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Spotify Acquires Podz to Improve Podcast Discovery

An opportunity for listeners and podcast creators

While Apple is rolling out its new Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, Spotify is also trying to improve their podcast experience with the acquisition of Podz, a tech startup focused on making podcast discovery easier and more personalized. With more than 2.6 million podcasts on Spotify, with varying links and from different genres, finding a podcast is often harder than finding a song or artist to listen to. Spotify hopes to change that by leveraging Podz’s expertise.

“At Spotify, we are investing to build and scale the world’s best (and most personalized) podcast discovery experience—and we’ve acquired Podz, a small, talented team of entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers, to help make that experience even better,” said Spotify in a June 17, 2021 blog post.

“Spotify has had machine learning experts focused on improving audio discovery for almost a decade, but there is more work to be done. We believe that Podz’ technology will complement and accelerate Spotify’s focused efforts to drive discovery, deliver listeners the right content at the right time, and accelerate growth of the category worldwide,” Spotify added.

Using advanced machine-learning technology, Podz creates 60-second high-quality clips with podcast highlights that users can listen to and identify podcasts they might be interested in. It will also help podcast creators get discovered and build a fan base.

According to TechCrunch, prior to being purchased by Spotify, Podz had raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding from M13, Canaan Partners, Charge Ventures, Humbition, Katie Couric and Paris Hilton.

The news comes just a day after Spotify’s official launch of Spotify Greenroom (previously called the Locker Room), a live interactive audio offering similar to Clubhouse. The new and improved Greenroom is available for iOS and Android in more than 135 markets around the world. In addition to the new branding, Greenroom offers a more robust experience for users.

Spotify Greenroom

“At Spotify, we’re constantly iterating and innovating the future formats of audio in order to enable creators and their fans to connect in new ways. So in March, when we announced the acquisition of Betty Labs, the creators of Locker Room, we marked the addition of live audio as part of the Spotify ecosystem. This move provides yet another opportunity for creators of all types to connect with their fans more deeply and meaningfully,” said Spotify.

With Greenroom, Spotify users can:

  • Join a group
  • Search for upcoming rooms
  • Join a room
  • Create a room

Spotify expects that Greenroom will adapt and evolve over time as they learn more about what creators and listeners want from a live audio experience. Later this summer, Spotify will launch the Spotify Creator Fund to help live audio creators monetize their work.

Image courtesy of Spotify

Insider Take

The streaming wars march on, but who will win? As we noted in our Apple Podcasts Subscriptions article last week, Spotify and Apple Podcasts are close in terms of listeners, but eMarketer expects Spotify to pull ahead over the next two years. In 2022, eMarketer estimates that Spotify will have 33.1 million podcast listeners, compared to 28.5 million for Apple. In 2023, that number is expected to grow to 37.5 million podcast listeners for Spotify and 28.8 million for Apple.

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