Spotify could take Apple podcasts to audiences this year, according to new projections that the music streaming service has a big 2021.
If we are to believe the latest projections, Spotify could be ready to take over as a premier service for the thousands of podcasts that have sprung up over the years. Spotify’s gargantuan investment in podcasting support looks set to pay off, after the music streaming service has long played the supporting role of Apple and its formidable Apple Podcast platform.
Spotify has been spending money on podcasts for years. The company took steps to buy podcast networks like Gimlet Media, Anchor FM, Parcast in 2019, followed by the 2020 decision to acquire The Ringer, a sports podcast network. Later in 2020, Spotify announced its biggest podcast news when it struck a deal with Joe Rogan to pluck the Joe Rogan Experience from YouTube, resulting in one of the biggest podcasts in the world now a Spotify exclusive.
In the wake of this huge affair, eMarketer projects for the first time that Spotify’s podcast audience in the United States will surpass that of Apple podcasts. The market research company speculates that 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts on Spotify on a monthly basis, compared to 28 million for Apple podcasts. It’s a thin margin, but an important one. Especially considering eMarketer predicts that Apple Podcast’s podcast listeners share will drop nearly 11 percentage points to 23.8% in 2021. In that sense, the two platforms appear to be moving in entirely different directions.
Exclusive podcasts essential to compete with Apple
The current highlight of Spotify’s exclusive podcast ecosystem is the Joe Rogan Experience, since the huge audience of the program has undoubtedly created many new Spotify subscribers. However, Rogan and the large fan base of listeners are not the only reason for the rise in popularity of Spotify’s podcasts. Or, at least, they won’t be for long. During a news event in February, Spotify announced plans to significantly expand its line of exclusive podcasts. Former President Barack Obama Teams Up With Bruce Springsteen For Podcast Titled Renegades: Born in the United States. While a new podcast called Batman not buried will add narrative stories that explore superheroes and villains to the DC Comics universe. Even Anthony and Joe Russo, the same Russo brothers who made Marvel movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, join Spotify to create podcast content.
Apple Podcasts is still a solid platform for podcast consumption, and Spotify can’t change that. What it can do, however, is build up a bunch of exciting podcasts that won’t be available anywhere else. With the Joe Rogan Experience, Renegades: Born in the United States, and the untitled Russo Brothers project, Spotify cultivates hours of captivating listening that are only available to Spotify users. There may be other reasons why Spotify is successful in the podcast space, but none of them are likely to be more vital to its success than streaming extremely valuable exclusive content on the platform.
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