Podcasts are thriving like never before in 2023, establishing themselves as an enduring and influential medium. The number of podcast listeners has increased to 464.7M and this number is expected to reach 504.9M in 2024. With a diverse array of content spanning genres such as news, education, entertainment, and storytelling, podcasts have become an integral part of people's daily routines. The on-demand nature of this audio format offers unparalleled accessibility, allowing listeners to consume content tailored to their interests at their convenience. As the podcasting community continues to expand, creators are pushing the boundaries of creativity, producing high-quality, engaging shows that resonate with audiences worldwide.
Interestingly, more and more people are turning their daily commutes, workouts and idle moments into opportunities for knowledge and entertainment. Recent reports show that close to 80% of people listen to podcasts while driving while 70% of people enjoy turning to podcasts while doing housework. In this era of multitasking, where time is a precious commodity, podcasts have become the go-to companions for those seeking to enrich their minds and souls while going about their busy lives.
There are 5M podcast globally with over 70M podcast episodes, so choosing which podcast to listen to is quite overwhelming. We narrowed it down to the most popular podcasts of 2023, ranging in a variety of genres, interests, and niches.
This podcast is hosted by comedian, presenter and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan and it is basically a long form, in-depth conversation with well-known guests from the world of comedy, sports, and science. Although The Joe Rogan Experience is the number one podcast in the world and has about 11M listeners per episode, it has faced a lot of controversy and criticism over the years.
According to recent reports, Joe Rogan and his podcast are at an all time high in popularity. New episodes are released multiple times a week with topics ranging from UFC fights to technology.
2023 was quite a year for Alexandra Cooper and her uber-successful podcast, Call Her Daddy.
Over the last year, Spotify’s leading female podcaster (who has an annual salary of $20M!) decided slightly evolve and expand her content - from female locker room talk to big-sister energy - touching on topics such as female mental health, overcoming trauma, sexual fluidity, and self-love. Listeners can expect new video podcasts every 3-4 days that are sure to keep you entertained.
This Call Her Daddy evolution also led Cooper to launch a new Gen Z focused podcast network called The Unwell Network. Alexandra Cooper shared that “[Her] team is delighted to bring the Gen Z audience content tailored just for them.” The team has already brought on two TikTok stars who already have a huge Gen Z audience - Alix Earle and Madeline Argy.
Why did Alexandra Cooper decide to branch out and focus on Gen Z’ers? Well, reports show that Gen Z’s monthly podcast consumption has increased by 57% over the last 5 years.
Crime Junkie is one of the top four podcast shows in Q3 of 2023, making it one of the most popular true crime podcast this year (huge feat considering the sheer amount of true crime shows to choose from). This podcast is hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, who discuss both solved and unsolved cases. Each episode ranges from 30 minutes to one hour and focuses on serial killers, murders and mission persons - you know, the usual.
A new episode is released every Monday covering a different crime. And, the thing that sets this true crime podcast apart from the others is the vibe between the two hosts. It feels like you are listening in on a casual conversation between two friends. That is, two friends dissecting some of the most gruesome crime cases to date.
The Daily strives to provide listeners with what ‘the news should sound like’. Host Michael Barbaro is joined by various journalists and experts from the New York Times to break down latest, most relevant news of the day.
Listeners are provided with 5 episodes a week, all between 20 to 40 minutes, perfect for those who are in a hurry but still want to stay updated on current events. The Daily has over 1B downloads and it doesn’t look like its slowing down.
In 2023, TikTok sensation, Alix Earle, transformed into a podcast star. Or, as Slate shares, “The woman who took down Joe Rogan…for the past two years, The Joe Rogan Experience has occupied the top spot on Spotify’s podcast charts. It was beginning to seem as if he was indomitable - until a brief, glorious moment at the end of September when he was dethroned by an unlikely challenger: a 22-year old undergrad at University of Miami.
Alix Earle, who has over 6M followers on TikTok, started her very own podcast called Hot Mess with Alix Earle. The popular podcast which is produced by Unwell Network invites her fans to listen in on a detailed recap of her life - that’s right, who she’s dating, her mental health, family life, and of course, the tea on her friendships.
Tired of the lies? Tired of the spin? This news based podcast show promises to give listeners the ‘hard-hitting truth in comprehensive, conservative, principled fashion’. Listeners can expect a new episode Monday through Friday with the latest news. Each episode is between 40 minutes to an hour, jam packed with ‘all the news you need to know in the most fast moving daily program’.
Although Ben Shapiro is no stranger to criticism, his podcast show is amongst the top 10 podcasts in the United States. The Ben Shapiro Show has been downloaded over 150M times, globally, and his YouTube channel has accumulated over 530M views.
This five-part narrative series that weaves together patient stories from Yale’s Fertility Center uncovers the treatment of women in medical settings and and details what actually happened at one of the most established fertility clinics in the country. Julie Snyder, the executive editor of Serial Productions share, “The Retrievals tells the story of a dozen women who underwent egg retrieval procedures at the Yale Fertility Center. For months they complained of sever pain. But nobody caught on to exactly what was wrong, until one day when an anesthesiologist noticed a loose cap on a vial of fentanyl.” Ultimately, this podcast takes on the question - Why do we not take women’s pain more seriously?
This podcast has a rating of 4.9 across pretty much every podcast streaming platform and has intrigued listeners, especially in the medical field.
This podcast continues to be one of the most popular podcasts on Spotify. Emma Chamberlain started her content creation journey on YouTube and racked up over 12M subscribers. However, over the last few years, Chamberlain took a step back from YouTube and, instead, shares her thoughts on her podcast. Interestingly, Emma Chamberlain actually prefers to share what's on her mind with a microphone, cozied up on her bed.
In 2023, Emma Chamberlain’s podcast listeners more than doubled. Reports claim that Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain has gained more than 1.1M listeners. In her most recent episodes, Chamberlain shares how her nicotine quitting journey is going, what it means to have ‘good taste’, and her fashion identity crisis.
True Crime is one of the most popular podcast categories so it’s no surprise that there’s more than one True Crime podcast topping the charts in 2023. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast is hosted by quite the powerhouse duo, autopsy technician Alaina Urquhart and hairdresser Ash Kelley, who give an in-depth coverage of infamous serial killers as well as exploring lesser-known cases. But, what sets it apart from other True Crime podcasts? Urquhart’s background and insights into the forensics with Kelley’s narrative style makes it impossible to stop listening once you’ve started.
Taylor Swift put Travis Kelce on the map in 2023…and it definitely helped his podcasts listenership. Bloomberg has even called it the ‘Taylor Swift podcast effect’ - when rumors started circulating that the tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs was dating the pop sensation, fans were desperate for more information. And, many turned to a direct source - Travis Kelce’s podcast, New Heights - ultimately increasing viewership of the show by 50%. NBC Sports also reported that after the game in which Swift made her game day appearance, searches for ‘Travis Kelce’ increased by more than 1,300% on Spotify.
Thing is, this podcast isn’t about Taylor Swift. Jason Kelce from the Philadelphia Eagles and Travis Kelce from the Kansas City Chiefs team up off the field and share insights into the NFL and other sports headlines. They obviously also share stories from their combined 21 years in the league and off-field interests (that’s where details about Taylor Swift comes in).
The episode in which Travis Kelce addresses Taylor Swift has become the most-streamed episode of the podcast to date:
Podcasts are only going to continue growing and growing in popularity - if Alix Earle has turned to podcasts, you know its here to stay. In 2023, many new podcasts were released, including Hot Mess, The Retrievals, and Trevor Noah’s new show - What Now. Which show do you think will top the charts in 2024? Let us know!