Spotify Releases its Wrapped 2019 with New Podcast Data

Each year, Spotify releases its “Wrapped” summary of the year in listener data, and 2019 is no different. Here’s some of what we can learn from the data for Spotify’s Wrapped 2019.

Courtesy of Spotify

While much of the data relates to Spotify’s music, a handful of interesting facts can be pulled from their podcast data: namely, the top podcasts this year, and overall podcast listenership via Spotify throughout the year.

For transparency, I currently write for the Spotify for Podcasters blog; however, I’ve been fascinated by Spotify in the podcast space for some time, especially after its acquisition of both Gimlet and Anchor. These acquisitions, along with several other updates from Spotify, has not always landed well with the podcast community as a whole. The Gimlet purchase is an event that caused, and sometimes still causes, ripples of debate throughout the community.

It’s no secret that Spotify is becoming a contender in the podcatcher market, and that Spotify has increased its podcast capabilities and focus over the last year, since the Gimlet acquisition in February 2019. Spotify has since made more direct contact with press outlets regarding their podcasts, and started campaigns like, yes, the Spotify for Podcasters blog. There’s also the jump in usability for podcast listeners on Spotify late this year: as of September 2019, users can now add podcasts to playlists. This means that podcasts will be looped into Spotify’s algorithms that make user of user-created playlist for better recommendations.

It is therefore unsurprising to me that Spotify podcast listenership has jumped 50% over last year. With more reasons to listen to podcasts on Spotify–including new original content like The Two Princes–it isn’t shocking that more people are, subsequently, listening to podcasts on Spotify.

What interests me more is the data showing that Spotify podcast hours listened has jumped 39% quarterly this year. That rapid increase is impressive and, admittedly, yes, surprising. Are listeners becoming more interested in podcasts? Was Spotify’s marketing regarding podcasts like Gimlet’s a help here? And what of the counter-marketing and feuds with Luminary?

Another interesting piece of information: two of the top five podcasts streamed this year are German. The podcast sphere is oftentimes only discussed in a very U.S.-centric way; seeing reminders of podcasts globally is exciting, even if that marked globalization is currently the product of a European market.

The full list of most streamed podcasts on Spotify this year is:

  1. The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal
  2. My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
  3. Gemischtes Hack
  4. Fest & Flauschig
  5. The Misfits Podcast

I expect that as Spotify’s recommendation algorithm becomes more honed, we’ll continue to see increases both year over year and quarter over quarter. Depending on the types of playlists made, I also think–and hope–discoverability for smaller podcasts will see an increase. I can imagine a 2020 in which more people are finding indie fiction podcasts because others have made playlists combining podcasts and music on a certain theme. If you’ve made a playlist like this, I’d love to see it in the comments below.

I do wonder about when and whether Spotify will plateau in listenership for podcasts, though. It seems like the platform’s current biggest hurdles will be not with new podcast listeners, but the podcasting community itself.

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