Exclusives no longer a priority as Spotify shifts its podcast strategy

As networks continue to battle for a piece of the podcast pie, Spotify has been quietly rethinking the way it approaches its global podcast slate.

Exclusive podcast deals were once a key aspect of the audio streaming platform’s content strategy, and a significant driver of audience FOMO – not unlike its annual Spotify Wrapped insights launched this morning.

Sam Moles, podcast account director JAPAC, Spotify

But the digital audio business has confirmed platform exclusivity will no longer be a priority for the business.

Spotify podcast account director for JAPAC, Sam Moles, told Mumbrella that the focus would instead be on monetising its ‘originals’ outside of the Spotify platform.

“It’s a more holistic approach to publishing content. That exclusivity strategy is not something we’re necessarily pursuing anymore.”

“It’s about trying to find great content that resonates with listeners whether they want to listen to it on Spotify or other podcast platforms.”

The new strategy, he said, involved signing deals with creators that gave Spotify the exclusive sales rights for the podcasts it commissions.

It’s a backflip from the approach the business has taken previously, with the platform having raised eyebrows globally for its over investment in a number of exclusive content deals, some of which never saw the light of day.

Spotify appears now to have grown wary of overinvesting in content that can only reach a limited audience natively. Efforts to expands it content across platforms are already evident. In June the platform signed on South African comedian Trevor Noah in a deal that distributes his Spotify original podcast across platforms.

A number of former Spotify exclusives, including Dax Shepard’s ‘Arm Chair Expert’ and Emma Chamberlain’s ‘Anything Goes’ also began distributing more broadly around the same period.

Despite the move away from exclusivity, it’s likely these original content pieces will continue to play an important role in Spotify’s commercial offering. A recent study with Dr Karen Nelson-Field’s Amplified Intelligence revealed that the platform’s original and exclusive podcasts deliver a highly engaging environment that increased “spontaneous brand consideration” by 28% amongst Australian listeners.

It is however yet to be seen what the outcome will be for Spotify’s soon-to-expire deal with its biggest star, Joe Rogan. Rogan’s three year deal with the audio streaming platform, worth a reported US$200 million (A$301 million) is set to conclude next month, leaving many to speculate as to whether the partnership will live beyond 2023.


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