Spotify explores the possibility of podcast subscription service

Staff Writer

Spotify appears to be exploring a monthly subscription service for podcasts only, according to multiple US outlets.

The company recently sent out a user survey asking for feedback on a number of premium podcast tiers.

The proposed US $2.99 tier offered “exclusive interviews and episodes” but with ads inserted by the platform or read out by the host. The $4.99 tier floated exclusive content but with no platform-inserted ads. For $7.99, subscribers would get “early access to interviews and episodes for subscribers” with no ads.

Reports on the potential subscription model coincide with the news that Spotify has acquired podcast advertisement company Megaphone for US$235 million. It’s the latest in its string of podcast company acquisitions, following Gimlet Media and Anchor in 2019.

Spotify emphasised that asking for user feedback didn’t necessarily mean a resulting service or product.

“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of surveys in an effort to improve our user experience,” a spokesperson told The Verge.

“Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings.

“We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”

Earlier this year, CEO Daniel Ek said the company was still experimenting on its podcast marketing and what to offer exclusively.

A podcast subscription take-up would be a boon for Spotify, which pays large licensing rates for its music catalogue. Last month, it reported that its number of podcasts series hit 1.9 million in Q3, up from 1.5 million in Q2 and 700,000+ in Q1. Notably, 70% of the new podcasts from the quarter are created with Anchor.

It would also allow Spotify to expand its offerings to third-party advertisers and podcast publishers with confirmed data.

As TechCrunch reported, Spotify’s podcast consumption was up by “triple digits” in Q1 2020 compared with Q1 2019. In Q3 it reported 22% of its 320 million Total MAUs engaged with podcast content, up from 21% in Q2.

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