Darknet Diaries stats and analytics for 2021

Jan 1, 2021 - Dec 31, 2021

Total downloads (measured by Megaphone and verified by Podtrac)


Downloads per day


Each spike you see is because and episode was released on that day. The blue is this year the purple is last year’s daily download stats.

Growth for this year was pretty good! Last year’s total downloads were 15,263,255, which means this years numbers rose by 50%. The year started out a little below what was going on in 2020, but the beginning of 2020 didn’t have a pandemic yet so there was great growth at that time.

The extra spike in April was when I released an extra episode sponsored entirely by Cybereason. The missing spike in September is when I took a break for that week. The extra spike in October is when I dropped a friends podcast in my feed to promote it.

Downloads by month


Amazing month over month growth! Last year was sort of up and down all year almost being flat for the year.

Notable 2021 Events

Jan - May - Spent $4500 promoting the show on a bunch of different podcast players. This was documented in a YouTube vid here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijEgWrlPrJw

Feb 20 - A Reddit user posted about the show and made it to the front page! https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/locs00/til_a_professional_security_tester_named_jayson_e/. Lesson here is if you want a bunch of karma, post about the show!

Mar - Did a cross promo with rocketship.fm

April - Did a cross promo with one of Slate’s podcasts

April - Did a cross promo with Twenty Thousand Hz

April - Did a cross promo with one of Pushkin Industries podcasts

April 14 - Lex Fridman Tweeted about the show. A nice plug from a Twitter account with 600k followers.

April 7 - Forbes wrote and article about the show.

April 11 - Mashable wrote an article about the show.

May - Did a cross promo with a CBC podcast called A Death In Cryptoland.

Aug 4th - Spotify featured the show Aug 4th to Aug 8.

Aug 4th - At the same time, and a total surprise to me, Apple was featuring me in Apple Podcasts Canada.

Aug 23rd - Apple featured the show in the US! This is always a big deal and I wrote a blog post about what the effect was.

Sep 21 - Apple Podcasts (600k followers) Tweeted about my show.

Oct - The show was listed in Spotify’s The One campaign. Which was a survey to help people find their new favorite podcast. Not all podcasts were listed here so it was an honor to be listed.

Nov 19 - The Australian wrote an article about the show.

Dec 8 - The LA Times wrote an article mentioning the show.

Marketing Summary

Lots went on in 2021! 5 promo swaps with big podcasts is always great. I highly recommend doing promo swaps with any podcast that’s around your size. You can read more about this here.

I didn’t enter any award contests this year. I’m content with the Webby and Shorty awards I got last year and want to see others get a chance to get one.

Getting written up in some news outlets doesn’t really bring in that many new listeners by itself. However, it’s a great thing to have though since you can leverage it in other ways. Such as posting it to your site or telling people on social media that the podcast was written up. This is social proofing and others will be more likely to try a show if it’s already getting talked about. You can also use it to try to get verified on Twitter as the requirement is to be written up in a news outlet.

The biggest needle mover was being featured in Apple Podcasts. I am lucky enough to have people who work at Apple Podcasts that actually listen to the show and like it. So I’ve had some phone calls with them and email exchanges. They have been very helpful at helping promote my show and they say it’s because they want to help indie creators more.

User Agent/App

Spotify 7149895 31
AppleCoreMedia 3728032 16
Apple Podcasts 3124097 14
Google Podcasts on Android 1459397 6
Pocket Casts 1210052 5
Podcast Addict 1024331 4
unknown 1018513 4
Chrome 771328 3
Overcast 624221 3
Castbox 509826 2
Stitcher 282480 1


United States 10262525 45
Australia 1749592 8
Canada 1305052 6
Germany 1277892 6
United Kingdom 1213876 5
United Kingdom 803714 4
Sweden 750078 3
Netherlands 649001 3
Norway 468475 2
Denmark 390903 2
India 328467 1

Top 10 Episodes of 2021

100: NSO 656,799 Aug 31, 2021
92: The Pirate Bay 639,148 May 11, 2021
99: The Spy 632,361 Aug 17, 2021
93: Kik 555,090 May 25, 2021
102: Money Maker 513,323 Oct 12, 2021
98: Zero Day Brokers 509,543 Aug 3, 2021
83: NSA Cryptologists 506,657 Jan 19, 2021
96: The Police Station Incident 494,187 Jul 6, 2021
95: Jon & Brian's Big Adventure 493,454 Jun 22, 2021
97: The Pizza Problem 492,507 Jul 20, 2021

Top Episode of All Time

Ep 1: The Phreaky World of PBX Hacking 656,833 Sep 1, 2017
100: NSO 656,799 Aug 31, 2021
92: The Pirate Bay 639,148 May 11, 2021
99: The Spy 632,361 Aug 17, 2021
Ep 45: XBox Underground (Part 1) 599,668 Aug 20, 2019
53: Shadow Brokers 579,464 Dec 10, 2019
93: Kik 555,090 May 25, 2021
54: NotPetya 550,082 Dec 24, 2019
Ep 47: Project Raven 533,527 Sep 17, 2019
59: The Courthouse 528,449 Feb 18, 2020

End of year podcast app stats

Podcast Addict:


Apple Podcasts:

I used to post the Apple Podcasts Technology chart for the year. But this year I had significant appearances in the All Categories chart so I’m posting it instead. Pretty much for the whole year I was in the top 8 in the Technology category. At the end of August was when Apple featured the podcast, which is what that big spike is in the middle. But it seems that since then it’s returned to the All charts which is very exciting!

source: chartable.com

Pocket Casts:

Pocket Casts listed the show as the 9th most subscribed show in 2021


My Spotify 2021 Wrapped always blows me away.


Apple Podcasts Paid Subscriptions:

New this year we added Apple Podcasts Paid subscriptions to the mix. Apple users can pay $5 a month to get bonus episodes and ad free episodes. Here is how that performed this year.

Ending the year with around 1800 paying subscribers on Apple Podcasts. They pay $5 a month, Apple takes 30% of that. So that’s about $6,300/mo revenue from that. Pretty good because I put almost no promotion efforts into getting people to subscribe to that, and the Patreon numbers didn’t go down noticeably.

Website Analytics

I no longer get accurate website stats. In August 2020 I took out the Google Analytics javascript code because I didn’t want any js trackers on my site. And I lost visibility to a lot of analytics from that.

Social Media end of year stats

Twitter (Jack): 81.4k followers
Twitter (Darknet Diaries): 74.4k followers
Instagram: 26.6k followers
Facebook (Darknet Diaries): 24.4k followers
Linked In (Jack): 5,200 connections
Subreddit members: 19.7k
Discord members: 10.3k
YouTube subs: 25.9k

I try to post to Twitter once a day. While Instagram and Facebook I only post to once every 2 weeks. The Twitter growth has almost doubled in the last year while Instagram and Facebook have only grown by about 10%. This is a clear indicator that if you want to grow your social media, post on it a lot.

Previous stats from 2018.

Previous stats from 2019.

Previous stats from 2020.

Plans/goals for 2022:

  • I plan to continue to podcast throughout 2022.
  • I think paying subscribers deserve more bonus content and will be looking to find ways to deliver that. It’s been really hard to get bonus content out to them and I feel guilty for not providing more.
  • I’ve been getting deeper into cryptocurrencies and blockchain and with the programmability of smart contracts I plan to do something creative with them.
  • I would like to write a book in 2022. I’ve already started planning with some people to help make it happen.
  • Will be creating a Spanish version of the podcast. We have 1 episode done (darknetdiaries.com/es) and will be pumping out more throughout the year.
  • Will be posting all new episodes and back episodes to YouTube with a little bit of video to go with it. The video will just be a looped animation and not correlate to what’s being talked about in the show.
  • Will be working with more producers and writers to help publish episodes. The goal isn’t to release episodes more often but instead it’s to free up my (Jack’s) time so I can build other things that excite me.

Here’s to an exciting 2022, the best is yet to come.