Spotify struggles to turn growing podcast listenership into ad revenue

The music streaming service began adding celebrity podcasters in 2018, but it struggles to compete with other big players in the audio business.

By Shelly BrisbinSeptember 7, 2023 3:57 pm,

Spotify, the ubiquitous music streaming service, set out to conquer podcasting. It bought two production studios and signed deals with celebrities like Barack and Michelle Obama, Prince Harry and Joe Rogan.

Tech expert Omar Gallaga says Spotify continues to gain listeners, but the money it needs to keep shareholders happy has not followed.

Highlights from this segment: 

– Spotify began its foray into podcasting with a bang, signing the Obamas and Rogan to high-dollar deals to make exclusive shows for the platform. Rogan, who now lives in Austin, was a controversial addition to the Spotify lineup.

– The company acquired podcast production studios Gimlet and Parcast, later folding them into Spotify, eliminating the well-regarded Gimlet brand.

– Makers of “white noise” podcasts are upset with Spotify for cutting their ad revenue. The company says listeners to these shows don’t pay the kind of attention they do to hosted podcasts, and so the ads are not as successful.

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