October 19, 2023

The 15 most popular podcasts right now

Explore the most popular podcasts of the moment. Discover trending topics and captivating hosts to find your next favorite podcast.
October 19, 2023

The 15 most popular podcasts right now

Explore the most popular podcasts of the moment. Discover trending topics and captivating hosts to find your next favorite podcast.
October 19, 2023
Elise Dopson
In this article
Start editing audio & video
This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
Matt D., Copywriter
Sign up

What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions
Start editing audio & video
This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
Matt D., Copywriter
Sign up

What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions

We’ll admit it—when it comes to podcasts, we at Descript are snobs. We’d rather recommend up and coming podcasts you may have never heard of than rehash the same enormous, beloved shows everyone else recommends.

But sometimes—say, if you need inspiration for your own show, or you’re brand new to podcasts and want something absolutely everyone likes—you want a list of the hands-down most popular podcasts out there. And in this article, we’re going to give that to you.

This guide shares 15 of the most popular podcasts right now, ranked by how many listeners they get per episode, so you can find your next favorite show or learn from creators who’ve built huge audiences and found lasting success.

Top 15 most listened to podcasts

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. Crime Junkie
  3. The Daily
  4. This American Life
  5. Call Her Daddy
  6. Dateline NBC
  7. Stuff You Should Know
  8. The Ben Shapiro Show
  9. Office Ladies
  10. SmartLess
  11. 2 Bears 1 Cave
  12. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
  13. Serial
  14. Impaulsive With Logan Paul
  15. This Past Weekend With Theo Von

1. The Joe Rogan Experience 

Image of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast cover art

Up first is The Joe Rogan Experience, the most listened-to podcast in the US, which is estimated to bring in 11 million listeners per episode. The show has become a cultural phenomenon and is credited with popularizing long-form podcasts (episodes range between two and four hours long.)

Joe Rogan’s podcast is just as controversial as it is popular, but its diehard fans keep coming back for the high-profile guests and Rogan’s hosting style, which involves thought-provoking questions that keep listeners engaged.

Notably, The Joe Rogan Experience is only available on Spotify. The podcast network is rumored to have spent an eye-watering $200 million on exclusive rights to the show—an investment that paid dividends, considering The Joe Rogan Experience is the most popular podcast in the world.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify

2. Crime Junkie

Image of Crime Junkie podcast logo

Crime Junkie is the second-most popular podcast, with an estimated 5.9 million listeners per episode. It’s a true crime show hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, known for its captivating storytelling and deep dives into criminal cases. Podcast topics range from unsolved mysteries to high-profile investigations—often retelling the events from the victims' perspective.

The Crime Junkie podcast quickly gained a massive following because its hosts are dedicated to telling stories factually and respectfully.

Now, Crime Junkie is the go-to podcast for true crime enthusiasts and those interested in criminal investigations. It’s consistently ranked among the best podcasts since its inception in December 2017.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

3. The Daily

Image of The Daily podcast cover art

As the name suggests, The Daily is a daily news podcast created by the New York Times. Journalists Michael Barbaro and Sabrina Tavernise release five episodes of the show every week, each of which is just 20 minutes long. 

The show has ​​3 billion downloads and typically follows a standard podcast format: focusing on one major news story or issue relevant to that day. The host often interviews other New York Times reporters and experts who add their perspectives to the news story.

Listeners might balk at listening to the same podcast every single day, but The Daily makes its up-to-the-minute news discussions easy to digest—episodes are just 20 minutes and always publish by 6 a.m., making the show an easy addition to any morning commute. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

4. This American Life 

Image of This American Life podcast logo

This American Life is the platonic ideal of a narrative nonfiction podcast. It’s hosted by Ira Glass, and tells non-fiction stories from American people—but that simple description doesn’t quite do it justice. Podcast topics span a wide range of subjects and explore different aspects of American life, society, culture, and personal experiences, always through a gripping narrative that will leave you wondering what will happen next.

Originally called Your Radio Playhouse, This American Life was one of the first podcasts ever created. Its first radio episode debuted on November 17, 1995—nearly a decade before podcasting was invented. Now, 4 million listeners tune into the podcast each week, in addition to 1.6 million people across 500+ public radio stations.

Since its inception, This American Life has gone on to receive incredible awards—including the Peabody Awards and the Pulitzer Prize—for its high-quality journalism and storytelling. In fact, This American Life won the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

5. Call Her Daddy 

Image of Call Her Daddy cover art

The Call Her Daddy podcast is a popular and controversial show hosted by influencer Alexandra Cooper. It was ranked the most popular podcast on Spotify Wrapped last year and is available on both Spotify and YouTube. 

Alex uses the video podcast as a place to talk about sex, dating, and relationships. The show delves into explicit content, with host Alex sharing her own experiences and offering advice to Call Her Daddy’s predominantly young, female audience.

Call Her Daddy also makes headlines with episodes that interview celebrities in pop culture, including Hailey Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Bella Poarch. The podcast’s impact on music artists, in particular, is shown in the rise of Spotify streams after an interview airs. In Call Her Daddy’s episode with Madison Beer, for example, the artist’s streams climbed 130% in just 48 hours

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

6. Dateline NBC 

Image of Dateline NBC podcast cover art on Spotify

Dateline NBC is a TV show that’s repurposed into a podcast. Its senior executive producer, David Corvo, said the show is “another extension for those that don’t want to or don’t watch the television program to experience it. It’s also a reward for superfans.”

Dateline NBC’s podcast covers a range of true crime stories, mysteries, and legal cases. The show has been downloaded 775 million times since its launch in 2019. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

7. Stuff You Should Know 

Image of Stuff You Should Know cover art on Spotify

Stuff You Should Know is a popular educational podcast hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant. The show, often abbreviated as SYSK, is known for breaking down complex subjects into understandable and entertaining discussions.

SYSK was acquired by iHeartMedia in 2018. Since then, the show has gone from strength to strength, with 1,500 episodes now in its archive. 

Hosts Josh and Chuck have fantastic chemistry, which is probably why Stuff You Should Know sits amongst the world’s most popular podcasts. Their presenting style makes even the most complex subjects accessible and fun to learn about—whether it’s dissecting the history of pinball machines or explaining the science behind black holes.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

8. The Ben Shapiro Show

Image of The Ben Shapiro Show podcast cover art

The Ben Shapiro Show is dubbed “the most fast-moving daily program in America.” Host Ben Shapiro promises to deliver hard-hitting truths about conservative political and social issues in its daily show. YouGov rated it as the 11th most popular podcast in the US.

The political podcast is known for its straightforward and often confrontational style, where Ben shares his viewpoints and sparks debates with guests. There are 1,800 episodes to date—all of which are available on major podcast sites like YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

9. Office Ladies 

Image of cover art for the Office Ladies podcast

Office Ladies is a popular podcast hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, both of whom played characters on the American version of The Office—one of the most popular TV series of all time.

In each show, Jenna and Angela revisit episodes of the TV show. They give behind-the-scenes insights, personal anecdotes, and commentary on the making of the show from their unique perspective as cast members.

What’s especially great about the podcast is that the hosts invite listeners to ask questions. This interactive element of the show makes it one of the most popular podcasts, helping it land position #22 on Apple Podcasts’ ranking of comedy podcasts in the United States.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

10. SmartLess 

Picture of the SmartLess podcast cover art

SmartLess is a popular comedy podcast hosted by three well-known comedians: Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. In each episode, one of the three hosts takes a turn bringing on a guest. But there’s a catch: the other two hosts have no prior knowledge of who the guest is or what they’ll talk about. 

All three hosts have a discussion with these surprise, sometimes-celebrity guests, asking questions, sharing stories, and creating an entertaining and often unpredictable dialogue. 

The surprise element of not knowing the guest in advance adds an extra layer of fun for both the hosts and the listeners, which may be why the popular podcast has built such a loyal audience.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

11. 2 Bears 1 Cave

Image of cover art for the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast

2 Bears 1 Cave is another comedy podcast hosted by Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer with one goal in mind: to make the other person laugh. 

The podcast is popular for its raunchy humor and the genuine camaraderie between the hosts. Each episode has a mix of comedy, storytelling, and witty banter that appeals to comedy fans looking for a lighthearted and entertaining podcast experience.

The podcast has such a loyal social media following that the hosts have even launched their own merchandise—a smart way for the creators to monetize their podcast outside of ads and sponsorship deals. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

12. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast

Image of Morbid podcast’s cover art

As the name suggests, Morbid is a true crime podcast, hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley. The show touches on a wide range of spooky true crime cases including murders, disappearances, and unsolved mysteries—all of which come with facts, details, and background of these real-life crime stories. 

The show is popular because it offers a mix of storytelling, research, and discussion, making it engaging for listeners who want to learn about and explore the darkest corners of true crime. The hosts’ respectful approach to the victims and their families also contribute to the show’s appeal. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

13. Serial

Image of Serial podcast logo

Serial is a true crime podcast created by another popular podcast on this list: This American Life. And just as This American Life was a pioneer of the narrative nonfiction podcast, Serial was a pioneer of the serialized true-crime podcast.

The first season of Serial, which launched in late 2014, focused on a single, long-form narrative, exploring the true crime story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The podcast got so much attention that prosecutors dropped the charges against Adnan in October 2022.

Serial’s host, investigative journalist Sarah Koenig, reexamined the case and presented new evidence through each episode in the series. The podcast's unique storytelling style, which unfolded the narrative week by week, created buzz and attracted a massive audience of true crime enthusiasts. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

14. Impaulsive with Logan Paul

Image of Impaulsive’s cover art

Impaulsive is a popular weekly podcast hosted by Logan Paul, a well-known YouTuber and internet personality. It’s known for its candid and unfiltered discussions on pop culture topics, entertainment, current events, and personal experiences. 

Impaulsive often features guest appearances from celebrities and influencers, which are largely how Impaulsive got so popular. Its YouTube channel boasts over 4.5 million subscribers and episodes often go viral—this interview with fellow YouTuber KSI, for example, has over 18 million views to date. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

15. This Past Weekend with Theo Von

Image of The Past Weekend podcast’s cover art

This Past Weekend is a popular comedy podcast hosted by comedian Theo Von. The host invites comedians, actors, and musicians to join him on the podcast to talk about everything from pop culture to personal growth—with a comedic twist, of course. 

This Past Weekend is a long-form podcast; episodes range from 1.5 hours to over 3 hours. The host also invites listeners to participate in the show by submitting a response to the “hotline,” and there’s also an option to upload a fan video that could get featured in an upcoming episode. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

The most popular podcasts by platform

Podcast popularity differs from platform to platform, especially when a certain show is exclusive to that channel (like The Joe Rogan Experience being available on Spotify only). Let’s break down the most popular shows across each podcast platform. 

Popular Spotify podcasts

Spotify is a huge podcast platform that allows listeners to tune into shows across all genres. The platform’s impact on podcasting is colossal—it’s paid millions to creators who have made their shows exclusive to Spotify. 

That said, not all chart-topping shows are Spotify exclusives. Here are the most popular Spotify podcasts right now: 

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce
  3. Hot Mess with Alix Earle
  4. Strike Force Five
  5. The Broski Report 
Image of the top podcasts on Spotify as of October 2023

Popular shows on Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts is the world’s most popular podcast directory. It’s a branch of iTunes that specializes in podcast episodes, and is the platform of choice for 41% of podcast listeners.  

The following shows currently top the Apple Podcast Charts:

  1. The Rest is Politics
  2. Stick to Football
  3. The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett
  4. The News Agents
  5. The Today Podcast 
Image of the top podcasts on Apple Podcasts as of October 2023

Popular YouTube podcasts

YouTube is a video-sharing platform, but many podcasters are taking advantage of its gigantic user base by turning their podcast into a video show. 

The most popular podcasts on YouTube as of this writing are:

  1. H3 Podcast 
  2. The Pat McAfee Show Live 
  3. Flagrant
  4. Club Shay Shay
  5. This Past Weekend
Image of the top podcasts on YouTube as of October 2023

Create a popular podcast with Descript

Some of the world’s most popular podcasts use Descript’s podcast editor to edit their shows. If you do too, you’re in good company. 

Get access to professional audio editing tools that help you create a great podcast. From its Studio Sound tool that removes background noise and enhances your voice to remote recording features to interview guests, you’ll get it all in Descript.

Most popular podcasts FAQs

What’s the number one podcast in the world?

The Joe Rogan Experience is the number one podcast. It’s only available on Spotify but attracts an estimated 11 million listeners for each episode. 

What are the most downloaded podcasts?

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience 
  2. Crime Junkie
  3. The Daily
  4. This American Life
  5. Call Her Daddy
  6. Dateline NBC
  7. Stuff You Should Know

What is the top podcast in the world right now?

The Joe Rogan Experience is the top podcast in the world right now. After Spotify bought exclusive rights to the show, more than 11 million people tune into the podcast on a regular basis.

Elise Dopson
Elise Dopson is a freelance writer, creator, and fierce Descript user. She's also the co-founder of Peak Freelance.
Share this article
Start creating—for free
Sign up
Join millions of others creating with Descript

The 15 most popular podcasts right now

Most popular podcasts

We’ll admit it—when it comes to podcasts, we at Descript are snobs. We’d rather recommend up and coming podcasts you may have never heard of than rehash the same enormous, beloved shows everyone else recommends.

But sometimes—say, if you need inspiration for your own show, or you’re brand new to podcasts and want something absolutely everyone likes—you want a list of the hands-down most popular podcasts out there. And in this article, we’re going to give that to you.

This guide shares 15 of the most popular podcasts right now, ranked by how many listeners they get per episode, so you can find your next favorite show or learn from creators who’ve built huge audiences and found lasting success.

Record or import audio, make edits, add fades, music, and sound effects, then publish online, export the audio in the format of your choice or send it directly to your hosting service.
Create your podcast from start to finish with Descript.

Top 15 most listened to podcasts

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. Crime Junkie
  3. The Daily
  4. This American Life
  5. Call Her Daddy
  6. Dateline NBC
  7. Stuff You Should Know
  8. The Ben Shapiro Show
  9. Office Ladies
  10. SmartLess
  11. 2 Bears 1 Cave
  12. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
  13. Serial
  14. Impaulsive With Logan Paul
  15. This Past Weekend With Theo Von

1. The Joe Rogan Experience 

Image of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast cover art

Up first is The Joe Rogan Experience, the most listened-to podcast in the US, which is estimated to bring in 11 million listeners per episode. The show has become a cultural phenomenon and is credited with popularizing long-form podcasts (episodes range between two and four hours long.)

Joe Rogan’s podcast is just as controversial as it is popular, but its diehard fans keep coming back for the high-profile guests and Rogan’s hosting style, which involves thought-provoking questions that keep listeners engaged.

Notably, The Joe Rogan Experience is only available on Spotify. The podcast network is rumored to have spent an eye-watering $200 million on exclusive rights to the show—an investment that paid dividends, considering The Joe Rogan Experience is the most popular podcast in the world.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify

2. Crime Junkie

Image of Crime Junkie podcast logo

Crime Junkie is the second-most popular podcast, with an estimated 5.9 million listeners per episode. It’s a true crime show hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, known for its captivating storytelling and deep dives into criminal cases. Podcast topics range from unsolved mysteries to high-profile investigations—often retelling the events from the victims' perspective.

The Crime Junkie podcast quickly gained a massive following because its hosts are dedicated to telling stories factually and respectfully.

Now, Crime Junkie is the go-to podcast for true crime enthusiasts and those interested in criminal investigations. It’s consistently ranked among the best podcasts since its inception in December 2017.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

3. The Daily

Image of The Daily podcast cover art

As the name suggests, The Daily is a daily news podcast created by the New York Times. Journalists Michael Barbaro and Sabrina Tavernise release five episodes of the show every week, each of which is just 20 minutes long. 

The show has ​​3 billion downloads and typically follows a standard podcast format: focusing on one major news story or issue relevant to that day. The host often interviews other New York Times reporters and experts who add their perspectives to the news story.

Listeners might balk at listening to the same podcast every single day, but The Daily makes its up-to-the-minute news discussions easy to digest—episodes are just 20 minutes and always publish by 6 a.m., making the show an easy addition to any morning commute. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

4. This American Life 

Image of This American Life podcast logo

This American Life is the platonic ideal of a narrative nonfiction podcast. It’s hosted by Ira Glass, and tells non-fiction stories from American people—but that simple description doesn’t quite do it justice. Podcast topics span a wide range of subjects and explore different aspects of American life, society, culture, and personal experiences, always through a gripping narrative that will leave you wondering what will happen next.

Originally called Your Radio Playhouse, This American Life was one of the first podcasts ever created. Its first radio episode debuted on November 17, 1995—nearly a decade before podcasting was invented. Now, 4 million listeners tune into the podcast each week, in addition to 1.6 million people across 500+ public radio stations.

Since its inception, This American Life has gone on to receive incredible awards—including the Peabody Awards and the Pulitzer Prize—for its high-quality journalism and storytelling. In fact, This American Life won the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

5. Call Her Daddy 

Image of Call Her Daddy cover art

The Call Her Daddy podcast is a popular and controversial show hosted by influencer Alexandra Cooper. It was ranked the most popular podcast on Spotify Wrapped last year and is available on both Spotify and YouTube. 

Alex uses the video podcast as a place to talk about sex, dating, and relationships. The show delves into explicit content, with host Alex sharing her own experiences and offering advice to Call Her Daddy’s predominantly young, female audience.

Call Her Daddy also makes headlines with episodes that interview celebrities in pop culture, including Hailey Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Bella Poarch. The podcast’s impact on music artists, in particular, is shown in the rise of Spotify streams after an interview airs. In Call Her Daddy’s episode with Madison Beer, for example, the artist’s streams climbed 130% in just 48 hours

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

6. Dateline NBC 

Image of Dateline NBC podcast cover art on Spotify

Dateline NBC is a TV show that’s repurposed into a podcast. Its senior executive producer, David Corvo, said the show is “another extension for those that don’t want to or don’t watch the television program to experience it. It’s also a reward for superfans.”

Dateline NBC’s podcast covers a range of true crime stories, mysteries, and legal cases. The show has been downloaded 775 million times since its launch in 2019. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

7. Stuff You Should Know 

Image of Stuff You Should Know cover art on Spotify

Stuff You Should Know is a popular educational podcast hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant. The show, often abbreviated as SYSK, is known for breaking down complex subjects into understandable and entertaining discussions.

SYSK was acquired by iHeartMedia in 2018. Since then, the show has gone from strength to strength, with 1,500 episodes now in its archive. 

Hosts Josh and Chuck have fantastic chemistry, which is probably why Stuff You Should Know sits amongst the world’s most popular podcasts. Their presenting style makes even the most complex subjects accessible and fun to learn about—whether it’s dissecting the history of pinball machines or explaining the science behind black holes.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

8. The Ben Shapiro Show

Image of The Ben Shapiro Show podcast cover art

The Ben Shapiro Show is dubbed “the most fast-moving daily program in America.” Host Ben Shapiro promises to deliver hard-hitting truths about conservative political and social issues in its daily show. YouGov rated it as the 11th most popular podcast in the US.

The political podcast is known for its straightforward and often confrontational style, where Ben shares his viewpoints and sparks debates with guests. There are 1,800 episodes to date—all of which are available on major podcast sites like YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

9. Office Ladies 

Image of cover art for the Office Ladies podcast

Office Ladies is a popular podcast hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, both of whom played characters on the American version of The Office—one of the most popular TV series of all time.

In each show, Jenna and Angela revisit episodes of the TV show. They give behind-the-scenes insights, personal anecdotes, and commentary on the making of the show from their unique perspective as cast members.

What’s especially great about the podcast is that the hosts invite listeners to ask questions. This interactive element of the show makes it one of the most popular podcasts, helping it land position #22 on Apple Podcasts’ ranking of comedy podcasts in the United States.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

10. SmartLess 

Picture of the SmartLess podcast cover art

SmartLess is a popular comedy podcast hosted by three well-known comedians: Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. In each episode, one of the three hosts takes a turn bringing on a guest. But there’s a catch: the other two hosts have no prior knowledge of who the guest is or what they’ll talk about. 

All three hosts have a discussion with these surprise, sometimes-celebrity guests, asking questions, sharing stories, and creating an entertaining and often unpredictable dialogue. 

The surprise element of not knowing the guest in advance adds an extra layer of fun for both the hosts and the listeners, which may be why the popular podcast has built such a loyal audience.

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

11. 2 Bears 1 Cave

Image of cover art for the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast

2 Bears 1 Cave is another comedy podcast hosted by Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer with one goal in mind: to make the other person laugh. 

The podcast is popular for its raunchy humor and the genuine camaraderie between the hosts. Each episode has a mix of comedy, storytelling, and witty banter that appeals to comedy fans looking for a lighthearted and entertaining podcast experience.

The podcast has such a loyal social media following that the hosts have even launched their own merchandise—a smart way for the creators to monetize their podcast outside of ads and sponsorship deals. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

12. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast

Image of Morbid podcast’s cover art

As the name suggests, Morbid is a true crime podcast, hosted by Alaina Urquhart and Ashleigh Kelley. The show touches on a wide range of spooky true crime cases including murders, disappearances, and unsolved mysteries—all of which come with facts, details, and background of these real-life crime stories. 

The show is popular because it offers a mix of storytelling, research, and discussion, making it engaging for listeners who want to learn about and explore the darkest corners of true crime. The hosts’ respectful approach to the victims and their families also contribute to the show’s appeal. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

13. Serial

Image of Serial podcast logo

Serial is a true crime podcast created by another popular podcast on this list: This American Life. And just as This American Life was a pioneer of the narrative nonfiction podcast, Serial was a pioneer of the serialized true-crime podcast.

The first season of Serial, which launched in late 2014, focused on a single, long-form narrative, exploring the true crime story of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The podcast got so much attention that prosecutors dropped the charges against Adnan in October 2022.

Serial’s host, investigative journalist Sarah Koenig, reexamined the case and presented new evidence through each episode in the series. The podcast's unique storytelling style, which unfolded the narrative week by week, created buzz and attracted a massive audience of true crime enthusiasts. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

14. Impaulsive with Logan Paul

Image of Impaulsive’s cover art

Impaulsive is a popular weekly podcast hosted by Logan Paul, a well-known YouTuber and internet personality. It’s known for its candid and unfiltered discussions on pop culture topics, entertainment, current events, and personal experiences. 

Impaulsive often features guest appearances from celebrities and influencers, which are largely how Impaulsive got so popular. Its YouTube channel boasts over 4.5 million subscribers and episodes often go viral—this interview with fellow YouTuber KSI, for example, has over 18 million views to date. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

15. This Past Weekend with Theo Von

Image of The Past Weekend podcast’s cover art

This Past Weekend is a popular comedy podcast hosted by comedian Theo Von. The host invites comedians, actors, and musicians to join him on the podcast to talk about everything from pop culture to personal growth—with a comedic twist, of course. 

This Past Weekend is a long-form podcast; episodes range from 1.5 hours to over 3 hours. The host also invites listeners to participate in the show by submitting a response to the “hotline,” and there’s also an option to upload a fan video that could get featured in an upcoming episode. 

🎧 LISTEN ON: Spotify | Apple Podcasts

The most popular podcasts by platform

Podcast popularity differs from platform to platform, especially when a certain show is exclusive to that channel (like The Joe Rogan Experience being available on Spotify only). Let’s break down the most popular shows across each podcast platform. 

Popular Spotify podcasts

Spotify is a huge podcast platform that allows listeners to tune into shows across all genres. The platform’s impact on podcasting is colossal—it’s paid millions to creators who have made their shows exclusive to Spotify. 

That said, not all chart-topping shows are Spotify exclusives. Here are the most popular Spotify podcasts right now: 

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce
  3. Hot Mess with Alix Earle
  4. Strike Force Five
  5. The Broski Report 
Image of the top podcasts on Spotify as of October 2023

Popular shows on Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts is the world’s most popular podcast directory. It’s a branch of iTunes that specializes in podcast episodes, and is the platform of choice for 41% of podcast listeners.  

The following shows currently top the Apple Podcast Charts:

  1. The Rest is Politics
  2. Stick to Football
  3. The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett
  4. The News Agents
  5. The Today Podcast 
Image of the top podcasts on Apple Podcasts as of October 2023

Popular YouTube podcasts

YouTube is a video-sharing platform, but many podcasters are taking advantage of its gigantic user base by turning their podcast into a video show. 

The most popular podcasts on YouTube as of this writing are:

  1. H3 Podcast 
  2. The Pat McAfee Show Live 
  3. Flagrant
  4. Club Shay Shay
  5. This Past Weekend
Image of the top podcasts on YouTube as of October 2023

Create a popular podcast with Descript

Some of the world’s most popular podcasts use Descript’s podcast editor to edit their shows. If you do too, you’re in good company. 

Get access to professional audio editing tools that help you create a great podcast. From its Studio Sound tool that removes background noise and enhances your voice to remote recording features to interview guests, you’ll get it all in Descript.

Most popular podcasts FAQs

What’s the number one podcast in the world?

The Joe Rogan Experience is the number one podcast. It’s only available on Spotify but attracts an estimated 11 million listeners for each episode. 

What are the most downloaded podcasts?

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience 
  2. Crime Junkie
  3. The Daily
  4. This American Life
  5. Call Her Daddy
  6. Dateline NBC
  7. Stuff You Should Know

What is the top podcast in the world right now?

The Joe Rogan Experience is the top podcast in the world right now. After Spotify bought exclusive rights to the show, more than 11 million people tune into the podcast on a regular basis.

Featured articles:

No items found.

Articles you might find interesting

Podcasting

How to nail a good podcast topic

Knowing how to turn an idea for a podcast into an actual, repeatable, compelling show is critical for any podcast creator. 

Podcasting

The 11 best podcast recording software picks for 2024

Starting a new podcast? Whether you’re recording video or just audio, here are 11 of the best podcast recording software options to choose from.

Video

Best video equipment to produce quality videos (2024)

If you want your videos to look and sound professional, you need to get your hands on a few essential pieces of production gear, which you can borrow, rent, or buy.

Video

Understanding Master Shots in Cinematography

Staging and framing a great master shot is one of the elemental movie techniques for any aspiring director. Read on to learn about master shots in cinematography.

Podcasting

12 podcast tips to take your show to the next level

Looking to elevate your podcast and build a loyal audience? Here are 12 podcasting tips to help you produce a show you’re proud of.

Related articles:

Share this article

Get started for free →