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Online Trends

Published April 20th 2020

Pandemic Podcasts: The Perfect Timing of Brené Brown’s ‘Unlocking Us’

Podcasts can make the most mundane of tasks interesting. But now that our lives have been disrupted, what part do they play in keeping people entertained?

Restrictions on travel mean that many of us are working from or sitting at home with a whole bunch of free time on our hands.

We’re baking, exercising, and doing DIY – but what are we listening to while we pass the time?

In March, chatter about listening to podcasts rose every week, indicating renewed interest in tuning in.

We found over 60k mentions of the practice in the week beginning 30 March, up 25% compared to the first week of the month.

Listening while I ___

People are discussing how they are enjoying podcasts while doing a whole range of lockdown activities:

While some are still talking about listening to podcasts while in transit, cooking was the top activity we found.

We’ve discovered that many are taking up baking as a hobby while in lockdown. This extra time spent in the kitchen with a need for something to listen to appears to be doing good things for podcast listening numbers.

Exercising and relaxing in the bath were also pretty popular.

Many of these mentions are driven by self care and ‘things to do while in isolation’ content, and Tumblr users appear to be among the biggest advocates.

A podcast for our time

So, people are listening to podcasts, and podcasts are associated with self care and staying sane during lockdown.

What kind of podcast might do well in this environment?

Enter Brené Brown, with her new podcast ‘Unlocking Us.’ It’s the number one podcast in the US at the moment, and we found thousands of people talking about it online.

Brown is known for her feel-good takes on life, and has done the research to back it all up.

The release of ‘Unlocking Us’ couldn’t have been better timed, and it’s a good illustration of how life in the shadow of the pandemic is affecting cultural consumption.

This analysis originally appeared in our daily Covid-19 data bulletin. Get the latest insights straight to your inbox for free – sign up here.


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