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Spotify’s big bet on podcasts is starting to pay off

Spotify’s big bet on podcasts is starting to pay off


Its podcast audience has doubled since last year

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify’s podcast audience is experiencing huge growth, the company revealed in its earnings report today. The company reports that its podcast audience has grown by over 50 percent since the last quarter, and that it has almost doubled since the start of the year. The company also saw subscriber numbers grow overall, with its total number of premium subscribers growing by 9 percent to 108 million compared to the last quarter, and monthly active users growing to 232 million, an increase of 7 percent that The Wall Street Journal notes exceeded expectations.

The growth in its podcasting business suggests that Spotify’s investment is starting to pay off. Earlier this year the company acquired the podcasting network Gimlet Media as well as Anchor, which produces tools to let creators build, publish, and monetize podcasts. The following month, it acquired Parcast, another podcast network. At the time of the Gimlet acquisition the company said it expected to invest as much as $500 million in its podcasting business, with the company’s CEO Daniel Ek predicting that 20 percent of all listening on the platform will eventually come from podcasts.

The Obama deal will produce Spotify-exclusive podcasts

Last month Spotify announced a multiyear podcasting deal with Higher Ground Productions, Barack and Michelle Obama’s media company. It will result in podcasts that are exclusive to the streaming service. The deal is similar to the one Higher Ground made with Netflix, which will see its first release with American Factory later this year. Exclusive podcasts will be an important element in getting people to try Spotify rather than sticking with their existing podcasting apps.

Despite a 31 percent year-over-year rise in subscriber revenue to €1.5 billion (around $1.7 billion) and a 34 percent rise in ad-supported revenue to €165 million (around $184 million), Spotify is continuing to lose money with an operating loss of €3 million (around $3.3 million). Its investment in podcasting may be starting to pay off, but sustained profitability remains elusive.