Most Popular Apple (& Spotify) Podcasts of 2023

Most Popular Apple (& Spotify) Podcasts of 2023

Updated to include Spotify’s Top Podcasts. See below.

It may only be 28th November, but Apple is trying to get ahead of other streaming music and audio services by publishing its year-end round ups early. And today they’ve announced the Most Popular Podcasts of 2023… at least amongst listeners who use the Apple Podcasts app.

The press release itself breaks down the most popular podcasts in the US in a number of categories. I’ve republished three of them below:

Top Shows

  1. Crime Junkie
  2. The Daily
  3. Dateline NBC
  4. SmartLess
  5. This American Life
  6. Morbid
  7. Up First
  8. Huberman Lab
  9. Hidden Brain
  10. Stuff You Should Know

Top New Shows

  1. Scamanda
  2. The Retrievals
  3. The Deck Investigates
  4. Murder & Magnolias
  5. Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  6. The Girl in the Blue Mustang
  7. The Coldest Case in Laramie
  8. Murder in Apartment 12
  9. The Girlfriends
  10. Undetermined

Top Free Channels (“Free”, because they break out subscriptions separately)

  1. iHeartPodcasts
  2. audiochuck
  3. The New York Times
  4. Dear Media
  5. Serial Productions
  6. Barstool Sports
  7. ABC News
  8. The Daily Wire
  9. Scicomm Media
  10. Cumulus Podcast Network 

Going into the Apple Podcast app, you can see the breakdown for your country. So here is the same list for UK users of Apple Podcasts.

Top Shows

  1. Diary of a CEO
  2. The Rest is Politics
  3. Off Menu
  4. The News Agents
  5. The Rest is History
  6. Zoe Science & Nutrition
  7. Feel Better, Live More
  8. The Therapy Crouch
  9. Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed
  10. Desert Island Discs

Top New Shows

  1. The Therapy Crouch
  2. The Rest is Politics – Leading
  3. The Rest is Football
  4. Where There’s A Will There’s A Wake with Kathy Burke
  5. The Trial: Brianna Ghey
  6. Big Fish with Spencer Matthews
  7. The Witch Trials of JK Rowling
  8. Scamanda
  9. The News Agents USA
  10. A Very British Cult

Top Free Channels

  1. BBC Podcasts
  2. Global Originals
  3. The Guardian
  4. Plosive
  5. iHeartPodcasts
  6. The News Agents
  7. Serial
  8. LBC
  9. The Athletic
  10. Pixiu

The first thing to note here is that this to reiterate that this is a breakdown of Apple Podcasts users, and they are likely to be more affluent and a little older than, say, Spotify’s users. And this list should not be used as a proxy for the most popular podcasts in the UK.

Update: PodNews also points out that Apple’s podcast chart does use recency bias to determine its lists, which means it’s not 100% reflective of overall listening.

It also only includes podcasts that are available via RSS. That means no Joe Rogan, who came top in the UK according to the recently published Edison Research chart.

More to the point, there is absolutely no crossover between the US and UK top tens! All the UK shows are British titles, and indeed the biggest podcast producers (“Top Free Channels”) are driven by British podcasting companies. Only iHeart, Serial and The Athletic are non-British – and I suspect that The Athletic is on the list more for its UK-focused football podcasts rather than its US sports titles.

Because this is sorted by channels, you get some companies having multiple entries in the charts. For example, Global is broken down into Global Originals, The News Agents and LBC. And The New York Times could include Serial and The Athletic in a single channel if it chose to.

With the usual disclaimers about these thoughts not being those of my employers, I think the BBC would be disappointed to only have one title on the list of shows, but its position as a producer shows that its listening is broken up over many titles.

I think it’s also notable that the UK’s second biggest commercial radio group, Bauer, does not have a showing. It feels as though the company really hasn’t invested as much into podcasting as its competitors in the UK radio industry.

But I thought it might be interesting to compare in a bit more detail the Apple list with the Edison list with the usual proviso that these were from different points in the year, used different methodologies and are comparing different things.

Most of the Apple list are also on the Edison list, but there are a couple of notable exceptions. The ZOE Science & Nutrition Podcast is nowhere on the Edison list. The makers of the popular app which tracked Covid during the pandemic and continues to be used to conduct health studies is high up here, suggesting perhaps that a more upmarket Apple owning audience is disproportionately more likely to be a listener. Similarly the Feel Better, Live More podcast with Dr Chatterjee might be in the same boat. Perhaps Apple Podcasts users are more likely to be interested in health?

Then there are the titles high on the Edison list that don’t make the Apple one. We’ve covered Joe Rogan which is a Spotify-exclusive. But That Peter Crouch Podcast isn’t on the list which is a little surprising. Crouch of course, does have a second podcast which launched earlier in the year and is high up on both lists.

No Such Thing As A Fish, was high in the Edison chart but doesn’t show up on Apple, and nor does Newscast from the BBC, which Edison had as much higher up the list than Desert Island Discs. Finally, The Daily is at number 10 on Edison but doesn’t make the top ten for Apple.

Of course some of these will be just outside the Apple top ten, but I think these charts also suggest that some titles appeal to a younger non-Apple audience. Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed from the Ramseys is at number 9 on Apple, but right up at number 4 on Edison.

The list of new shows is also interesting. A few shows are spin-offs of already popular shows – more Rest Of… titles from Goalhanger, and the US-specific version of The News Agents. But The Trial is an interesting offering. Although Apple names it as The Trial: Brianna Ghey, that’s because the series from the Daily Mail is currently covering that specific trial. But there have been at least two others in the same feed. The Lucy Letby trial included dozens and dozens of episodes, and this was followed by another case, Ashling Murphy. The Mail is leaning heavily into these near-daily podcasts covering trials – seemingly mostly of women. I will let others be the judge of their quality.

Anyway, an interesting look into the most popular titles on at least one app.


One day after I wrote this, Spotify launched its own “2023 Wrapped” and listed the Top Podcasts Globally and Top US Podcasts. I can’t find a UK-specific list unfortunately. But for the record here are the two lists:

Top Podcasts Globally – Spotify

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. Call Her Daddy
  3. Huberman Lab
  4. anything goes with emma chamberlain
  5. On Purpose with Jay Shetty
  6. Crime Junkie
  7. This Past Weekend w/ Theo Von
  8. Serial Killers
  9. The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett
  10. TED Talks Daily
  11. Relatos de la Noche
  12. Caso 63
  13. Psicologia Al Desnudo | @psi.mammoliti
  14. The Daily
  15. Lex Fridman Podcast
  16. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
  17. El Podcast de Marian Rojas Estapé
  18. Gemischtes Hack
  19. The Psychology of your 20s
  20. Stuff You Should Know
  21. SmartLess
  22. La Cotorrisa
  23. Se Regalan Dudas
  24. The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast
  25. Conspiracy Theories

This list is notable in that it includes a significant number of non-English titles. What I’m not sure of is whether the “Global” figure excludes US listening or not.

Top Podcasts in the US – Spotify

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. Call Her Daddy
  3. Crime Junkie
  4. This Past Weekend w/ Theo Von
  5. The Daily
  6. Huberman Lab
  7. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
  8. SmartLess
  9. Up First
  10. anything goes with emma chamberlain
  11. 2 Bears, 1 Cave with Tom Segura & Bert Kreischer
  12. Morbid
  13. The Journal.
  14. Stuff You Should Know
  15. On Purpose with Jay Shetty
  16. Lex Fridman Podcast
  17. NPR News Now
  18. Serial Killers
  19. New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce
  20. Dateline NBC
  21. Conspiracy Theories
  22. Distractible
  23. The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast
  24. The Psychology of your 20s
  25. Science Vs

I thought it’d be interesting to compare the Apple Top 10 with the Spotify Top 25

All but two of the Apple titles are in the Spotify list. But it’s interesting that This American Life at number 5 on Apple, isn’t anywhere in the Spotify list. And nor is Hidden Brain. Spotify’s top 2 are both platform exclusive, but This Past Weekend w/ Theo Von isn’t, and despite being at number 4 on Spotify, isn’t on the Apple list.

Again, I’d suggest that this is due to demographic differences between the users.