Spotify Pivots Podcasting Strategy Yet Again, This Time to Syndication

Spotify podcasting strategy pivots to syndication
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Spotify podcasting strategy pivots to syndication
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Photo Credit: Spotify

Spotify pivots its podcasting strategy yet again — this time with an eye on syndication.

Spotify is shifting its podcast strategy again, making its exclusives available on other platforms to gain revenue through syndication. The company is in talks to make its popular podcasts Armchair Expert and Anything Goes available on other streaming platforms, reversing its prior strategy to attract listeners outside its platform through syndication and boosting revenue for the shows.

Armchair Expert is hosted by Dax Shephard and Monica Padman, currently billed as a “Spotify Exclusive,” but may soon be available on other platforms. The audio version of Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes is already available on Apple’s Podcast service, with more shows likely to follow, according to Bloomberg reports from people with knowledge of the situation.

Spotify’s decision to expand distribution for Anything Goes and Armchair Expert mirrors its move to expand distribution for Science Vs — a Gimlet show sallying forth after Spotify’s most recent 200-count layoff of employees gained during the company’s acquisition of Gimlet and Parcast — and perhaps serves as an acknowledgment of the limitations imposed by Spotify’s exclusivity model.

Reversing strategy and setting a precedent for broader distribution of other shows would bring Spotify in closer alignment with outlets like SiriusXM, focusing on acquiring listeners rather than bringing listeners to a particular platform. 

It’s a strategy that has served Spotify in the past, with sports and pop culture podcast studio The Ringer maintaining its broad distribution since Spotify acquired it in 2020. Gimlet-original hit The Journal is also available on platforms like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

But Spotify’s podcasting business, though still massive, continues to collapse like a flan in an oven. Many original founders and executives who came to Spotify to build its podcasting empire have left in the past year. 

That list includes Nir Zicherrman, who headed the company’s audiobook division; Michael Mignano, who ran the company’s podcasting tech stack; top podcast dealmaker Courtney Holt; Gimlet co-founder Alex Blumberg; and Parcast founder and head of talk creator content and partnerships Max Cutler.