We are fast approaching the winter holidays. You might want to pick up a podcast or an audiodrama to wind down after a day of arguing over Trivial Pursuit in your kitchen. Maybe you want to get better at keeping up to date with the most recent news and trends, or perhaps you have some extra time on your hands and want to learn more about fitness or mental health or cooking or a number of other things. Or you simply want to start listening to podcasts but have no idea where to go looking for them.
In this article, I am going to highlight some of the best podcast apps to get you started.
Podcast fans in America tend to use Apple Podcasts. This might have something to do with the higher usage of Apple products in America, and since Apple Podcasts is exclusive to iOS devices, it makes sense. So why use Apple Podcasts? For one, there are over 720,000 podcasts with more than 10 episodes listed on the platform, according to Amplifi Media, and approximately 2 million podcasts listed in total. Apple Podcasts has also just won “Best Podcast Site or Host” of 2021 by AdWeek as part of their Podcast of the Year Awards.
Apple Podcasts is optimised for voice commands as you can link the app to Siri and Alexa-supported devices. The app makes it easy for you to navigate between shows at the top of the charts and you can search for new shows by category.
Apple Podcasts supports offline listening and there’s even a handy tab which segregates the latest episodes from the shows you follow.
Cost: Free to use, or you can pay a subscription fee to individual shows Availability: iOS devices, web Offline Listening: Yes
Having said that, in terms of statistics, Spotify comes out on top as the most widely used podcast app, with 32.8% of all podcast listeners using the streaming app, according to Buzzsprout. This may be due to the fact that Spotify is more readily available to Android users and is typically more popular across Europe.
Although Spotify is typically better known for its music streaming service, the platform is taking the podcasting world by storm, snapping up several of the most popular shows as part of their Spotify Exclusive deals.
Spotify will recommend new shows based on genre and topics you have listened to before, and there is a library dedicated to your podcasts allowing you to keep track of all your favourite shows, while keeping them separated from your music.
The app is also optimised for voice command through Alexa-supported products and supports offline listening. You can follow shows and filter episodes from newest to oldest, or oldest to newest and can even filter according to episode length, ensuring you can listen to an episode that is the perfect length for whatever situation you are in.
Spotify is free to use but offers €10 monthly subscription for ad-free listening.
Cost: Free to use, or €10 monthly subscription (ad-free) Availability: Android devices, iOS devices, web Offline Listening: Yes
Another great podcast app to use is Google Podcasts. This is a completely free service, available on iOS and Android devices. Google Podcasts will typically share similar content found on Apple and Spotify and allows you to subscribe to your favourite shows easily. Currently, there are no exclusive shows on the platform.
You can queue your episodes and access the shows you follow through a “subscriptions” tab.
Although Google Podcasts might not the prettiest interface of those found on this list (just my opinion), it is probably one of the least complicated to navigate and is the one I would recommend for any technophobes out there.
Cost: Free to use Availability: Android devices, iOS devices, web Offline Listening: Yes
Stitcher is hugely popular for podcast listeners and creators alike. Stitcher’s homepage offers a variety of the most popular shows listened to that week and allows users to easily navigate between their favourite series. Stitcher is free to use, but offers a monthly or yearly subscription to get rid of ads.
Stitcher has a range of original shows, some of which are available exclusively as part of their ad-free subscription called Stitcher Premium. The app is widely available across iOS and Android devices, as well as through the web.
The app itself was recently updated to make it faster and easier to browse through different shows. Episodes can be downloaded for offline listening and Stitcher has a useful “discover” tab, showing off their top picks of the week.
Cost: Free to use, or monthly (€4.99)/yearly (€34.99) subscription Availability: Android devices, iOS devices, web Offline Listening: Yes
Pocket Casts proves popular amongst podcast fans. Initially, Pocket Casts required a fee to use the platform, however since 2019 the app is completely free to use on mobile devices and is available on both iOS and Android.
The app adapts to your listening habits and its paid service, Pocket Casts Plus, comes with 10GB of cloud storage, plus desktop apps for Windows, macOS and web apps.
Pocket Casts is compatible with Android Auto and CarPlay, allowing you to listen to podcasts hands-free and on the go. The team at Pocket Casts hand-picks shows to be featured on their homepage to ensure new and emerging podcasts have an equal chance at reaching a brand new audience.
Cost: Free to use, or monthly (€1.22)/yearly (€12.99) subscription Availability: Android devices, iOS devices, desktop (paid version only) Offline Listening: Yes
The HeadStuff Podcast Network is Ireland’s largest podcast network. Currently hosting nearly 30 shows, ranging in topics from comedy, music, politics and social justice to food, pop culture and languages – we have something for everyone. Why not have a look at some of our shows? We have recently added some new podcasts to our network, including Agony Rants, The Cine Stream Club and They’re Only Stories.
But that’s not all! HeadStuff + allows you to support your favourite creators, while giving you access to a range of bonus content from all the network shows.
At The Podcast Studios we work with companies, organisations, and individuals to help them tell their stories in audio form. If there is any part of your podcast journey that needs a professional touch, from start to finish, get in touch today by contacting us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.thepodcaststudios.ie
If you want to write for the podcast section of Headstuff.org, email us at [email protected]