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Spotify launches curated podcast playlists in a bid to make the platform a podcast tastemaker

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Spotify’s formally attempting to resolve the podcast discovery drawback whereas additionally attempting to assist podcasters attain new audiences. The corporate introduced immediately that it’s rolling out three human-curated podcast playlists in six nations: the US, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Mexico, and Brazil. The three weekly playlists are referred to as Greatest Podcasts of the Week, Mind Snacks, and Crime Scene. They’ll every be localized to the nations and can be populated by curators in every location. Spotify employed podcast curators around the globe particularly for this function.

The playlists are supposed to get individuals who already hearken to podcasts to “construct a behavior round listening on Spotify,” says Courtney Holt, VP, International Head of Studios & Video. The audio platform first examined podcast playlists final 12 months and spent the time since observing how folks use them. Holt says Spotify can also be on the lookout for these playlists to have interaction individuals who have by no means listened to a podcast and to assist folks looking for one thing new.

In fact, the playlist rollout comes at a fraught time for the world, and one by which podcasters are watching to see if disappearing commute occasions have an effect on how usually folks hearken to their reveals. Holt says Spotify has seen habits change, like folks listening to reveals at totally different occasions of day, however he says the corporate expects habits to return to typical because the pandemic eases up.

“I feel that lots of people are altering behaviors for a restricted time, however we even have alerts — we have a look at our platform globally — and we’re seeing totally different datasets in several markets who’re in several phases of pandemic response,” he says. The playlist rollout would have occurred with or with out the pandemic, he says, so the corporate is protecting with its podcast plans.

Spotify’s curation efforts would possibly make some within the broader trade nervous. Apple, the unique and largest title in podcast platforms, options editorial lists, not playlists that cycle by means of each really helpful episode. The trade largely respects that crew’s opinions, largely as a result of Apple isn’t making its personal podcast content material. Spotify, nevertheless, is. It owns Gimlet Media, Parcast, Anchor, and its personal Spotify Studios, all of that are designed to supply totally different podcasts. Folks within the trade would possibly fear that Spotify will use its playlists to amplify its personal voices. Holt says folks shouldn’t fear.

“The product solely works if it has editorial integrity, and our editors have been given directive to choose what the most effective content material is,” he says. “It actually has little or no to do with whether or not or not we’ve made it … The aim is to mirror what’s fascinating to a broad constituency, and if our reveals rise to the event, that’s nice, however the concept is that this isn’t a solution to have fun Spotify-produced content material. It’s a solution to have fun the reveals you need to hear in any given week as a result of they’re superb.”

He says the curators will use a “bunch of various datasets” to seek out reveals with the eventual aim of constructing a instrument that lets creators submit their very own episodes, too. Together with immediately’s announcement, the corporate’s additionally launching a instrument in its Spotify for Podcasters dashboard that’ll ship a notification to point out creators each time certainly one of their episodes is included in a playlist.

Holy doesn’t assume Spotify positioning itself as a tastemaker and as a spot the place everybody can hearken to reveals, is problematic for the trade. If something, it’s a profit, he says.

“The aim is to focus on the trade,” Holt says. “So I feel the extra we try this, the higher it’s for everyone.”

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