Spotify has started spending some of the $500 million it has earmarked for acquisitions in the podcasting area. Two businesses – Gimlet and Anchor – had been scooped up by the streaming service and will be introduced into the infrastructure in the near future. This strategy has a lot of industry experts scratching their heads. After all, why would Spotify even bother? Apple music has dominated the podcasting sector for years and early attempts by…pretty much anyone to grab some market share have been clumsy at best and disastrous at worst. But this is something that Spotify is willing to own, with senior executives happy to admit that there first podcasting platform lacked vital features such as robust searchability and high-quality audio.
But why does this even matter? Does the community at large care about podcasting? Evidently, yes. The sector has been valued at around the $1 billion a year mark and has seen numerous businesses come and go. Two that have managed to be successful are the two organisations that Spotify just purchased – Gimlet and Anchor. These small niche organisations have found a problem that podcasters experience and solved it.
And what will Spotify’s new podcasting platform look like once it’s complete? According to insiders, it will be very similar to the music channel. Simple to navigate, easy to search on (something that was missing from the previous attempt) and interesting and engaging for users. Importantly, podcasters (who Spotify will want to steal from Apple) can expect new editing and broadcast features built into the system.
The end result will be more competitiveness in the podcasting area and higher quality content. More engaged podcasters combined with additional tools, will push this medium even further than it has already gone. It’s also – obviously – good news for podcast startups, many of whom will likely find themselves in middle of a bidding war between Apple and Spotify.