How To Listen To Podcasts?

By Wenbin Fang · July 23, 2019

How To Listen To Podcasts

Listen from @leecampbell

As we near 2020, most people have heard of a “podcast.” Some can even recommend the most recent podcast that has enthralled their ears. But the term podcast was coined years ago, when “iPod” and “broadcast” formed a portmanteau. By 2020, podcasts may create $1 billion in revenue.

Generally, a podcast involves individuals speaking about a specific topic — sometimes over music . The result is published in a digital format for others to listen to by streaming it online via their mobile devices and computers — or after downloading the podcast.

Why are Podcasts So Popular?

Podcasts are similar to the talk-radio programs of yesteryear. However, people can listen to podcast episodes on their schedules, not the radio station’s schedule. With high-speed internet and advanced smartphones that replaced portable media players, podcasts are everywhere.

“Podcatchers” make it much easier to download podcasts onto Apple and Android devices than the convoluted ways of the past, therefore more people of all ages find it easy to access the stuff they want to hear.

The 2 Main Ways to Listen to Podcasts

Overall, there are typically two main ways that people consume podcasts:

#1 — Stream a podcast from a website

A person might go directly to a site such as To Live and Die in L.A. and simply click the play button to begin hearing one of the most popular podcasts of 2019.

#2 — Listen to a podcast via an app

Use an app specifically designed for podcast listening, like the Podcasts app that is automatically loaded onto newer iOS devices.

However, there are plenty of additional ways that people can listen to podcasts and enjoy all the bells and whistles of advanced features for podcast addicts. Since a podcast is typically a series made up of episodes, similar to a TV show series that contains episodes, there are various ways to binge-listen. For example, the Dirty John viral podcast is a true-crime tale with six episodes, all published to the Los Angeles Times website.


Why Do People Love to Listen to Podcasts?

Listen when working

Listen when working from @austindistel

Before we delve deeper into the many ways to soak up podcasts, let’s talk about why people tune in at all: People listen to podcasts for a variety of reasons, chiefly to allow the voices on the other end to keep them company during broad expanses of otherwise quiet times or during periods that would be lonelier or more boring without the podcast flowing into their eardrums.

Podcasts may play during a person’s long commutes, weight-lifting sessions, homework studying hours — or even during the minutes spent waiting in grocery store lines. Instead of always tuning into the same old music via favored playlists, some avid podcast listeners escape by entering worlds they are most interested in within podcasts.


How Are Podcasts Created?

Create podcasts

Create podcasts from @danlefeb

Podcasters use different methods to get their thoughts or stories out to listeners around the world, but the basic process for creating and sharing a podcast is the same. The podcaster must record the podcast, possibly edit the resulting audio file, and then publish it to a podcast host that lets listeners access the podcast. Podcasts require the audio file and an “RSS feed,” which stands for “Really Simple Syndication” — essentially a computer-readable XML format file.

After podcasters create and publish their audio files online, listeners can hear them on multiple platforms, including desktop computers, mobile phones apps, via smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, or in smart cars.

From podcasts residing on iTunes to ones found on Spotify, Stitcher, or via huge podcast search engines such as Listen Notes, there are tens of millions of podcast episodes that await listeners ready to tune in to hear talk about their favorite topics for free. If you would like to learn more about podcasting, check out these 120 interviews with real-life podcasters for help.


How Can You Listen to Podcasts?

How to listen podcasts

How to listen from @austindistel

According to The Podcast Consumer 2019, podcast listeners grew a large amount over the past year. More than half of all Americans — 51% to be exact — 12 years of age and older have tuned in to a podcast. Listeners from 12-year-olds to 24-year-olds grew the most as a podcasting audience.

The findings revealed in a webinar on April 11, 2019, unveiled the fact that streaming services played a major role in the growth of podcast listeners. Of those who listen monthly, 43% of podcast fans say they listen via Spotify, while 35% tune in through Pandora.

During the previous year, in 2018, 76% of podcast listeners used a smartphone, tablet, or other portable device to hear podcasts, while 24% of listeners used a computer. On the same devices, there are various software solutions to use for podcasts, like listening via web browsers or through podcast player apps.

Listen to Podcasts Through a Web Browser

If you listen to podcasts via a web browser, that’s an option that can be used via a mobile device or a computer. For example, whether you’re on your desktop computer, smartphone or tablet, all devices allow users to navigate to a podcast search engine like and immediately begin listening to podcasts.

The website provides a search engine box at the top that lets listeners search for podcasts of interest by typing specific words into the search box — or lets them browse through trending topics or various genres.

The same devices can access web podcast players like, or let you listen directly to a podcast that has also been embedded or hosted directly on a website — such as the My Favorite Murder podcast.

Listen to Podcasts Via iOS Mobile Apps

Those who want to use their mobile devices to listen to podcasts and desire a better player experience than using a web browser may have to install a native app first. iPhone/iPad users will find the default “Podcasts” icon on their smartphones, which lets them dive right in and listen to podcasts.

iOS users can also use third-party apps such as Pocket Casts, found on Apple’s iTunes App Store, as their preferred podcasting app for iPhone and iPad. Overcast is another podcast player app that’s available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users.

Listen to Podcasts Via Android Mobile Apps

Whether using a podcast host or web player, the choices for listening are almost endless — even Android has a pre-installed dedicated Google Podcasts app.

Additionally, Android users can turn to good third-party podcast apps such as Podcast Addict and Pocket Casts to fill their podcast-listening needs.

Listen to Podcasts From a Desktop App

There are many options for listening to podcasts via desktop apps, one of which is Spotify.

Spotify allows listeners to access podcasts via their desktop computers, within the web player, as well as on their iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile devices. Spotify provides instructions on how to access podcasts not only using smartphones, but within vehicles, utilizing Bluetooth technology, as well as through game consoles, TVs, and other devices.

Another popular option for accessing podcast episodes on your desktop is via iTunes — which features plenty of podcast choices, from the art-focused to those falling under health, science, comedy categories, and more.

Listen To Podcasts On Smart Speakers

If you enjoy listening to music on an Amazon Echo, you can also enjoy using it for listening to podcasts. Amazon lets users search for podcasts through the Alexa mobile app (found on iTunes and Google Play) or by using the Amazon Music feature to listen to podcasts on their Alexa devices. Simply saying, “Alexa play a podcast,” should get the wheel spinning. You can also say, “Alexa, play a podcast from TuneIn.”

Listen To Podcasts on Google Home

Listen on Google Home

Listen on Google Home from @drieaugu

Those with Google Home devices can also listen to their favorite podcasts by instructing Google to play the specific podcast by naming it. According to Google, users can say, “Hey Google, play <podcast name> podcast.” However, Google Home users cannot currently instruct their devices to play their Spotify podcast playlists, nor ones via Google Play Music or TuneIn.

If You Have Never Listened To a Podcast Before: Get Started Now!

Many times, the best way to learn something new is to perform the activity — so if you’ve never explored the world of podcasting, dive right in now by visiting some of the above and below links to get a taste of the world of podcasting. Whether you listen directly via a website, a podcast app on your phone or through a podcast search engine like Listen Notes, chances are you’ll find it pretty easy to begin listening to the podcasts available.

New listeners may find it easiest to listen to their first podcast via embedded players on web pages. For example, S-Town is a podcast that appears embedded in its own website, broken down into seven “chapters” or episodes, about a murder investigation in Alabama.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour is another podcast that lets people listen in easily on the site.

Oftentimes, new listeners don’t know which podcasts exist, but they can find a podcast that suits their tastes by searching for their interests. Using the podcast search engine Listen Notes, podcast seekers can type in subjects such as sports, politics, true crime, etc., in order to uncover a podcast that they can enjoy via the website, using the embedded player.


Podcast Listeners are Growing

According to The Podcast Consumer 2019, an estimated 62 million people listened to podcasts in the previous week, who were older than 12 years of age.

Those folks can keep up with the podcasts they like by subscribing via a podcast player app. Many podcast apps let users search for podcasts by name and subscribe with a click of a button. But in general, podcast apps do not include all podcasts in their databases, so if you can’t find the podcast you’re seeking, manually add the RSS feed to the app.

How can you find the RSS feed? Search for it on Listen Notes or navigate to the podcast’s website.

Most podcast player apps allow users to stream the podcast and listen along, without having to download any large audio files onto their devices or computers. However, some listeners prefer to download podcasts and listen offline at a later time, like during their commute.


Are You a Hardcore Podcast Listener Who Doesn’t Want Too Many Subscriptions?

Even avid listeners don’t have to clutter their feeds by subscribing to too many podcasts and becoming overwhelmed by seeing a long list of episodes that they have not yet played.

It is possible to build your own podcast playlist without subscribing to shows by using Listen Later on Listen Notes, which allows users to create their own desired episodes list via any podcast player. It works when users create a Listen Later playlist on the Listen Notes website, not via a podcast player app. Next, you can add the RSS feed of your Listen Later playlist to any podcast player app, just like you would add an RSS feed of any podcast. View the process.

Think of Listen Later on Listen Notes as the “Watch Later” feature on YouTube. Although people may subscribe to hundreds of YouTube channels, they probably don’t watch all of the videos that each channel uploads. Instead, they can click the circular clock-like icon to instruct YouTube that they will watch the video at another time — when they visit their “Watch later” link to watch the footage that piqued their interest.

Such a similar podcast tool helps listeners explore episodes in hundreds or even thousands of podcasts and listen efficiently to the ones they enjoy.


Where Can You Find Good Podcasts?

Podcasts can be discovered in numerous ways. Hundreds of podcasts, as well as podcast players, can be found on Google Play, iTunes, and even by searching the latest podcast buzz on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Select podcasts become so viral and get so much buzz via word-of-mouth — that you can’t help hearing about them everywhere you turn. Podcast news bubbles up to Google News and allows fans to get in on the action.

Other podcasts are like undiscovered gems, waiting to be heard. That’s where social media whisperings, Google queries, and podcast search engines like Listen Notes can be extremely helpful. According to Lifehacker, a simple Google search for a podcast via Android phones already results in a play icon that allows the user to play the podcast immediately.

Most podcast platforms offer their listeners a place to start browsing, which may include the “Top 50” popular podcasts, new and viral episodes, or podcasts broken down by categories and subject matter.


The Future of Podcast Listening


Future from @salvoventura

In spite of the many ways that podcasts can currently be consumed, the amount of podcast listeners should increase by 100% over the coming years. The Verge notes that international growth is especially likely. More and more podcasts will be produced, which means that it is time to unbundle podcast episodes to allow users to listen without subscribing.

Episode-focused podcast consumption will be similar to the transformation that music made — with the advent of iTunes no longer forcing folks to buy an entire CD if they just liked one song. Tools such as Listen Later on Listen Notes could become the main method of consuming podcast episodes.

With plenty more podcast episodes being created, folks will need an easier way to find them. Search engines such as Listen Notes are already alleviating that issue, and we will also witness other platforms joining the podcast discovery arena, such as via social sharing and recommendations based on algorithms, like those employed by YouTube and Spotify.

Expect the future of podcasts to find us consuming more podcasts in a variety of places and across plenty of platforms. According to the Android Police, the technology already exists that allows users to begin listening to podcasts on their computers then pause the podcast, pick up their headphones and leave home or work, continuing to listen to the podcast via their mobile devices — right where they left off.

A day in the life of podcast listening means we can listen to an episode in the car, then at home via a smart speaker and afterward at the gym via our mobile phones. One thing seems clear as witnessed by the many ways podcasts are consumed: Podcasts aren’t going away anytime soon.