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Spotify’s sound investment in audio

Aug 14, 2020

With an estimated 300-million premium and free subscribers worldwide, Spotify has by far the greatest percentage of users in the audio streaming industry. Along with the seemingly infinite library of songs, one of the major reasons people continue to choose Spotify is because you gain access to all the audio you need in one place – from top podcasts to exclusive live sessions. And thanks to some recent developments, it seems Spotify’s subscriber numbers could be set to grow even further.

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Last June, Spotify announced it’d partnered with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, to develop and produce original podcasts for the platform. After more than a year’s wait, The Michelle Obama Podcast debuted exclusively on Spotify on July 29th – and the first guest was none other than her husband, Barack Obama. The series sees the former First Lady interview family, friends and colleagues about the relationships that make us who we are – and aims to inspire listeners to be vulnerable, open up, and focus on what matters most in life. This is one of many high-profile partnerships for Spotify, after they struck up a $100 million contract with Joe Rogan to exclusively stream his podcast, alongside deals with Kim Kardashian, Warner Bros, DC Comics and The Ringer podcast network. It’s clear Spotify is expanding and growing the business beyond music – and investing heavily in the lucrative world of podcasting. 


But it’s not just the individual podcasts that represent a key area of growth, the ads within them drive significant engagement – making it a valuable investment for brands. It was recently reported that Omnicom Media Group will pay Spotify $20-million for podcast ads throughout 2020 – giving their clients first access to the streaming provider’s rapidly expanding library of original podcasts. It’s all possible through Spotify’s Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) service, which provides advertisers with a suite of analytics data, specialised in-app offers and targeted spots to reach the people where the biggest impact will be made. The ads themselves have evolved beyond the typical pre-recorded campaigns too, with host-read spots becoming more and more popular – allowing presenters to offer a genuine opinion of the product or service being promoted. 

Podcast listeners are a captive audience – which makes it no surprise this is an important space for innovation. Spotify is currently trialling the use of in-app promotions in Germany and the US, whereby listeners can redeem offers within the application right then and there, rather than having to remember details and codes to input at a later date. In an interview, Julie Clark, Spotify’s Global Head of Ad Revenue, commented that “podcasting by nature is engaging, and introducing in-app offers allows you to continue listening while bringing back the ad in more of a direct response environment”. It doesn’t interrupt the listening experience in a way that’s detrimental to the content being consumed – which the brands hope will make people more likely to act on the promotions they hear and see.

It’s clear audio is opening up huge opportunities for streaming platforms and brands alike – which is why we’re seeing such significant spending in this area. All this investment and innovation illustrates that audio will continue to be an important of our lives – and something audiences are proven to be very receptive to. And it’s something every business can take advantage of by incorporating audio into on-hold content, whether that be promotional, informational, or simply to enhance your brand’s image.