Spotify wants to tell you which podcasts to listen to. In fact, your trust in its ability to do so is a crucial part of the company’s future strategy.
That’s not only because of the obvious economic benefit of getting you to listen to podcasts over music (i.e. that Spotify keeps a higher percentage of money when you play a podcast than when you play a track) – although that’s certainly the aspect record labels like the least.
It’s also to do with keeping ‘churn’ low – making sure that, if you’re a Spotify customer today, you’ll remain one tomorrow, and not defect over to Apple Music/YouTube Music/Amazon Music etc.
As SPOT boss Daniel Ek explained in a recent interview: “We know that discovery is one of the core benefits that we provide to people. And so if we can get to you to discover one new item of content that you absolutely love, that you’re like, ‘Holy shit, this is amazing,’ every single month, we’re pretty sure you will remain a user or customer with us for a very, very long time.”
Or, as Spotify explained in a slightly stiffer-collared investor update last month: “[Early] indications are that podcast engagement is driving a virtuous cycle of increased overall engagement and significantly increased conversion of free to paid users.”
Today (November 19), Spotify has unveiled a lynchpin in its plan to convince you to regularly allow it to guide you towards undiscovered podcasts.
Your Daily Podcasts is a new, podcast-only ‘playlist’ from Spotify that makes personalized recommendations for talk-based content you might enjoy, based on your previous behavior on the platform.
It launches today in the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Spotify transformed music discovery with playlists like Discover Weekly and Daily Mix… Now we’ve created Your Daily Podcasts — our first daily personalized podcast playlist.”
As Spotify explains in a new blog post, it’s taken learnings from its success in music recommendation/discovery and applied it to the world of ‘casts.
“Spotify transformed music discovery with playlists like Discover Weekly and Daily Mix,” reads the blog. “Now we’ve created Your Daily Podcasts — our first daily personalized podcast playlist that gives users an easy way to discover new shows while also keeping up with old favorites.
“If you’ve listened to at least four podcasts in the past 90 days, you’ll find the playlist in the ‘Your Top Podcasts’ shelf on Home or in the ‘Made For You’ hub on browse.”
Spotify announced in its Q3 results (to end of September) that podcast listening hours were up approximately 39% quarter-on-quarter.
On the earnings call that followed, Daniel Ek explained much of the philosophy that is now self-evident in the launch of Your Daily Podcasts.
Ek was asked about the similarities and differences in driving users to discover podcasts and/or new music.
He replied: “There [are] lots of similarities, and there [are] also definitely a lot of things that are vastly differently with podcasts. [However], I think the general mechanics are the same; we can certainly leverage the data that we have on our users. And we’re seeing some really interesting results [in] recommending podcasts based on music listening… [that] has a positive effect for us.”
“I think the general mechanics [of recommending music and podcasts] are the same; we can certainly leverage the data that we have on our users.”
Daniel Ek, speaking in October
He added: “That said, ‘selling’, music versus selling podcasts [to users] is a different proposition. One is a three-minute time commitment, another one is an hour’s time commitment, on average. We are still experimenting with formats and how to do that. It’s very much early days. But, as you could see, quarter-over-quarter growth of 39% is incredibly strong.
“We’re very pleased with that. And you should expect us to innovate on all forms of merchandising and discovery tools that we have, so that we can drive that number up significantly.”Music Business Worldwide