Is there anywhere to get podcast subscriber numbers?

There doesn’t seem to be a good source for podcast listener counts. The best I could find was the podtrack industry ratings which only tells you the top 20. It doesn’t seem to even sell the data for the rest either, just telling you to contact the podcast publisher if you’re interested.

I’d be really curious just to see a list of podcasts and their subscriber counts. I know there’s not one single definitive source for this information - as you can simply subscribe to an RSS feed and it’s not centralized anywhere. But even podcatcher apps that are not used by everyone would be interesting. For instance, I would imagine that itunes/podcast app on iOS probably has like 30%+ of the world’s podcast subscribers among their users. But using the iTunes podcast ranking list seems to use some sort of formula that includes “trending” and potentially other factors, it’s not simply a list of podcasts by popularity/subscriber count.

PlayerFM, a podcatcher I’ve used, lists how many of their registered users subscribe to each podcast, but these numbers seem like a very small slice of the podcast pie and unrepresentative for that reason. I’ve seen podcasts that I suspect have at least 200,000 subscribers that only have 500-2000 subscribers through PlayerFM. So their numbers may be heavily skewed - they may overrate or underrate certain podcasts based on the demographics of their registered users.

Even various sites that claim to list the top X podcasts by popularity seem to vary significantly, so I don’t know where they’re getting their data.

Does anyone know where to get the best publically accessible data available? Subscription counts, or episode downloaded counts, or even a graph over time showing how a podcast is growing or shrinking would all be interesting.

I know, as someone who produces a podcast, that my hosting service aggregates my downloads including devices types and services they are listening from as well as location but I can’t get any info from Itunes even about the number of subscribers that I have. I generally have to look at my number of downloads within 1 hour of the release of an episode to get an idea of number of subscribers. If there was something publicly available I know I’d appreciate it even if it was a paid service so I could figure out where I was compared to my competitors.

You probably have a lot more subscribers than just those that download immediately. I’d imagine most people don’t have all their subs set for automatic download. I’d imagine the average amount of downloads between your episodes was your amount of subscribers +/-.

I guess it would make sense that your own host doesn’t have subscriber numbers. Only the podcasting apps themselves would know if someone subscribed or not, your host would just know who downloaded each episode.

Of course I’d love to know either way - average number of downloaders per episode would work just as well as subscribers to feed my curiosity. Better, even, since it would exclude “idle” subscribers that don’t actually listen or download to what they’re subscribed to.

Who do you use for hosting? I could be wrong but I thought some hosting services provide that information as part of their analytics.
I’m looking into starting a podcast, don’t have one or produce one at the moment.

Podcasting, fundamentally, is just distributing a digital file for download, for whoever requests it, just like web pages. The podcatching software that users use to aggregate and play their podcasts store subscriptions internally, they don’t communicate subscription numbers to the host, they’re just downloading a file. So a host could guess at subscribers (hey, this one IP grabbed your last 10 episodes after they became available) but they couldn’t definitely can’t say for sure who’s a subscriber, just how many people are downloading.

The exception to this would be itunes/apple podcasts, where I assume the software and host are both integrated and so they’d have this data. Since itunes has a significant fraction of the podcasts listeners on the internet, their data very well may be a pretty good sample of podcasting as a whole, but as far as I know they don’t have their raw data available anywhere. Just their podcast rankings, which aren’t just a subscriber count - they modify them for various reasons, including listing trending/recent podcasts higher than established podcasts.

I use Blubrry. I haven’t used anyone else so I don’t know about other services but while I get a ton of info about my downloads it is difficult to pull out regular listeners from one time people. The advise they give is to look at downloads 30 days after release and use that to track active listeners.