What IS a podcast and how do I listen?
Here at Pod Bible we are, unsurprisingly, obsessed with podcasts. And we’re not alone – podcast listenership around the world has been increasing year-on-year. In 2020, there were an estimated 15.6 million podcast listeners in the UK, and right now there are over 2 million different podcasts with over 48 million episodes in 100 different languages available to listen to.
But we know that many people are still asking “what’s a podcast?”, “how do you listen to podcasts?” and even “are podcasts free?”. If you are one of those people, here’s our guide for new podcast listeners.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading or streaming to a computer or an alternative device such as a phone. To be a little less clinical, it’s essentially a radio show that you can listen to wherever and whenever you choose without being interrupted by regular weather bulletins or travel updates.
Podcasts range from highly produced shows recorded in professional studios by major broadcasters to rough and ready homemade shows recorded on a laptop in someone’s bedroom. If you have a computer and an internet connection, you can make a podcast, making it one of the most democratic mediums around. Is it time to see what all the fuss is about?
How much do podcasts cost?
Nothing! Most podcasts are absolutely free, which makes them one of the most accessible forms of entertainment around. Many of the larger podcasts will feature adverts and some offer access to extra content or early access to episodes for a small fee, but 99% of podcasts are available for you to listen to on demand for nothing at all. There are literally millions of hours of top quality content out there for you to explore – so what’s stopping you?!
So how do I listen to a podcast?
The Spotify and Acast apps are available on all smart phones and other devices and cover a wide variety of podcasts. If you’re an iPhone user then the Apple Podcasts app should already be on your phone. The same applies for the Google Podcasts app on Android phones. Within these apps you can search for and subscribe to shows. When you subscribe, the latest episodes will be downloaded to your phone without you having to seek them out.
The Spotify app also allows you to scan codes that take you directly to the relevant podcast. You can use the Audible app to listen to Audible original podcasts.
If you prefer, you can also listen to podcasts on your computer. Use the Spotify desktop application (which is also available in your browser) or the Audible Cloud Player.
Alternatively you can use iTunes or go direct to the website of the podcast you want to listen to. Finally, you can use your home smart speakers as a way to listen too. Just ask them to play you a podcast and go from there!
Which podcast should I listen to first?
If you’re a new podcast listener, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of podcasts on offer. But don’t worry, we’ve all asked ourselves “where do I start?” and that’s why we’re here! Our magazine is a great way of learning about the podcast landscape. Every week we also update the Pod Bible playlist on the Acast app to include a selection of shows form the latest magazine.
You can also find a podcast about your interests with some of our curated lists. Adam has pulled together 13 Football Podcasts to listen to in 2021, or you could start with the Best Sex & Relationships Podcasts. Scroobius Pip gave us 5 Solo Podcasts you need and you can find Stu’s 5 of the best Music Podcasts here.
You could check out some of the podcasts your favourite celebrities listen to with our For The Love of Pod series. And if you want to get ahead of the game, our New This Month editorial pulls together the most interesting new series and seasons every month. Or if you want to narrow it down a bit, our Where To Start articles give you an entry point to some of the most popular podcasts you must listen to.
But the very first podcast you must listen to is – of course – the Pod Bible podcast! It is the podcast podcast where podcasters talk to podcasters about podcasts and podcasting. Does it get anymore meta? The show is mostly hosted by editor Adam Richardson, but will occasionally feature the other founders of Pod Bible, Stu Whiffen and Scroobius Pip.
You can follow Pod Bible on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Subscribe to the podcast on ACAST, SPOTIFY, APPLE PODCASTS or ELSEWHERE. And drop us an email if you liked this article firstname.lastname@example.org.