Spotify's Podcasts Key To Future Strategy, Listenership

The streaming music service Spotify continues to make podcasts a major focus of investment, building a unit that executives argue is complementary to its bread-and-butter music business.

During a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, which was live streamed, Spotify Studios chief Courtney Holt explained the logic behind the company’s investment in podcasting.

“The podcasting case is still in its infancy when it comes to commercialization, even though it is light years ahead of where it was,” Holt said. He added the platform’s ability to segment audiences around topics or genres will be helpful for brands looking to get into the podcast advertising business. 

“Our data and global reach will allow us to do innovative things with brands,” Holt added. “This also extends to music — podcasts and music gives us a best-of-breed opportunity.”



More importantly for the company, podcasts seem to boost listening overall for the service.

“People who consume podcasts consume more music, more Spotify. They were increasing time with the platform,” Holt said. “Using music data to recommend podcasts really works. We kept testing, and realized it was driving more engagement. We allow artists to authentically reach their audience with the music they want to make, and we see podcasts as an extension of that.”

Spotify has made exclusive podcasts a tent-pole element of its strategy for the format.

At CES, the company announced an exclusive podcast with former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, who will join a roster that already includes “The Joe Budden Podcast” and “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith.”

Spotify sells advertising directly for its originals, but it will be leveraging its audience segment to launch more advanced podcast advertising this year.

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