Spotify Offers Basic Streaming Plan, New Podcaster Feature

Spotify recently introduced a new $10.99 per month Basic streaming plan in the U.S., which includes “the music streaming benefits of your Premium plan without the monthly audiobook listening time.” As part of its move to provide “more choice for U.S. subscribers,” Spotify now offers subscriptions including an $11.99 per month Premium Individual plan, $16.99 Premium Duo option, $19.99 Premium Family (for up to 6 members of one household), and Audiobooks Access for $9.99 per month. Additionally, in an effort to boost video content the company is allowing podcasters, even those not officially hosted by Spotify, to upload video podcasts. Continue reading Spotify Offers Basic Streaming Plan, New Podcaster Feature

Spotify to Introduce New Version of Its Royalty Payout Model

Spotify will reportedly change its royalty payout formula beginning next year in an effort to cut out scammers and more equitably distribute funds among “legitimate artists” and rightsholders. As a result, it is estimated that about $1 billion in royalty payments will be redistributed over the next five years. The streamer is considering setting a minimum number of annual streams to qualify for royalty payments — which is generating controversy — as well as sanctions on distributors and labels determined to be fraudulently manipulating streams, and adding a playtime threshold that targets so called “noise tracks” designed to emulate music. Continue reading Spotify to Introduce New Version of Its Royalty Payout Model

Spotify Upgrades Podcast Customization, Audience Analytics

Spotify and Apple are running neck-and-neck in U.S. podcasting, with various surveys showing one or the other in first place. Not wanting to be shown up by Apple, which launched new creators tools this week, Spotify followed suit at the Podcast Movement conference in Denver, announcing customization features and a new audience performance dashboard. For the first time, podcasters will be able to customize parts of their podcast landing page, adding a bio and social media handles. “Spotify is working to build a more robust podcast ecosystem that serves creators, listeners, and advertisers at scale,” said Austin Lamon, director of podcasts. Continue reading Spotify Upgrades Podcast Customization, Audience Analytics

SiriusXM to Close Its Stitcher Podcast App and Site in August

SiriusXM is shuttering its Stitcher podcasting app and merging podcast delivery into its flagship SiriusXM subscription offerings. As of August 29, “the Stitcher app and web listening experience will be disabled,” the company told users this week. Stitcher offered listeners the choice of free-to-listen ad-supported programs or a la carte show subscriptions. It also had the $4.95 per month ($34.99 per year) Stitcher Premium, providing a wide variety of ad-free podcasts. “Subscribers can listen to podcasts within the SiriusXM app and will see an all-new listening experience later this year,” the company said. Continue reading SiriusXM to Close Its Stitcher Podcast App and Site in August

CES: Podcasting Industry Evolves as Listenership Skyrockets

Actor and director LeVar Burton, the multi-award-winning host of PBS’ “Reading Rainbow,” has more recently made a prominent name for himself as a podcaster, with 25 million downloads of his “LeVar Burton Reads,” which features storytelling. During a CES panel on “SXM Media: The Evolution of the Podcast Industry,” moderated by SiriusXM vice president and global head of revenue partnerships Kelli Hurley, Burton and two other panelists described the factors that have made podcasting such a dynamic industry sector, for creators and audiences. For Burton, having creative control was key. Continue reading CES: Podcasting Industry Evolves as Listenership Skyrockets

Twitter Prioritizes Discovery in Its Podcast Tests with Spaces

Twitter is testing a heightened presence in podcasting, offering a redesigned Spaces tab that includes a podcast option in an announcement that hints at a collaboration with Vox Media. Couched as an investment in audio creators, Twitter says the redesign includes personalized hubs (which it’s calling “Stations”) that group audio content together by specific themes such as News, Music and Sports. Integrating podcasts into Spaces, Twitter’s designated area for audio, is “a simple and intuitive way that allows listeners to simply hit play and go” and compile personal collections of live and recorded Spaces audio discussions. Continue reading Twitter Prioritizes Discovery in Its Podcast Tests with Spaces

YouTube Adds Dedicated Podcast Homepage, New Content

YouTube has added a dedicated podcasts homepage for U.S. users. The page — featuring both audio-only and video-recorded studio shows — went live for some users last month. It appears to be part of a grander scheme by the Google subsidiary to take on pod plays by Apple and Spotify, which it is already outperforming. Both added video podcasts in recent years. Studies say most U.S. podcast listeners get content from YouTube. Last week, NPR announced it is bringing its podcast catalog to YouTube, which is monetizing the podcasting shows with ads inserted by Google and others.  Continue reading YouTube Adds Dedicated Podcast Homepage, New Content

Spotify Announces Plan to Acquire AI Voice Startup Sonantic

Spotify will acquire London-based startup Sonantic, a company that creates realistic human voices from text using a proprietary AI engine. Sonantic made a recent high-profile contribution to pop culture by providing the means to simulate actor Val Kilmer’s voice in Paramount’s summer blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick.” The move expands the music and podcasting streamer to expand into audio technology with broad implications. Spotify vice president of personalization Ziad Sultan says the technology will be integrated into the main platform to allow the company “to engage users in a new and even more personalized way.” Continue reading Spotify Announces Plan to Acquire AI Voice Startup Sonantic

Some Disappointed by Facebook’s Waning Podcast Interest

After a year of experimentation, Facebook appears to be cooling on podcasting. Last April, the company launched podcasts for U.S. users in addition to Live Audio Rooms and the Soundbites short story feature. Now, Facebook seems to have shifted its priorities to online shopping and the metaverse, according to reports. The news has come as a disappointment to some in the podcasting industry, who valued the exposure and potential advertising revenue that came along with Facebook integration. During its brief focus, Facebook’s podcasting efforts were lauded by some content providers. Continue reading Some Disappointed by Facebook’s Waning Podcast Interest

Spotify Puts Podz Acquisition to Test with Discovery Feature

Spotify is testing a feature that lets podcast discovery platform Podz help people find new podcasts they may like. Now, Spotify is taking the algo-driven audio newsfeed for which Podz became known and turning it into a more personalized discovery experience. The big idea here is to extrapolate. Podz provided machine-curated audio samples. As part of its Spotify integration it is targeting the next level: letting users tap to read an audio transcript, review show graphics or hear more of the podcast. Spotify acquired Podz last summer for approximately $49.4 million. Continue reading Spotify Puts Podz Acquisition to Test with Discovery Feature

Spotify Acts on Boycott, Posts COVID Facts After Stock Falls

Spotify is taking steps to clarify its position regarding COVID-19 misinformation and stabilize its fluctuating stock price after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell yanked their music from the streaming service over objections to vaccine remarks on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. “These issues are incredibly complex,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said on Sunday, when the company published platform rules and announced the creation of a COVID-19 Hub to provide “easy access to data-driven facts” from “scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities” from around the world. Spotify will not be removing the offending content, Ek said. Continue reading Spotify Acts on Boycott, Posts COVID Facts After Stock Falls

YouTube Exploring Commerce and NFTs, Says CEO Wojcicki

YouTube plans to test new monetization features for creators of its YouTube Shorts videos, which have passed more than 5 trillion views since debuting in September 2020, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who also said the company is exploring adding NFTs to its toolkit for video creators. In addition, YouTube is testing new shopping features tied to its video content. The number of global creator channels making more than $10,000 a year “is up 40 percent year over year,” Wojcicki wrote as part of an annual letter to creators that outlined 2022 priorities focusing on helping creators generate income. Continue reading YouTube Exploring Commerce and NFTs, Says CEO Wojcicki

Spotify Continues Push into Podcast Space with New Ratings

Music streaming and media services provider Spotify is implementing a five-star rating system, not unlike Apple’s, in an attempt to become a bigger player in the podcast discovery space. The challenger has been coming on strong. In a Q3 2021 earnings call, the company cited Edison Research and internal tracking to proclaim Spotify the No. 1 podcast platform in the United States, squeaking by Apple in monthly listeners. Now, Spotify is hoping that its ratings will help create its own heat-seeking list, comparable to Apple Podcasts’ “New and Noteworthy” curated list. Continue reading Spotify Continues Push into Podcast Space with New Ratings

Spotify Targets Audiobook Market with Purchase of Findaway

Music streaming powerhouse Spotify is expanding its narrative footprint with the acquisition of audiobook distributor Findaway. The purchase brings Spotify a large catalog of audiobooks as well new revenue streams not only through audiobook sales and subscriptions, but through units like Findaway Voices, which provides turnkey services for authors who want their writings recorded. Spotify’s evolution to all-things-audio follows the company’s Q3 announcement that its podcasting business had overtaken market leader Apple in terms of downloads. Spotify says it expects the global audiobook sector to grow from $3.3 billion today to $15 billion by 2027. Continue reading Spotify Targets Audiobook Market with Purchase of Findaway

Strong Q3 Sees Spotify Gain Slim Lead Over Apple Podcasts

Spotify has announced that for the first time its podcast service has overtaken Apple Podcasts in U.S. listenership. Speaking on the company’s Q3 2021 earnings call, the company cited Edison Research and internal tracking to proclaim Spotify the No. 1 podcast platform in the nation, surpassing Apple in monthly listeners. While the company didn’t break-out numbers for its podcast listeners, it said monthly active users for Spotify overall were up 19 percent year-over-year, totaling 381 million for the quarter. Spotify Premium subscriptions also increased 19 percent, to 172 million, up from 165 million in 2020. Continue reading Strong Q3 Sees Spotify Gain Slim Lead Over Apple Podcasts