Crime Junkies: The Peculiar Rise of True Crime Podcasts on Spotify



True crime storytelling has become increasingly popular around the world, and 2019 delivered some of the most thrilling stories yet. While there are different ways to get your true crime fix, podcasts are tailormade in a way which you can’t find in other media. Spotify is currently giving podcast fans new, engaging ways to listen and discover audio content through a personalized experience so they can binge their favorite crime stories.


Listening to podcasts on Spotify grew by more than 50 percent in 2019, and true crime is one of the most popular genres, with My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark and Crime Junkie as some of the most streamed true crime podcasts on the platform in 2019. In 2020, fans can look forward to a fresh batch of true crime podcasts, including the infamous stories of Michelle Carter, Chris Watts, Henry Lee Lucas and Samuel Little, which are expected to launch throughout February and March.


Spotify is also unpacking why women are the ones most drawn to this genre. Listening to true crime podcasts has grown year over year with a 16 percent increase among women compared to men in 2019.


Why? Partly so women can learn survival methods if they ever find themselves in threatening situations, explains Dr. Amanda Vicary, a psychology professor at Illinois Wesleyan University. As a specialist in social-personality psychology who has researched this topic for several years, Dr. Vicary worked with Spotify to research why women are attracted to true crime stories.


“In reading these stories or listening to these podcasts, you learn how victims encountered threatening situations. You learn techniques to survive, even if they are as simple as locking your door,” Dr. Vicary explains. “Consciously or unconsciously, when you hear these stories, you’re learning what to do if it happens to you.”



Over the course of her research, Dr. Vicary has found:

Women feel more anxious and fearful than men when hearing true crime stories, partly because they’re afraid of being victims. But that isn’t enough to make them stop listening.

Women are particularly interested in the psychological elements of true crimes, as well as the survival methods used. They’re especially drawn to stories that include information about what set the killer off, how the victim escaped, and what signs to look for in someone about to turn violent.

Many women say listening to a true crime podcast has led them to adjust their behavior by locking doors, carrying mace, avoiding going out alone at night, or otherwise changing their habits to promote better safety.

You can download and start streaming Spotify today free of charge, or try one of Spotify’s Premium plans to gain on-demand access to 50 million tracks and 500,000 podcast titles.



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Image Sources:


--Caravaggio painting (1599)

--'Jack the Ripper' crime drawing (circa late-1800s)


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