In A Massive Push To Podcast Service, Spotify Acquires Startup Podz To Improve Discovery

Spotify is taking podcast services seriously and doing everything to be far better than its competitors. In a bid to give it a massive push, the streaming service has acquired startup the podcast discovery platform Podz. The company said that it decided to acquire the startup after noticing that searching for a new podcast is always easier said than done. Users have to spend a good chunk of their time and effort in order to complete this task. Spotify said that it always wanted to smoothen this tedious process for the users. It feels that podcast discovery technology developed by Podz is likely to make this process easier. “We are betting on the technology developed by the startup. We feel that it will help users find what they are looking for easily and get hooked on to new shows,” the company said. Podz has developed an ‘audio newsfeed’ to scan different podcasts to pick 60-second clips. Instated of simply presenting the podcasts from creators, the startup uses technology to pick the best moments of shows. Explaining the technology, the company said it is a machine learning model that allows Podz to pick the best clips from shows. This makes life easier for users as they can decide about a podcast of their interest without listening to the entire 30- or 60-minute shows. The users can preview a variety of podcasts within few minutes with the help of Podz.

The Swedish audio streaming and media services provider said that the merging technology of Pods with its stock of 2.6 million podcasts will definitely help it to take podcast discovery to the next level. “With all the learning we have from our previous work in music discovery along with the investments that we are doing in podcast recommendation will change the way people discover the podcast.” The company strongly believes that the acquisition will help its users to find shows of their interest. Also, it will help creators to build a strong fan base. In a statement, Spotify said that it has machine learning experts who have been working on improving audio discovery for almost 10 years. “But we feel that there is a lot more than needs to be done. The acquisition of Podz technology by Spotify will not only complement but also accelerate the efforts of the company to deliver the right content to listeners at the right time. This deal with also accelerate the growth of the podcast industry worldwide,” the company said.

Reports suggest that the machine learning model used by Podz has over 100,000 hours of audio training. It has also taken into consideration inputs provided by audio editors and journalists. It is worth mentioning that Podz had reportedly raised USD 2.5 million in pre-seed funding in the month of February this year. Venture capital firms like M13 and Canaan Partners are among those who have invested in the company. Besides, Podz has the backing of prominent names like Parish Hilton and Katie Couric. Spotify has not spoken anything related to the financial details of the deal. But one thing is clear that it is not taking the battle to monetize podcasting lightly. The company had recently announced its paid subscription platforms for creators on its platform. Interestingly, it said that creators can use the platform for free for the next two years. Spotify said that it will start them charging a 5 per cent fee for using the platform from 2023. This is an extremely crucial move considering that tech giant Apple has said that it will charge 30 per cent of subscription fees for podcasts in the first year.  

Jessica Walker

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