Sometimes, the joke you’ve surely heard — that everyone has a podcast now — starts to feel literally true. Apple Podcasts lists 2.5 million shows; Spotify claims twice as many.
The crowded market has made almost everything in the business more difficult. There’s only so much real estate on the Apple Podcasts app, whose charts and editorial pages are some of the few spaces where audiences can reliably discover new shows. That congestion has also widened the gap between incumbents and outsiders. Bigger publishers often have established podcast feeds through which they can advertise new releases; smaller studios typically don’t. Meanwhile, costs are going up for podcast marketing, still a nascent practice, with some publishers now willing to spend six digits to advertise on other podcasts, social media, websites, and even outdoor billboards.