Millennial listeners drive boom in podcast popularity

A report by the British Phonographic Industry suggests the young are behind the format's increased influence.

Millennial listeners are behind a dramatic boom in the popularity of podcasts, according to a report by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

The number of people listening to podcasts has nearly doubled since 2013 – with those between the ages of 15 and 24, classed as millennials, driving the positive trend.

The report – dubbed Pod Only Knows: What’s Next For Music and Podcasts – was presented at the BPI’s insight session on Thursday, and collates recent investigations into the medium.

Brit Awards 2019 – Press Room – London
Brit Award-winner George Ezra is among those stars to host a podcast (Ian West/PA)

In August last year, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom indicated the weekly audience for podcasts had nearly doubled from 2013 to 2018, according to the report.

Some 3.2 million people were listening in 2013 whereas by 2018 that had grown to 5.9 million – meaning one in 10 adults in the UK were using podcasts.

But among people between the ages of 15 and 24 that figure rose dramatically to closer to one in five.

Moreover, half (49%) of the UK podcast audience was aged 35 or below.

And 20% of listening time among people between the ages of 15 and 24 was spent on podcasts, compared to 24% on live radio and 26% on music streaming.

Similarly, a report in December 2017 by podcasting company Acast suggested nearly a quarter (23%) of people had listened to a podcast in the last month.

Authored by Stuart Dredge, editor-in-chief of knowledge company Music Ally, the report also explores how the music industry is changing along with the format.

It notes that artists such as Jessie Ware and George Ezra are using podcasts to engage with their fans.

Geoff Taylor, who heads the British Phonographic Industry and the Brit Awards, said: “The last couple of years have seen the music community’s interest in podcasts truly awaken.

“Podcasts are seen as a new and more personal way for artists and labels to connect with fans – enabling them to get into the artist’s mind and forge a deeper relationship with the music they love.

“It is evident that podcasts particularly resonate with millennials, while the boom is also being driven by a growing number of music artists, including George Ezra, Jessie Ware, Robert Plant and David Gilmour, who are embracing the concept and making it their own in highly imaginative ways.”

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