Joe Rogan tops Edison list (again); survey method broadens ranker reach

“This is the second anniversary of the Podcast Consumer Tracker, and the top shows have been fairly consistent over that time.”


That’s Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research, noting that the popularity of top podcasts tends to be stable. The observation comes as Edison releases the U.S. Top 50 Podcasts for the four-quarter span of Q3-2020 through Q2-2021. (Get it HERE.)

The slow-to-change aspect of podcast rankers is evident across all the companies which conduct such research, as we noted in Podtrac’s recent show ranker for July. But while Edison’s project (part of the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report) exhibits that same “success breeds success” characteristic, it shows considerably more range than server-side rankers which are limited to a company’s client list. In short: Server-side rankers are more exact; consumer surveys have more reach.

Edison’s project is a consumer survey. (This latest edition queried 8,000 people identified as “podcast listeners.”) As such, it shows podcasts that don’t appear in client-based lists — notably #1 ranked The Joe Rogan Experience which is commonly regarded as the world’s most popular podcast, and is a Spotify exclusive. Surveying consumers is the only way to surface TJRE‘s standing in a national cohort of respondents — save a Spotify-exclusive chart. (And, in fact, the show is #1 on Spotify’s chart of its own podcast listening.)

But the stability that Tom Webster referred to: The top three podcasts are the same in this new list as in Edison’s Top 50 Podcasts of 2020 release. Eight of the top 10 podcasts are the same in the new list — Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and Planet Money dropped down to #12 and #13, replaced by Serial and The Ben Shapiro Show.

Here is the entire U.S. Top 50 Podcasts Q3-2020 through Q2-2021:



Brad Hill