Report: Music Most Popular With Australian Podcast Listeners

17 October 2023 | 1:26 pm | Christie Eliezer

Music-related podcasts beat the popularity of true crime with Australian listeners.

Photograph of wireless headphones on yellow background

Photograph of wireless headphones on yellow background (Credit: C D-X on Unsplash)

A new YouGov survey reports that music is the most popular genre with Australian podcast listeners.

It rates at 29% among those surveyed, with news & politics (17%) and comedy (14%) in second and third place. Science and true crime (10% each) round off the top ten. 

According to the report, “While a third of male podcast listeners (33%) listen to music podcasts, this proportion falls to a quarter among female listeners (25%).”

It adds: “Men are also significantly likelier than women to engage with podcasts about news and politics (21% vs. 12%), comedy (17% vs. 12%) and TV & movies (15% vs 9%).”

Spoiled For Choice

Australian podheads are spoiled for choice with the diversity of local music offerings, past and present.

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Spotlighting the discovery of new music include Homebrewed, New Waves, Beers &Tears, Australian Music Diaries, HitAU, Who The Hell, Australian Jams and Groupie Collective.

There is content for fans of EDM (Balance Selections, Jaytech Music, Motive Music, Shakedown), ambient (New Weird, Ultima Thule Ambient Music, Music For Small Audiences), roots (Australian Jazz and Groove, Salty Dog Blues N Roots), classical (A Thousand Pictures), hip hop (Slap Happy), country (Country Club, Aussie Country Music, Back Porch Bluegrass, Country Wardrobe), Christian (Aussie Grown Radio) and heavy rock (The Heavy Boys, Everblack, Australian Rock Show). 

There are podcasts focussed content on WA music (Wide Open Road, Western Oz), specific acts (Too Much of Not Enough about Silverchair), music’s relationship with mental health and mindset (Daydream Believers, Music Mind), Sydney music venues (Sydney Rock Music Walks) and celebrities talking about their communities (Streets of Your Town).

Flashbacks throughout Australian music history seem to draw significant podhead fascination. Triple j’s Like A Version has reached 1.4 million listeners in some episodes, with followings for the fresh A Journey Through Aussie Pop, Aussie Vinyl, Listen Now With Matt And Sam, Love That Album and Awesome Aussie Songs, while Melbourne music journalist Mikey Cahill’s Hit Different takes a worthy look at pop culture.

Also drawing substantial numbers is Gavin Wood's Countdown, with the one-time show voice-over man talking to artists and industry figures from the ‘70s and ‘80s era. Wood told that the podcast unearthed for-fans gems like Leo Sayer being in clown character onstage, allowed him to mingle undetected with his audience afterwards, and Countdown obsessives Vika and Linda discovering he had been their neighbour.

Podcasts with insight and pathways to the music industry always have their appeal. It's Raining Mentors, with musicians Josh Pyke and Elana Stone, got insight from insiders like Warner Music’s Dan Rosen, Ivy League’s Marihuzka Cornelius and booking agent Stephen Wade.

Elana explained, “The music industry is a constantly shapeshifting universe (and) it’s helpful to have some honest guidance to navigate your way through all the noise.”

Industry identity Michael Parisi’s Vinyl Tap podcast has recently launched with insightful interviews with Mushroom’s Matt Gudinski, Eleven’s John Watson and Blak Out’s Nooky.

The Australian Institute of Music partnered with Stone and Pyke and had its own Music Industry Insights, while Music Victoria had Stories From The Scene.

Other industry podcasts include Working Music, The BackBeat, My Kind of Scene and Foxx On The Wire.

More Deep Dives

More deep dives from the new YouGov study were that up to 60% of Australians now listen to podcasts (compared to 56% of Americans), with one in five (20%) tuning in at least once a week and one in six (16%) doing it at least once a day. 

The most fervent listeners are the younger ones, with 27% of the 25—34 age group listening at least once a day and 33% listening at least once a week.

In the 35-44 group, 26% have a peep once a day, and 28% make it a weekly pastime.

According to YouGov, “Listenership drops off among older age groups with three in five (61%) of 55+ adults saying they do not listen to podcasts at all.

Spotify is the most popular platform (24%) to access podcasts, followed by YouTube (21%) and Apple (13%). Spotify was particularly an A-game with the 18—34 and 25-34 groups, used by two in five of both. The figure drops to one in ten (11%) with those aged 55 and above.

Apple Podcasts find their largest audience among 25 to 44-year-olds, while ABC Listen is more common with the 45 to 54 demo. 

“Among the genders, YouTube and Spotify are equally popular among men, but among women, Spotify is more popular (at 24%) than YouTube (18%),” according to YouGov.

But the report also stresses that digital audio listeners work on multiple platforms such as AM, FM, DAB+, online streaming and smart speakers.

“Podcast consumption has surged in the past three years, helped by a proliferation of content and major investments from media and tech companies,” the report says. 

“Even as the podcast ears race begins to cool, listenership continues to grow, both in number of listeners and time spent listening.”

A YouGov study of American podheads provides more behaviour background. Three-quarters are aged under 44, and just under half (49%) work full-time. 

American podheads are 62% male, and 38% are women; half live in cities, four in ten have at least a four-year college degree, and 69% spend as much time streaming video on demand.

To get in their average listening of 5 hours each week, 46% are ear-serving while doing house chores, 45% while commuting to work, 31% as they cook, and 17% as they go to sleep.

In good news for advertisers, 65% listen to the ads, with a high amount (66%) using ads to help them choose what they buy.

They are strongly attached to 150 brands, with grocery delivering Amazon Fresh and La Marca wines leading, with Energizer batteries, YouTube TV, Ford cars, Kim Crawford wines and Doritos also creating vibes with podcast listeners.

Like their Australian cousins, there has been a big jump between 2021 and 2023 in those listening to music podcasts, with 31% of American podheads doing so.