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White-noise podcasters make a racket on Spotify

white-noise // Illustration by Kate Walker

White-noise podcasters make a racket on Spotify


Future. Spotify has become the unwitting home of a white-noise podcast boom — static, calming sounds to help people relax or sleep. With those podcasts climbing the charts and bringing in major ad revenue, the streamer — and competitors like Apple and Amazon — may start pushing relaxation podcasts as a ritual to unwind from the day… and keep people listening.

Turn down the volume
In our noisy world, some people just want to turn up what calms them down… which is why white-noise podcasts are taking off.

  • TMSOFT’s White Noise Sleep Sounds, started by Todd More in 2019, has about 50,000 listeners a day, putting it in the top 25% of all podcasts. Pre-roll ads net him $12.25 per thousand listens, which brings his monthly revenue to a whopping $18,375 per month.
  • 12 Hour Sound Machines (no loops or fades), run by Brandon Reed, was making white noise just to keep his baby asleep… but has now racked up 100,000 listeners and appears on most-popular Spotify charts all around the world.

According to Bloomberg12 Hour Sound Machines (no loops or fades) was so popular last year that it climbed to number 15 on the overall podcasts charts — right up there with Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert and The New York Times’ The Daily.

Chill operators
Podcasting is big business. The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers recently estimated that ad revenue wiould top $4 billion in just two short years. The beauty of white-noise podcasts is that they’re long (that’s kind of the point), which may give audiences leeway to listen to more ads than usual, both pre and post-episode (if they’re still awake for it). No one wants their chill time interrupted midway through by an ad.

Spotify-competitor Amazon has already caught the bigger trend going on here: people are looking for content that helps them take a breath. It’s no wonder the company is investing more in podcasts focused on meditation and wellness.

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