S & # 39; s being established as one of the best streaming services with over 200 million users, Spotify is preparing this year to focus more on podcasts. The company's plans integrate its personalization technology with podcasts to formulate better recommendations, update the interface of its application so that users can access podcasts more easily and negotiate more exclusives with the creators of podcast. He is also engaged in the sale of ads in podcasts to generate revenue through this form of audio programming increasingly popular.

In fact, Spotify has already started selling podcast ads in anticipation of this larger effort.

We learned that Spotify was selling its own ads in its original podcasts since the middle of 2018, including in programs like Spotify "Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith," "The Joe Budden Podcast," "Dissect," Showstopper " and others. With more exclusive offers planned for the coming year, the share of Spotify's advertising activity devoted to podcasts will also increase.

The company seems to have a different approach to working with podcasters compared to working with musical artists.

Today, Spotify provides artists with tools that help them share their work and be discovered – for example, it has invested in the DistroKid distribution platform and now allows artists to submit leads for the future. 39, a playlist processing. However, with podcasters, Spotify wants to either bring its own voice, or at least grant an exclusive license for its content.

"Over the past year, we have been working to create a fantastic world for podcasts," Spotify studio director Courtney Holt told the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. "The first step was to make sure we had the best podcasts in the world on Spotify and to bring the experience to the service so people could develop their habits and behavior," he said.

"What we started to see was that the types of podcasts that really worked on Spotify were those that were really authentic voices … so we decided to invest more in these types of voices," Holt added.

Spotify's original collection has grown steadily over the past year. Last August, for example, Spotify signed an exclusive agreement with the "Joe Budden" podcast for hip-hop and rap culture fans, and launched its first branded podcast, "Ebb & Flow," focused on hip-hop and R & B. Today, its full line also includes "Dissect", "3 Girls, 1 Keith" by Amy Schumer, "Mogul", "The Rewind with Guy Raz", " Showstopper "," Unpacked "," Crimetown "(its first season was long, the second season is exclusive to Spotify)," UnderCover "and" El Chapo: El Jefe y su Juicio ".

At CES, Spotify announced the addition of a new one: journalist Jemele Hill comes to Spotify with an exclusive podcast entitled "Unbothered", which will feature high-level guests in the fields of sports, music, politics , culture, etc.

In developing its original collection, the company found that podcasters who had joined Spotify exclusively were able to develop their audience, although they left other distribution platforms.

For example, Joe Budden's podcast had its biggest broadcast day after arriving at Spotify.

This has led Spotify to believe that podcasts community influencers will be able to take their community with them when they become an exclusive Spotify, and then further expand their base of listeners by exploiting the user base of wider music from Spotify and, soon, an improved recommendation. system.

There are also other benefits for Spotify: when users come to Spotify and start listening to podcasts, they often spend more time using the app, she says.

"People who consume podcasts on Spotify consume more Spotify – including music," said Holt. "So we found that by increasing our [podcast] catalog and devote more time to improving the user experience, this does not detract from the music, it improves the total time spent on the platform, "he said.

While looking for exclusive offers to bring more original podcasts to Spotify is an important initiative this year, Spotify will continue to provide all users with its recently launched podcast submission feature.

With this type of basic infrastructure in place, Spotify now wants to help users discover new podcasts and improve the listening experience.

One of the aspects of this operation is to direct the listeners to other podcast content that they might like.

For example, Spotify could direct Joe Budden's fans to other podcasts on hip-hop and rap. It will also rely on its multi-year partnership with Samsung to allow listeners to track their episode during an episode when traveling between different devices. And its recommendation and customization technology will be transformed into podcasts, including ads in the podcasts themselves.

"Think about what we did with music: the more you understand the music you play, the more we can personalize the advertising experience. We can now use that for podcasts, "said Brian Benedik, Vice President and Global Head of Advertising Sales at Spotify, about Spotify's potential for selling podcast ads.

The company is testing the waters with its own podcast ad sales since mid-2018, said Benedik. Sales are handled internally by the Spotify ad sales team for the moment.

Benedik also participated in a panel this week at CES where he spoke about the value of contextual advertising, that is, advertisements that can be customized for the user based on factors such as Mood, behavior and moments. This data could also be of interest to podcast advertisers.

However, to be able to focus on podcast ads, Spotify will have to invest in digital ad insertion technology. We learn that Spotify is in the process of deciding whether to build internally or acquire directly.

Spotify's rival, Pandora, took the latter route. She completed the acquisition of the adtech Adswizz company in May 2018, and then introduced features for shorter and more personalized advertisements in August. In November, Pandora announced that it would introduce its Genome technology into podcasts, enabling a referral system to be put in place.

Spotify is now looking to catch up.

The addition of podcasts has redirected Spotify's attention as a company, Holt said.

"We are an audio company. We are trying to be the best audio service in the world, "he told the ETUC audience. "It's a pure game for us. We are seeing increased engagement; Podcasting offers tremendous business opportunities that we have never seen on the platform … and, of course, exclusives are about giving us something that makes the platform really unique: allowing people to come to Spotify for something you can not get anywhere else is the icing on the cake of this strategy, "said Holt.

Image credits: Spotify

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