In a series of moves Spotify said will help podcasters on its platform better monetize their content, the company on Monday announced plans to debut a new advertising network and add a subscription podcast feature that producers will be able to opt into. It came during the company’s slick Stream On presentation that it used to unveil a wide variety of new products and services.
For many shows, news of the Spotify Audience Network is likely to have the biggest impact. The company said it is still in the early stages of developing the network, but it is described as an audio advertising marketplace in which advertisers will be able to connect with listeners consuming a broad range of content. The company also said it plans to expand streaming ad insertion into “leading” Anchor-hosted podcasts.
“We’ll leverage our state-of-the-art technology to give advertisers the ability to reach and target our audience of hundreds of millions at scale, both on and off Spotify. This will help podcast creators make more money,” said Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer.
Spotify Ad Studio, its three-year old self-serve ad platform used on its music service, will be expanded to also include podcasts. It will start with Spotify Originals and will extended to third-party shows in the future. “Spotify is bringing audio advertising to the modern age, and we’re doing it on a global scale,” said Ostroff. She said digital audio ad growth has lagged its share of use, and that has carried over into podcasting. She blamed the focus on downloads which leaves advertisers “flying blind” on whether an ad was heard, something that streamed shows overcomes.
Beyond advertising, Spotify is also launching a new service that will bring paid podcast subscriptions to its platform. A limited beta will be done in the U.S. which Head of Podcaster Mission Michael Mignano said will give creators the opportunity to publish paid podcast content on Spotify. “This will give podcasters a number of options to choose how they want to monetize their work,” he said. Spotify has begun allowing podcasters to sign-up for the feature.
Spotify Is Rolling Out HiFi Audio
Beyond podcasting, Spotify also introduced several new music-focused plans on Monday during the 90-minute presentation. That included the introduction of what it calls Spotify HiFi. The company promises the subscription service will serve improved audio quality that is more similar to CDs than streaming as well as provide a “lossless audio format” that will give users “more depth and clarity” especially when they use Bluetooth-enabled speakers. Spotify also said it is working with some of the world’s biggest speaker manufacturers to make Spotify HiFi available via Spotify Connect.
Beginning later this year, Premium subscribers in select markets will be able to upgrade their sound quality to Spotify HiFi. It did not however announce which countries Spotify HiFi will be offered in, when it will debut, or how much it will cost. But the company says improved audio quality has been one of users’ top requests, so it believes there is a market for it.
“Audio is our history and it’s our future,” said CEO Daniel Ek during the event. He predicted by 2025 Spotify will have as much as 50 million creators – both musicians and podcasters – onboard. “We’re in the midst of an audio creation and the early innings of what we see as a truly global creative economy,” said Ek.
More than a billion people worldwide will have access to Spotify as it adds more countries to its list, bringing to more than 80 worldwide where the streaming service works. The additions are in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America. Spotify said its app will also add 36 languages in the company’s broadest market expansion to date. Spotify said its full music catalog will be available in each new market. And in most it will launch with its full podcast lineup. For the others, it will work with local partners to introduce more podcasts.