While, of course, Spotify and Apple aren’t the only places to listen to podcasts, it’s been incredibly interesting to watch the two audio giants duke it out for listeners during a year of immense growth in the industry. We started reporting on the battle in March – based on the listener data from Voxnest Audience Network – and with nearly each month’s update, we’ve seen one (or typically both) of the companies make pretty significant acquisitions, platform improvements and announcements.
Additionally, each month we’ve seen the map continue to turn more and more green, and September was no different. Last month, Spotify claimed Norway, France, Romania, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel. With Android being the most popular smartphone worldwide (74% of the market) and Spotify’s ability to tap into that market unlike Apple – as noted in July’s update – it’s no surprise to us that Spotify continues to gain more podcast listeners now that they’ve focused their efforts there.
The claim on listeners from France is particularly significant for Spotify because of the attention the country has been getting this year for its swift growth. Acast established an office there in March, French podcasting app Majelan launched with 13 million episodes and plans for original shows in June, and Forbes noted that Duolingo’s launch of a podcast that features native French stories (with English narration) is a perfect example of the industry’s expansion.
Spotify only added fuel to the fire in September by dropping a whole host of platform improvements and updates like opening up Spotify Premium Duo to 14 more countries and enabling users to share what they’re listening to on Snapchat. Additionally, in just a matter of weeks, they announced the launch of five Spotify Original podcasts.
The month also brought an updated report on India’s appetite for streaming which noted that “podcast listening is growing, especially on topics such as business, motivation, and comedy.” And, lastly, they enabled podcast playlists to be built and/or combined with music playlists.
During the month of September, Apple was entrenched in the release of their newest iPhone and other gadgets and the announcement of Apple Arcade, so didn’t see much in the way of specific Apple Podcast updates.
Unless Apple begins making some serious countermoves, we believe Spotify’s aggressive approach to be seen as the global leader will continue to work in their favor. But, we’re certainly not counting Apple out. Stay tuned to see where things head in the coming months!