Spotify Axes Multiple Live Audio Shows Following Podcast Cancellations, Layoffs

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

After canceling a number of original podcasts and making related layoffs, Spotify has officially cut several live audio shows.

The Stockholm-based platform’s latest effort to dial back its non-music spending came to light in a new report from Bloomberg. Of course, it’s hardly a secret that Spotify has injected billions into audio entertainment, including podcasting (companies as well as programs), audiobooks, and live audio, in recent years.

But slowing subscriber growth, uncertainty throughout the broader economy, and a well-documented goal of making podcasting profitable in the near future have prompted the business to cut costs, including by reducing overall hiring by 25 percent.

Additionally, Spotify began 2022 by shuttering its Spotify Studios/Studio 4 podcast unit, before reorganizing its wider podcast division over the summer, axing 11 original programs in October, and triggering recruiting layoffs in November.

(Notwithstanding these and other steps to slice expenses, it’s worth reiterating that Spotify has also dropped millions on podcast-tech companies Podsights and Chartable, “content moderator” Kinzen, music trivia game Heardle, and AI voice platform Sonantic in 2022, besides kicking off a reportedly $300 million FC Barcelona partnership.)

Now, as mentioned at the outset, the Spotify Live operator is doing away with live audio programs including Deux Me After Dark (billed as “your place for the latest tea on your favorite celebrities”) and Doughboys: Snack Pack (listeners had been invited “to chat LIVE about the latest and greatest snacks out there on the market”).

Also set to end are The Movie Buff and A Gay in the Life, according to the aforementioned report as well as social-media posts from the impacted programs and hosts. Interestingly, Bloomberg indicated that some of the canceled shows have installments remaining on their original deals, but Spotify opted to pay out the entirety of the owed sums without airing the associated episodes.

The latter point is particularly noteworthy given that replays of the live offerings are ultimately uploaded to Spotify as podcasts for on-demand listening. More broadly, it’ll be worth following the evolution of (and any additional cutbacks within) Spotify’s non-music programming moving forward.

For reference, Facebook abruptly shut down its podcast division (including live audio rooms) earlier in 2022, amid stiff competition from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, SiriusXM, Amazon Music, and others yet. Moreover, Amazon has branched out into live with a radio app called Amp, though half the platform’s team was laid off towards October’s conclusion, roughly eight months after the service arrived on the scene.