Research Outline

Audio Market Analysis


To provide an analysis of the audio market (excluding music), which includes the known audio categories, the popular players in each category, and whitespace opportunities in audio. Information about the players should include differentiating features, price points, number of users (DAU's and MAU's if available), any fundraising details, year founded, and what users are saying about them. The information will be used to determine the future of audio as technology improves. It will also be used to prove (or disprove) audio will be one of the next big mediums for consuming content.

Early Findings

Top Podcasts

  • At the end of 2019, Time magazine compiled its list of the top ten podcasts for 2019.
  • The podcasts ranked six to ten were (in descending order), Spectacular Failures with Laura Ober, Morbituaries with Ro Mocca, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend, Scattered with Chris Garcia, and Decoder Ring with Willa Paskin.
  • At number five was Moonface, a fictional podcast of James Kim, based on a gay Korean man and his mother, who speaks little English, while he speaks little Korean. He struggles with "coming out" to his family.
  • In fourth place, Jon Ronson's Last Day of August, a true-crime story about an adult movie star who committed suicide after posting a controversial tweet.
  • Blank Check with Griffin and David comes in at number three. Griffin Newman and David Sims discuss the filmography of different directors.
  • At number two was You're Wrong About, with journalists Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall. Together they examine a range of crimes and scandals, like the OJ Simpson and Tonya Harding stories, from a different angle.
  • Times' top podcast in 2019 was 1619, with Nikole Hannah Jones, who reframes US history through the eyes of the institution of slavery.

Audio Books

  • The sale of audio books reached almost $1 billion, with $940 million in sales in 2018. This represented year to year growth of 24.5% since 2017. Unit sales saw growth of 27.3%. 91.4% of audio book sales came from digital sales.
  • In 2019, it was reported 50% of Americans had listened to an audio book.

Vertical Specific

  • Calm is a meditation and sleep program that aims to help people "sleep more, stress less, live better." It has been downloaded more than 50 million times.
  • Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith are the founders of Calm. Tamara Levitt is the instructor and head of mindfulness.


  • There is a considerable amount of information available concerning the audio market. We have barely scratched the surface in our first hour of research. We suggest further research to meet your goals.