Tag Archives: Spotify

Higher Ground and Spotify Partnered to Produce Podcasts

Higher Ground and Spotify announced a partnership to produce podcasts. Higher Ground is former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s production company. The Obama’s formed Higher Ground to produce powerful stories to entertain, inform, and inspire and to lift up new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry.

Spotify, which recently surpassed 100 million Premium subscribers and has more than 217 million monthly active users, will distribute the podcasts to audiences across the globe.

Under the Higher Grounds partnership, President and Mrs. Obama will develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts, connecting them to listeners around the world on wide-ranging topics. The multi-year agreement will be with Higher Ground Audio, an expansion of the Higher Ground production company that will oversee the move into podcasts.

When President and Mrs. Obama launched Higher Ground in 2018, with an initial partnership with Netflix, their goal was to create compelling content that entertains and inspires viewers. Recognizing that content is consumed in many forms, this new partnership will give them the ability to expand the conversation, educating and engaging Spotify’s diverse and extensive audience.

Spotify Made a “Car Thing”

Spotify created something called “Car Thing”. The purpose of Car Thing is to help Spotify learn more about people’s listening habits and preferences for the purpose of creating an unparalleled experience for Spotify users.

As you may know, Spotify acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor earlier this year. The move positioned Spotify as a premier producer of podcasts, and the leading platform for podcast creators.

Spotify points out that Americans spend 70 billion hours behind the wheel each year. That’s a lot of time spent on the road listening to podcasts and music. Car Thing is a device that Spotify will use in a test.

Here is what to know about Spotify’s test:

  • Spotify is testing how people listen in the car through a voice-controlled music and podcast device called “Car Thing”.
  • Car Thing was developed to help Spotify learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts. Spotify’s focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform – not on creating hardware.
  • The test will be done in the US only, with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users.
  • Spotify might do similar voice-specific tests in the future, which could potentially involve a “Voice Thing” and a “Home Thing”.
  • Spotify does not have any current plans to make the Car Thing device available to consumers. What they learn from the test will dictate how Spotify develops experiences everywhere you listen.

Spreaker’s Podcast Monetization Program Launched on Spotify

Spreaker announced that they have expanded their Monetization Program to Spotify. Spreaker has enabled it for all of their Pro podcasters to use.

If you are already using Spreaker’s Monetization program you don’t need to do anything to start seeing the benefits of the addition of Spotify. All your ads will now be available to your listeners on Spotify.

Now that Spotify has been enabled, it means that Spreaker monetizes podcasts on all the podcast listening platforms. Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and any other popular platforms. Plus, monetization is also enabled across the whole Spreaker platform, therefore the podcast is also monetized when user listens on the Spreaker website, apps, downloads the episode or listens with the embedded player on your website.

To start using Spreaker’s Monetization Program, all you need to do is enable it. Add the slots (pre-, mid-, or post-rolls), and you will start to earn. There is no need for you to develop something like a specific Spotify monetization strategy or find sponsors on your own. Spreaker will take care of it all.

If you don’t have Spreaker’s Monetization Program enabled, you can do it now by accessing the Spreaker CMS, clicking on the Monetization option, and checking and accepting the Terms of Service.

Spotify to Acquire Parcast

Spotify announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Parcast, a premier storytelling-driven podcast studio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Since its founding in 2016, Parcast has launched 18 premium podcast series including Serial Killers,Unsolved Murders, Cults and Conspiracy Theories and the studio’s first fiction series, Mind’s Eye.

The press release says that Parcast will bring to Spotify its curated library of highly produced shows and its engaged, loyal audiences. With an expertise in genres touching mystery, crime, science fiction, and history, Parcast has shown it has depth in subject matter and the ability to develop audiences across its robust network. Additionally, Parcast has more than 20 new shows slated to launch later this year.

“The addition of Parcast to our growing roster of podcast content will advance our goal of becoming the world’s leading audio platform,” said Dawn Ostroff, Spotify Chief Content Officer. “Crime and mystery podcasts are a top genre for our users and Parcast has had significant success creating hit series while building a loyal and growing fan base. We’re excited to welcome the Parcast team to Spotify and we look forward to supercharging their growth.”

“In three years, we have created a production house that has grown exponentially and hit a chord with mystery and true-crime fans, especially women, across all 50 states and around the world. We are proud to join the world’s most popular audio subscription streaming service and gain access to one of the largest audiences around the world,” said Max Cutler, Founder and President of Parcast. “Alongside Spotify, our ability to scale, grow and amplify the unique and tailored brand of content we create is full of fantastic possibilities.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 and subject to customary closing conditions.

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.