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Spotify acquires another podcast network to keep building its original show catalog

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Becoming the Disney of podcasts

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify announced today that it’s acquired Parcast, a podcast network that specializes in crime, mystery, and science fiction shows, for an undisclosed amount. The news follows Spotify’s recent acquisitions of Gimlet Media, another reputable podcast network, and Anchor, a podcast creation app. In its press release about the purchase, Spotify says that crime and mystery podcasts are “a top genre for our users,” and that’s why it felt Parcast was worth buying.

Given this, it makes sense that Spotify would want to invest in a network that already has the expertise to create intriguing shows. Spotify’s CFO Barry McCarthy has said the company is similarly modeled after Netflix in that it’ll develop “good, predictive algorithms,” so Spotify knows what people like and can greenlight production based off those forecasts.

In this case, Spotify didn’t need a sophisticated algorithm to tell it something; it had listening data to help make its purchasing decision. The company has previously referred to its purchase of Gimlet as akin to Disney buying Pixar or Marvel — the studios retain their independence but live within, and richen, their corporate parent’s intellectual property library. Parcast hasn’t clarified whether it’ll maintain its team or offices, but Gimlet is keeping its Brooklyn, New York headquarters. Since the Gimlet deal’s announcement, the Gimlet creative team made its plans to unionize known, although Gimlet and its legal counsel said they won’t voluntarily recognize the union.

Spotify said it plans to spend up to $500 million on podcast-related deals, so the company will likely have more news later this year.