How Much Data do Podcasts Use?

One in four people listen to at least one podcast every week. If you’re streaming audio on an internet connection that has a monthly data cap – like fixed wireless internet, for example – you may need to limit how much data you spend listening to podcasts. Let’s take a look at how much data it takes to stream podcasts, and how you can change your settings to use less data.

Audio Quality Affects Data Use

Most streaming services automatically play audio on the highest possible quality setting, but usually have other lower quality options available. Each audio quality option has a different bitrate, which is the sample rate (number of individual audio “snapshots” per second) multiplied by the bit depth (the number of bits in each sample) of the stream. Audio quality settings vary from service to service, but here are the options on Spotify:

  • Low quality audio has a bitrate of 24 kbit/s.
  • Normal quality audio has a bitrate of 96 kbit/s – still lower than a CD.
  • High quality audio has a bitrate of 160 kbit/s – the same sound quality as a CD.
  • Very high-quality audio has a bitrate of 320 kbit/s – the maximum most devices can play.

So how do these options sound? Here’s how bitrate affects the audio quality of your podcast:

A podcast with a higher bitrate has better sound quality but uses more online data. Because different streaming services use different protocols, you’ll always use data at slightly different rates – even if you’re streaming two podcasts at the same bitrate. Here’s how much data streaming a podcast on Spotify uses per minute and 45-minute episode, based on audio quality.

24kbit/s 96kbit/s 160kbit/s 320kbit/s
Per minute 200 KB 700 KB 1.2 MB 2.4 MB
Per episode (45 minutes) 9 MB 30 MB 55 MB 105 MB

How Many Podcasts Can You Listen to with your Data Plan?

So how many podcasts can you stream on your data plan each month? Here’s the maximum, based on the audio quality of your stream and your monthly data cap:

24kbit/s 96kbit/s 160kbit/s 320kbit/s
2 GB 225 podcasts 65 podcasts 35 podcasts 20 podcasts
10 GB 1110 podcasts 335 podcasts 180 podcasts 95 podcasts
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

How to Adjust Your Audio Quality

To save data, stream podcasts at a lower bitrate. Here’s how to control the audio quality on a few popular podcast platforms:

Upgrade to Unlimited Data

If your business spend a lot of time streaming podcasts from your home-office, upgrade to an unlimited fixed wireless internet (Wi-Fi) plan with fast speeds and great rural coverage. With unlimited data, you can listen to hours of audio on multiple devices in your home without worrying about how much data you’re using.

Stephen Kota

About Stephen Kota

Founder & Primary Author

Stephen enjoys photography, boating and gardening. He cares for pet Kois in his water garden.

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