How Many Podcasts are There Compared to Other Types of Media?

Erik Jones
6 min readMay 31, 2019

An unwritten rule of writing about the podcast industry is that you must mention the amount of podcasts there are as often as possible. I’ve been guilty of it and it’s hard not to do because as we speak there are over 750,000 podcasts sitting right there in your phone waiting to be downloaded (see, there I go again!).

Part of the obsession of talking about it might be because podcasts are one of the few types of media that we have been able to witness in real time go from a small, semi-knowable industry, to one that is larger than any one person can understand. When I see this large podcast number get thrown around, I can’t help but think, “but compared to what?”.

You don’t see other types of media throwing around their big numbers as often, so it can be difficult to have good context for where podcasts fit into the bigger media picture.

So in the first of a series of short posts about the podcast industry, I wanted to take a look at this question of what the big number is for the other major types of media out there.

This isn’t to say anything about the inherent differences between the types of media, but just a curiosity of how much there is of each one. The goal is to find the single BIG number that encapsulates everything as best as possible (within the correct order of magnitude), from inception and regardless of quality.

At the bottom there are more notes about my sources because this endeavor was more difficult than I imagined and there are some caveats with some of these numbers. My primary concern was accuracy, even if it meant some of the data is a few years old.

A good starting point might be to compare podcasts to things like movies, TV series, video games, and broadway shows.

Hey look at podcasts, king of the hill! They’ve pulled ahead of other media that have had several decades of a head start.

And this isn’t even including individual podcast episodes, just the amount of shows. Let’s add those in, and a few others including TV episodes and total songs on Spotify to get some better perspective.

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Erik Jones

Writing about podcasts and creativity. Check out https://www.hurtyourbrain.com/ to never miss an article and to get podcast recommendations that make you think.