Mar 29, 2020 - Economy

Podcast downloads drop during coronavirus outbreak

Illustration of headphones in the shape of money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans have been listening to fewer podcasts since the coronavirus pandemic started to worsen in the United States, fashion trade publication Women's Wear Daily reports.

Why it matters: Podcast downloads have dropped about 10%, and the number of total unique listeners also dropped around 20% since the start of the month, according to data from Podtrac.

What's happening: Many fewer people are commuting, and "everyone just wants the news, on TV and online, not a true crime podcast," per WWD.

But so many people are at home, with all that commute time gone, so more people are making podcasts, the New York Times' Reggie Ugwu writes.

  • Mike Pesca, host of the long-running daily podcast "The Gist," said the pandemic could soon be regarded as the format’s breakout moment.
  • He compared it to World War II, when Edward R. Murrow’s man-on-the-street radio broadcasts after the bombings in London captured the attention of anxious Americans at home.
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