Facebook is building its own in-app podcast player, the company confirmed today. This will be separate from its new in-app Spotify player. Podcasters will be able to distribute their shows through their Facebook page and will opt into doing so. The exact product details are still unclear. It’s possible this will operate through RSS or that creators will have a backend way to upload their content to Facebook. This functionality is expected to roll out within the next “few months,” according to a Facebook blog post.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the Spotify partnership as being primarily about “music” during a chat with Platformer writer Casey Newton last week. But Spotify’s release about its Facebook miniplayer today specifically calls out its use case for podcasts. People can share episodes and listen to them from within the Facebook app without actually navigating to Spotify. But Facebook apparently has other plans to be more ingrained in the podcasting ecosystem.
The company’s interest in podcasts makes sense. It says more than 170 million people connect to podcast pages, and more than 35 million people are members of fan groups around shows. Plus, podcasts are still primarily an ad-based product, meaning Facebook could gather data about shows and listeners and target its own ads against them, possibly giving creators a cut. It could also offer creators a way to put them behind a subscription paywall, similarly to Apple’s forthcoming Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which it announced last week. Facebook’s formal entry into the podcast player space would mean nearly all the tech giants run their own podcast products, including Apple, Google, and Amazon, on top of Spotify and other smaller apps.