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Spotify is getting deeper into video

Spotify is getting deeper into video


Plus, the best Prime Day audio deals

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

It’s a big ol’ Spotify day here at Hot Pod. The company is making moves, acquiring Wordle-inspired music trivia game Heardle, expanding its video podcast reach to new countries, and taking another hit podcast exclusive.

Plus, a roundup of the best Prime Day audio deals. Let’s get into it.

Spotify acquires music trivia game Heardle

Spotify announced Tuesday that it has purchased Heardle, one of the many themed trivia games that cropped up in the wake of Wordle’s blockbuster success. Heardle is Spotify’s first game acquisition, and the company hopes it will play a dual role: in addition to keeping music nerds engaged, it can act as a music discovery tool. You can read all about it here.

Spotify expands video podcasts to six more countries

As the preference for video podcasts grows, Spotify is expanding the feature to six new markets. The company announced today that podcasters in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico can now upload video podcasts to the platform. Previously, video podcasts were only available in English-speaking countries, including the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Spotify is trying to expand its global podcast footprint generally, having recently announced new discovery playlists for podcasts in countries like Japan, the Philippines, and Argentina. But it is also attempting to ward off a challenge from YouTube, which already has a massive global presence. As the lines between podcasts and videos blur, YouTube is becoming an increasingly big player in the podcast industry and, according to one study, is already the biggest podcast platform in the US.

Hit Australian podcast Toni and Ryan goes exclusive to Spotify

This is the last Spotify item, I promise. The streamer has signed popular Australian podcasters Ryan Jon Dunn and Toni Lodge to a multiyear exclusive deal. The comedy chat show, which launched less than a year ago, ranks at number 26 on Spotify’s Australian podcast chart and reportedly gets more than 1 million downloads a month. The podcast will become exclusive to Spotify starting on August 8th. 

Prime Day audio deals: headphones, speakers, and subscriptions

It’s Prime Day! And not to shill for a trillion-dollar company (it doesn’t need my help!), but there are some good bargains on audio gadgets if you are looking for new headphones or speakers. The Verge’s stellar reviews team rounded up some of the best deals:

  • The Beats Fit Pro are going for $159.95. The model usually costs $199.99, and this is the first big discount that has been offered. The team previously gave the buds a great review for their design and audio quality.
  • Sony’s WH-1000XM4 wireless, noise-canceling over-ear headphones are available for $228, down from their original $348 price. The Verge says that these are some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.
  • The stylish Marshall Stanmore II Bluetooth speaker is selling for $249.99, down from its retail price of $379.99.
  • Audible has extended its Premium Plus membership free trial to three months (normally, it is 30 days), after which the audiobook and podcast subscription costs $15 a month. Again, hate to shill, but I am kind of an Audible addict, and it makes a great dad gift when you don’t know what else to get. The offer extends beyond Prime Day and is available until the end of the month.
  • Amazon Music Unlimited is offering a four-month free trial, up from the usual one month. After the trial expires, AMU starts at $9 per month. 

ICYMI: Lewis Black sues Pandora for $10 million over copyright infringement

Insiders last week got a peek at my scoop on Lewis Black’s lawsuit against Pandora. Black joins Andrew Dice Clay and the estate of Robin Williams in suing SiriusXM’s audio streamer for copyright infringement. Like the other comedians suing Pandora, Black claims that his comedy albums have a copyright for the written material (not just the recording) for which Pandora never obtained. He is suing the company for more than $10 million. If Pandora loses, it could be on the hook for more than $70 million, and the case could set a precedent that would pave the way for more comedians (and maybe even podcasters) to claim copyright infringement.

That’s all for today! See you next week.