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The Uncertain Future of Podcast Discovery Amid TikTok Ban Threat

Introduction: The potential ban on TikTok has cast a shadow over the podcasting industry, where the platform has been touted as a key tool for discovery. However, even podcasters who have managed to gain traction on TikTok find the link between engagement on the app and actual podcast listening to be inconsistent at best.

Impending Threat of TikTok Ban:

  1. The US House of Representatives passed a bill that could force ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, to sell the platform or face a ban in the US.
  2. If enacted, this ban could significantly alter the social media landscape but might have a lesser impact on podcasting strategies.

Limited Success on TikTok:

  1. While some podcasters, like Uncah Jamz and NPR’s Planet Money, have found success on TikTok, larger outlets often struggle to gain traction.
  2. The relationship between TikTok engagement and podcast listenership remains difficult to quantify.

Podcasters’ Adaptation Strategies:

  1. Some podcasters, like Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere Daily, have observed minimal click-through rates from TikTok to their podcasts.
  2. Arndt emphasizes the importance of traditional marketing strategies over social media promotion for podcast growth.
  3. However, podcasters like Cristina Lumague have experienced temporary spikes in listenership from viral TikTok videos, highlighting the platform’s potential impact.

Advocacy Against the Ban:

  1. Lumague and other TikTok users are advocating against the ban, emphasizing its role in content discovery and engagement.
  2. While some podcasters may consider shifting to platforms like Instagram, Lumague argues that Instagram’s format and aesthetics differ significantly from TikTok’s casual and accessible style.

Conclusion: The potential TikTok ban poses uncertainties for podcasters who rely on the platform for content discovery and audience engagement. While some may seek alternatives like Instagram, the unique appeal and reach of TikTok present challenges that other platforms may not adequately address. As podcasters navigate this uncertain landscape, the future of podcast discovery remains in flux.


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