Skip to main content
All Stories Tagged:

Hot Pod

Hot Pod is The Verge’s premier audio industry newsletter, delivering news, analysis, and opinions on how the audio world is changing. Subscribe here.

A
External Link
Meghan Markle is back to podcasting.

After a very public and acrimonious breakup with Spotify, Meghan Markle has a new podcast deal with Lemonada Media. She will launch a new show with the network, which will also take over distribution for her Spotify podcast, Archetypes. The company had another splashy launch last year with Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.


More layoffs at SiriusXM.

SiriusXM CEO Jennifer Witz sent a memo to staff on Monday announcing another round of layoffs. She said that less than 3 percent (which works out to about 170 people) would be affected. Last year, the company cut 475 employees.


A
External Link
Music podcasters are furious that Spotify is killing Music + Talk.

Spotify for Podcasters is changing, and according to some creators, not for the better.

An expanded partnership with Riverside will replace some of the platform’s native mobile and web creation tools, and it’s sunsetting Music + Talk, a feature introduced in 2020 that allows podcasters to plug licensed full-length tracks into episodes. Podcasters who focus on music, in particular, have a particular need for that capability and say their shows will be gutted by the change.


J
External Link
The Joe Rogan Experience is now available wherever you get your podcasts.

After over three years of Spotify exclusivity, Joe Rogan’s podcast is now available via other podcasting apps — including Apple Podcasts — and will return to YouTube “within weeks.” The change comes after Rogan renewed his deal with Spotify for a reported $250 million.

Despite its exclusivity, the Joe Rogan Experience has still managed to be the most popular podcast in the world.


[Twitter]

A
External Link
Brands are avoiding serious news coverage, and it’s hurting The New York Times’ podcasts.

The New York Times reported earnings yesterday, and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien told investors that “our digital performance, including podcasts, was impacted by marketers avoiding some hard news topics like the Middle East conflict.” The NYT has published extensive (and important) podcasts about the war in Gaza and surrounding conflicts. Conventional wisdom in podcasting goes that advertisers avoid politics and other controversial topics, which is perhaps why brands gravitate toward sports and comedy shows.


A
External Link
Spotify really wants you to know it pays artists.

Always one to project its creator-friendly bonifides, Spotify issued a statement this morning saying that the streamer paid out $9 billion to the music industry in 2023. The company has released this figure the past few years in the context of mounting criticism that artists on the platform are not adequately compensated for their music. Spotify also recently announced major changes to its royalties system, including a new policy in which only songs that get at least 1,000 streams annually earn royalties, which the company says is intended to get more money into the pockets of working artists.


A
External Link
Warner Music Group to lay off 600 employees and close the Interval Presents podcast division.

WMG CEO Robert Kyncl -- who thinks you could pay more for Spotify-- revealed the record label will lay off 10 percent of its workforce, or 600 employees. It’s winding down the podcast division behind Rap Radar and Drink Champs, and IMGN Media. It's also in an "exclusive process" to sell Uproxx and HipHopDX.

Earlier on Wednesday, WMG reported Q1 revenue of $1.75 billion — its highest quarterly revenue since it went public, and net income of $193 million.


W
Youtube
How would you score Apple’s spatial computer?

On the latest Vergecast, Nilay Patel, David Pierce, and Alex Cranz discuss The Verge score for the Vision Pro, which got a 7 for being fun, but perhaps it should’ve been less?

Nilay put it to a vote on Threads yesterday, asking Vision Pro owners, in a “world of no 7s,” is it a six, or an eight? The winner was a third option: “Show me the results.” (Six came in second, though).


A
External Link
NPR taps former Wikipedia chief as new CEO.

Katherine Maher, the CEO of Web Summit and former CEO of Wikipedia parent organization, Wikimedia Foundation, will be the new president and CEO of NPR. Notably, Maher does not have a public radio background. It’s an interesting choice for the networks, which went through painful layoffs and podcast cancellations last year. Although NPR previously signaled a “broadcast-to-podcast” strategy, her appointment could signal a further pivot into digital.


A
External Link
Will.i.am is hosting a SiriusXM show with an AI.

Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame is really embracing the AI revolution. Later this month, he’ll debut on Will.i.am Presents the FYI Show on SiriusXM with bot qd.pi. “I didn’t want to just do a traditional show, I wanted to bring tomorrow close to today, and so I wanted to have my co-host be an AI,” he told The Hollywood Reporter


A
External Link
Parenting expert Emily Oster leaves Substack.

Oster, an economist who has become a leading voice on millennial parenting, is taking her popular newsletter, ParentData, independent. In an email to subscribers on Friday morning, she said the relaunch “has been in the works for months.” The news comes as prominent writers like Casey Newton and Ryan Broderick have announced their departures from Substack after The Atlantic reported that a handful of openly Nazi newsletters have been allowed on the platform. Oster’s announcement did not reference the controversy.


A
External Link
Audible is laying off 5 percent of its staff.

After laying off hundreds of employees at Twitch and Prime Video, Amazon is cutting staff at its audiobook and podcast platform, Audible. According to a memo obtained by Business Insider, Audible CEO Bob Corrigan said that the cuts were made “to position us for continued success in the coming year and into the future” and it’s really not worth finishing the quote, because you know the drill by now. Variety reports that the cuts will include more than 100 staffers, but will not impact the content teams.


A
External Link
Death, Sex & Money gets a second life.

The nearly-decade old podcast Death, Sex & Money is getting a new home at Slate. The media outlet announced it acquired the popular interview show hosted by Anna Sale, and production will resume in early 2024.

Formerly of WNYC Studios, DSM was shown the door last year when the struggling public radio giant decided to cut back on podcasts in an effort to cut costs.


W
The Verge
The Castro podcast app is back up.

The app stopped functioning last week and its website had become inaccessible, but the company issued a fix on Monday. Tiny representative Aditya Ponugonti told The Verge via email that the app and website outage were related to a DNS issue, and that “we aren’t shutting down Castro.”

Ponugonti added that the company is “still working towards finding a new home” for the app.


Podcasting is in its YouTube era

Plus, Audacy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

A
External Link
YouTube finally supports RSS.

As promised, YouTube now allows users to upload podcasts from their RSS feeds. YouTube is understood to currently be the most-used podcast platform, but its inability to ingest RSS feeds made it more difficult for podcasters to distribute on the streamer. It is another step in its goal to woo creators and corner the podcast market.


M
External Link
Curated playlists aren’t what they used to be.

Playlists like Spotify’s RapCaviar were once a path to a hit song, and the curators in charge of them were key influencers in the music industry. That era appears to be on its way out.

Streams originating from top playlists are down anywhere from 30 to 60 percent as Spotify pushes listeners towards algorithm-powered personalized recommendations. Some playlists previously created by humans have been replaced with algorithmic versions, like Indie Pop and Housewerk.


The Verge’s 2023 in review

It was the blurst of times.

A
External Link
France is taxing music streaming, and Spotify is pissed.

France has introduced a new law that will tax music streamers 1.2 percent of their domestic revenue to support local music. Spotify’s music lead in France and the Benelux region has been railing against the move, and announced on X on Wednesday that the company will pull its sponsorship from two French music festivals.