We might all be getting a little bit of cabin fever with coronavirus lockdowns keeping us stuck inside. But it looks like Americans haven’t been reaching out to podcasts to entertain themselves while quarantining. 

Similarly to what CivicScience saw with streaming music during the pandemic in early April this year, respondents weren’t any more likely to stream podcasts under quarantine than they were when we last researched the issue back in September 2019. With commutes to work and trips to the gym eliminated by the virus, perhaps there’s just less downtime to listen. In fact, the number of overall podcast listeners declined a smidge since the fall. Listenership has bumped upward by three percentage points total since January 2019, though:

And it seems podcast listeners are pressing the play button slightly less often now than they were last autumn. Still, though, 6 in 10 podcast listeners say they’re tuning in at least weekly.

As for podcasts’ more literary cousin, audiobooks, CivicScience survey data show that 14% of Americans age 13 and older like to listen to them.


It turns out that there’s a massive affinity between podcast listeners and audiobook listeners. Podcast listeners are more than three times as likely as non-listeners to listen to audiobooks. Meanwhile, audiobook aficionados are 231% more likely than non-listeners to tune in to podcasts.It seems that these listeners are simply audiophiles in general. Both podcast listeners and audiobook listeners are far more likely than non-listeners to pay for music streaming services. These listeners are more likely to spend longer periods of time listening to music on a daily basis as well. 

This music-podcast-audiobook super-listener is not only more likely to pay for streaming music services (and potentially the audiobooks themselves), but also more likely to invest in a big sound system for their home. Add in the fact that 26% of podcast listeners surveyed in April have purchased something from a sponsored ad in a podcast — up from 22% in September — and you have something of a miniature commercial ecosystem of online audio consumers.