Spotify yesterday announced its latest acquisition, this one related to a podcast company called Parcast (via Reuters). This marks Spotify’s third podcast-related acquisition in two months, and represents the company’s ongoing plan to boost the music streaming platform as a hub for podcasts that can compete with Apple Podcasts.
Last month, Spotify purchased Gimlet Media for $300 million, acquiring the company’s big-name podcasts like “Homecoming” and “Reply All.” Around the same time, Spotify also purchased Anchor, a company that is more behind-the-scenes of the podcast world and lets its users record and create their own shows that can easily be shared online.
Parcast will be added to that list, and Spotify will now have ownership of its specialization in crime and mystery-themed podcast content, genres that are hugely successful in the market. Parcast is home to a big list of popular genres and podcasts, covering topics like cults, serial killers, haunted places, unexplained mysteries, extraterrestrials, and more.
These purchased shows will also join new and original podcasts created by Spotify, all of which will be curated by the team that built Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist algorithm. Eventually, the music streaming company hopes to become the Netflix of podcasts, able to provide recommendations on what to watch and house both third-party and exclusive first-party content.
Spotify first began its efforts to enter the podcast field around two years ago, when it said it was “coming after” Apple with a strong push into podcasts. The last few years have been marked as a so-called golden age for podcasts, causing many companies to look into entering the field.
Apple and Spotify have been in another dispute this year as well, after Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission. In the complaint, Spotify accused Apple of enforcing App Store rules that “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience” and said that Apple acts “as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek particularly called out Apple’s policy of charging a 30 percent “tax” on App Store purchases. This results in Spotify charging existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan via the App Store just to collect nearly the $9.99 per month it charges normally. The spat continued with Apple claiming that Spotify provided “misleading rhetoric,” and with Spotify stating that “every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong.”
For the podcast initiative, it’s unclear when Spotify plans to launch the new part of its service.
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