Spotify spent more than $500 million building its podcast platform in 2019. Now a new ‘Pick Topics’ button will recommend users podcasts based on their interests.
The new podcast button will appear for users in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. The button only appears if a user has never listened to a podcast using Spotify before.
Since the average user still associates Spotify as a music source, that’s probably a large percentage. Podcasting has been growing exponentially over the last few years. But most die-hard podcast listeners have a preferred app already.
Getting listeners to mix their music with their podcasts will be a tricky transition for Spotify. Recommendations help bring podcasts to the forefront, but it also helps train algorithms. Spotify is starting from scratch here, while Apple has years of data from iTunes.
There are over 500,000 podcast titles now available on Spotify. Podcast listening on the platform has risen by 50% since the year began. There was a 39% increase in podcast hours from listeners compared quarter-to-quarter.
Spotify’s gamble is slowly paying off here – I’ve seen anecdotal evidence myself. I recently switched from Google Play Music’s family plan to Spotify over the summer. While I’ve stuck to PocketCasts for curating my podcast experience, my girlfriend readily jumped over to Spotify.
Spotify thrusting a ‘Pick Topics’ podcast button will undoubtedly expose more people to podcasts. Those recommendations will include both Spotify-exclusive and non-exclusive shows. Spotify says recommendations are based on many factors, including local popularity.
Just a few days ago, Spotify introduced an automated podcast playlist for users. That update also included an Alexa Skill to ask Amazon’s digital assistant for specific shows on Spotify.
Podcast discovery is a tricky nut to crack since it can be challenging to find new shows. Spotify’s acquisition of Gimlet Media, Parcast, and Anchor means the company is a big player now. Each of these services caters to a wide variety of listening tastes.