Spotify’s Video Podcast Tool Is Being Used to Pirate Hollywood Movies — Here’s What We Know

Spotify's pirate movies
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Spotify's pirate movies
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Photo Credit: Thibault Penin

Pirates are using Spotify’s video podcasts to stream movies on the platform illegally.

The phenomenon has been blowing up on TikTok as users post videos showing full movies on Spotify. Some of the videos highlighted Pinocchio, Mean Girls, and Minions: The Rise of Gru, available to stream illegally on Spotify. This is happening because pirates are posting full copies of these movies to Spotify’s video podcast tool.

Spotify is cracking down on the pirated movies in its video podcast tools–but it’s a game of whack-a-mole. As soon as a new full-length movie is discovered and shared on TikTok, Spotify immediately nukes the linked content. But the pirates are changing their tactics to include fake podcasts that contain links to these pirated full-length movies now.

“IP infringement is an industry-wide issue that we take very seriously,” A Spotify spokesperson told Fast Company. “Any content that is provided to Spotify that infringes on third-party rights will be removed.” Spotify says it has invested heavily in processes to detect and remove infringing content–but didn’t address when the removal efforts started.

Spotify’s video podcasts were introduced in 2020 as part of its deal to acquire The Joe Rogan Experience as an exclusive podcast. Its video tool has since rolled out more broadly, giving creators the ability to create their own video podcasts. Spotify hopes the tool will gain enough popularity to rival YouTube’s growth in video podcasts. As it stands, Spotify will continue to play whack-a-mole with these illegally uploaded movies on its platform. 

Spotify pivoted heavily towards podcasts in 2019 and beyond as YouTube Music has taken off as a digital service provider. A study released by Midia Research last year shows music streaming services grew 26.4% in Q2 2021. Spotify has the highest market share of those 521.3 million music subscribers at 31%. Apple Music follows behind at a healthy 15%, with other DSPs making up the rest. What’s notable about the data is the constant erosion of Spotify’s market share, seen below.

  • 2019 – 34% market share
  • 2020 – 33% market share
  • 2021 – 31 % market share

Spotify has lost a few percentage points from its market share for the last three years. YouTube Music is benefitting the most–it grew by 50% during the 2020-2021 Q2 period. The Midia Research reports that YouTube Music was the only western DSP to grow its global market share in that time period.