Spotify unveils a stack of original & exclusive Aussie podcasts

Former Assistant Editor

Spotify’s big global push into podcasting has been well documented, and now the streaming giant has revealed a series of original content for podcasts in Australia.

At the inaugural Spotify Podcast (R)evolution event in Sydney today (Feb 27), the company laid out plans for an initial lineup of exclusive and original shows, the first of many more announcements to come.

The event opened with Spotify’s head of marketing and PR, Sophie Paterson, addressing the state of play and revealing that 22% of the Australian population listened to a podcast each month in 2019 (up from 18% the prior year).

She then introduced Spotify’s New York-based global head of markets Celia Qvist, spoke about how the newly announced podcasts will form part of Spotify’s charge to become the world’s largest audio network,

Qvist revealed that a number of markets had been identified for original and exclusive content, with Australia being one of them, with Spotify now focussing on growth opportunities in Australia for local talent.

“Our goal is to become the number one audio platform in the world, providing the best in audio content, customised, and accessible on-demand everywhere,” she said.

Qvist also spoke about the autonomy that Spotify gives its teams in local markets, with full trust given to the Australian team to identify and develop talent and new podcasts for the platform.

“The role our global markets play in this expansion is pivotal and we look forward to making many more announcements in this space,” she said.

The podcasts announced were; Search Engine Sex, a Spotify Original about sex and relationships hosted by Sound Up alumni Rowdie Walden, Generation Betoota, a Spotify Exclusive from The Betoota Advocate feature weekly youth news, and VICE Extremes Season 2, a Spotify Exclusive hosted by Julian Morgans about people who have lived through the far ends of human experience.

During the event, Rowie Walden, Betoota’s Clancey Overell and Vice’s Julian Morgans were joined by Rachel Corbett from Mamamia for a panel. They spoke about what it takes to engage an audience and the importance of creating podcasts outside the tried and tested True Crime genre.

Overell said that Generation Betoota signified a shift “away from the way we normally do things”, and revealed the podcast will be “heavily produced” compared with the way that Betoota normally does content.

Corbett praised Spotify for championing local creators, and said she’s pleased with how far the Australian market has come in recent years. “Two years ago they used to wheel me out to explain what a podcast was!” she said.

Having Spotify’s metrics and “real audience data” available is a key tool for creators, added Overell, before having a dig at the way radio surveys generate audience measurement.

All three podcasts are exclusively available on Spotify from 12:00am on Thursday, February 28.

In addition, Spotify today announced the return of Sound Up for 2020, Spotify’s accelerator program, dedicated to lifting up and amplifying the voices of the First Nations community in Australia. Applications for Sound Up are now open.

The event was also an opportunity for Spotify to spruik some growth numbers from the local market:

  • Weekly Australian podcast listeners have increased by 50% over the last three years.
  • 48% of podcast listeners in Australia also tuning into the radio each week.
  • Australians listened to 11.06 hours of online audio per week in 2019, up by over an hour since 2018.
  • Spotify users streaming podcasts has also increased by over 11% in the last year.

The event wrapped up with a live podcast recording of Search Engine Sex.

The latest string of announcements follow Spotify’s launch of Your Daily Drive, a personalised car playlist bringing together news talk and music.

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