Spotify Continues Push Against Apple Podcasts With Third Podcast Acquisition

Spotify today announced its latest acquisition, this one related to a podcast company called Parcast (via Reuters). This marks Spotify's third podcast-related acquisition in two months, and represents the company's ongoing plan to boost the music streaming platform as a hub for podcasts that can compete with Apple Podcasts.


Last month, Spotify purchased Gimlet Media for $300 million, acquiring the company's big-name podcasts like "Homecoming" and "Reply All." Around the same time, Spotify also purchased Anchor, a company that is more behind-the-scenes of the podcast world and lets its users record and create their own shows that can easily be shared online.

Parcast will be added to that list, and Spotify will now have ownership of its specialization in crime and mystery-themed podcast content, genres that are hugely successful in the market. Parcast is home to a big list of popular genres and podcasts, covering topics like cults, serial killers, haunted places, unexplained mysteries, extraterrestrials, and more.

These purchased shows will also join new and original podcasts created by Spotify, all of which will be curated by the team that built Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist algorithm. Eventually, the music streaming company hopes to become the Netflix of podcasts, able to provide recommendations on what to watch and house both third-party and exclusive first-party content.

Spotify first began its efforts to enter the podcast field around two years ago, when it said it was "coming after" Apple with a strong push into podcasts. The last few years have been marked as a so-called golden age for podcasts, causing many companies to look into entering the field.

Apple and Spotify have been in another dispute this year as well, after Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission. In the complaint, Spotify accused Apple of enforcing App Store rules that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience" and said that Apple acts "as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers."

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek particularly called out Apple's policy of charging a 30 percent "tax" on App Store purchases. This results in Spotify charging existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan via the App Store just to collect nearly the $9.99 per month it charges normally. The spat continued with Apple claiming that Spotify provided "misleading rhetoric," and with Spotify stating that "every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong."

For the podcast initiative, it's unclear when Spotify plans to launch the new part of its service.

Tag: Spotify


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26 weeks ago
Apple podcasts are free and only have ads that are placed by content creators
Rating: 13 Votes
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26 weeks ago
Apple added support for RSS-based audio distribution, Podcasts, in 2005. While Apple did not invent it per se, their support and proliferation of Podcasts revolutionized modern spoken-word storytelling and episodic audio content.

If it were done today, Apple would have called it :apple:Radio+ and charged $10/month.

Just a thought I had.
Rating: 11 Votes
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26 weeks ago
I fixed the title for you:

Spotify Continues Push Against Open Podcast Standard With Third Podcast Acquisition
Rating: 6 Votes
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26 weeks ago

They just keep spending money they don't have. I can't wait for them to go belly up. Maybe Apple will buy them cheap...


Dumb thing to say. I’m all in with my Apple ecosystem minus Apple Music. I have Spotify Premium instead. So much better than Apple Music.
You can enjoy Apple Music but wishing Spotify away is childish.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
26 weeks ago

Dumb thing to say. I’m all in with my Apple ecosystem minus Apple Music. I have Spotify Premium instead. So much better than Apple Music.
You can enjoy Apple Music but wishing Spotify away is childish.


The comment that "Spotify is spending money they don't have" seems true.

I hope they don't go under.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
26 weeks ago

They just keep spending money they don't have. I can't wait for them to go belly up. Maybe Apple will buy them cheap...

I certainly hope not and I don't even use Spotify. Limited consumer choice is not an ideal to strive for imo.
Rating: 4 Votes
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26 weeks ago

After yesterday’s greedy event, I might cancel Apple Music subscription and go for Spotify. Also, it has wider selections here in EU.

Yea how dare Apple offer optional services to costumers
Rating: 3 Votes
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26 weeks ago
They just keep spending money they don't have. I can't wait for them to go belly up. Maybe Apple will buy them cheap...
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
26 weeks ago

I don't see anyone ever becoming "the netflix of podcasts"... podcasts are more akin to the content on YouTube or Facebook or some other social network.


We don't really want anyone to become the 'Netflix of podcasting' if that means podcast content locked up within their paid service. Podcasts are more like websites... point your browser and go (or in this case, podcast player of choice).

The fear is that Spotify is trying to disrupt that model. I don't know if that is a legit fear or not. Maybe they just intend to to distribute podcasts via their player/service, and then also have a few really high-end paid shows, too. I guess that's their prerogative, just like a few 'traditional' podcasters have some paid content.

But, on the whole, the paid thing runs counter to the podcast culture. Most podcasters who make money, do so via sponsors or 'value for value' contributions from the listeners. Some have tried ads, but I don't know how successful that is, and most listeners kind of hate it.

Why are they “going after Apple”? How big is Apple; and how big are the other players?


Well, Apple is the big 'podcast directory service' (like a phone book listing or Google page result) out there, as well as the top audio player. Apple's Podcast app and iTunes accounted for about 63% of podcast plays last month. Spotify has been growing, and hit about 9.5% last month. For some other perspective, Overcast hit 2.9% and Google Podcast hit 1.1%.

BUT, it is critical to recognize we're just talking about directory and players here. When you create a podcast, you host it somewhere like Libsyn or Blubrry (or somewhere like SoundCloud or Anchor if you want to play it risky). Then, someone uses a player to read your RSS feed to get new episodes. Apple just plays the 'directory listing' role and/or media player role, but really has no control over anything after that. (ie: once someone subscribes with their player, Apple could go away and you'd keep getting episodes.)

My feel on why they (Spotify) are interested, is that podcasting just keeps growing in popularity/use. They want to have some attractive shows to pull people into their subscription service, just like Apple is creating TV shows to hook people into theirs.

Competition should help spur both Apple and Spotify to improve and make their respective podcasting services better.


Maybe, though I'm not sure that's the point here, and that they are really competing. Apple has been doing the podcast thing all along, but for what? I guess recognition. Maybe it has been a selling point for Apple devices and 'iPods' (now phones) to become more popular.

Spotify seems to have other motives, like pulling people into their service (paid). We'll have to watch where this goes.

My first thought is why would I subscribe to Spotify to listen to a podcast. I then see people say they have premium and there are no commercials. I really hate commercials in podcasts. Every podcast has the same mattress or squaretrade or happy meal or whatever commercials. I think I'd pay $10 a month if all podcasts I listen to were commercial free.


Heh, you may just be listening to the wrong podcasts, then. :) That said, more and more podcasters take on sponsors, I guess, so you get some ad-reads. But, the better podcasters actually use and love the products from their sponsors, and those products are a great fit for their listeners. If the 'ad read' is just the host talking about why they love XYZ product, that really isn't too irritating. I've bought a number of products over the last few years based on podcast host recommendation, and I've been quite happy to have discovered those products/services. It's not all bad, IF well done.

But, there are also many podcasters who are moving towards a 'value for value' funding model, where they just ask the listeners to donate what the podcast is worth to them. Sure, you probably have to listen to an ask for said funding from time to time, but I really like that model too, as it keeps the podcaster not being influenced by advertisers/sponsors... especially if the podcast is of a type where such influence matters (ie: politics, medical advice, etc, etc.).
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
26 weeks ago

Apple added support for RSS-based audio distribution, Podcasts, in 2005. While Apple did not invent it per se, their support and proliferation of Podcasts revolutionized modern spoken-word storytelling and episodic audio content.

If it were done today, Apple would have called it :apple:Radio+ and charged $10/month.

Just a thought I had.

You do realize apple has improved Apple Podcasts over the years ,right? If they planned to do what you are thinking ,they could have done it.
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After yesterday’s greedy event, I might cancel Apple Music subscription and go for Spotify. Also, it has wider selections here in EU.

Lol Greedy event. You guys are something. Every company needs to make money. If you don’t like a product,don’t get it.Its quite simple.
Rating: 2 Votes
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