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Spotify gets serious about podcasts with two acquisitions

Spotify gets serious about podcasts with two acquisitions


Spotify has big podcast plans for 2019

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify is fully committing to building a podcast network today. The music streaming giant has acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor to boost its podcast credentials, as the company looks to grow its share of the podcast market. Gimlet Media is a start-up podcast network, and Anchor provides creators with tools to build, publish, and monetize podcasts. “In just shy of two years, we have become the second-biggest podcasting platform,” explains Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. “Our podcast users spend almost twice the time on the platform, and spend even more time listening to music.”

Ek believes that Spotify’s bet on podcasts will lead to 20 percent of all Spotify listening being non-music content in the future. “This means the potential to grow much faster with more original programming — and to differentiate Spotify by playing to what makes us unique — all with the goal of becoming the world’s number one audio platform.”

Spotify still ahead of Apple Music for subscribers

Spotify is now planning more acquisitions for podcasts in 2019, and the company notes it’s willing to spend around $500 million to grow its podcast business this year. Recode reports Spotify paid around $230 million for Gimlet alone. Spotify also revealed today that it had 207 million monthly active users in the recent quarter, alongside 96 million paid subscribers. That’s nearly double the 50 million Apple Music subscribers that CEO Tim Cook revealed in Apple’s recent earnings call.

It’s a bold goal, and Spotify has already been striking deals to bring original shows to its service. Amy Schumer’s 3 Girls, 1 Keith appeared on Spotify, and the service has also obtained exclusive streaming rights for the current season of Crimetown. Spotify’s Gimlet acquisition will certainly help lock more original content to the service, and could draw people over from rivals like Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.