Are Podcasts Really Just a Guy Thing?

Jonathan Skillings posts over on C|Net today that a survey has indicated that 78% of those who have ever listened to a podcast are male? Could that be right? Is podcasting really just a guy thing?

First of all, I wonder what the numbers are for music buying in general. I have no empirical data to cite, but over my 45 years it has been my experience that guys are generally, for whatever reason, more into music than women. My wife listens to the radio all the time in the car and she’s been married to a musician/songwriter/music nut for 12 years, but she doesn’t care enough about music to go out and buy a CD. In fact, I don’t believe she has bought a CD for herself since I’ve known her. Her friends are mostly the same way as far as I can tell. Most of my non-musician male friends buy at least a couple of CDs a year. Some many more.

So my question is: are the numbers for podcasting different from the numbers for music as a whole or merely representative of the numbers for music as a whole?

I can add two podcast-specific points. First, the only people I know who actually own an iPod are both women. While I have no idea if they listen to podcasts, they have the gear to do so, which puts them at the musical frontier of my little world. Second, 3 of the 4 people who have ever commented to me in the real world about my podcast have been women. And all of them wanted to know how to listen over the internet- without having to download something into a computer program and then move it to a music player. Again, I think most people want easy and clicking the play button is easier than downloading and moving. Especially when you listen at a computer. And I bet more podcasts are listened to at a computer than in the car (again, I have no empirical data; this is just my hunch).

So I don’t think podcasting is only a guy thing. I hope not. Either way, the generation of very tech savvy girls that are growing up here in my house, in my neighborhood and the world will have something to say about that one day. If podcasting becomes a permanent part of our culture, I believe that “girl power” will have a lot to do with it.

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