Tag Archives: Spotify

Liz Gateley Joined Spotify

Hollywood Reporter reported that Liz Gateley has joined Spotify. She was the former programming executive for Lifetime. Her new role at Spotify will be Head of Creative Development.

Liz Gateley is expected to help shape Spotify’s original podcasting strategy. She will oversee the original podcast development teams in both New York and Los Angeles as they develop projects in the comedy, sports, YA Fiction, scripted, news and documentary, and music genres.

Liz Gateley announced the news on her LinkedIn:

I am excited to share that I’ve accepted the role as Head of Creative Development at Spotify! I will be overseeing their original content development teams on both coasts and their expansion into Comedy, Sports, YA Fiction & Scripted, News/Docs and obviously more Music formats in the podcast space. I am excited to be back in the music/culture world to tell loud stories with my incredible team and to help invent new executions as I always have, but, most importantly, to join at such a transformative time at Spotify on the heels of the Gimlet and Anchor acquisitions. I also get to work with Dawn Ostroff and Courtney Holt, both former colleagues and two of the smartest people I know.

Dawn Ostroff is the Chief Content Officer at Spotify. Courtney Holt is the Head of Studios and Video at Spotify.

Open Markets Wants the FTC to Block the Spotify Deal

Open Markets is a team of journalists, researchers, lawyers, and advocates who work together to expose and reverse the stranglehold that corporate monopolies have on our country. They want the Federal Trade Commission to block the Spotify deal.

Open Markets posted a press release on their website:

Spotify yesterday announced plans to buy podcast producer and network Gimlet Media for $230 million as well as podcast recording startup Anchor, two of the most important platforms in the podcast industry. The Open Markets Institute calls for the Federal Trade Commission and European enforcers to block the deals. The market for podcasts is one of the few news media markets that is growing, diverse, and successful, and antitrust enforcers should head off efforts by platform monopolists to take control over the industry.

The podcast market today includes a wide range of truly independent voices able to  finance their operations with advertising revenue. Listeners, meanwhile, are able to download podcasts with little interference or personalized tracking by third-party software or advertising monopolists. And this old-school, open market system works. In 2017, US podcast ad revenues was $314 million dollars, and is forecast to hit $659 million by 2020.

This early stage market is, however, highly vulnerable to enclosure. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said he plans to spend some $500 million total to buy podcasts and podcast platforms just this year. Such a position would enable Spotify to begin to capture a significant amount of the advertising revenue that now goes straight to podcasters.

A takeover of Anchor, in particular, could also prove to be especially harmful to the industry. Anchor has provided a platform for start-up podcasters to produce, host, and sell advertising for their podcasts. If Spotify plans to change Anchor’s model, it may stifle new players, or lock them into a Spotify controlled system.

The present diversity in the Podcast industry is directly tied to market structure. There is vertical separation between the layers of the market, with software, production, and advertising done independently of one another. There is limited or no data collection, so there is no user-centric behavioral targeting or privacy breaches. This means podcast producers can still profit in a fair market for advertising sponsorships and compete fairly for an audience.

It is vital that the Federal Trade Commission and European anti-monopoly enforcers not only move to protect the podcast market, they should also study it closely for lessons to apply to other news media markets. The podcast market is a glowing example of what an open market looks like in America and the abundance it brings to both creators and listeners, and the political and civic dialogue it enables among citizens.

Spotify will Terminate Your Account if You Use an Ad Blocker

Spotify has created new user guidelines that will go into effect on March 1, 2019. It is always a good idea to read over user guidelines when you start using a new service, or when the service updates its rules. One thing to be aware of is that Spotify does not want you to use ad blockers.

The User Guidelines portion of the Spotify Terms and Conditions of Use prohibits the following: “circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify service.”

Breaking this rule (or any others) may result in immediate termination or suspension of your Spotify Account. In addition, Spotify “may reclaim your username for any reason.”

As you may have heard, Spotify recently acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor. One can safely assume that the podcasts that are on Spotify will include ads.

Fast Company reported that the use of ad blockers has “annoyed” Spotify for a long time. In March of 2018, Spotify disclosed “instances of approximately two million users as of December 31, 2017” who had been “suppressing advertisements without payment”. In short, this means plenty of people who had a free Spotify account used ad blockers to avoid having to listen to advertisements.

Variety reported in March of 2018 that Spotify was disabling the accounts of users who used unauthorized third-party apps that bypassed the limits of the free Spotify account. It sounds to me like these users basically “hacked” the paid version.

It is possible that Spotify’s crackdown on ad blockers could influence some users to pay for Spotify’s ad-free service. People who love Spotify might decide it is time to pay for the ad-free subscription. Those who cannot afford to buy a Spotify subscription, and who want to use an ad blocker, might start listening to music on YouTube instead.

Spotify Acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor

We heard that Spotify was in advanced talks to acquire Gimlet Media. In a surprise move, Spotify announced that it has not only acquired Gimlet Media, but also has acquired Anchor.

The transactions are expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 and subject to customary closing conditions. The terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

With these acquisitions, Spotify is positioned to become both the premier producer of podcasts and the leading platform for podcast creators. Gimlet will bring to Spotify its best-in-class podcast studio with dedicated IP development, production and advertising capabilities. Anchor will bring its platform of tools for podcast creators and its established and rapidly growing creator base.

Gimlet tweeted: “Big news: we are very excited to be joining @Spotify!” It included a Spotify tweet that said “Spotify to acquire Gimlet Media Inc. and Anchor. Read the press release here to learn more about how we’re accelerating growth in podcasting:” The tweet included a link to the Spotify press release.

Anchor posted on Medium an article titled “Anchor is joining Spotify”. It clarifies a few things. Anchor says that it will be bringing Anchor’s suite of tools for podcast creation, distribution, and monetization, to Spotify’s community of more than 200 million global users.

Anchor also said: “If you are already using Anchor to make your podcast, today’s news means great things for your ability to create and build your show. To be clear, the way you create, distribute, and monetize on Anchor does not change. We will continue to operate Anchor’s platform as you know it (but now as part of Spotify!), and in fact will only be getting better.”

Spotify is in Advanced Talks to Aquire Gimlet Media

According to Recode, Spotify is in advanced talks to acquire Gimlet Media. Spotify reportedly plans to pay more than $200 million to buy Gimlet Media.

If this deal happens, it will be the first time Spotify has bought a content company. It will also be one of the biggest acquisitions in the podcasting industry.

It is possible that Spotify is looking to compete with Apple Podcasts for podcast listeners. Recode noted that while Apple is the dominant podcast distributer, it doesn’t appear to spend much energy on podcasts. Spotify has already started promoting podcasts to its 200 million users.

Hot Pod pointed out that Spotify has already started emphasizing a content strategy where it brings “voices in-house, or at least exclusively licenses their content”.

One of those deals involved Amy Schumer. Her comedy podcast 3 Girls 1 Keith is exclusively on Spotify.

Spotify reported that The Joe Budden Podcast brought its series exclusively to Spotify on September 12, 2018. The Apple Podcast listing for The Joe Budden Podcast has some extremely short episodes that direct listeners to seek out the podcast on Spotify.

Jemele Hill’s Unbothered podcast will launch on Spotify in March of 2019. It will be hosted by Jemele Hill and her co-hosts, and will include a rotating cast of guests. It will provide an honest discussion of American life. It appears this podcast will be exclusive to Spotify.

Sound Up Bootcamp Australia Seeks Aboriginal Podcasters

Spotify announced that Sound Up Bootcamp Australia is seeking aspiring podcasters who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander to apply for the SoundUp Bootcamp, a four-day residential podcasting workshop to be held in Sydney on November 26 – November 29, 2018.

Those who qualify and are interested in applying must submit an entry before midnight on October 29, 2018. To apply, fill out a form that is on the Sound Up Bootcamp website. The form requires people to answer questions. It also includes participation terms.

You don’t need to have any prior podcasting experience, just a voice (with something to say), a passion for the medium, and an eagerness to bring your idea to life. Ten people will be selected to attend, with expenses covered including travel and accommodation for those living outside Sydney.

The bootcamp will be facilitated by Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander radio producer Emily Nicol with workshops presented by Brooke Boney, Allan Clarke, Rudi Bremer, and more.

Sound Up Bootcamp Australia is supported by Audiocraft, a leading Australian audio organization who host events, run workshops, and make podcasts through their agency.

BBC Podcasts Now on Spotify

BBC LogoPodcast listeners in the UK can now enjoy BBC podcasts on Spotify. It does not appear that the BBC podcasts on Spotify will be available for listeners who are not in the UK.

“The BBC is one of the largest content creators in the UK, and have worked with the biggest and best audio talent in the world,” explains James Cator, Spotify’s Head of Podcast Partnerships, EMEA. “To have a comprehensive audio catalogue in the UK, the BBC are essential, so adding the BBC to our rapidly-expanding catalogue of podcasts was a natural partnership.”

Today, the BBC podcast library boasts hundreds of programs across thousands of episodes and caters to millions of listeners across the UK and worldwide. Spotify has added podcasts from iPlayer Radio and BBC Sounds to the platform, making hundreds of BBC podcasts available to Spotify users in the UK.

The BBC podcasts that are now on Spotify include thousands of episodes across a number of diverse genres including Comedy, News & Politics, Educational, Sport & Recreation, Lifestyle & Health, Business & Technology, and Kids & Family,

A few of the BBC podcasts on Spotify include:

Short Cuts: Short documentaries and adventures in sound by Josie Lang.

Desert Island Discs: Eight tracks, a book and luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Kristy Young invites her guests to share the soundtrack of their lives.

The Infinite Monkey Cage: Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

Spotify Removed Some Episodes of The Alex Jones Show Podcast

Spotify has a policy regarding Hate Content. In May of 2018, Spotify removed two music artists from the Spotify editorial or algorithmic playlists because Spotify felt that those artists had violated the Hate Conduct policy. Now, Spotify has removed some episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast.

Variety reported that Spotify had deleted several episodes of the podcast hosted by Alex Jones. He is the founder of InfoWars (which Variety describes as a “conspiracy-theory site”.)

To be clear, Spotify did not remove all episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast. Variety reported that Spotify “continues to offer dozens of episodes of Jones’ podcast on the service, dating back to at least June 2017.” This situation is similar to that of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion whose music was removed from Spotify owned and operated playlists.

Later, Pitchfork reported that Spotify clarified its Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy. According to Pitchfork, at least one of XXXTentacion’s songs had reappeared Spotify’s RapCaviar playlist.

Spotify’s policy update (which was posted by Spotify on June 1, 2018) includes the following: “Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.”

Rolling Stone reported that Spotify said that Alex Jones was in violation of its policy that bans hate speech. Spotify was quoted as saying: “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community. Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of The Alex Jones Show podcast for violating our hate content policy.”

Spotify Announces Winners of Sound Up Bootcamp

Spotify hosted its first-ever Sound Up Bootcamp. It was a weeklong June intensive for aspiring female podcasters of color. The goal of the program was to bring more diverse voices into the podcast world – specifically voices belonging to women of color. Spotify has announced the winners who were awarded funding for their podcasts.

Sound Up Bootcamp featured daily sessions for 10 women of color who had been selected from over 18,000 applicants. Rekha Murthy, a podcast and radio veteran with over 20 years of experience co-taught the workshop with Graham Griffith. They led conversations on topics ranging from identifying an audience to honing a breakthrough message.

The attendees also learned from experts in the field about the art of podcast creation, from initial ideation to editing, producing, and marketing.

The women in attendance included: Titi Shodiya, Kristina Ogilive, Janina Jeff, Shonté Daniels, Amanda B, Tiara Darnell, Ivy Le, Doreen Wang, Gabriela Quintana, and Sun H.

At the end of the Sound Up Bootcamp, three women were awarded up to $10,000 each to fund their proposed podcasts. The winners are:

Titi Shodiya – Co-host of Dope Labs. (The other co-host is Zakiya Whatley). Dope Labs looks at the intersection between science and pop culture.

Kristina Ogilvie – Host of Your Job Seems Easy, an interview show which explores the working lives of women of color.

Janina Jeff – Co-host of In Those Genes. (The other co-host is Ashley Huderson). In Those Genes focuses on genetics and the black community.