Spotify wants to improve podcast discovery on its platform. It has acquired AI start-up Podz to help with that.
Podz is focused on using algorithms to help enhance audio content discovery. Podz generates short 60-second clips that highlight the best moments of each podcast it is recommending to the user. Spotify says the technology will be implemented on its own platform to help users with better podcast discovery.
“Spotify has had machine learning experts focused in improving audio discovery for almost a decade, but there is more work to be done,” says the Spotify blog post announcing the Podz acquisition. “We believe that Podz’ technology will complement and accelerate Spotify’s focused efforts to drive discovery, deliver listeners the right content at the right time, and accelerate growth of the category worldwide.”
Spotify is facing stiff competition as Apple, Amazon, and now Facebook get in on the podcast trend. Facebook confirmed it will bring podcasts to its suite of social networks on June 22. Creators will have the option to promote small bite-sized clips on Facebook, similar to Spotify Podz.
Apple has lost traction to Spotify in the podcast market over the last few years. But now, the Cupertino company is ready to fight back with a complete redesign of the Apple Podcasts app. It has also introduced paid podcast subscriptions to encourage subscribers to support independent creators. Apple says it expects creators will have more motivation to create exclusive content for listeners, like bonus episodes or an ad-free experience.
Spotify now has over 2.6 million podcasts listed on its platform, so discovery has been a huge problem. Scrolling through what’s trending is one way to find new shows, but it’s hard to know if the hosts vibe well with you without listening to at least one episode. Spotify hopes these bite-sized clips will encourage voracious podcast listeners to seek out new shows similar to those they already listen to.
Podcasts are much more of a time commitment than skipping through a playlist of AI-generated songs. Most podcast popularity has been through word-of-mouth to friends, family, and co-workers from people who enjoy the shows.
Tapping into a new form of podcast discovery by releasing short audio clips may help in that regard. It will be interesting to see if Spotify starts to lose ground to Facebook in the realm of podcasts. Facebook is working on live audio chat rooms and several features that step into Spotify’s wheelhouse.