Gimlet Heavyweight podcast will be Spotify exclusive from November
Hello again, welcome to the first week of October. I love the spooky vibes and strong pumpkin energy that fall brought in, even though it was a little scorching here in New York this past weekend. The last breath of summer. But I’m not complaining! I put the heater on in my car for about three minutes last week and was sad.
Enough about my SAD, and more about audio. In today’s newsletter, we discuss fan reaction to Spotify’s latest exclusive initiative, as well as Patreon looking to create their own original podcasts, and more. Let’s go.
Gimlet’s Heavy weights becomes a Spotify exclusive, and fans are crazy
Heavy weights, one of Gimlet Media’s oldest shows, becomes a Spotify exclusive next month, five years after its launch and two years after acquiring Spotify / Gimlet. Host Jonathan Goldstein made the announcement (via a dynamically inserted ad for people listening outside of the app) in the first two minutes of the new season’s premiere.
“I understand that when you find something that works for you, you don’t want to rethink it,” he says. “But that said, I also made the switch to Spotify, and it’s super intuitive, it’s easy to use, and I really like it. So if you like the show and want to support us and the work that we do, I really hope you join us on Spotify.
As is sometimes the story with these moves, fans are upset, and maybe because of the seemingly very online audience for that specific show, they tweet.
I’m incorporating a few tweets here, so you can gauge the reaction for yourself, but basically they’re not that warm and fuzzy.
One of the favorite podcasts (Heavyweight) goes @Spotify exclusive. I figured I might finally just rock all of my podcasts out there. But it turns out they don’t support private RSS feeds like patreon or slate plus. So stick with Pocketcasts. Very annoying.
– Paola (@Paopalinaa) October 3, 2021
I love Heavyweight, but know that exclusivity isn’t just about using another app. @Spotify podcasts aren’t available in many countries (Ukraine in my case), so Heavyweight will basically be gone in a month for me. Hope the money is worth it.
– Vladimir Agafonkin (@mourner) October 1, 2021
The @heavy weights podcast is, in my opinion, perfect. That’s the dictionary definition of podcasting. @J_Goldstein is a genius and his team is so talented. This is my favorite podcast.
But now, make it exclusive to Spotify? Sorry, but it’s a dealbreaker.
– KDP (@kerrydupont) October 1, 2021
There is much more – feel free to check them out here. I contacted Spotify to find out why Heavy weights becomes exclusive and what the purpose of this move is, and a spokesperson referred me to this August blog post, which offers to offer an explanation but basically says nothing. Perhaps the clearest sentence that could pass for an explanation is this: “We believe that streaming is the future of all audio listening and that our technology can provide the opportunity for the podcast ecosystem to grow. develop, innovate and, ultimately, create more opportunities for creators. worldwide.”
Reading between the lines here: Spotify doesn’t want you to download episodes and therefore receive embedded or dynamically inserted podcast ads. Instead, he wants to own the entire ad pipeline, which he can only do if you’re streaming on Spotify. I’m assuming your readers are familiar with its streaming ad insertion technology, which you can read more about here, but essentially it targets ads on the fly as a stream of individual listeners, and that ad targeting is based on on Spotify data on listeners. Therefore, if you are listening on Apple Podcasts or Pocket Casts or elsewhere, Spotify is missing the opportunity to use the data it collects not only to deliver better ads, but in the case of Gimlet shows, to sell more as well. Plus, listening to you on Spotify means it also has a better chance of converting you into a paid subscriber, or at the very least, it starts your personal data track.
The open question is whether the anger of some fans is worth it, and for Spotify the answer seems to be yes. I am on Heavy weights will lose some audience – even Joe Rogan, who was never on the platform before going exclusive and thus could have gained some audience through his deal, may have lost a substantial part of his listener. In this case, Spotify is negotiating some of the Heavy weightslisteners for the opportunity to earn money. Unfortunately for those who don’t want to change, but that’s the way the industry works right now.
Speaking of Spotify …
Twitch and Warner Music Group to launch exclusive music channels
This news arrived last week, but I wanted to be sure to mention it here. Warner Music Group and Twitch have reached a deal that will bring some of the music giant’s artists to Twitch via new channels, as well as exclusive original programming on the live streaming platform. Per Oana Ruxandra, Chief Digital Officer and EVP of Business Development at WMG, in the press release: “It’s clear that Twitch is a must-have space for all types of creators to connect with their fan communities. Our partnership creates a ramp for artists to access the service with the strong support of Twitch, opening up a whole new source of additional revenue. “
Of course, music is audio, but why do we care about this movement here? Well, on the one hand, there are several platforms seeing live audio streaming as a business opportunity. Amazon itself is reportedly working on some sort of live audio product outside of Twitch, while Greenroom, Spotify’s live social audio app, was touted at launch as a venue for musicians, podcasters and creators more broadly to. connect with fans for exclusive experiences. This Twitch deal stumbles the whole dream of Spotify.
Not only does Twitch reach out to a highly coveted demographic – young people – but it’s a massive global platform. A big part of this audio war is about being the primary place people spend their time, whether it’s listening to a podcast, having a conversation with a respected professional, or streaming music. Spotify could, of course, still have WMG musicians on Greenroom, which I suspect will eventually be an in-app experience, but an exclusive content deal with Twitch doesn’t make that that easy.
I’ll also highlight here how critical it is for these platforms to understand monetization. The creators of Twitch sell subscriptions to their channels, collect tips, and run ads, of course all getting a share of it all. Meanwhile, Spotify is still looking to help creators monetize on every level. He’s looking to sell more podcast ads to more people, and Greenroom seems to be considering this strategy as well. All of this to say that I have a feeling Spotify wasn’t happy to see this deal announced, and I’ll be looking at how it and other platforms react to the news.
Of course, when we talk about the Creator Economy, we have to mention Patreon, and there’s quite a bit of news this week as well.
Patreon is looking for original podcasting content
Bloomberg reported late last week that Patreon, which historically allowed creators to sell subscriptions to their work, is apparently now looking to fund its own original content. The strategy appears to window content for a period exclusive to Patreon himself. Now unfortunately that’s all we have in terms of details, so I’ll let this one short and hope we hear more in the coming weeks.
I have a few more shorter ones and we’ll finish!
NPR employees negotiate new contract
NPR employees ratified a new collective agreement with the company. The union tweeted the highlights, but among them are the guarantee that NPR will publish the salary for unionized jobs on the lists; increase in minimum wages; and an agreement to improve its anti-harassment policies online. Can’t wait to see the full contract! I imagine this will serve as a point of reference for future podcast / audio union negotiations.
Athleticism burned money
we followed Athleticism Here has Hot pod given its ambitious podcast strategy that involves multiple localized and national shows. According to Information yesterday, however, the company spent $ 95 million between 2019 and 2020. According to the publication, that exceeded its $ 73 million in revenue during that time period. He apparently has enough cash to cover his costs for the next eight months, which could explain why he is trying to find a buyer at a price of over $ 750 million. Good luck, and I hope these podcasters get back on their feet.
Now, finally, I usually don’t cover content offerings, but sometimes the extraordinary does happen …
Lindsay Lohan becomes podcaster
The beginnings are back, and apparently it comes with a touch of podcasting. First, Paris Hilton invested in the sadly named Podz, which was sold to Spotify, and now here’s Lindsay Lohan with a podcast created by Studio71. The unnamed show will be released in late 2021 or early 2022, and Studio71 says it will be the place where it shares its “authentic voice” as listeners have “a chance to experience a never-before-seen side of the megastar.” I thought I heard his authentic voice on Speak, her debut album, but I guess I can take a podcast too.
Okay, a bit long today, but I’ll be back on Thursday for our paid subscribers. As always, if you want to keep up with all the audio and podcasting news, scoops and analysis, click here. Goodbye!