While millions create podcasts yearly, there has never been data to show who was behind this creation until now. Sounds Profitable and Edison Research have teamed up to release The Creators, a study derived from Edison Podcast Metrics, a continuously sampled online survey of weekly podcast consumers weighted to demographics from Infinite Dial. The data was both a confirmation of our assumptions and also revealed information about creators that was a bit surprising.
“Today’s study will look at the people making the content that we all know and love, the people behind the podcasts. And I have to tell you, it’s one of the questions I get asked the most frequently, and have for years, by journalists, VC people, and investors. They want to know who’s making the podcasts. Who’s making the sausage behind what we all listen to?” Tom Webster, Partner at Sounds Profitable.
The study found that podcast creators are primarily male; at least 69% of those creating podcasts identify as men. Podcast creators are not young, but they are not old. 73% of creators are between the ages of 25-45.
They are a bit diverse, with 51% of creators being white, 14% African American and 24% Hispanic/Latino. The ethnicity of creators somewhat follows the overall demographics of the U.S. population; more widely represented is the Hispanic/Latino.
Podcast creators are educated, high-income earners, with 55% making over $75K annually, the majority having at least a bachelor’s degree, and many have advanced degrees.
Politically creators lean heavily Democratic and are active social media users. They encourage their children to listen to podcasts, use smart speakers, and are often involved in purchasing decisions for their workplaces.
Creators support other creators, with 52% saying they find podcast ads exciting and have given money to support podcasts.
I was not surprised to learn that the majority of creators are men. The industry has been male-dominated since its inception, and while listeners are now more evenly divided among men and women, it was not shocking to see that men are still the primary creators.
My gut tells me that more and more women are entering the space. I believe that as creator studies continue, we will find an increase in female creators.
I was pleased to see that we have ethnic diversity among our creators, and seeing a high number of Hispanic/Latino creators confirmed my understanding that this community is loyal and loves audio content.
Edison Research’s Latino Podcast Listener Report from 2021 found that 57% of Latino monthly podcast listeners have listened to Spanish podcasts in the last month. It also found that 38% of U.S. Latino’s monthly podcast listenership was to stay connected to their family’s country/territory of origin.
As with most early technology adoption, the revelations that most creators are highly educated and high-income earners were in line with my assumption. It was great to see that creators not only listen to podcasts but don’t mind ads, support other podcasts and make purchasing decisions for their workplaces.
I was shocked that 42% of creators have been podcast listeners for less than a year, and 71% of creators have been listening to podcasts for three years or less.
That’s astonishing to me.
These findings mean that someone who doesn’t know or understand the industry is choosing to not only listen but join the conversation. The creator community, already accustomed to contributing to social media, has empowered people to consume and create.
When your base of creators is changing so quickly, it’s clear that the industry is growing, which also means that the individuals who have been captaining the industry could change quickly. With a large influx of newbies, industry norms could change rapidly. With a large influx of newbies, industry norms could change rapidly.
The way we’ve always done it isn’t relevant to these creators because they haven’t always done it.
It is fascinating to see that the age range of creators is 25-45, which closely mirrors listenership. Audio listening can more easily enter your life when you are 25-45. However, content consumption takes a significant portion of our attention.
When you reach the age of 25, full schedules, having children to tend to, and managing careers mean that there aren’t as many hours to consume content.
Audio consumption can be partnered with other activities such as exercise, chores, and commuting.
Podcast listeners are getting older (and a bit younger). My prediction is that listenership and creation will age as the population ages. I’m not as sure about whether podcast listenership will get younger.
Many content platforms hone in on teens and young adults, and I’m sure there will be more and more each year. So it will be interesting to see if podcasting grows into the younger demographics or remains primarily at a 25-plus medium. So we need younger creators if the podcast industry wants younger listeners. So perhaps we need High School podcast courses?
The impact and outcome of this data are yet to be determined. It is the first step in getting a better picture of who creates podcasts. When we know the podcast creators, we can better understand who listens and why.
Bryan Barletta and I discuss podcast advertising in this episode of The Podcast Advertising Playbook. You can subscribe to get notifications of newly published episodes.
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