How Spotify’s layoffs affect its podcasting business
Another week, another round of layoffs. This time, it’s Spotify. CEO Daniel Ike informed the staff yesterday morning that the company would cut 6 percent of its workforce, and said he took “full responsibility for the moves that got us here today.” The most notable change is the departure of Content and Advertising Director Dawn Ostroff. And while no additional offerings were cut, advertising and business staff were laid off, notably under Podsights and Chartable, nearly a year after both companies were acquired by Spotify.
Plus (and I’m fully aware of how inconsistent that is, excuse me), we’ve got even more announcements for the Hot Pod Summit.
After years of acquiring podcasts, Spotify is weak
Spotify has built itself into the biggest powerhouse in the podcast industry through sheer force of will (and capital), spending over $1 billion acquiring studios, publishers and ad technology. It has also relied on veteran entertainment executive Dawn Ostroff over the past four years to oversee the mega deals that have brought about hits like The Joe Rogan ExperienceAnd Call her fatherAnd Batman is not buried Exclusively on the platform. Now, as part of company-wide layoffs, Spotify is turning to consolidation.
Ostrov is beyond her will, according to Eck’s letter. Head of subscriptions Alex Norstrom, now Business Director, is responsible for content and advertising. Talk content chiefs Julie McNamara, Max Cutler and Bill Simmons will report to Norstrom.
“Working together, our podcasting team has revolutionized the space,” Ostrov said. In a company note yesterday. “The trajectory of this organization has been incredible, going from almost zero market share and a handful of podcasts, to the leading platform with over five million podcasts today and a 30-fold increase in podcast consumption on the platform.”
But (and this is a big BUT), Norstrom isn’t a content guy. Going from having someone like Ostroff, with her deep roots in Hollywood, to a typical tech executive like Nostrom will inevitably lead to a shift in how business operates. Perhaps McNamara, Cutler and Simmons will have more autonomy – or they could be cornered by a tighter budget.
Apart from Ostroff, the content side avoided the worst cuts this time around. It doesn’t look like any additional shows have been cut, but that’s likely because those bands took a hard hit in October.
“We remain committed to building on our success in podcasting, bringing innovative features to content creators, and continuing to invest in O&E podcasts,” said Spotify spokesperson Rosa Oh. hot pod.
On the business and advertising side, the new layoffs have been more profound. Employees who came to Spotify as part of Podsights and Chartable last year were among the departments hit by the layoffs. The acquisition of these two companies gave Spotify greater ability to measure the performance of offerings on the platform and put it in a better position to sell ads. And it works — the company’s ad revenue grew 26 percent in the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
But those acquisitions have added more employees in similar roles to those who already worked at Spotify, particularly from its 2020 acquisition of Megaphone. There has been “a lot of redundancy in job positions,” according to one person affected by the layoffs who asked not to be named so they could discuss their former employer freely.
It’s about the bigger problem that Spotify has yet to find a way to make its many podcast business acquisitions — Anchor, Megaphone, Podsights, Chartable — work in harmony. According to the same former employee, that hasn’t happened yet: “They don’t have an actual strategy for their podcasts yet. There are all these different technology groups.”
Another Spotify employee affected by the cuts felt similarly. “There was a lot of confusion about how it all worked together,” they said, and also asked not to be identified so they could speak about their former employer.
While 600 employees lost their jobs yesterday trying to pick things up, the company will have to figure out again how the smaller organization will operate. And while layoffs are always destabilizing, they didn’t come as a complete shock, either. I heard that in the months leading up to the cuts, employees were told to limit business travel to mission-critical events and saw cuts to their meal and fitness paychecks. Meanwhile, those who remain will have to make do with the staff they have — Spotify has Remove all postings regardless of training periods.
The Hot Pod Summit adds another exciting guest – and live podcast recording
The Hot Pod Summit is coming up next month, and we’ve got another exciting piece of programming news to share with you all: Kunal ByrneCEO of the Digital Audio Group at iHeartMedia, will join us for an in-depth interview with edge Editor in Chief Nilay Patel. The interview will be a live recording of decodea weekly podcast from the edge It asks executives, innovators, and policymakers how they make decisions and where their industries are headed. We’re excited to be able to host that conversation at the Hot Pod Summit and try to answer some of the big questions that are on the minds of so many across the industry.
If you get an invite to the Hot Pod Summit, a quick reminder Today It’s the last day we can guarantee your place at the conference before we open slots for additional guests.
And if you’d like to come but aren’t already on the list, please Fill out our form here by end of the day To let us know you are interested.
The Hot Pod Summit is part of Work x Work’s On Air Fest, the premiere culture event for podcast creators and inspiring listeners. This year’s Creative Festival takes place February 23-25 at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn and features Audible Cornish, Kara Swisher, Talib Kweli, Krista Tippett, John Cameron Mitchell, Craig Finn, Kevin Morby, and special sessions with Audible, Paramount, and… Topic Studios, Simplecast, Stitcher, Pushkin, Vox Media Podcast Network, and more. You can find out more and buy tickets for one or two days at www.onairfest.com. Plus, On Air hosts the first-ever podcast fan experience with immersive rooms and galleries by Radiolab, on beingAnd My favorite killer, and more. The Podcast Experience runs all day from February 23-26. tickets in www.experiencepodcasts.com
That’s it for now. I’m out next week, so you’ll hear from Jake.