This title is almost an oxymoron! In all the creative fields where I’ve participated, there is a sense of collaboration. Perhaps film making is the most competitive but in all the others, writing, painting, music and particularly, podcasting, collaboration is the keyword.
The nature of podcasting is the point. We podcast into a niche. If we are in it for the long term we do. Even in the podcasts about podcasting, everyone in the niche has their own particular spin on the topic.
From gear specific shows to the more artistic view, these podcasts do not compete against each other but instead support one another. Each one speaks to the listeners interested in their particular approach. So the shows, whilst appearing to “compete” for audience are actually looking for different people. Clearly there will be overlap and because podcasts are an “on demand” medium, it doesn’t matter if two shows release at the same time. Listeners will listen when they are ready. So don’t worry if there are already shows in your niche. Only you can do your show. It might sound like someone else’s but, baring plagiarism, it will have you as it’s driving energy.
On another level, I’ve always found other podcasters helpful to point of embarrassment. Questions about gear, editing or even finding guests, if that’s your thing, will have other podcasters always trying to help. That’s been my experience and the experience of all other podcasters I’ve discussed this with. It is truly a medium of helpful, engaged, interesting people.
Now to the question of numbers.
Apple suggests there are about 550,000 podcasts on their books. That sounds like a lot! Digging a little deeper, it turns out only 25% or thereabouts of these have produced a new episode in the last twelve months. This drops the active number down to about 130,000. Compare this with the 4 million plus blogs out there and it turns out there’s plenty of space for new podcasters. This is especially so in unserved niches. It is difficult to service these if you have no passion for the subject. Last year there was one show covering speed cubing, that is competitive Rubik cube activity. Now there’s three but I’m not one of them. I couldn’t possibly, in good conscience, waste my time on something of no interest to me. Those in the space, love the topic. Hence they can sustain their efforts.
The takeaway? Podcasters are basically decent people who like to help. There’s lots of space for new entrants and the world waits your voice!