Dear Mr. Ek,
You made a pretty big splash in the podcasting world when, earlier this year, you announced that you’d be bringing podcasts to Spotify. Many of us in the podcasting community looked forward to having a new distribution channel for our shows. We learned during the announcement that Spotify would be partnering with a select group of content providers at launch. This seemed logical as a way for you to “test the waters” as far as adding a new type of media to your platform. But we assumed that you’d eventually open up Spotify’s podcasting platform to everyone. And that hasn’t happened.
I’ve been a user of the Spotify application since it launched in the U.S. It quickly became my preferred music player. I spent hours discovering new songs and rediscovering old favorites thanks to your platform’s ease of use and wide ranging catalog. That appreciation for Spotify as a music service created some real excitement at the possibility of others finding podcasts thru your platform. But due to the closed nature of Spotify’s current podcast directory, that’s simply not possible.
Surely, Mr. Ek, you can see that, in the way music listeners want more than just a slice of all of the music being made today, they’d also want more than a small fraction of all of the podcasts being produced? During last month’s announcement, the impression you gave is that you want Spotify to become a true world class media consumption platform. But how can that happen if users are clicking away from Spotify to listen to the podcasts that aren’t available on your application?
If making that simple appeal isn’t enough, consider this: Historically, the two largest podcasting consumption platforms have been Apple’s iTunes and the Stitcher app. iTunes has always been a huge competitor to Spotify and Stitcher was acquired last year by Deezer, another one of your competitors. Both iTunes and Stitcher have massive podcast catalogs because they’re open. Anyone can submit a show to these services and usually get listed within a few business days. And it is these services that listeners (i.e. your customers) will go to when they can’t find their desired podcasts inside of Spotify.
I hope I’ve made it clear, Mr. Ek, that the current state of podcasting within Spotify has negative repercussions. Not only for podcasters but also for the Spotify platform. It’s not often in life you can make a true win-win decision. But opening up Spotify to all podcasters would be one of those rare instances. Why not take advantage of the opportunity now and let us in? We’d love to share our shows with you!
Podcast Producer and Contributing Editor
— Shawn Thorpe (@shawno) June 24, 2015