The Biggest Threat To Podcasting in 2024, According to Experts


Podcasting can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s a hobby, a business, or a community. For others, it’s life.

So naturally, when you ask podcast experts what they think is the biggest threat to the industry, you’re gonna get a lot of different answers. Answers that might also totally contradict one another.

As podcasting enters a new era of growth, we spoke to audio and podcast experts to find out what, in their opinion, is the biggest threat to the industry right now. What do they see as the biggest obstacle getting in the way of podcasting reaching its full potential in 2024?

We got everything from mediocre content and greedy platforms to podcast purism and worrying too much about video.

And the real spoiler alert? No one mentioned AI!

Joe Casabona

Podcast Automation Coach at Podcast Workflows

I think the biggest threat to podcasting right now is mediocre content. We’re seeing podcasting become more accessible, which is great. More people can start podcasts affordably, so naturally, we are going to see more people start podcasts. It’s easier than it’s ever been.

However, I think a lot of people use the model that they see bigger celebrity podcasts use, which is raw, unedited, rambling conversation. But that’s just not good content, especially when you’re new, and the audience doesn’t necessarily know or care about you yet.

So, I think we’re going to see a flood of content that’s not very good. And that’s a threat to podcasting because it’s going to dissuade people from wanting to start good podcasts.

Podcasts are already hard to monetize, and getting a flood of mediocre content where people aren’t properly planning their episodes, defining their audience, or telling good stories will result in a lot of podcasts getting bad traction. These podcasters will complain about their shows not bringing results, and that puts new podcasters off. Mediocre content is a drag on podcasting as a medium, and I consider that a pretty big threat.”

Arielle Nissenblatt

Audio Expert and Founder of Earbuds Podcast Collective

The biggest threat to podcasting in 2024 is our collective unwillingness (or maybe inability) to invest in net new listeners.

It’s very easy to introduce an existing podcast listener to their next favorite podcast. What about the person who is podcast-curious but doesn’t know where to start? We need to spend time and resources thinking about bringing new listeners into the fold and nurturing them so that they become longstanding podcast lovers. This will help the industry to grow and get more creators paid.

James Cridland

Editor of Podnews

The biggest threat? Two things – perfection, and video.

The things that get people listening to your podcast are consistency and great content. If you strive for perfection – or, worse, add the additional complication of video – it’ll just get in the way of those two goals.

The Joe Rogan podcast started in 2009, but took many years to get as popular as it is today: the reason it is so successful is that it’s consistent and it isn’t perfect. Instead of perfection, strive to do better every episode. Podcasting is a journey: don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Samantha Hodder

Writer, Narrative Audio Producer and Creator of the Bingeworthy newsletter

In the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a shift towards commissioning always-on content and low-budget chat shows—often with a celebrity attached. The popular narrative is that this will save podcasting, but I disagree.

Audio is huge, and right now, we have a moment to define what the audio storytelling industry is today, and then build it for the future. But it’s important to think about who does this work, and who tells the stories that we listen to. Long before celebrities became interested in this space, audio creatives were creating and defining this industry.

If we don’t harness this moment of growth, and match it with a moment of creativity, we will miss our moment to grow from within. We need a balanced system that recognizes and rewards what has been built, with the new ideas that have emerged in this space.”

Bryan Barletta

Partner at Sounds Profitable

The choice to limit what a podcast is based on what it was previously is the biggest threat to our industry. Outside of being “audio-first”, limiting who and what can use the word podcast makes our space smaller. Does the open nature of the word challenge every single business in our industry to adapt? It absolutely does, but that’s a core part of running a business.

Choosing to put down a podcast, podcaster, or company who is succeeding entirely in video, at live events, on social media clips, or anything other than being distributed freely over RSS feed doesn’t better any of us. What benefits us is more people proudly identifying themselves as podcasters, from independents to celebrities, because that creates a bigger spotlight that offers more opportunity for all of us, whether directly or indirectly.

Doris Onyango

Program Lead at Dada Podcast Incubator

One thing I can say is a threat to the podcasting industry is listening platforms. The YouTubes, the Apple podcasts, the Spotifys and other platforms are not paying creators equitably.

You can see there are some podcasters who are getting ridiculous amounts of money in the tens and hundreds of millions to create their podcast while others are earning barely anything. And this is not to say that those podcasters who are getting those large sums of money don’t deserve it. But it would be a good thing if other creators could see that there’s value for them putting their podcast on those platforms too.

These podcast platforms are not paying creators and specifically, they’re not paying creators from the Global South. Podcasts in the Global South are not being prioritized in our experience – the podcasts that are really being platformed and pushed are those from North America and Europe.

Podcasts from the Global South are not being given the limelight, and I think that is a threat to the industry. It would be great if those podcasting platforms would pay creators equitably and platform creators from the Global South on the same scale that they are doing with podcasts on the Global North.”

Lindsay Harris-Friel

Content Writer at The Podcast Host

Once upon a time, podcasting was fueled by intrinsic motivation. It wasn’t easy to make a podcast. You had to learn audio editing and writing, mic technique and all kinds of skills. But when it wasn’t easy, people put a lot of thought into what they wanted to say and who they wanted to reach.

Over the past 5 years, it’s seemed easy to make a podcast, to the point that people don’t have to think about what they want to say before they hit record, or buy equipment. It also seems easy to make money from podcasting, because of ad technology. So, people use expensive tech to cut corners and make shows that sound exactly like talk radio. It’s so easy to make a podcast now that you don’t have to have passion for a topic to motivate you to do the work.

As a result, we get mediocre podcasts loaded with ads. No wonder some people have no interest in listening to podcasts.

Mediocrity and complacency are the biggest threat to podcasting, until it becomes too expensive to produce podcasts. Then we won’t even have the mediocre ones.

Conclusion

While it might be concerning to read about a range of perceived threats to podcasting from folks who know the industry inside out, there’s no need to push the panic button.

Any industry is always under threat from something, and that’ll never change.

You might feel passionate about one or more of the issues raised here, and there will always be like-minded creators with whom you can join forces to campaign for or against a certain trend. Podcasting will always be malleable, and podcasters have the power to influence and even change things.

But, ultimately, focusing on making your own show as good as it can possibly be is something that’s directly under your control. As the old saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats”, and even if your podcast is the size of a dingy, its success still factors into the success and progression of the medium as a whole. So keep on going.


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