Podcast downloads show gains (Podtrac) and RAIN Remix of January Top Publishers ranker

Podtrac’s Top Podcast Publishers monthly ranker for January tells a growth story. We learn that the U.S. monthly audience increased for 15 of the top 20 publishers. Also, average monthly audience was up month-over-month and 16% over January 2022.

Downloads were also higher.

Here are the key points from Podtrac:

  • US UMA increased for 15 of the Top 20 publishers in January 2023 over December 2022 with post-holiday listening.
  • The average US Unique Monthly Audience for the Top 20 publishers was up 7% month-over-month and up 16% over January 2022.
  • Total Global Downloads for the Top 20 publishers were up 9% month-over-month and up 6% year-over-year.
  • The combined Audience for the Top Sales Networks was up 6% month-over-month.
  • NPR has the most Top 20 shows (4) for January 2023.

Podtrac measures all its clients for this monthly ranker; accordingly, major networks like SXM Media do not appear. The May list shows iHeartRadio and NPR continuing their seemingly inevitable #1 and #2 positioning:

RAIN Remix

The RAIN Remix of this report rearranges the listing by ranking the key metrics (audience size, and number of downloads) per active show, on average, for each publisher. This creates a different view from the original, which ranks networks by their entire portfolios, big or small. The remix conveys an understanding of portfolio strategy.

The two measurements Podtrac uses for this monthly ranker are U.S. Unique Monthly Audience and Global Downloads & Streams. We remix the ranking twice, one remix for each metric.

The first RAIN Remix below shows the top 20 list sorted by average monthly audience per show for each publisher.


The original ranking numbers (on the left) identify each publisher to see quickly the extent to which the list is shuffled into a new order. The difference is dramatic: iHeartRadio moves from #1 to #18, and This American Life moves from #16 to #1.

In our view there is no good or bad in the remix. Different publishers have different business strategies in this regard, and they can range from piling their resources into many shows or few shows. Either way, they have landed on an elite list.

The second RAIN Remix re-sorts the original by average streams/downloads (e.g. plays) per show. The result is a light shuffle of the first remix. New York Times wins the #1 spot in this Remix, with over 13-million average streams/downloads per show across its nine-show network.

Brad Hill