Play a few songs, and then hear a newscast. It may sound like traditional morning drive radio. But it’s how Spotify’s newest feature will integrate the streaming service’s music and podcast content. Your Daily Drive is a playlist that combines a user’s music preference with news and talk podcasts. “It combines music you love with relevant, timely world updates from reputable sources – all put together in a seamless and unified listening experience,” the company said in the announcement.
Your Daily Drive launches with short-form podcast news updates from NPR, Public Radio International and the Wall Street Journal. The spoken word podcasts typically range from 10 to 30 minutes. Spotify says the podcasts will be updated throughout the day to keep both the news and music choices “fresh.” Other content providers are expected to be announced in the coming week. It’s positioning the feature as a way to “escape” from the need to toggle between multiple stations and podcasts. The feature is housed in Spotify’s Driving Hub.
Glimmers of how Spotify would marry podcasts and personalized music services first came last month when The Verge discovered the company had begun testing a feature offering podcast recommendations to users in Brazil.
The linking of music and podcasts isn’t unique to Spotify. In February iHeartMedia announced it would use will use thousands of data points to power a new podcast recommendation feature on its iHeartRadio app. It uses information like what type of music or artists someone listens to and songs that they’ve thumbed, as well as several components that leverage radio habits. That includes not just what market they live in, but what stations and morning shows they tune to. “Because we have so many data points on people, we can find and match people who look just like you except you haven’t listened to this podcast but they have,” Chris Williams, chief product officer for iHeart, told Podcast News Daily at the time.
Pandora has also created what it has billed as the Podcast Genome Project to help listeners dig through that catalog. Similar to how its Music Genome Project serves music to listeners, the Podcast Genome Project is a cataloging system and discovery algorithm that uses a combination of technology and human curation. It relies on more than 1,500 attributes such as production style, content type, host profile, timely and evergreen topics, and listener signals including thumbs, skips and replays, to deliver personalized podcast recommendations.
The integration comes as Spotify looks to make use of the more than $400 million that it has already spent to grab a share of the podcast market. It’s also angling for a bigger share of in-car listening. Spotify confirmed last month it will begin testing a voice-controlled podcast and music device in the coming weeks geared toward in-vehicle entertainment systems. They’ve dubbed it Car Thing. The device uses Bluetooth to connect a Spotify user to their dashboard, utilizing a “Hey Spotify” voice command to pick a podcast or music programming. Car Thing also includes presets allowing users to quickly tune to their favorite playlists. “The test will be done in the U.S. only, with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users,” the company said in an announcement.