Spotify a ‘frenemy’ to podcast publishers

The dynamic between publishers who produce podcasts and Spotify has been likened to that of how Facebook and Google treated producers of news content, with News Corp Australia’s head of audio Del Fordham saying the streaming giant is a “frenemy”.

“We call them a ‘frenemy’. Look, it’s a challenging dynamic, especially for us. [We had a] similar thing with Facebook and Google years ago, when we gave them all our news for free, and then we’re like ‘Okay, they’re suddenly a very dominant player,'” Fordham said at the IAB’s Audio Summit last week.

Spotify now also creates podcast content

The moderator of the session, Triton Digital’s Sharon Taylor, acknowledged publishers were in a “weird position” with Spotify, as the streaming giant is now also making original content, in direct competition with publishers, but publishers need to be where the listeners are.

“Spotify, Apple, all of these guys, they get all of our audio for free. And there’s huge benefit when it comes to audiences, but then we think, well only last week they’ve launched three or four original podcasts in the space, which you could argue is a direct competition to us from a creative and content [point of view]. So I don’t know the answer to that one in terms of where we sit. They’re friends at the moment,” Fordham said, before noting they were “nervous” about the dynamic.

Contacted after the event for clarification, a News Corp spokesperson said the comment about News Corp being “nervous” was “a joke. Nothing more”.

Fordham says it’s a ‘challenging dynamic’ 

“Del was simply making the obvious point that Spotify has moved from platform to creator so can be viewed as both partner and competitor,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re confident our programming strategy, partnerships and the ability of our brands and journalism to cut through and connect with audiences is the right one.”

Spotify was contacted for comment about how it works with publishers and the evolving dynamic, however it did not respond.


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