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Podcasts: Why do we Love Them so Much?

Sep 30, 2022
Podcasts: Why do we Love Them so Much?

3 minutes - as long as it takes to brush your teeth 😀

Is there anything more satisfying than grabbing a coffee, putting in your AirPods (or earphones, whatever works for you), and tuning in to a great podcast?

Sure, it isn’t for everybody - but the vast majority of people nowadays love spending time away from their screens and diving into a podcast, whether it’s a debate, true crime, inspiring, or even part of an audiobook. 

In 2021, we heard a lot about it being ‘the golden age of podcasts.

The dominance of podcasts over radio grew during 2020. COVID-19 played a part, but a combination of reasons has an influence. Here are a few…

1: Custom media consumption.

Podcast vs Radio is like Streaming Services vs live TV.

Platforms like Netflix have boomed in recent years. Like podcasts, they are pre-recorded and on-demand, meaning we can schedule our viewing.

People buy into the ability to customize their media consumption. This has to do with our schedules being not only busier now, but more unique from one person to the next. We no longer sit down to watch the same show at the same time because we don’t live by the same routines.

2: Lockdown and the Podcast; a love story.

We listened to podcasts a lot more during the lockdown.

In the U.S., 18% of adults said they are listening to more podcasts since they started isolating and social distancing. Podcasts have also increased in popularity among millennial and gen z listeners, accounting for a large market.

Boredom has made ‘content junkies’ of us all.

Many of us were also living alone and feeling the effects of isolation. Podcasts offered a sense of companionship, satisfying that social itch to converse and engage with others. A human voice and a bit of escapism can be as effective as a change of scenery when we are in the grips of tedium.

3: Flexibility; a blessing or a curse?

Our schedules are packed. Our lives are saturated with an abundance of media. We’re often too busy to ‘commit’ to a two-hour movie, or drop everything we’re doing to focus on a book. The versatility of podcasts has allowed them to wiggle their way into the tiny gaps in our time.

There’s no driving the car while reading a book, or cleaning the house while watching a movie. A podcast? The audio-only medium goes with you anywhere.

4: The Nostalgia Factor?

Have you ever heard of the Nostalgia Pendulum?

It’s a phenomenon in which every thirty years (approximately a generation) artists draw inspiration from a meaningful period, often their childhood. This creates a cultural nostalgia for the world of thirty years prior.

An example is the wildly popular show Stranger Things, set in the 1980s, which came out in the mid-2010s. It sprang up amid an 80s nostalgia zeitgeist. With so many creators emulating that decade and influencing one another, we get “a kind of feedback loop” that only emphasizes nostalgia.

A similar cycle may have something to do with ‘Podcastmania’.

A little over thirty years before the birth of the podcast was the 60s and 70s phenomenon of Pirate Radio. In the same way, creatives and listeners alike rebelled against the sanctioned listening, in this instance taking to offshore stations and the upper floors of city tower blocks to broadcast the stuff people actually wanted to listen to.

A bit like those independent podcasters today, discussing topics you’d never expect to hear on the actual radio, catering to a more specific audience who get to pick and choose their sources.

All in all, podcasts are great - they’re free, keep us off apps such as TikTok and Instagram and can be an incredible learning tool for all!

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