Apple has announced that Apple Podcasts currently hosts more than 550,000 active shows, according to a new report by TechCrunch, with over fifty billion episodes streamed since the service launched with only 3,000 programs back in 2005. The report also notes an exponential increase in recent years, from only 10 billion in 2016, and 13.7 billion last year. Apple also revealed that the podcast Stuff You Should Know has become the first podcast to cross the 500 million download/stream threshold. The catalog of shows on Apple Podcasts is made up of 18.5 minion individual episodes across 155 countries and in more than 100 languages.
TechCrunch also notes that Apple is working to improve the quality of podcasts by enforcing standards that publishers will need to meet in order to use Apple’s Podcast Analytics tools, including ensuring that proper artwork and metadata is in place, as well as pushing toward higher quality standards such as mastering levels to ensure that shows have consistent volume when played in succession. Notably, however, it doesn’t appear at this point that Apple will be enforcing these rules for simply publishing podcasts, but rather merely for accessing the Analytics tools that major podcast publishers would want access to.