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Spotify to pass Apple in podcast listeners this year

Podcasts on iPhone 11 Pro
Podcasts on iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Spotify is catching up to Apple when it comes to podcast listeners.
  • New research indicates it will pass Apple this year.
  • That gap will continue to widen by 2023.

New research indicates Spotify could overtake Apple Podcasts in listener figures as soon as this year.

From eMarketer:

It appears that Spotify's podcast investments are paying off. For the first time, Spotify's US podcast listenership will overtake Apple Podcasts', according to eMarketer's latest forecast. This year, 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, while 28.0 million will listen via Apple Podcasts. Spotify has experienced significant growth in recent years; the company will grow 41.3% this year.

The report says Apple's listener share has been waining since 2018 and could fall to just 23.8% from a high of 34% three years ago. From the report:

"By putting podcasts and music in one place, Spotify quickly became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio," said eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Peter Vahle. "Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify's pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology. Spotify's investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools."

The total number of monthly podcast listeners in 2021 is expected to climb to 117.8 million, up 10.1% from a year ago and surpassing 50% of monthly digital audio listeners for the first time. The report also says that more than $1 billion will be spent on podcast advertising for the first time ever in 2021.

Spotify has beefed up its podcast experience across the board to compete with Apple, and these latest figures show the measures are really starting to pay off.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

1 Comment
  • I switched. Most of the podcasts I listen to are from The Ringer. They moved their back catalogs to Spotify exclusive. I moved with them. Eventually moved all my others to them. Best feature Apple needs to copy? Amazon Alexa/Echo integration. That button at the bottom that seamlessly transfers from my iPhone to Alexa is awesome.