Spotify gets into podcasting with three music-themed shows

The streaming service looks to original content to stand out in a crowded market.


Spotify dipped its toes into podcasting in 2015 by adding pre-existing programs to its lineup. Now it's getting into content creation and rolling out its own shows. The company is launching three original podcasts, and it says that's just the start.

The first of the new programs, Showstopper, is available now and features The Fader editor in chief Naomi Zeichner talking with music supervisors from TV shows like Stranger Things and Scrubs. The bi-weekly podcast offers commentary and insight on noteworthy music moments in television history.

A second show, Unpacked, will debut on March 14. Broad City music supervisor Matt FX and Spotify Studios' Michele Santucci will host and travel to festivals across the US for interviews with "all manner of creative folks." The third show, which follows a more narrative format, premieres in April and has the working title The Chris Lighty Story. The subject is an executive who worked with rappers like 50 Cent and LL Cool J before passing away due to an apparent suicide.

Spotify is trying to differentiate itself in a crowded streaming market. In recent months, Pandora started offering a Spotify-like premium service, while Tidal introduced audio editing tools and Apple Music is working on original video series like The Late Late Show with James Corden spinoff Carpool Karaoke.

The company has recruited established entities in the podcasting world to help their new venture go smoothly. Showstopper is produced in partnership with Slate and Panoply Studios, the latter of which is home to shows like Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History and many others. Meanwhile, The Chris Lighty Story got a helping hand from Gimlet Media, a self-described "narrative podcasting company," and Loudspeaker Network, which features shows about hip-hop, geek culture, sex and other topics.

Spotify says that more programs will be announced later this year. Although this is its first concentrated push into original podcasts, Spotify is no stranger to the format. The streaming service previously partnered with Mic and last year for Clarify, an audio and video series that explored the relationship between music and political issues.