The news: Spotify is beginning to loosen its hold on podcast exclusivity. The new “Science Vs” from Gimlet Media, the podcasting network Spotify acquired for $200 million in 2019, will also be available across rival audio platforms like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.
Why this matters: In the last few years, Spotify went on an acquisition spree purchasing popular podcasts and networks and making its shows platform-exclusive in a bid to change podcast listening habits and become the defacto audio platform. But over time, it turned out that exclusivity was poisonous for growth.
Audiobook shakeup: Spotify has called podcasting a “$20 billion opportunity,” but the company’s ambitions don’t stop there. Its latest plunge has been into audiobooks, but only one year after the feature’s launch, Spotify audiobook chief Nir Zicherman announced he will leave the company in the fall.
Our take: Spotify is one of the clear winners of its generation of digital services, maintaining strong user growth and resilient ad revenues. But with growth starting to taper off, we’re seeing the company experiment and break down self-made barriers that stand in the way of user acquisition.
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