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Insider December 9, 2022 — Podcasts, so hot right now (in France)

Plus, Libsyn makes its free podcast creation service… not free.

She’s a short one today. After a week of juicy audio news, it’s a quiet Friday (and I am not mad about it!). 

Today, Spotify releases some new year-end data, Libsyn nixes its free podcast service, and the latest industry moves.

People are spending a lot more time listening to podcasts in the car

At least according to new data from Spotify. Spotify and Megaphone, the podcast hosting and advertising platform Spotify acquired in 2020, released a year-end report (separate from the Wrapped data released last week) with some of the top podcast trends. One area that has seen a big boost is listening outside of smartphones. Between October 2021 and September 2022, the time listeners spent with podcasts in the car increased by 131 percent. Users are increasingly listening to their shows on smart speakers and smart TVs as well.

The report also shows that podcast listening is really growing outside the US, particularly in Europe. Among Megaphone shows, which tend to be from established brands, podcast downloads increased by 379 percent in France, 298 percent in Spain, and 244 percent in Italy. Growth was more modest in the US, where downloads increased by 33 percent. That said, 33 percent growth in the platform’s biggest market is nothing to sniff at.

Spotify is also making headway outside of the core young(ish) adult podcast demo. The platform reported a 49 percent increase in listening among users aged 13 to 17 and more than a 40 percent increase among listeners aged 55 and above.

Libsyn’s free podcast creation tool is no longer free

The company announced Thursday that it is integrating podcast creation suite Libsyn Studio into its main platform. Libsyn Studio was a standalone service that was available for free that the company shut down last month, according to Podnews. Now, Libsyn Studio has been integrated into the main Libsyn platform and is exclusively available to Libsyn’s paid subscribers. 

Plans for Libsyn start at $5 per month for the most basic tier and go up to $20 a month for the premium tier. And as an extra perk for subscribers, episodes created with Studio won’t count toward users’ limited storage hours. But there is a carve-out to avoid completely pissing off Libsyn Studio’s original users. Existing Studio users are being migrated over to the main platform for free for the first 18 months.

Moves

It’s been a minute since we have done a moves section. Here are the latest new hires and promotions:

  • Three new promotions have been announced at the New York Times’ Opinion Audio section. Alison Bruzek, who previously led The Argument team, is becoming a supervising producer. Shannon Busta has been named the new senior manager for audience and operations. Kristin Lin, who was the editorial assistant for The Ezra Klein Show, has been promoted to production coordinator.
  • Oriel Davis-Lyons, who until recently was head of creative for talk and podcasts at Spotify, has joined ad agency Mother as chief creative officer. Before starting at Spotify in 2020, he had worked at various ad agencies, including R/GA and Droga5.
  • Vox Media (which is the parent company of The Verge and Hot Pod) has promoted audio executives Ray Chao and Nishat Kurwa. Chao, who joined Vox as the general manager of audio last year, will also oversee the digital video business in his new role as SVP. Kurwa, who is executive producer of audio, will continue to lead programming in her new role as SVP.

Following up on the state of Twitter Spaces

I got some really good feedback from readers this week on whether they still have access to podcast playlists in Twitter Spaces. So far… doesn’t seem like anyone does? Is it dead? This is one more plug for any observations or weird things you have noticed with the vertical.

Have a great weekend!