Spotify is expanding distribution for some Gimlet podcasts

The streaming giant bought the studio in 2019 for $230 million.

Gimlet Media

Spotify started pouring a whole lot of money into the podcasting space in 2019, making headlines by purchasing entire production studios and signing lucrative exclusivity deals with Joe Rogan, among others. The intention was to draw in paying subscribers via desirable long-form content, but a new report shows that at least some exclusive podcasts are going to come to other platforms soon.

Semafor first reported that Spotify would seek to distribute some shows from Gimlet Media, which the company purchased in 2019, more broadly beyond the Spotify platform. The company has since confirmed its plans with the following statement:

"Given our position as the leading global podcast platform, we are expanding our windowing strategies to increase the audiences and ad sales potential of our shows. In this case, we’re pursuing broad distribution for some of our original podcasts like Science Vs. This will be done on a case by case basis and over time."

Gimlet produces podcasts like Reply All, Crimetown and Surprisingly Awesome. The company further partnered with the streaming giant to create a host of Spotify Originals like How to Save a Planet and Motherhackers.

As Spotify alluded to in its original statement, the reasoning here involves expanding ad sales. If a podcast is tied to one subscription-based platform, that narrows the listenership which, in turn, reduces the demand for ad placement. This move does not necessarily spell the end of podcasts as a driving force behind Spotify subscriptions, as the company already allowed some established Gimlet shows to be widely distributed after the 2019 acquisition. This could be just another experiment as Spotify looks for the perfect marriage between subscriber growth and ad revenue.

Correction, April 17th 2023, 2PM ET: This story originally stated that some Spotify exclusives podcasts were behind a "paywall." While some podcasts are exclusive to Spotify's platforms, they're all available for free whether or not you have a paid Spotify account. We apologize for the error.