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Spotify shifts podcast strategy to make exclusives available on other platforms

The Spotify logo is shown on a smartphone.   (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg)
By Ashley Carman and Lucas Shaw Bloomberg

Spotify Technology is in talks to make the popular podcasts Armchair Expert and Anything Goes available on other streaming platforms, reversing its strategy to attract more listeners and boost revenue for the shows.

Armchair Expert, hosted by Dax Shephard and Monica Padman and currently billed as “A Spotify Exclusive,” may soon be available on other services.

The audio version of Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes is already accessible on Apple’s Podcasts service.

More shows will likely follow, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

As Spotify built out its podcasting business, the company paid significant sums to acquire studios and exclusive rights to shows because it thought they would entice more listeners.

Armchair Expert became exclusive in 2021, while Anything Goes did so in February of this year.

But making shows exclusive to Spotify limited the potential audience since podcast listeners often use other services.

Spotify said in a statement to Bloomberg News that it’s adopting a tailored approach to each show, including releasing episodes exclusively for a period before making them more broadly available, a strategy known as windowing.

“We’ve experimented with windowing shows for several years and found success,” the company said. “This experimentation around wide and windowing content will continue as we endeavor to be the best partner with the world’s leading podcasters.”

Julie McNamara, who oversees Spotify’s studios, told investors in March that Chamberlain’s audience “more than doubled” since signing her deal with company.

In a short message to listeners June 5, Chamberlain said she would soon release her video episodes only on Spotify.

The changes are one part of the company’s ongoing effort to make its podcast business profitable.

Earlier this week, Spotify laid off 2% of its workforce, primarily in podcasting, following earlier cuts in January and October.

Last year, Spotify stock reached all-time lows after investors questioned when they’d see a return on the billion-plus dollars spent on its podcasting efforts.

It’s now focused on selling ads against its programs, bringing independent creators over to the platform and reining in costs.