Spotify is officially trying to solve the podcast discovery problem while trying to help podcasters reach new audiences. The company today announced the deployment of three human-organized podcast playlists in six countries: the United States, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Brazil. The three weekly playlists are called the best podcasts of the week, the snacks and the crime scene. They will each be located in the countries and will be filled by preservatives in each location. Spotify has hired podcast curators around the world specifically for this feature.
Playlists are meant to get people who are already listening to podcasts to “get into the habit of listening to Spotify,” said Courtney Holt, vice president, global director of studios and video. The audio platform tested podcast playlists for the first time in the past year and has spent time observing how people use them. Holt says Spotify is also looking for these playlists to hire people who have never listened to a podcast, and to help people find something new.
Of course, the deployment of the playlist comes at a difficult time for the world, and the one in which podcasters are looking to see if the disappearance of journey times affects the frequency with which people listen to their programs. Holt says Spotify has changed its habits, like people who watch shows at different times of the day, but he says the company expects behaviors to return to habit as the pandemic s ‘mitigates.
“I think a lot of people are changing their behavior for a limited time, but we also have signals – we are looking at our platform globally – and we are seeing different sets of data in different markets that are at different stages of response to a pandemic, “he said. said. The rollout of the playlist would have occurred with or without the pandemic, he says, so the company is sticking to its podcast plans.
Spotify’s conservation efforts could make some in the wider industry nervous. Apple, the original and largest name for podcast platforms, offers editorial lists, not playlists that run through each recommended episode. The industry largely respects the opinions of this team, primarily because Apple does not create its own podcast content. Spotify, however, is. It has Gimlet Media, Parcast, Anchor and its own Spotify studios, all of which are designed to produce different podcasts. Industry people may be concerned that Spotify would use its playlists to amplify its own voices. Holt says people shouldn’t worry.
“The product only works if it has editorial integrity, and our publishers have been instructed to choose the best content,” he said. “It really has little to do with whether we have succeeded or not … The goal is to reflect what is interesting for a large audience, and if our shows are up to scratch, it’s great, but the idea is that it’s not a way to celebrate the content produced by Spotify. It’s a way to celebrate the shows you have to hear every week because they’re amazing. ”
He says the curators will use a “set of different datasets” to find shows with the possible goal of creating a tool that will also allow creators to submit their own episodes. In addition to today’s announcement, the company is also launching a tool in its Spotify Dashboard for Podcasters that will send a notification to show creators each time one of their episodes is included in a playlist.
Holy does not think that Spotify positioning itself as a creator of tastes and a place where everyone can listen to programs is problematic for the industry. On the contrary, it is an advantage, he says.
“The goal is to showcase the industry,” says Holt. “So I think the more we do that, the better for everyone. “