Spotify could surpass Apple’s podcasts in audience this year, based on new projections that see the music streaming service have a big 2021.
If the latest projections are to be believed, Spotify it could be poised to become the leading service out of the thousands of podcasts that have sprung up over the years. Spotify’s gigantic investment in the podcasting medium appears to be about to pay off, after the music streaming service has long been a secondary role to Apple and its formidable platform Apple Podcasts.
Spotify has spent money on podcasts for years. The company took steps to buy podcast networks like Gimlet Media, Anchor FM, Parcast in 2019, followed by the 2020 decision to acquire The Ringer, a sports podcast network. Later in 2020, Spotify released its biggest podcast news yet when it struck a deal with Joe Rogan to launch the Joe Rogan Experience YouTube, resulting in one of the largest podcasts in the world now exclusive to Spotify.
Immediately after that massive deal, eMarketer projects Spotify’s podcast audience in the US to surpass Apple Podcasts for the first time. The market research company speculates that 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify on a monthly basis, compared to 28 million on Apple Podcasts. It is a small, but significant margin. Especially considering eMarketer projects Apple Podcasts’ share of podcast listeners to drop nearly 11 percentage points to 23.8 percent in 2021. In this regard, the two platforms appear to be trending in completely different directions.
Exclusive podcasts crucial to compete with Apple
The current highlight of Spotify’s exclusive podcast ecosystem is the Joe Rogan Experience, as the show’s large audience has undoubtedly created many new Spotify subscribers. However, Rogan and the large fan base of listeners are not the only reason for the rise in popularity of Spotify podcasts. Or, at least, they won’t be for long. During a February news event, Spotify announced plans to significantly expand its line of exclusive podcasts. Former President Barack Obama is partnering with Bruce Springsteen for a podcast called Renegades – Born in the USA. While a new podcast called Batman unearthed will add narrative scripted stories that explore superheroes and villains to the DC Comics universe. Even Anthony and Joe Russo, the same Russo brothers who directed Marvel movies like Avengers: Infinity War Y Avengers Endgame, join Spotify to create podcast content.
Apple Podcasts is still a solid platform for consuming podcasts, and Spotify can’t change that. What you can do, however, is rack up a pool of exciting podcasts that won’t be available anywhere else. With the Joe Rogan Experience, Renegades – Born in the USA, and the Russo brothers’ untitled project, Spotify is cultivating hours of engaging listening that are only available to Spotify users. There may be other reasons why Spotify is succeeding in the podcast space, but none of them are likely more vital to its success than the immensely valuable exclusive content that is streamed on the platform.
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