Since their inception in 2003, podcasts have grown tremendously in number and in popularity, especially after the 2014 release of Serial reached five million downloads and streams — the fastest in history. Social media and news outlets covered the success of the podcast as it released each new episode, bringing attention to the real-life story it told. By far the most popular podcast to date, it brought a boost in downloads and listeners to podcasts across the board.
There are more than one billion podcast subscribers worldwide as of 2013, and podcasts cover topics ranging from business to video games, and there are even podcasts on, well, podcasting. Podcasts about Christianity are the most common on iTunes U.S., with 39,300 different ones listed. The majority of listeners use mobile devices to download or stream podcasts. Typically lasting about 40 minutes, podcasts are informative and entertaining ways for people to pass time while driving, walking and cleaning. Written by Danielle Herman