, with millions of drivers listening to podcasts instead of the radio of their favorite songs while they drive to their destinations.
Despite what some critics of podcasts have to say about them, they’re definitely here to stay. Here’s why podcasts will become an essential part of both everyday life and the economy sooner rather than later.
Companies are pivoting to podcasts
Perhaps the chief reason that podcasts look set to stick around for a while is that companies everywhere are beginning to embrace them with ravenous glee. A few years ago, starting a podcast could arguably be seen as a niche hobby that was only enjoyed by the few, but these days a podcast can help companies engage thousands of listeners and generate viral moments. These aren’t tiny companies desperately trying to drum up some additional business, either, but rather large corporations who should be setting an important precedent that will be followed for years to come.
Take Spotify, for instance. The company has become renown for providing unparalleled streaming services to users all around the world, and its CFO recently made headlines by arguing that podcasts will be as important to Spotify as streaming is to Netflix. This reasonably generated a shock around the market, as many people who consider themselves to be important investors or dedicated corporate professionals don’t necessarily listen to podcasts themselves. You don’t have to enjoy chocolate to see the commercial possibilities of the candy industry, however, and you don’t need to be a podcast fanatic to realize how pivotal and profitable this medium is about to become.
Spotify intends to spend about $400-500 million on podcast acquisitions by the end of 2019 for a good reason; young people everywhere are latching onto podcast with everything they’ve got. College campuses, high schools, and social media feeds are inundated with young people talking about and sharing their favorite podcasts with one another; in some college courses, students are even encouraged to create their own podcast to prepare them for the future, much in the same way that students were once (and still are) encouraged to draft business plan assignments or prepare mock-up marketing campaigns.
You don’t need to be young to listen in
It would be foolish to insinuate that podcasts are going to become a normal part of our society just because young people love them; after all, plenty of older listeners are tuning in as well. American podcast audiences keep growing larger and larger, with about 62 million weekly listeners, and the number of listeners who are 55 or older is up 13 percent from last year. We can expect podcasts to keep gaining in popularity with members of all age cohorts as the market increasingly diversifies. You can find a podcast about nearly anything; cars, cooking, politics, and sports, to name but a few examples of podcast topics, have an incredibly wide demographic reach.
Figuring out the best podcasting hosting services will be of the upmost importance in the future, as will market research that elucidates the most profitable demographics to chase after. Celebrity endorsements are already helping nascent podcasters grow their audiences and will become more commonplace as time goes on. All in all, it should be increasingly obvious to anybody with their ear to the ground that the era of podcasts is just beginning.