Spotify's Podcast Teams at Parcast and Gimlet Haven't Received Annual Budgets

Spotify Podcast Teams at Parcast and Gimlet Haven’t Received

Spotify, the world’s largest audio streaming platform, has invested heavily in podcasting recently, acquiring several podcast studios and signing exclusive deals with celebrities and influencers. However, some of its podcast teams feel left out and anxious about their future, as they have yet to receive their annual budgets or clear guidance from the company. According to a report by Bloomberg:

 Podcast teams at Parcast and Gimlet Media, two of Spotify’s biggest acquisitions, have yet to be able to greenlight new shows or approve travel allowances for existing productions, as they are still waiting for their budgets for the year. 

This has caused frustration and confusion among podcasters and producers, who need clarification on Spotify’s strategy and vision for their studios.

Spotify acquired Parcast, a studio known for its scripted and genre-based podcasts, in 2019 for an undisclosed amount. The same year, it also bought Gimlet Media, a studio producing high-quality narrative podcasts, for a reported $230 million. Both studios were expected to boost Spotify’s original and exclusive podcast offerings and attract more listeners and advertisers.

However, leaked data obtained by Insider shows that Gimlet has lagged behind other Spotify studios in terms of consumption and output.

In September 2020, Gimlet had the lowest share of listening time among Spotify’s podcast studios, even as podcasting overall at Spotify grew by 11%. Gimlet also produced less than 100 hours of programming monthly, compared to more than 200 hours by Parcast and The Ringer, another Spotify acquisition.

A Spotify spokeswoman said Gimlet’s consumption has increased by 25% since September, even with some popular shows publishing less frequently. She also said that Parcast and Gimlet have been given interim budgets to continue their operations while they wait for the final budgets to be approved.

However, some insiders told Bloomberg that they fear the budget delays are a sign of impending layoffs or restructuring at Spotify’s podcast division. They said that they have heard rumors of Spotify planning to cut costs and consolidate its podcast studios under one umbrella. They also said that they had yet to receive much feedback or direction from Spotify’s leadership, especially after Courtney Holt, the former head of studios and video, left the company in March.

Spotify has not commented on the layoff rumors or its podcast strategy.

The company has been expanding its podcast portfolio with new shows and deals, such as a partnership with Facebook to integrate podcasts into its social network. Spotify has also been experimenting with new formats and features, such as video podcasts, live audio rooms, and paid subscriptions.

Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has said that podcasting is the future of audio and wants Spotify to be the leader in this space.

However, some of his podcast teams still wait for him to show them how.

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