Tag Archives: Spotify

Spotify Announced Strategic Acquisition of Megaphone

Spotify announced that the company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Megaphone, one of the world’s most innovative podcast advertising and publishing platform. Together, Spotify and Megaphone will help advertisers and podcast publishers realize the full potential of podcasts. The two companies will achieve this through the power of Megaphone Targeted Marketplace and by making Streaming Ad Insertion available to third-party podcast publishers for the first time.

With this acquisition, Spotify continues to deliver against its goal to become the world’s leading audio platform and focus on growing audio monetization across the industry. The acquisition follows Spotify’s launch of Streaming Ad Insertion, an innovative podcast ad technology that delivers the intimacy and quality of traditional podcast ads with the precision and transparency of modern day digital marketing.

Advertisers will now be able to activate across Spotify’s Original & Exclusive podcasts while scaling reach through the Megaphone Targeted Marketplace. For podcast publishers, the acquisition will unlock innovative tools that will help them earn more from their work. This includes the opportunity to opt-in to have their content monetized, matching their listeners with even greater demand from advertisers.

Following transaction close, Spotify will soon make Streaming Ad insertion available to all podcast publishers on Megaphone, the first time this technology will be made available to third parties. With Streaming Ad Insertion, podcast publishers will be able to offer more valuable podcast audiences to advertisers based on confirmed ad impressions.

“We are still in the early chapters of the streaming and audio industry story, but it is absolutely clear that the potential is significant,” said Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content & Advertising Business Officer, Spotify. “We look forward to Megaphone joining Spotify on our mission to accelerate smarter podcast monetization for advertisers and podcast publishers powered by a scaled audience and state-of-the-art technology.”

“We are incredibly excited to join Spotify to help advance the podcast medium for publishers and advertisers alike,” said Brendan Monaghan, CEO, Megaphone. “We believe that Megaphone and Spotify’s shared value in innovation will drive the podcast ecosystem forward around the world.”

The Michelle Obama Podcast First Season Not Exclusive to Spotify

Higher Ground and Spotify announced that following the first season’s chart-topping exclusive run on Spotify, The Michelle Obama Podcast will be made available on a number of additional platforms as of September 30, 2020.

The series debuted exclusively on Spotify in July, and features Michelle Obama in deeply personal discussions with former President Barack Obama, Michele Norris, Dr. Sharon Malone MD, her brother Craig Robinson, Conan O’Brien, Denielle Pemberton-Heard, Kelly Dibble, Valerie Jarrett, and her mother Marian Robinson. Listeners will be able to enjoy the first season featuring former First Lady Michelle Obama and her candid conversations with these extraordinary guests.

Speaking about the podcast at its launch, Michelle Obama commented, “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. 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.”

“As a chart-topping smash hit, Spotify could not have asked for a stronger or more distinctive first entry in our multi-year partnership,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer, Dawn Ostroff. “Millions of listeners across the globe have already embraced The Michelle Obama Podcast and we look forward to growing that audience as we build anticipation for future Higher Ground series.”

Spotify and Chernin Entertainment Announce Multiyear First Look Partnership

Spotify announced that they are partnering with Chernin Entertainment. The partnership will help accelerate the embracing of podcast content as foundational intellectual property (IP). The agreement will include access to more than 250 Spotify originals around the world.

Both Spotify and Chernin Entertainment are already in collaboration with Pineapple Street Media on the forthcoming adaptation of the acclaimed podcast series The Clearing.

“At Spotify, we believe that the extraordinary growth of audio will continue to attract the world’s great creators and make podcasts a premier destination for original IP,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff. “As we continue to expand our content ambitions, we are thrilled to collaborate with Peter Chernin, who, along with his exceptional team, are the perfect partners to help us share these stories with audiences across mediums and around the world. Together, we can usher in a new era for podcasts as source material.”

The partnership will build on the foundation of Spotify podcast adaptations to date including Homecoming for Amazon’s Prime Video and continue with a reimagining of The Two Princes for HBO Max and The Horror of Dolores Roach for Prime Video. With movie titles like Ford v Ferrari, The Planet of the Apes Trilogy, The Greatest Showman, and Hidden Figures, and TV series like New Girl, See, and Truth Be Told, Chernin Entertainment is well positioned to realize the extraordinary potential in adapting audio content for visual mediums.

“Audio is by far the fastest-growing medium in the entertainment business, and with over 250 originals and thousands of hours of content, Spotify has one of the largest libraries of unattached IP that exists in the world today—and that library is being added to daily,” says Chernin Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin. “This treasure trove of content plus the acceleration of new voices and stories provides an enormous opportunity to transform these addictive stories and IP into content for the screen.”

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.