Spotify is building machine learning-powered podcast discovery tools

The company wants to do for podcast discovery what it did for music discovery.
Nathan Ingraham
N. Ingraham|02.22.21

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Spotify has gotten pretty good at finding music its users may want to hear based on their listening history. Unsurprisingly, the company is getting ready to do the same thing for podcasts. During a livestreamed event today, the company said it was looking to do for podcast discovery what it did for music discovery. Details were minimal, as with everything Spotify discussed during its event today. But it's certainly be powered by machine learning, and Spotify said it would be able to serve up shows and episodes based on a user's music-listening history.

Search for podcasts will also get smarter, as you can search for broad terms like "cooking" and get a list of shows that are related to your terms. Spotify said it's currently testing this feature in the US and will roll it out to more countries "soon."

Spotify is also making it easier for more people to create their own podcasts thanks for a partnership with Wordpress. It'll let people use Spotify's podcast creation tools Anchor to turn written content directly into podcasts. This is the first of a new set of tools Spotify is adding; others will include adding questions or polls to podcasts and more options to include video in a podcast.

In terms of content, Spotify had a few podcast-related announcements there as well. Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame have cut a deal with Spotify to create audio for the company. A press release says it'll be focused on "scripted content and universe-building." What universes those are remains to be seen, and there's no word on when we'll hear this new material.

Spotify also gave a quick update on its partnership with Warner Bros. and DC. The first project will be Batman Unburied, a show that'll launch this year and be produced by David S. Goyer. Goyer has plenty of experience with DC projects, having worked on Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy as well as Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Finally, from a business perspective, Spotify's Ad Studio now can be used for podcasts as well as music. Ad Studio is a self-service ad platform where advertisers can buy ads in music streams. But now it works with Spotify original and exclusive podcasts for starters and will work with more podcasts in the future. This shouldn't change the overall amount of ads you hear, it'll just be easier for ad buyers to get things placed in Spotify's content.

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