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Podcasting 101
11
min
June 21, 2023

The 6 Best Podcast Apps for Listening in 2024

As a podcast listener, you’re inundated with plenty of choices in the market. There are so many podcast apps available for listening that we couldn’t even fit them all in this article!

That’s why we did our research to make your life easier: by giving you the best podcast apps for listening today.

If you’re a podcast creator, you might not find the title of this article relevant at first glance.

But in fact, this article couldn’t be any more relevant to you.

That’s because when you create a podcast, you have to think about its distribution. 

Which apps will your podcast appear on? Which features exist on one app that don’t exist on another? What device do listeners of this app tend to use versus users of other apps? Which one of the apps has the best overall listening experience?

These are all questions, among many more, you should think of when you’re done doing all the dirty work of editing and are about to upload your content.

It’s worth mentioning that the podcast industry is moving fast and always changes. For example, Apple Podcasts used to be the clearly dominant app for listening, only recently that title has been awarded to Spotify. 

And listenership is exploding. There have been an additional 50 million monthly listeners in America in the past three years alone!

So if you’re a podcaster, keep up with listener trends to know where your podcast should be.

In this article, we’ll go over what the best podcast apps are in today’s market. The best podcast app is subject to what’s most important to listeners, meaning that it’s best to have your podcast distributed on every app available.

Now let’s get into it.

But First: What Is a Podcast Directory?

A podcast directory is any application you are using to listen to a podcast. 

In podcasting, you often hear about “podcast platforms” but there are actually two different types of such platforms. 

The first type–which you’d probably only know of if you’re a podcaster–is a hosting platform. A hosting platform is for holding the files of your audio recordings.

Hosting platforms like Anchor (now called Spotify for Podcasters) and Transistor do exactly that: they host your podcast’s audio files on their servers and distribute them to the second type of podcast platforms.

And that second type of podcast platform is what this article is about, the podcast directory.

The podcast directory is nothing more than the app you are using to listen to your favorite podcast right now, whether it’s Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or something else!

Therefore, when we talk about podcast apps or podcast platforms in layman’s terms, we’re actually speaking about podcast directories. 

Let’s look into the best podcast apps as of this writing. The choices we’re listing here are not based on any particular order of preference.

Spotify: Best for enjoying podcasts and music on one app

Price: Free for podcasts

Mobile Compatibility: iOS, Android

Desktop Compatibility: MacOS, Windows 

If you recently started making or listening to podcasts, you’d be surprised to learn that Spotify wasn’t always the most popular podcast app. For the longest time, that title belonged to Apple Podcasts

By sheer numbers, however, it’s clear that anyone who wants to have a successful podcast should at minimum distribute it on Spotify.

Spotify has 25% of monthly podcast listeners in the U.S., making it the most popular. An advantage that Spotify has for podcast creators is its international reach. The Swedish brand has over 500 million monthly active users, with 80% of those listeners being outside North America.

As for listening experience, you can’t get more interactive than Spotify. Spotify now lets podcasters and listeners interact via polls and Q&A, all within the app. 

Not only that, but Spotify lets listeners hear previews of podcasts–their take on a film trailer but for podcasts! Instead of listening to the whole thing hoping that it’ll be good, you can now decide on whether to invest your time listening in or not in just a few minutes.

Spotify pioneered the visual component for podcasting when it comes to podcast directories. Nowadays you can watch podcasts within the app.

Spotify also has plenty of exclusive podcast content and partners with various creators and networks to produce original shows. Joe Rogan’s show, for example, is exclusively distributed on Spotify.

Apple Podcasts: Best for owners of Apple devices

Price: Free

Mobile Compatibility: iOS, unavailable on Android

Desktop Compatibility: MacOS, iTunes on Windows

Apple Podcasts is the second best podcast app in terms of popularity. With 20% of Americans who are monthly listeners tuning into Apple, there’s every reason to think that your podcast should distribute to that app.

Part of the reason why Apple Podcasts is so big is due to its early presence in the podcast market. Apple was having podcasts distributed on iTunes (a predecessor to Apple Music and Podcasts) as of 2005, then launched the Podcasts app in 2012.

One key difference between Spotify and Apple is the user experience. On Spotify, it is not a standalone podcast app, you can also use it to browse music. Apple has always separated its Podcasts and Music apps.

If you’re a big Apple user and have more than one device, it’s certain that Apple Podcasts might be the best podcast app for you. That’s because all of your library and what you’ve been listening to is synchronized with your devices. 

You’ll never lose track of your listening progress again.

Apple also has some of the best exclusive content with its Premium channels like Tenderfoot TV+. Additionally, they are often looked to as the main source for podcast charts, so you can easily look at the “top 100” podcasts on Apple to see which shows are trending to find something new to listen to. 

Amazon Music: Best for listening on Amazon smart speakers

Price: Starts at $8.99 per month

Mobile Compatibility: iOS, Android

Desktop Compatibility: MacOS, Windows

Like Spotify, Amazon Music is a multipurpose app.

Amazon Music allegedly has the “most ad-free top podcasts,” that’s a plus if you dislike listening to ads.

The app also boasts HD listening, which means that the quality of podcast listening is at minimum the same quality as a CD. If you’re an audiophile, that’s huge!

Because Amazon Music is owned by Amazon, it also has the easiest experience for users of Echo speakers. It also helps that Amazon offers promotions to Prime members to subscribe to Amazon music.

While Amazon music isn’t particularly known for being one of the big and best podcast apps, that could certainly change if it keeps up.

Pocket Casts: Best for lovers of trimmed silence

Price: Free for listening, extra perks for $3.99 per month

Mobile Compatibility: iOS, Android

Desktop Compatibility: MacOS, Windows 10

Pocket Casts has been loved by many for its features.

One feature Pocket Casts is known for is trim silence. It automatically removes pauses and gaps in podcast episodes. This helps streamline the listening experience and reduce overall listening time.

At Resound, we actually have trim silence in our podcast editor. This means that your listeners won’t hear all the ums and awkward pauses even if they’re not listening to your pod on Pocket Casts.

Another cool feature offered by Pocket Casts is their sleep timer. It allows users to set a specific duration after which playback will automatically pause. Useful for those who enjoy falling asleep while listening to podcasts.

Castro: Best for unique user experience and feature set

Price: Free, or $18.99 per year for advanced playback features, sideloading, night mode, and more.

Compatibility: Only available on iOS

Castro brands itself as “the podcast app for podcast lovers.” They aren’t lying about that.

One of the ways they proved that is by having a unique way of letting users listen to and organize podcasts, by using an inbox. 

Instead of subscribing to podcasts and having every episode automatically downloaded, new episodes arrive in an inbox. Users can review each episode, prioritize the ones they want to listen to, and archive or delete others.

Another feature unique to Castro is “episode triaging.” They found a way to let users skip the parts of a show they don’t want to hear, think ads and intros.

They also offer sideloading, which lets you drop in a video URL like a YouTube link and automatically strip out the audio and download it for listening offline later. This is an awesome feature if you enjoy listening to Ted Talks or other content on YouTube but wish to download it for offline listening while you’re out and about. 

It seems that users love Castro, as over eight-thousand people reviewed them on the App Store with a 4.6/5 star rating.

Overcast: Best for turning up the volume

Price: Free, or $10 per year to hide visual ads

Compatibility: Only available on iOS

Overcast is another podcast app loved by enthusiasts. 

Overcast's voice boost feature enhances the audio quality of podcasts by dynamically adjusting the volume and equalization. It makes spoken words clearer and easier to understand, especially in environments with background noise or low volume recordings.

In its latest iteration of voice boost, you can also skip the boring parts (i.e. intro and ads) of a podcast.

Overcast also allows users to share short clips or excerpts from podcast episodes. Users can select a specific portion of the audio, add a comment, and share it with others via social media or messaging apps. 

Honorable Mentions

Like we said in the intro, there are too many podcast directories for us to cover in one post. 

But if you still haven’t found the right one after reading the list above, here are some honorable mentions you might want to check out.

YouTube Music: One of the quickly growing platforms is YouTube Music. The parent company Alphabet has decided to sunset Google Podcasts in favor of adding podcasts to YouTube Music. According to the YouTube blog, this will happen "later in 2024." 

Pandora: Right behind Google in American podcast listenership.

Conclusion

While it’s true that there isn’t one “best podcast app”, there might be a best podcast app for you.

And if you’re a podcast creator, then it’s critical to make sure your podcast is distributed to as many of the podcast directories as possible. That includes the big players like Spotify, Apple, and Amazon Music, and the smaller ones like Pocket Casts and Stitcher. 

At any rate, using a podcast hosting site like Spotify for Podcasts or Transistor makes it easier than ever to distribute your podcast to any of the directories.

Before you do that, however, just remember that not every directory has any audio trimmer to remove your annoying pauses and “ums.” If you want to remove all of that with a click of a button, try Resound for free so you never have to spend hours editing a podcast again.

Podcast Listening App FAQs

Why is Stitcher shut down? 

Previously we recommended Stitcher from SiriusXM as a great podcast listening app. We talked about it's powerful carplay features, and so much more. But Stitcher was shut down by SiriusXM on August 29, 2023. Why? Their website says that SiriusXM is focusing on building out the podcast listening experience within SiriusXM. They plan to continue producing original shows and you can still listen to all the same podcasts on all other podcast apps like Apple, Spotify, PocketCasts, etc. learn more by reading their Farewell FAQ here.

Why is Google Podcasts being shut down? 

According to YouTube's blog, Google Podcast will be shut down "later in 2024" in order to point more listeners to the centralized experience within YouTube Music. Learn more about why they are making this decision by reading their blog linked above.

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Resound.fm Team

Resound's team is building the future of podcast editing: An AI podcast editing app for creators. Here at Resound we're writing about the creative process to help content creators thrive. Picture is Ernst Chladni, the inspiration for our brand. Hear his story at resound.fm/about

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