Spotify has 300 million customers. It desires extra of them to hearken to podcasts.

Vanity Fair’s 6th Annual New Establishment Summit - Day 1
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Gimlet’s Lydia Polgreen tells Peter Kafka about how her dad or mum firm Spotify plans to show music listeners into podcast devotees.

Spotify desires to personal the podcasting area, and it’s made that clear with a sequence of high-profile acquisitions and offers over the previous two years — together with the Ringer, Gimlet, Joe Rogan, and, most just lately, Megaphone. Its subsequent purpose: get extra of its 300 million customers to start out listening to podcasts.

Peter Kafka talked to Gimlet Media’s new head of content material, Lydia Polgreen, about how she plans to realize that on the Code Media@Dwelling sequence.

“Our purpose is to get folks into the behavior of listening to content material on Spotify that’s not music,” Polgreen mentioned. Whereas the expansion of podcasts has been robust, it’s nonetheless a tiny fraction of general listening for the service. She pointed to the newest Edison analysis that podcasting hit an all-time excessive in 2020, now accounting for a 6 p.c share of audio consumption in america.

To that finish, Gimlet is experimenting with blended media extensions of podcasts, like vodcasting (video podcasting), and it’s leveraging Spotify’s strong predictive algorithm to feed music listeners shortform spoken content material within the Every day Drive, its advice service.

“Simply as Spotify helped folks uncover the most effective music for them — it didn’t simply know what you preferred, however it was in a position to predict what you may like,” Polgreen mentioned. “There’s a variety of actually fascinating work happening on the firm that’s making an attempt to resolve this drawback for spoken phrase audio too.”

The newest iteration of this appears to be like lots like conventional FM radio. Final month, Gimlet Media launched The Get Up, a morning present that mixes every day information and speak with Spotify’s personalised music suggestions — “that particular sauce Spotify has with music,” mentioned Polgreen.

Deciding to reinvent the drive-time radio present throughout a pandemic, when a big share of would-be commuters are homebound, doesn’t seem to be nice timing. However based on Polgreen, half one million folks have tuned in thus far. And after an preliminary dip, Gimlet listenership is again to the place it was pre-pandemic.

Polgreen additionally advised Kafka a few of her different concepts for audio: a every day shortform cleaning soap opera-style fiction podcast, and a weekly, appointment-listening documentary present. “We’ve but to see a present that’s grow to be the 60 Minutes for audio,” she mentioned.

Watch Kafka’s full interview with Lydia Polgreen above to listen to extra about her imaginative and prescient for podcasting at Spotify, why she left a protracted profession on the New York Instances to affix HuffPost after the 2016 election, and her ideas on Joe Rogan’s interview controversies.

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