Entercom Drops Nearly $70 Million on Two Podcasting Acquisitions

Who says Spotify gets to have all the fun?

Entercom, a Pennsylvania-based broadcasting company and radio network, has acquired two prominent podcast companies, Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Media. The companies cost Entercom a total of $70 million.  The deals were confirmed to Digital Music News early this morning.

Entercom previously owned a 45 percent stake in Cadence13, which was purchased for $9.7 million in 2017.  However, Entercom officials paid substantially more for the remaining 55 percent.  The entirety of Pineapple Street Media was bought for $18 million.

With the acquisitions, Entercom is poised to try and surpass the popularity and reach of the top-two podcasting companies, NPR and iHeartMedia.  Cadence13’s resources will be absorbed by Entercom’s Radio.com division, and Pineapple Street Media will be renamed Pineapple Street Studios and will continue to be overseen by its two cofounders.

Entercom, which is publicly traded under the ETM symbol, isn’t the only company that’s betting big on podcasts.

Apple has started to produce original podcasts, and Spotify has long done so.  Moreover, Spotify’s podcast investments have surpassed $500 million, and the streaming platform recently made an exclusive deal with Kevin Bacon, whose scripted podcast, I’m Gonna Be Kevin Bacon, will be available to all Spotify Premium subscribers.

Additionally, the Obamas are set to launch a podcast on Spotify.

In one sense, the surge in podcasting brings radio back full circle.  The convenience and accessibility afforded by modern technology has reinvigorated both talk shows and “radio shows,” the latter of which experienced a severe decline in popularity with the advent of television.  Now that more and more scripted (and non-scripted) podcasts are being crafted and listened to, it can be safely stated that audio entertainment is enjoying a newfound renaissance.

Moreover, the average number of Americans who listen to at least one podcast per month has gone up for each of the last five years — an increase of 21 percent from 2009’s numbers.  Between this point and the large podcast-production investments that are being made, it seems likely that the future will bring additional gains to the listenership of non-music audio entertainment.

That partly explains why Spotify’s retreaded ambition is to become the king of audio, not music.  For traditional radio, two have long existed side-by-side.

One Response

  1. Tony van Veen

    We’re in a phase where Podcasts are hotter than music — at least from an M&A perspective. It’s much longer form audio than a song. I wonder how the streaming companies pay content owners. Are the royalties paid for a podcast more than the per-stream royalty per song? If so, what’s the calculation — is it based on program length? These payments would come out of the same pool of funds that are paid for music streams, further driving down per-stream rates, I assume.

    Anyone know how DSPs pay for podcasts?