Spotify, the audio-streaming service, believes that podcasts will play a central role in obtaining its ambitious long-term brand goals.

Dawn Ostroff, who joined Spotify as chief content officer in 2018, discussed this subject during a session at SXSW 2019 in Austin, Texas.

“Becoming the world’s number-one audio platform is a big mandate for us. And podcasting obviously plays a big role in that,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Podcasts play vital role in Spotify’s brand future.)

As evidence, Ostroff cited a 2019 forecast in the form of “The Infinite Dial”, a US study by insights provider Edison Research and digital-audio technology company Triton Digital.

Some 144 million people, or half of the American population, for example, will listen to podcasts this year, up 17 million on an annual basis, and 90 million will participate in this activity on at least a monthly basis (up 20 million).

“We’re seeing podcasts increase in the US alone beyond anything I think any of us could have imagined,” Ostroff told the SXSW assembly.

“When you hear those statistics, you realise that this is a medium that is really on the verge [of exploding] or has already started to really explode. And if we want to be the world’s largest audio platform, podcasting has to play a part in that.”

The 200 million people using Spotify have yielded some compelling datapoints, too. “We’re already seeing incredible numbers,” said Ostroff.

“People who come in and listen to podcasts spend twice as much time on the platform – and they listen to more music, which is a surprise, and we’ll take that any day.”

Another hint regarding this format’s potential involves lengthier podcasts. One demonstration, according to Ostroff, is the “Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal”, a show focused on hip-hop and rap culture.

Following a deal struck last year, the offering is exclusively available on Spotify – often with a run time that can surpass three hours.

“We are amazed to see how engaged our users are with long podcasts,” Ostroff said. “Joe Budden is an example. The audience on those shows average 90 minutes.

“It’s just incredible to see how engaged people are with this content, and how sticky it is, and how long they’ll stay. And that’s why … the podcast listener is there two hours longer than the other users.”

Sourced from WARC