Humankind has always been fascinated with understanding why we do what we do.
This interest applies to heinous acts as well, as tales of the dark side of humanity have enthralled us throughout history.
The most recent iteration of our engagement with these curiosities is true crime podcasts.
Read on to learn more about this podcast genre.
What Is a True Crime Podcast?
True crime podcasts are audio recordings that discuss different elements of true crime.
The exact content and composition of true crime podcasts can vary. Some cover different topics in each episode, while others discuss one topic throughout several episodes.
These podcasts can come out weekly, multiple times a week, or for a limited run.
Once you familiarize yourself with how to listen to a podcast, this form of media becomes easily accessible at your convenience.
What Does a True Crime Podcaster Talk About?
A true crime podcaster is someone who makes a podcast.
Each podcast can have a single podcaster or multiple.
In this genre, podcasters discuss different elements of true crime.
Some talk about murder or other crimes, such as fraud, robbery, extortion, or conspiracy.
Each podcast is different, fulfilling unique niches and looking at aspects of crime.
What Is Included In a True Crime Podcast?
Every true crime podcast is a little bit different. But they also share some common elements.
- Background and Research: Solid research and background description are key elements of true crime podcasts. They give the audience insight into the victim’s personal info, the crime’s location, and more. Each podcast varies on the extent of information provided.
- Storytelling: Storytelling makes up the majority of the podcast. Some podcasters opt for a casual and conversational storytelling style. Others prefer a more structured scripted style.
- Honoring of victims: The best podcasts in this genre make an effort to honor the victims. Some do this by minimizing grisly details, while others make sure their focus is on knowing the victim rather than glorifying the perpetrator. Moreover, some podcasts also donate to victim help funds or work to solve crimes.
- Good audio quality: You can listen to podcasts virtually anywhere nowadays. So with a worldwide audience in mind, podcasters need to put a bit of thought into the audio quality of the podcast. Microphone type, recording set-up, and sound mixing can determine sound quality.
Types of True Crime Podcasts
The true crime field is a niche within the podcasting world, containing several sub-niches.
Some sub-niches are defined by the pod’s structure, while others vary based on content.
True crime podcasts can be anything from a long-term weekly podcast that explores different murders each week to a short-term 10-episode series focused on one non-deadly scam.
True Crime Podcasts for Beginners
For those inexperienced with the true crime genre, it can be difficult to know where to start.
There is not necessarily a structured true crime genre for beginners.
Some podcasts are potentially a better choice for beginners, though.
Those pods provide the listener with an easy-to-follow and engaging introduction to many elements of true crime.
They may also be less graphic.
True Crime Podcasts About Murder
While true crime podcasts may often revolve around murder, the genre can contain information on several different crimes.
If you want podcasts that focus primarily on murder, you should check this genre.
True Crime Podcasts About One Case
As mentioned, one important type of true crime podcast is a series that focuses on a single case throughout several episodes.
Typically, these podcasts dive deep into a case, discussing different elements in each episode.
Components of these episodes include interviews, scripts, history, and more.
Best True Crime Podcasts: 15 Examples
Every listener looks for different things during their podcast experience.
So, one person’s favorite true crime podcast may vary from someone else’s.
Luckily, there are several fantastic pods to check out that suit all tastes.
Here are 15 examples of great true crime podcasts.
How Many True Crime Podcasts Are There?
There are over 200 true crime podcasts in operation as of 2022.
Some podcasts are independent, while others are part of a larger network.
These podcasts make money in several ways, including with ads, merchandise, and membership fees.
True Crime Podcasts for Beginners
If you are new to the true crime genre, you may want to jump in and listen to everything.
While this is a viable approach, there are also certain types of podcasts you may want to start with.
These podcasts still discuss intense topics, such as murder.
However, they often have a comedic bent or are organized in a way that provides easy listening.
1. Wine and Crime
Wine and Crime is a successful podcast by three childhood friends.
Each weekly episode has a wine pairing and focuses on a specific theme, such as family secrets, engineering, or floral fatalities.
While murder is a common topic, this pod also discusses other types of crime.
This podcast is successful after cultivating a loyal fanbase with around 130,000 listeners per episode.
2. Crime Junkies
Crime Junkies is a popular weekly podcast that discusses several types of crime, including murder, conspiracy, and cold cases.
Besides this podcast, the creators have a podcast network with several other podcasts.
The podcast network has around 7 million weekly listeners.
3. You Must Remember Manson
You Must Remember Manson is a season from the You Must Remember This Podcast, which talks about different elements of old Hollywood.
In this series, the host discusses the murders committed by Charles Manson’s cult.
This podcast is successful thanks to its level of research and in-depth analysis.
4. The Dream
The Dream focuses on exploring potential crimes committed by multilevel marketing companies (MLM).
It includes interviews with victims of MLMs and deep dives into the history of such organizations.
This podcast is partially successful due to the increasing interest in MLMs in the media.
5. Scam Goddess
Scam Goddess is a podcast that looks at scams of all kinds with a comedic bent.
This podcast is ideal if you want a light foray into the true crime that is less dark than other podcasts.
The pod consists of the host’s conversation with a guest about scams in history and recent scams.
True Crime Podcasts About Murder
If you primarily want podcasts about murder rather than a general true crime, there are plenty of options.
Some of these podcasts step into other topics, but murder remains their focus.
6. My Favorite Murder
My Favorite Murder is one of the most popular true crime podcasts around.
Each episode consists of the two hosts discussing a few cases. Fans love the casual energy of the podcast and the community the hosts built.
7. Small Town Murder
Small Town Murder consists of two hosts discussing a different murder in a small town each week.
Each episode starts with a rundown of the statistics surrounding a small town and continues with a murder that happened in that small town.
8. The Murder Diaries
The Murder Diaries is a podcast that tells stories of true crime while trying to provide focus on victims.
Listeners love this podcast for its ability to bring stories to light conversationally.
9. And That’s Why We Drink
And That’s Why We Drink discusses several forms of crime but focuses primarily on murder.
This podcast is another option that revolves around a few co-hosts talking about true crime.
10. The Last Podcast on the Left
The Last Podcast on the Left is a robust podcast that goes beyond talking only about murder.
It covers various other topics ranging from history to cryptids.
It has a strong fanbase and is the flagship of a large podcast network.
True Crime Podcasts About One Case
While some podcasts look at a different case each week, other podcasts explore a single case throughout several episodes.
Some of these podcasts focus on a different single case every season.
In many ways, Serial is the spark that lit the true-crime podcast craze.
The first podcast focused on the murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of Adnan Syed.
12. Dr. Death
Dr. Death is a podcast series that focuses on the story of Christopher Duntsch.
He was a surgeon convicted of malpractice after the death or injury of over 30 patients.
13. Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo
Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo is a podcast that delves into the disappearance and murder of Cleo, a young Cree girl.
The podcast is from CBC/ Radio-Canada.
14. The Teacher’s Pet
The Teacher’s Pet is an Australian Podcast that delves into the disappearance of Lynette Dawson.
At the tail end of the first season, new evidence emerged that suggested Lyn’s husband was the murderer.
A follow-up podcast, The Teacher’s Trial, followed the husband’s trial and eventual guilty conviction.
15. Murdaugh Murders
Murdaugh Murders looks at a century-long saga of murder, fraud, and other crimes that all relate to the Murdaugh family.
Similar Podcasts Types To Check Out
True crime podcasts have a lot of overlap with other podcast sub-genres.
Here are some other types of podcasts you may enjoy if you like true crime podcasts.
- Crime Podcasts: Crime podcasts are similar to true crime podcasts, except the crimes discussed may not necessarily be true. Despite the fictional nature of this genre, it may appeal to true crime enthusiasts because of common themes.
- Scary Podcasts: Scary podcasts usually fall into the horror genre. They either follow a conversational or scripted storytelling genre. It makes sense that true crime lovers may also like scary podcasts if they look to both genres for some fright.
- Mystery Podcasts: Mystery podcasts and true crime podcasts may have some overlap. However, mystery podcasts may not have a crime element. Mystery podcasts are a great choice if you enjoy the mystery element of true crime but want a less scary option.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions by those interested in true crime podcasts.
When did True Crime podcasts become popular?
While true crime in various forms has been popular for centuries, the podcast’s contribution to the genre only started recently.
The first big popular true crime podcast was Serial which started in 2014.
Has a podcast ever solved a crime?
Several podcasts contributed to a crime being solved. Some such podcasts include Up and Vanished, S Town, and The Murder Squad.
While not every podcast solves crimes directly, they can often bring little-known cases to light or connect previously unconnected facts.
This can lead to the eventual resolution of a case.
True crime continues to be one of the most popular podcast genres in the entertainment space.
No matter your particular taste, there are plenty of types of true crime podcasts you can choose from.
Many listeners enjoy this genre for its ability to expose different dimensions of the human experience.