Issue 180,  published October 9, 2018

Chomping at the Heels

Last week, Spotify announced that it was finally opening up its podcast section so that any podcast publisher can submit their shows for inclusion into the streaming service. Previously, Spotify applied a more closed approach, practicing greater selectivity over what publishers it distributes. How will Spotify juggle its role as podcast aggregator and original podcast producer? We shall see.

Also last week: Google Podcasts announced a partnership with PRX to launch something called the “Google Podcasts Creator Program,” which hopes to help “remove barriers to podcasting, increase the diversity of voices in the industry, and to make sure content is available for all audiences.” The heart of the program is a global accelerator not unlike PRX’s Project Catapult. Hold that thought for a second.

This new program seems to be the continuation of some sort of charm offensive by Google Podcasts. Last month, Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Google Podcasts’ head honcho, appeared at PRPD — a big public radio conference for station program directors — to talk about how the search giant’s capacities with data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning can lead to “greater impact for local podcasters.” I recommend checking out the video of the conversation, but only if you have an hour to spare. I’ll write-up my thoughts on that presentation at a later date, but what interests me at this point are the targets Google Podcast team appear to be going after: previously under-served smaller shows. They win with bulk.

Okay, back to the Creator Program story. My colleague Caroline Crampton conducted a great interview with PRX CEO Kerri Hoffman and Google Podcast head honcho Zack Reneau-Wedeen at the Third Coast Festival over the weekend, with you can find in this breakout post.