Spotify’s podcast business is still WIP, and now its offering a massive catalog of shows (including our own Original Content, which you should definitely check out). Today, it’s debuting a new “multimedia format” that adds visual elements to podcasts (as well as audiobooks, news bites, and other audio, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just call all that ‘podcasts’).
The launch of Spotlight is going to feature from Gimlet Media, Crooked Media, Cheddar, BuzzFeed News and others, and will also include original series created by Spotify itself, like ‘RISE’, ‘Secret Genius’ and its ‘Spotify Singles’ session series with various artists.
Spotify’s original content hasn’t had a great response (Singles being the one exception) but this new format could be a way to help give it a good push. It could also help Spotify stand out in its podcast offering, among legacy leaders like Apple Podcasts, which still dominates in terms of overall market share.
Spotlight will offer up content in playlist format on devices using the Spotify app. It’s a little like the rich media MP3 podcasts that some creators take to the time to build, which have dynamically changing album artwork, as well as embedded links, chapter markers and more. These aren’t supported by every podcast player, however, so it’s uncommon for podcast producers to take the time to build them in. Spotify’s Spotlights will include photos, videos, and text in addition to audio, and will be available to U.S. users first.
However this should not be confused with ‘Spotlight,’ the Spotify feature of the same name that launched in 2013, which also used playlists but was a very different kind of thing aimed at music and artist commentary.
Spotify’s different attempts to make podcasts interesting is commendable, but uptake and adoption will be the true test. Here’s hoping they can make a real go of it, because the podcast format could do with some innovative new twists to help it reach a larger group of audience.
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