Spotify is Beating Apple

May 02, 2021

The LikeFolio research desk recently pushed a new trend group to our research dashboard: Podcasts.

This is fitting, especially considering Apple just announced updates to its podcast platform including premium content subscriptions and user interface (UI) improvements.

Apple (and others) know that podcast advertising has enormous growth potential.

U.S. podcast ad spend is expected to exceed $1 billion in 2021 and reach $1.61 billion by 2024.

This ad growth isn’t just because the number of podcast listeners is increasing: 37% of the U.S. population listened to an audio podcast in the last month (the highest percentage recorded to date).

It’s also because of who is listening to podcasts: the young, educated, and affluent — a powerful trio if you’re an advertiser.
Lots of companies have a dog in the podcast fight:

Apple, Spotify, Amazon, and Sirius XM (Pandora), to name a few.

But LikeFolio data shows there’s a clear divide.

Apple and Spotify are Dominating

The comparison chart below shows just how much market share Apple and Spotify have claimed in the podcasting space:

Check out the “other bucket” in 2021 vs. 2020: the little players are being squeezed out.

Another key takeaway?

Spotify is Winning, even against Apple

No wonder Apple is revamping its podcast platform.

According to our data on the number of people talking about listening to podcasts on each platform, Apple is getting beat.

And Apple isn’t the only one investing in podcasts.

Spotify is also launching podcast subscriptions.

But unlike Apple, Spotify WON’T take a cut from creators.

Sounds like Spotify is betting that good content is the ultimate driver of listener preference, and they want to keep creators happy.

On its last report, Spotify noted that 25% of its user base interacted with podcast content in the quarter (a growing number), and podcast consumption hours nearly doubled YoY.

Spotify mentions remain elevated year over year. But remember, because of the surge in consumer demand for streaming services at the outset of the pandemic, tough comparisons are looming as we head into the early summer of 2021.

We’ll be tracking all of the players in the podcast space to see if Apple’s upgrades make a dent.

But for now, it’s clear that Spotify is leading the pack.


Megan Brantley
Vice President of Research, LikeFolio