Apple may lose its podcast dominance to Spotify by the end of 2021

For a long while now, Apple has been the leader in podcast distribution. However, Spotify has been climbing that ladder, and that may lead to Apple being dethroned sooner rather than later.

According to forecast data shared by eMarketer (via TechCrunch), Spotify is poised to take the leading role for podcasts before the end of 2021. To get there, it took a lot of investment on Spotify’s part. The streaming service has put a lot of money in this effort, landing huge exclusives like The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, among others.

The company is also ramping up its own efforts, funding original podcasts to help boost its growing library.

As far as estimates go, eMarketer says that in 2018 Apple was holding 34 percent of the podcast listening market. However, that will drop quite a bit this year, down to 23.8 percent. Meanwhile, Spotify will apparently eat up the difference.

eMarketer expects that 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify by the end of 2021, and that’s on a monthly basis. On Apple Podcasts, 28 million people will listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. So while Apple is still going to host millions of listeners on a regular basis, it looks like Spotify will be picking up new listeners at the same time.

It comes down to investment and innovation, according to eMarketer:

By putting podcasts and music in one place, Spotify quickly became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Peter Vahle. “Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify’s pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology. Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools.

But Apple’s not going down without a fight, at least. The company is focusing on original podcasts, too. The company just launched one, a companion podcast to the Apple TV+ sci-fi series For All Mankind. And rumor has it that Apple is going to work on the investment angle, too.

There’s no concrete data in this regard, so this is just an estimate at this point. However, with podcasts being a major focal point for Spotify at this point, it’s not surprising to hear any of this.