Tag Archives: Spotify

Parcast is Unionizing

Parcast announced the formation of The Parcast Union with the Writers Guild of America East. Parcast was acquired by Spotify in March of 2019. At the time I am writing this blog post, it is unclear to me what Spotify thinks about this situation.

The Verge reported that Parcast is the third Spotify-owned company that has decided to organize. It follows Gimlet Media (which Spotify acquired in February of 2019) and The Ringer (which Spotify acquired in February of 2020). I’m not sure what, exactly, this says about Spotify.

Here is a little bit from Parcast’s blog post about unionizing:

We, the writers, researchers, fact-checkers, hosts, and producers of Parcast, look to the future with optimism and excitement. But to ensure a workplace that remains dedicated to Spotify’s core values — collaboration, innovation, passion, playfulness, and sincerity — we have chosen to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East.

Through collective bargaining, we hope to achieve growth in the following areas:

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A sincere commitment to creating a workplace as diverse and inclusive as the stories we tell.
  • Workload & Overtime: A reasonable workload that leaves time for playfulness and innovation.
  • Transparency & Compensation: Clear job descriptions, equitable compensation, transparent salary bands, and collaborative decision-making.
  • Creativity & Intellectual Property: An environment where the ideas and voices of our passionate creators are valued and respected.

On September 3, 2020, Parcast Union tweeted: “UPDATE: Today, we met with Parcast leads and Spotify HR representatives in an All Hands Meeting. We look forward to our union being recognized so we can begin having a real dialogue.”

To me, it sounds like what Parcast is asking for is reasonable. A company as large and profitable as Spotify should have no problem providing Parcast with the things they are requesting.

Spotify Supports Underrepresented Podcasters in UK and Ireland with Sound Up

Podcasting may be one of the key trends you can’t ignore in 2020, but research from Spotify shows there is still a long way to go when it comes to the ‘hidden voices’ of podcasting, with findings showing that the majority of BAME women and non-binary people consider themselves to be significantly underrepresented. The new research comes as the world’s largest audio platform launches UK/IE 2020 applications for its annual Sound Up podcast accelerator training programme for Black women and non-binary people in the UK and Ireland.

To better understand the barriers for BAME women and non-binary people when it comes to podcasts, Spotify conducted research amongst 1,000 women in the UK who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.

A staggering 74% feel that BAME women are underrepresented in podcasting, reflecting the current top 100 podcasts in the UK where fewer than 5% are hosted by BAME women or non-binary people. 21% believe that business and technology is the podcast genre in which BAME women are most seriously underrepresented, followed by news, current affairs and politics (14%), and celebrity (12%). 84% say they would be more likely to listen to a podcast if it was created and voiced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women.

When it comes to breaking into the podcasting industry, 50% say there is too much stereotyping of BAME women, 49% believe there is a lack of strong BAME female voices in podcasting to look up to and be inspired by, and 40% feel not enough stories of BAME women are told in entertainment and wider culture.

Now in its third year, Spotify’s Sound Up is designed to help aspiring underrepresented aspiring podcasters break into the industry and amplify their voices. The UK and Irish programme is open to Black women and non-binary people wanting to make themselves heard in podcasting through education, workshops, and support from industry experts.

This year’s programme will look a little different. Due to the challenges of gathering during this unprecedented time, Sound Up will be divided into two phases. First up is a virtual four-week course that will take place from 12th October to 6th November 2020. To ensure everyone has equal access to technology, Spotify will be providing computers, WiFi access, and podcast recording equipment to participants. Then, those who demonstrate a particular knack for podcasting will be invited to in-person training in 2021 where they will further develop their ideas.

Spotify UK/IE is now accepting applications for the 2020 Sound Up programme, at spotify.com/SoundUp. The deadline for entries is 4th August at 11.59 BST. The four-week virtual programme will run from 12th October to 6th November 2020.

Spotify Podcast Voice Gap Research Key Findings

  • All data was collected amongst 1,000 women from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds in the UK in July 2020.
  • 84% say they would be more likely to listen to a podcast if it was created and voiced by Black, Asian and ethnic minority women;
  • Three-quarters (74%) feel that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women are underrepresented in podcasting;
  • 21% of respondents view business and technology as the podcast genre in which women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are most seriously underrepresented. This was followed by news, current affairs and politics (14%) and celebrity (12%);
  • 57% of respondents agree that there are significant barriers to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women wanting to break into the podcast industry;
  • Of those who agree there are significant barriers to breaking into the podcast industry, 54% consider white female voices being chosen above theirs to be the biggest barrier for women from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds breaking into podcasts. Other perceived barriers include:
  • Lack of funding and investment (52%)
  • A feeling of underrepresentation in their own community (52%)
  • Lack of strong Black, Asian and minority ethnic female voices in podcasting to look up to and be inspired by (49%)
  • When it comes to the wider entertainment industry, over half (52%) see those within the industry not calling out racism where it is encountered as a barrier to Black, Asian and ethnic minority women wanting to be heard in the entertainment industry; Other barriers include:
  • Too much stereotyping of BAME women (50%)
  • Not enough representation of BAME women (50%)
  • Businesses not making themselves accountable for driving representation and inclusivity (45%)

Higher Ground and Spotify Announce The Michelle Obama Podcast

Higher Ground is President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company. Last summer, it announced a partnership with Spotify to produce podcasts exclusive to the platform. Spotify has announced the first title in the ongoing partnership, The Michelle Obama Podcast.

Hosted by Michelle Obama, the show will bring listeners the First Lady’s most candid, human, and personal conversations to show us what is possible when we dare to be vulnerable. The podcast will debut exclusively on Spotify on July 29, 2020. Like all podcasts on Spotify, it will be available to nearly 300 million Free and Premium users around the world.

The Obamas formed Higher Ground to produce powerful stories to entertain, inform, inspire, and to lift up new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry. Mrs. Obama’s inaugural show is sure to do just that.

“My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives,” Michelle Obama said. “Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations—and hard conversations—with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another.”

Tune in for episodes on topics ranging from sibling relationships and raising children to girlfriends, women’s health, mentorship, and marriage. An array of special guests, including Dr. Sharon Malone MD, Craig Robinson, Valerie Jarett, Conan O’Brien, and Michele Norris, will join the First Lady for each conversation.

“At Spotify we seek to connect listeners with the world’s most authentic and compelling voices,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer, Dawn Ostroff. “We believe that audiences across the globe will be inspired by these most candid, most human and most personal conversations between First Lady Michelle Obama and her guests.”

Archie Comics & Spotify to Launch Slate of New Podcasts

Archie Comics and Spotify have signed an exclusive first-look deal to adapt the publisher’s critically acclaimed and bestselling characters and stories into multiple podcasts on the streaming platform.

The anticipated slate of series will span the entire Archieverse of characters, including mainstays Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Sabrina, Josie & the Pussycats and many more and is the next part of Archie’s continued effort to expand to new audiences and story-telling mediums with its wide array of world famous characters.

“The podcast and studio space is so vibrant, and Spotify is, hands down, the industry leader there,” said Archie Comics CEO/Publisher Jon Goldwater. “Bringing the iconic Archie library of characters to Spotify is a perfect match, and we’re so excited to partner with them to explore new, compelling stories featuring our characters. It’s an amazing frontier and we can’t wait to unveil what we’ve been working on.”

The creative team at Archie Comics will collaborate with Spotify Studios on the development of multiple series, with potential for all-ages content as well as content aimed at older audiences.

Archie Comics continues to expand its multimedia offerings as the brand’s digital and print partnerships include deals with Scholastic, Comixology and Little Bee Books. It’s television deals include partnerships with Warner Brothers Television, which has produced worldwide hits including the CW’s Riverdale, Katy Keene, and Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Spotify Adds Top Podcasts and Trending Podcasts Charts

Spotify released their new Top Podcasts and Trending Podcast charts. The purpose appears to be to help listeners find their next podcast to listen to. My assumption is that podcasters will frequently check these charts to see if their podcast is on them.

The charts – which we are rolling out today in 26 markets on Spotify and mobile (iOS and Android) – will not only share the fastest-climbing-of-the-moment trends for podcasts with users, but will also list the overall most popular shows in your region based on recent listener numbers. Whether you’re looking for a tried-and-true favorite or the latest show that your coworkers are obsessing over, rest assured that these charts will help you discover them all.

Spotify points out that certain markets, including Brazil, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, the UK and the U.S., will dig further into the podcast data and separate out the Top Podcasts by category. In short, this means listeners can pick their favorite category of podcasts and see which ones are currently popular in that genre.

Top Podcasts charts will list the 200 overall shows in the selected region or category, and Trending Podcast charts will display the top 50 rapidly rising shows.

Alongside this new feature, podcasters can look forward to an updated experience in Spotify for Podcasters. Creators will get a notification on their dashboard when their podcast is charting. Then, they can turn their notifications into a visual card to share across social media platforms, alerting fans to their show’s rising status.

Overall, these new features sound like an interesting addition to Spotify Podcasts. I can see how it would make it really easy for listeners to find a new podcast to listen to. After they binge-listen to whatever new podcast attracted their attention, they might seek out other podcasts that are in the same genre.

My concern is that the Top Podcasts and Trending Podcasts charts will cause some podcasters to obsess over how to make their podcast be on them. There is potential that someone will find a way to “game the system” and get their podcast onto those list through inauthentic means. I’m hoping Spotify is prepared to monitor their new features and sift out those who are cheating.

Spotify’s Sandra Podcast Goes Global

In 2018, Gimlet Media launched Sandra, a seven-part fictional drama depicting a world where artificial intelligence isn’t so artificial. Since then, Gimlet Media has become part of Spotify.

Sandra had big names and voices including Alia Shawkat (Helen), Kristin Wiig (Sandra), and Ethan Hawke (Dustin). The podcast launched to critical acclaim due to its relevant themes of technology, security, and self-actualization. Spotify deemed it a story worth telling listeners around the world.

On July 7, Spotify and Gimlet premiered an exclusive Sandra podcast in four markets: France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico. The most interesting about this release is that it is not just a translation into the local language. Instead, each version is specially adapted via a culturally relevant name, a customized storyline, and more.

Sandra will be called Sara in France, Susi in Germany, Sonia in Mexico, and Sofia in Brazil. Sandra is the first truly localized adaptations ever made of a hit fictional podcast.

The Spotify Studio teams in those four countries have worked with local directors to adapt the script, cast local talent, and reimagine the podcast with an appreciation for local culture, language and nuance. In each market, the podcast has an A-list cast mixed with traditional TV and film actors as well as digital creators and influencers.

I think this is a fantastic idea! Adapting the podcast to a localized population would make the show easier to relate to and get involved in. Spotify has the ability to have separate teams to work on each adaptation – and the money to hire the voice actors. That’s way beyond the ability (and finances) of most podcasters. So, it is good to see Spotify making use of their resources in this unique way.

Spotify Introduced Podcast In-App Offers

Spotify announced that Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), which they launched in January of 2020, is powering their latest podcast innovation: In-App Offers. Spotify posted information about this on their Spotify for Brands blog.

Spotify points out that many people listen to podcasts while doing something else, like getting ready for work, exercising, or doing dishes. If a listener hears about a compelling offer on a podcast, during one of these “screenless” moments, it makes it difficult for the listener to check out that offer. In-App Offers is designed to make it easier for the listener to find an offer (and, ideally, make a purchase).

With the launch of In-App Offers, our goal is to reduce this friction and make it easy for our listeners to connect directly with advertisers and their offers featured in podcasts. Listeners can now redeem offers when the time is right for them with visual reminders like an offer card featured on the podcast’s episode page. We’re alpha testing In-App Offers in the United States and Germany with partners including Harry’s, Quibi, and HelloFresh and plan to continue testing through the end of the year.

Those who listen to a podcast episode on Spotify, on their smartphone, will see an In-App offer presented on the episode page. When the listener is done cooking dinner, they can return to that episode on Spotify, see the In-App Offer again, and click on it.

If I’m understanding this correctly, clicking on the offer will take listeners directly to the website of the advertiser mentioned in that particular podcast episode. Whatever special deal or discount that was attached to the offer should carry over as the listener goes from the Spotify app to the page where the product is sold.

While the In-App Offers appear to be intended to attract brands to place ads in (and on) Spotify, I think it has a benefit for podcasters, too. In general, a podcast that has an ad deal with a certain company or service needs to sell a certain amount of stuff before the podcaster can get paid for their effort.

I think Spotify is right about In-App Offers making it way more convenient for listeners to make a purchase of a product they heard of in a podcast episode. It also could encourage impulse buying, which is something people often do when shopping in physical brick-and-mortar stores.

Spotify Announced Partnership with Warner Bros.

Spotify announced that Warner Bros. is bringing the DC Super Heroes and Super Villains to Spotify as an exclusive series of podcasts. Spotify has entered a multiyear partnership with Warner Bros. and DC to produce and distribute an original slate of narrative scripted podcasts exclusively on Spotify.

The partnership—the first to involve the intellectual property of the entire DC Universe —will leverage iconic characters in new Spotify shows. Additionally, the companies are expected to draw upon Warner Bros. Studio’s broader collection of timeless titles as stand-alone podcast series. This collaborative and innovative effort will further increase the diverse array of premium storytelling content for Spotify listeners around the world.

Spotify says that Warner Bros. Digital Networks (WBDN) will manage the business and strategy related to the partnership. Television Group’s digital studio, Blue Ribbon Content (BRC) will oversee the creative relationship and will co-develop and produce the programming in collaboration with Spotify. Spotify itself will be responsible for the marketing, advertising, and distribution of the shows exclusively on the platform.

Variety reported that this deal gives Spotify first-look rights to original scripted narrative DC podcasts based on its stable of Super Heroes and Super Villains. The shows will have new storylines that are set in the DC Universe, unrelated to existing movies or TV shows.

In addition, according to Variety, Warner Bros. will develop original scripted podcast series based on some of their other properties, such as Looney Tunes and Warner Bros. TV-produced shows like “Supernatural” – as well as original podcasts unrelated to Warner Bros. existing intellectual property.

Spotify Signed a Deal with Kim Kardashian West

Spotify has signed a deal with Kim Kardashian West for an exclusive podcast that focuses on a case involving criminal-justice reform, Variety reported. The deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

A Spotify spokesman confirmed the company’s deal with Kardashian West and TV producer Lori Rothschild Ansaldi for the podcast, to be made available exclusively on the Spotify platform. Kardashian West and Rothschild Ansaldi will co-host and co-produce the show with Spotify’s Parcast Studio.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the podcast series will follow Rothschild Ansaldi’s investigation of the case of Kevin Keith, who was convicted of three murders in 1994 and was sentenced to execution in Ohio. In 2010, then Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland commuted Keith’s death sentence after new evidence presented by his attorneys raised doubts about his guilt.

BET reported that, according to the Wall Street Journal, the podcast will be focused around the work that Kim Kardashian West has done with the Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization that works to exonerate wrongly convicted individuals.