Spotify has 300 million users. It wants more of them to listen to podcasts.

Spotify wants to own the podcasting space, and this is clearly indicated by a series of high profile acquisitions and deals over the past two years – including Ringer, Gimlet, Joe Rogan and, more recently, Megaphone. Its next goal: to get more than its 300 million users to start listening to podcasts.

Peter Kafka spoke to new Gimlet Media Content Manager Lydia Polgreen about how she plans to get there at Code Media @ Home Series.

“Our goal is to get people into the habit of listening to content on Spotify that is not music,” Polgreen said. While podcast growth has been strong, it still only accounts for a tiny fraction of the service’s overall listening. She pointed out the last Edison Research this podcasting reached a record level in 2020, now accounting for 6% of audio consumption in the United States.

To this end, Gimlet is experimenting with multimedia podcast extensions, such as vodcasting, and takes advantage of Spotify’s robust predictive algorithm to feed listeners of music abbreviated to the content spoken in Daily Drive, its live streaming service. recommendation.

“Just like Spotify helped people discover the best music for them – it not only knew what you liked, but it was able to predict what you might like,” Polgreen said. “There’s a lot of really fascinating work going on at the company trying to solve this problem for spoken word audio.

The most recent iteration is very similar to traditional FM radio. Last month, Gimlet Media launched Get up, a morning show that mixes daily news and chats with Spotify’s personalized music recommendations – “that special sauce that Spotify has with music,” Polgreen said.

Deciding to reinvent the radio show on driving time during a pandemic, when a large portion of potential commuters are housebound, doesn’t seem like a good time. But according to Polgreen, half a million people have logged in so far. And after a first dive, Gimlet’s audience is back to where it was before the pandemic.

Polgreen also told Kafka about some of his other ideas for audio: a daily short-lived drama-style fiction podcast and a weekly documentary show by appointment. “We have yet to see a show that has become the 60 minutes for audio, ”she says.

Watch Kafka’s full interview with Lydia Polgreen above to learn more about her take on Spotify podcasting, why she left a long career at the New York Times to join the HuffPost after the 2016 election, and her thoughts on controversies over Joe Rogan’s interviews.

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