When talks first arose about Spotify buying Gimlet, I wasn’t certain that it would be a good idea. I don’t think Spotify’s podcast platform is all that impressive right now. As far as reporting stats and the portal for creators, there’s no way for creators to claim their podcasts if they’ve been submitted through a host. I even emailed Spotify to ask if it was possible and the response I received was vague and along the lines of “not at this time.”
Spotify clearly has the technology to improve on the podcast portal, but they still feel so new to the game that I’m not convinced a huge company buying up two podcast companies (and possibly more)
is good for podcasting as a whole. The company won’t necessarily make every Gimlet show exclusive to the platform, but they do want to create exclusive shows. As someone who doesn’t use Spotify, or even Apple’s built in podcast app because I’m quite particular about the podcast app I use, the chances of me checking out Spotify exclusive podcasts are slim to none.Maybe I’m not the target audience for those new shows, though, and that’s fine.
I understand the Anchor acquisition a bit more than the Gimlet one. Anchor has been creating tools for podcasters that Spotify would benefit from. They have a new sponsorship platform and other tools that are helpful for people who are new to podcasting. With Gimlet, it’s clear that they want the talent behind the company, but I feel like there are plenty of great producers and editors out there who would have happily worked with Spotify on new shows.
I’ll give it some time to see how Spotify handles things before rushing to too many judgements, but at the moment, I’m not convinced that this will be a good thing. I’ll keep checking in on the podcast platform to see what updates they start making soon with the Anchor team behind them now. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out. I’d also suggest checking out the latest Recode Media with Peter Kafka
for a nice chat with Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber about the sale of Gimlet.