Spotify is experimenting with a new podcast initiative that's said to be aimed at gaining ground on the current leader in the field, Apple, as a way to convince Spotify users on iOS to stick around in the Spotify app, and not migrate over to Apple Podcasts. As of now, the podcast initiative is described as a "test," with Spotify launching a few original podcasts and running promotions for the shows to see how users respond (via Bloomberg).
Currently, podcasts on Spotify sit within the Browse tab of the iOS app and lack any highlighted featured section on the Home screen. Spotify's new initiative seeks a way to change that and begin showcasing podcasts for users in the same way that the service curates music. Earlier this year, Spotify commissioned original podcasts focused on music, premiering first on Spotify before expanding to other services.
Next, more original shows will continue the podcast test over the coming months.
Spotify will fund a new batch of original podcasts in the coming months, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing the private plans.
“Spotify has the potential to do a lot for podcasting,” Quah said. “They have a large user base, and all it takes is a few tweaks here and there to put podcasting in the foreground for the daily listeners.”
The initiative is also expanding into advertising fields, with Spotify agreeing to promote specific podcasts within the app and on mobile transportation, in return for these podcast hosts "talking up" Spotify on social media and throughout their shows. Right now, the podcasts in agreement with Spotify include "Reply All," "Pod Save America," and "The Bill Simmons Podcast."
At WWDC this year, Apple announced major features for both users and podcast creators coming to the overhauled Podcasts app in iOS 11. Although the recently rebranded "Apple Podcasts" holds the majority share of the podcast market (around 55 percent, according to weekly podcast newsletter author Nick Quah), Spotify's stance as the largest streaming service in the world presents it with "an opportunity to steal share from Apple."