You may be asking why we give you stats on ‘downloads’. Why not track when the user clicks the play button, or show data like how long they listened for.
The podcast industry at large uses downloads as a key metric, mainly because it’s all we (as hosting providers) have access to. It’s the global standard.
Each time a user clicks play on an episode (whether that be by streaming or downloading the full episode), the audio file from our server is accessed and we count that as a download.
For more, read Where can I find the number of subscribers?