When I think podcasts, I think Apple and stats show I am not in the minority as the iPhone makers currently hold the most sway with podcast listeners.
However, in what some have called a huge power play, Spotify has purchased Gimlet Media. With the $320m deal, Spotify takes charge of numerous, popular podcast series’ including Without Fail and Reply All.
These purchases from Spotify perhaps show their intention to knock Apple off the top spot once and for all. The investment will allow Spotify to better monetise its platform; something the music-only streaming service has made somewhat limited progress with in recent years.
China, for example have been monetising podcasts for years on platforms like Alibaba and Tencent. Spotify’s move could see them do something similar on a more global scale, to take advantage of their large 170 million monthly active user database.
Some have noted that pushing podcasts will also provide Spotify enough differentiation to unshackle the platform from the bonds of the three large music labels, boosting their gross margins all round.
It will be interesting to see how Apple respond to this challenge. Podcasts represent far greater investment of listener time and so it’s easy to see how popular use of Spotify could result in falling ‘Apple Music’ users.
Whether Apple invests more in podcasts, consolidates the Podcasts and Apple Music services or does something entirely different, it seems a response is waiting on a change in Spotify’s share price. The war for consumers’ ears is on and podcasts are today’s battlefield.
In an blog post up this morning, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says he didn’t plan on getting into podcasting when he founded the company 11 years ago, but he’s in it now. He says Spotify is now the world’s second-biggest podcast platform (behind Apple), and that podcast listening will eventually make up 20 percent of Spotify’s usage.