Spotify snaps up podcast discovery start-up Podz

18 Jun 2021

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In its latest acquisition, the music streaming giant is hoping to replicate for podcasts what it did with music discovery.

Spotify is continuing its dive into podcasting with the acquisition of podcast discovery start-up Podz.

Podz is a small start-up developing a podcast discovery tool that uses machine learning to pluck out clips of podcasts to generate previews for users.

Spotify is trying to improve its podcast discovery features in the same vein as its music discovery and recommendations. Podz bears some similarities to Headliner, which allows podcasters to clip segments of their shows to post in video format on social media to promote the show.

Podz’s tech will be applied to Spotify’s 2.6m podcasts on its service, “making it easier for listeners to find the content they want to listen to, and for creators to be discovered and build a fan base”.

Spotify said it has begun to integrate Podz into the platform and expects a full roll-out by the end of the year. No financial terms for the deal have been disclosed.

“Spotify has had machine learning experts focused on improving audio discovery for almost a decade, but there is more work to be done,” the company said.

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“We believe that Podz’ technology will complement and accelerate Spotify’s focused efforts to drive discovery, deliver listeners the right content at the right time, and accelerate growth of the category worldwide.”

Podz was only launched earlier this year by founders Doug Imbruce, Seye Ojumu, Rasmus Zwickson and Greg Page.

It raised $2.5m in funding from M13, Canaan Partners, Charge Ventures, Humbition, Katie Couric and Paris Hilton. As well as investing, Hilton and Couric used Podz to promote their own shows.

The acquisition is a further example of how Spotify isn’t slowing down in its podcast push.

In April, it rolled out a paid model that lets podcasters offer subscriptions to listeners, which includes ad-free versions of their shows. Spotify will eventually take a cut of those fees.

Most recently, Spotify launched Greenroom, its Clubhouse rival for live audio broadcasting. The feature was built after Spotify acquired Betty Labs, the maker of Locker Room, which was originally a sports discussion app.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com