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Is podcast listening up or down due to the coronavirus?

A commuter listens to Beats brand headphones while riding subway in New York
Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Podcasts may not suit a pandemic.
  • Dan Kopf
By Dan Kopf

Data editor

Podcasts are not immune from coronavirus. According to the three different podcast analytics companies, listenership fell during March as an increasing number of Americans stayed at home due to the coronavirus. Without a commute, it seems that it’s harder for some podcasts to find a space in people’s lives, at least among Americans.

Data provided to Quartz by the analytics firm Chartable shows that, for 7,000 podcasts that opted into their service, downloads were more than 10% lower on Wednesday, March 25, than on Feb. 26, the last Wednesday in February. Chartable tracks global downloads, but almost 80% of them come from the US.

The analytics firm Backtracks found an even greater decline for the podcasts they track: They claim listenership has fallen 20% since March 19th, when strong social distancing measures began to be put in place across the US. Data from the firm Podtrac also suggests a decline in podcast engagement, but a more modest one.

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