Weekly and monthly podcast listening dip, showing return to work and school (The Infinite Dial)

In The Infinite Dial 2022, released today in a live-theater webinar at Podcast Movement Evolutions, podcast listening was shown to pull back from high levels during Covid lifestyle changes. The shift indicated a return to pre-Covid lifestyles of work and school, at least to some extent, among monthly and weekly podcast listeners.

The Infinite Dial is the preeminent consumer research study from Edison Research about American audio and social lifestyle habits, featuring 24 years of trendlines in online audio, social media, podcasting, and more. The Infinite Dial is universally sourced by media covering the online audio space. Today’s unveiling was presented by Edison SVP Tom Webster. Podcast network Wondery and podcast tech company ART19 (both owned by Amazon Music) sponsor the research.

In the measurement of monthly podcast listening among American adults and teens, an eight-year growth line was disrupted in 2022, dropping from 41 percent of the population to 38%.

It’s worth noting that if you remove the Covid-inflated year of 2021, the 38% of monthly listeners continues the upward trend from 2020 (37%). Tom Webster asserted the likelihood that the 2022 downtick resulted from listeners returning to work and school after Covid seclusion which abnormally increased podcast listening. Nothing disrupts a habit like a lifestyle change, and this chart reminds us that American audio consumers experienced two lifestyle changes in two years.

The report of weekly odcast listeners — a cohort which has more solidly built a podcast habit — shows the same trend pattern: a year-over-year downtock which is also a two-year uptick.


Brad Hill