Photo Credit: Gavin Whitner
Podcasts are an undeniable trend seeing rapid growth in the business world. Over 42 million people listen to these online shows every week in the United States, and with a 10 to 20 per cent increase in listeners every year, that number is set to skyrocket. Couple that with the over 550,000 podcast options available and you’ve got an incredibly massive ecosystem.
So what exactly is a podcast and how can you start listening?
Think of a podcast as an online radio show that has episodes, hosts, guests and even seasons. Many of these podcasts are highly produced and researched, focusing on virtually any topic you could possibly imagine. From professional development, finance, entrepreneur stories and startup strategies all the way to cars, cooking, comedy and murder mysteries — you name it, there’s a podcast.
There are plenty of ways for you to easily listen to podcasts — all available on any smartphone, tablet or computer (and even some smartwatches) with Internet access. All you need is to open up your podcast app, search for the program name and press play. What’s more, the shows are free — and with a little preparation, you can download your favorite episodes to listen offline when data service isn’t available, such as in airplanes, subways and remote locations.
Here are some easy podcast apps to get started.
For iPhone and iPad users, this is one of the easiest ways to get listening to podcasts. Simply use the pre-installed «Podcasts» app on your device to search for any program. Subscribe to your favorite shows and automatically download episodes as they’re released so you’ve always got the latest program at hand.
For Android users, this streaming music app also doubles for listening to podcasts. This straightforward app has no fancy bells and whistles like some of the paid options on the market, but you can also use the desktop version to easily listen from your computer.
Price: Free on Android
This famous music streaming app has added podcasts to the mix, referring to them simply as «Shows» in the navigation menu. Unlike other podcast services, Spotify curates their list — so you won’t find everything under the sun, but you will get a great list of hand-selected programs. You can also quickly flip between podcasts and your music selections, which is handy if you’re prone to channel-changing. Taking it a step further, Spotify has also added short video shows to the mix, which shows another potential level up in the podcast world.
Price: Free version available or subscribe to Premium for $10/month.
If you’re serious about podcast listening, the investment in Pocket Casts could be well worth the minimal price tag. Pocket Casts kicks your listening up a big notch, allowing you to set custom skip and rewind intervals to avoid advertising or easily relisten to parts of the show. You can also make use of their voice boosting and silence trimming feature which will help when you’re listening in a noisy environment (aka coffee shops, public transit or a busy office). And by syncing across all your devices, the listening experience on Pocket Casts is hard to beat.
Price: Free 14 day trial. If you choose to subscribe, it’s a $9 one-time fee.
Overcast (for Apple iOS)
Available on the Apple iOS platform only, Overcast provides some similar features as Pocket Casts — but it’s free! With recent improvements in its latest version release, there’s not much holding it back as a top contender to be Apple users’ number one choice.
Podcast Addict (for Android)
Another option for Android users, Podcast Addict proclaims that it is «the #1 Podcast App on Android with 8+M downloads, 400K reviews, 1 Billion episodes downloaded and an average rating of 4.6/5.» Pretty impressive in such a competitive market, this app offers multiple features while also managing podcasts, radio and audiobooks, plus other formats like Live stream, YouTube, Twitch, SoundCloud channels and RSS News feeds.
Price: Free, and you can purchase the «Donate» version for $4.29 to support the developer.
Ready to start listening? Check out our list of fantastic business-related podcasts featuring shows like Outside In, Business Wars, BizChix and Start With Why. There’s a little something for every business owner and entrepreneur looking for inspiring shows to help grow their business strategy.