Podcasting Unions Slam Spotify for Parcast, Gimlet Mismanagement — ‘Whether Spotify Studios Has a Vision Remains to Be Seen’

Spotify parcast gimlet unions
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Spotify parcast gimlet unions
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Photo Credit: Patrick Perkins

Podcasting unions for Gimlet and Parcast slam Spotify mismanagement as the company lays off 200 employees: “Whether Spotify Studios has a vision remains to be seen.”

Streaming giant Spotify announced Monday its plans to lay off around 200 employees, including workers at much-loved podcast studios Gimlet Media and Parcast. This “strategic realignment” of Spotify’s podcast division has led to a joint statement by unions representing Gimlet and Parcast, calling out the mismanagement of both companies leading to this juncture.

“As of today, Gimlet and Parcast no longer exist. Spotify informed us this morning that we have been absorbed into Spotify Studios,” begins a statement from Writers Guild of America, East members at Gimlet and Parcast. “Spotify also laid off 200 people today, including many workers unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East. This comes on top of sizable layoffs last year.”

The statement goes on to explain how heartbroken employees are at both companies, that when Spotify purchased Gimlet and Parcast for nearly $300 million, it “wasted the opportunity” to properly utilize the talent it had acquired, “canceling shows with dedicated audiences, leaving half-finished projects to die on the vine, and giving teams little direction as to what they actually wanted to see produced.”

“Spotify also made many of our shows exclusive to the platform, limiting the amount of revenue our studios could bring in,” they continue. “This has been tacitly acknowledged by Spotify, as leadership have since reversed that decision.”

“Beyond missteps in programming, Spotify also refused to fund Parcast’s DEI Committee as stipulated in their union contract.”

“Our final months were plagued by a lack of direction and transparency, confusion, and announcements that were backtracked hours or days after being made,” the statement concludes, adding that some Gimlet shows will continue production. “Gimlet and Parcast were studios with vision that helped shape our industry. Whether Spotify Studios has a vision remains to be seen.”

Meanwhile, while Spotify has not officially announced any Parcast cancellations, the unions’ statement remarks that the layoffs demonstrate “an unwillingness to invest further” in many of their beloved, long-running shows.

Gimlet, a pioneer in the podcasting game, produced genre-defining shows like Reply All, Motherhacker, Homecoming, Crime Show, and Conviction. Parcast helmed numerous popular shows with dedicated fanbases, including Serial Killers, Conspiracy Theories, and Supernatural with Ashley Flowers.