Thanks to a report in May, we already knew Spotify was testing video podcasts. Today, the streaming service announced the format’s official debut on a handful of shows. The company calls the current iteration “the first version” of the feature, a tool that will allow “fans can get to know their favorite podcast hosts even better, and creators can more deeply connect with their audiences.” Basically, podcast creators can upload videos they make while recording their shows to play alongside the audio. Most of what’s there now is footage of people talking into microphones. To start, you can check out the visuals on podcasts like Book of Basketball 2.0, Fantasy Footballers, The Misfits Podcast, H3 Podcast, The Morning Toast, Higher Learning with Van Lathan & Rachel Lindsay and The Rooster Teeth Podcast.
Spotify says you won’t need to do anything differently than you would when listening to an audio-only podcast. Simply navigate to the show page and pick an episode. The videos will appear when you hit play in Spotify’s desktop or mobile app. On mobile, for example, they appear on the main player screen and replace any static show art — complete with an option for full-screen viewing. The company says any video content will sync with the audio feed. What’s more, when you swipe over to another app to multitask, the audio will continue to play in the background. And for offline listening, you can still download the audio version of any show.
The new video podcasts are now available in all markets where podcasts are supported. What’s more, the videos are accessible to both free and Premium users. While this is only available for a few shows right now, Spotify will likely expand quickly. After all, it bought The Ringer and its network of podcasts earlier this year. The site was already creating video content for a number of its shows, so it’s no surprise Ringer podcasts would help debut this new feature (Book of Basketball 2.0 and Higher Learning). Spotify has already announced the video version of Joe Rogan’s podcast would make the move to its platform this year. That was part of the exclusive deal the company signed with Rogan in May.
Spotify tried a big video splash a few years ago, but ultimately ended its original content push not long after it started. With video podcasts though, the production is in the hands of the creators. Even if some of those networks now belong to Spotify, the company isn’t dedicating core resources to producing videos.