In September, analysts at eMarketer predicted Spotify was poised to overhaul Apple Podcasts in U.S. listenership someday this 12 months. Today, Spotify introduced for the primary time it could have succeeded on that entrance. During the corporate’s Q3 2021 earnings name, the corporate stated that in accordance with Edison Research and its personal inside sources, it “recently became” the No. 1 podcast platform U.S. listeners use probably the most. Given the U.S. is the biggest world podcast market, the milestone is important and speaks to the sizable investment Spotify has made in podcasts over the previous few years.
The firm didn’t break down its podcast listener numbers particularly, nonetheless. Instead, it shared its month-to-month lively customers general grew 19% year-over-year to achieve 381 million within the quarter, up from 365 million final 12 months. Premium subscribers additionally grew 19% to achieve 172 million, up from 165 million final 12 months.
According to eMarketer’s latest knowledge, Spotify and Apple Podcasts have been neck and neck by way of U.S. podcast listeners. Its analysts said final month Spotify would attain 28.2 million month-to-month U.S. podcast listeners by year-end, topping Apple Podcast’s 28.0 million by a skinny margin. (The agency had predicted these same numbers earlier in 2021, as effectively.) It forecast Spotify’s variety of U.S. podcast listeners would proceed to develop to achieve 43.6 million by 2025.
Reached for remark, Edison Research confirmed the podcast milestone relies on utilization, not downloads.
The knowledge is from the agency’s second-quarter Podcast Consumer Tracker, its subscription service that covers the podcast business. Respondents have been requested “what platform or service do you use most to listen to podcasts?” and Spotify got here in at No. 1, at 24% of weekly podcast customers. This put it forward of Apple Podcasts for iOS (21%) and YouTube (18%). Edison Research says its pattern is in extra of 8,000 weekly podcast customers.
But with out onerous numbers from Spotify or Apple, it’s onerous to particularly affirm how shut the race nonetheless is right now.
Spotify attributed its podcast listenership progress not solely to its content material slate, but additionally to its product enhancements.
“We started our journey three years ago in podcasting with a catalog of about 185,000 podcasts. And we were really nowhere, compared to the largest players in the industry. Today, we have 3.2 million podcasts on the platform, a growth rate of over 1500%,” famous Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. In the prior quarter, Spotify had 2.9 million podcasts.
“So why did we succeed this fast? Well, obviously our content investments have helped a great deal,” stated Ek. “But it’s also another proof point of the impact our platform improvements and product innovations are having on our business overall. And the velocity of shipping matters — from the recent launch of interactivity and enhancements like polls and Q&A, to the release of enhanced listening features and new original programming around the world. We fought hard to gain new listeners. And our success is not attributable to just one thing, but literally hundreds, if not thousands, of improvements that we’re working on in parallel for the benefit of creators, users, and advertisers alike,” he stated.
Ek stated that the corporate’s tradition of innovation, which ends up in an improved consumer expertise, brings more creators to the platform to share their content material. This is in flip, brings more advertisers.
“And all of these things coupled together — users, creators, and advertisers — unlock the power of our flywheel,” he added.
However, Spotify’s milestone in U.S. podcast listenership (which Spotify confirmed to W3Techy had not but been shared till now), comes shortly after a revamp of Apple’s Podcasts app which was criticized by creators and finish customers. Podcasters complained of bugs, errors, and a complicated interface. Apple issued a fix for one vital bug associated to automated downloads in an replace this summer season, however the damage to its reputation might take longer to get better.
During the quarter, the proportion of month-to-month lively customers remained sturdy, Spotify stated, and was up 20% year-over-year on a per-user foundation. Podcasts’ share general consumption hours additionally reached an all-time excessive within the quarter.
Meanwhile, podcasts are serving to Spotify enhance its backside line. Spotify famous it had its biggest-ever quarter for advertisements in Q3, partially fueled by its rising podcast slate, and stated 2021 would mark the primary time it surpassed one billion euros in promoting income. It didn’t get away how a lot of its advert income is now generated by podcasts, however stated its podcast promoting progress charge was “in the triple digits.”
On the product facet, the corporate launched a variety of updates to its podcasts platform within the quarter, together with the launch of paid podcast subscriptions within the U.S., new interactive features for Anchor creators, an growth of its Music + Talk podcast format, video podcast support, amongst different issues. It additionally launched 32 new Originals & Exclusives, together with “Armchair Expert” with Dax Sheppard and “Call Her Daddy” in July, and introduced a multi-year content material partnership with The Ringer and WWE for unique and unique content material. Internationally, Spotify launch 76 new Originals & Exclusives.
Overall, Spotify income was $2.9 billion within the quarter, up 27% year-over-year, with advert gross sales rising 75% to achieve $374 million, on the prime finish of its steerage.
The firm added that it had not been considerably impacted by the iOS privateness modifications that had impacted different ad-supported companies, like Snap and Facebook, because it had “a ton of first-party data” because of all its customers being logged in.