Data Reveals Podcasts Are Workday-Friendly

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You know the routine: get to your desk, put on some music, and start working, right? Not necessarily. It turns out that podcasts, sometimes more associated with commuting, peak more during the workday than music does.

Many tasks (for example writing, or other tasks involving words), call for music that helps you focus. But this finding indicates that other tasks can be done — and perhaps made more interesting — with accompaniment by the spoken word.

The following chart shows a typical day of podcast and music listening. Of course, people listen to much more music than podcasts on Spotify, so we’ve normalized the streams for comparison’s sake:

The chart shows how podcasts over-index during the workday, hourly. What about daily?

We found podcast listening is higher on weekdays, as one might expect because music listening is similar. What’s striking is the size of this effect on podcast listening; it’s nearly twice as high on weekdays, indicating a further correlation between podcasts and work:

People also choose different podcasts at different times. The Daily, from the New York Times, peaks as people wake up and want to get informed; a variety of podcasts (such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History) peak during the day, perhaps as people branch out into their own interests; and at the end of the day, the Sleep With Me podcast takes over to help people sleep:

We’d expect listening to these podcasts to shift, but even then, these shifts are rather dramatic.

The main finding here, which is somewhat unexpected: podcasts over-index during the workday. With over 140 million active users, we look forward to helping the industry grow, discovering more about how people listen to podcasts, and working with podcast creators to help them understand their audiences.


Graphics by Skyler Johnson

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