5 million downloads for Animal Spirits!

My favorite investing podcast, Animal Spirits, just hit a major milestone this week and I’m so excited about this that I have to share it:

Five million downloads since the podcast began. That’s a huge number.

Animal Spirits began on a lark when my coworkers Michael and Ben wondered aloud whether anyone else would want to listen to some of the investment conversations they were having by phone each week – Michael and I were sharing an office on Park Ave and 40th Street in Manhattan while Ben was in his own office back in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I could only hear half of these conversations – Michael’s half – but I knew there would be an audience for it. A few years later, and it now seems obvious that this would have been a hit.

Animal Spirits comes out each week on Wednesday morning. Its cohosts are two of the most well-read and informed investment commentators in the industry. Michael and Ben both serve on my firm’s Investment Committee and have two of the most widely read blogs in all of financial media. Their give-and-take is so natural that the experience of listening to the pod is like being in the room with two of your friends who are endlessly passionate and curious about the markets. There’s nothing like it. They cover 20 to 25 topics in around 35 minutes each week, rather than dwelling on one 60 to 90 minute interview, which is how most other financial podcasts are structured.

As far as listenership, Michael and Ben are in elite company. The average podcast episode that has been live for 30 days has only 141 downloads. Ben and Mike are averaging 25k downloads for each week’s new episode. And while there are over one million podcasts in existence, almost none of them have any audience whatsoever; the vast majority eventually grind to a halt and disappear. According to Libsyn, “If you have over 3400 downloads you are in the top 10%. If you have over 9000 downloads you are in the top 5%.”

It’s fair to say that 5 million lifetime downloads puts Animal Spirits in the category of royalty. Especially when you consider how small the universe is for investment and financial content to begin with (it’s probably got only 10% of the potential audience that sports and entertainment have).

So congrats to Ben and Michael on the major milestone. If you haven’t made AS part of your weekly routine, I suggest correcting that immediately!

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