83 per cent of Australians are familiar with the term podcast. That includes my mum, who is constantly asking for new recommendations of what to listen to. Although podcasts have been available since 2005, it is only now that the platform has truly boomed, and 2020 will undoubtedly be the biggest year for podcasts yet.
As someone who has been listening to podcasts for well over a decade, the allure is obvious. In our increasingly fast paced society, where multi-tasking is constantly demanded of us, podcasts are easy to implement into your day. They can be listened to while driving, while walking to the train station or on public transport, while cleaning the house, showering, or putting on makeup.
With over 800,000 shows and 54 million episodes available for download, there is a podcast available for everyone. There are podcasts available to fit every need and every mood. Whether that be news, a documentary-style deep dive into an issue, true crime or girly chat, there is a podcast for it.
In 2014 the true crime podcast series Serial was released. This series broke podcasts into the mainstream, becoming the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads and streams in Apple’s history. Yet the past year has seen the most noticeable growth in podcasts, with over 200,000 new shows having been launched in the year alone. There are now 62 million Americans listening to podcasts every week. In Australia, tech platform Acast reported that podcast listenership has grown by over 300% in the last 12 months.
Podcasts offer the ability to stay informed, to listen to different points of view or different stories, to be engaged and educated by some of the smartest and most knowledgeable individuals in a particular field and entertained by the most talented or humorous. This is the appeal of the podcast. It is a way to stay connected, to engage in a global society, to learn or to forget. And you can do it pretty much anywhere, anytime.