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Why your podcast is tanking today but could be a 2024 chart-topper

Amber Daines | 15 December, 2023


The golden era of podcasting is over.

According to my nerdy sources, there were 67,000 new podcasts launched in Q1, 54,000 in Q2, 53,000 in Q3, and 44,000 in Q4. That’s a drop of one-third in 12 months. (So far in 2023, Listen Notes counts 7,026 new podcasts launched; at that pace, Q1 2023 would decline to less than 30,000 — a more than 50% drop year-over-year). There are also some rises in inactive podcasts – shows that have seemed to be in virtual mothballs for months and may never return.

This tells me we have reached “peak podcast.” Or maybe just peak podcast launches! That can be a good thing as the survivors will have more chance to shine.

Podcasting can be a rewarding medium, but the most common gripe among fellow hosts and producers is that their show is not gaining enough long-term audience traction or seeing any financial wins to sustain their podcasting dreams. Several factors contribute to the high rate of podcast failures:

Lack of Clear Purpose or Niche

Podcasts that lack a clear focus or target audience often struggle to attract and retain listeners. Successful podcasts often cater to a specific niche or address a particular interest, providing valuable content to a defined audience.

Poor Audio Quality

Listeners are generally less forgiving of poor audio quality. A podcast with unclear or inconsistent audio can turn listeners away. Investing in good recording equipment and editing is crucial for a professional-sounding podcast.

Inconsistent Release Schedule

Regularity is vital in podcasting. Inconsistent release schedules can result in a loss of audience engagement. Successful podcasts often establish a reliable posting schedule to keep listeners coming back.

Ineffective Marketing

Many podcasters underestimate the importance of marketing. Even if you have great content, it won’t matter if people don’t know about it. Successful podcasts often invest time and effort in marketing and promotion.

Monetisation Expectations

Some podcasters enter the medium with unrealistic expectations about making money quickly. Monetization usually takes time and requires a significant audience. Focusing on building a solid listener base before expecting financial returns is essential.

Lack of Consistent Quality Content

Consistently delivering high-quality, engaging content is crucial for retaining and growing an audience. Podcasts that fail to meet listener expectations regarding content quality may struggle to gain traction.

Ignoring Listener Feedback

Engaging with listeners and adapting based on feedback is essential. Ignoring or dismissing audience input can result in losing connection with your audience.

Ask people what they like and also what they don’t. Your show is for them.

Underestimating Time and Effort

Creating a successful podcast requires a significant investment of time and effort. Some podcasters may not realise the regular time commitment involved, leading to burnout and the eventual discontinuation of the podcast.

Systemise what you can, too. It will help find guests and line up batch recording days.

Saturation in Popular Genres

Specific podcast genres, like true crime series, business CEO interview podcasts, and health and wellbeing-based interview shows, are highly saturated. New podcasts in these categories may struggle to stand out without a fresh take or novel idea.

Technical Challenges

Dealing with technical issues related to recording, editing, or hosting can be a significant hurdle. Lack of technical expertise can lead to frustration and may contribute to podcast failure.

To increase the chances of podcast success, it’s crucial for podcasters to plan thoroughly, consistently produce high-quality content, engage with their audience, be patient as they build their listener base over time, and continually refine what we offer.

To tap into my award-winning podcast course and avoid podcaster rookie errors, go to Podcast Course: Idea To Launch in 4 Weeks ( before 1 January 2024 when the price increases to $USD297.