Spotify’s made lots of podcast acquisitions. What’s the master plan?

By using acquisitions to fuel both supply and demand, Spotify has snagged serious podcast market share from Apple.

Spotify hasn’t been shy about its podcast ambitions — dropping $1B+ on acquisitions isn’t exactly subtle.

Last week, the company added to its podcast tech stack by acquiring Chartable and Podsights.

Per The Verge, both companies provide analytics that help marketers, advertisers, and podcasters measure the ROI of podcast advertising.

So where do its newest acquisitions fit in?

Spotify’s podcast acquisitions generally fall into 2 buckets:

  • Content acquisitions, like Gimlet Media, The Ringer, and the exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience, serve to drive listeners to Spotify’s platform.
  • Technology acquisitions serve a wide range of purposes, but all align on one thing: getting more podcasters to host their shows on Spotify.

With its newest acquisitions…

… Spotify can offer podcasters the entire package:

  • Creation: Spotify acquired Anchor in 2019, which allows podcasters to quickly and easily create a podcast
  • Discovery: Spotify acquired Podz in 2021, which enables listeners to more easily find new podcasts
  • Monetization: Spotify acquired Megaphone in 2020, which helps podcasters make money by inserting ads in podcast episodes

With Chartable and Podsights, Spotify can now help podcasters show advertisers ROI on their ad placements as well.

Spotify’s strategy is a classic network play

In any 2-sided network, there is a supply side and a demand side. In the world of podcasts, podcasters provide supply, while listeners drive demand.

Both sides need each other, and Spotify has gone all-in to fuel both in an effort to accelerate its market share.

So far, it’s worked — between 2018 and 2021, Spotify grew supply from 185k podcasts to 3.2m, and in October, the company reported more US listeners than Apple Podcasts.

Despite recent headaches from its content acquisitions (ahem, Joe Rogan), it appears Spotify’s big bucks are paying off.

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