Apple Podcasts now hosts more than 550,000 active shows

Beyond Watch compatibility, podcasting didn’t get a lot of love as Apple blew through announcements at a frenetic pace during its two-hour-plus keynote yesterday. This week, however, the company has announced a few new download milestones and offered a bit more insight into its recently introduced Podcast Analytics offering.

Apple Podcasts currently hosts north of 550,000 active shows, a bump from the 525,000 the company reported back in April — that’s a considerable jump from the 3,000 programs it hosted when the program launched back in 2005. The new numbers include 18.5 million individual episodes representing 155 countries, in more than 100 languages.

Fifty billion episodes have been streamed/downloaded since launch — numbers that are certainly on the upswing. 2016 saw 10 billion, and last year’s number was 13.7 billion. The company also revealed today that Stuff You Should Know has officially become the first podcast to cross the fairly staggering 500 million download/stream mark.

As for Analytics, the company is going to be issuing more requirements on shows to continue utilizing the tool. The company hasn’t offered a timeline by which podcast providers will be required to meet these more stringent rules, beyond the fact that the changes are coming soon. Among the requirements are cover art and the inclusion of certain meta data like pubdate.

Those join some guidelines the company has already issued for acceptance into the company’s app, which has long employed a vetting process that includes a combination of human and automated reviews. The company also continues to police shows to make sure they are active and continue to abide by those initial rules.

These new rules will make access to Analytics a bit more stringent, but will hopefully maintain Podcasts’ nature as a democratized platform for media creation at all levels. After all, that’s long been one of the medium’s biggest appeals. Whether you’re one person with access to a cheap computer microphone or NPR, you have access to the same platform.

That said, Apple does appear poised to be pushing podcast providers toward more quality standards like mastering levels, so different shows don’t have vastly different volume levels when played in succession. The HomePod will likely serve as the gold standard for the setting of those requirements.