Spotify, the Swedish audio-streaming platform and the largest paid music service in the world, is exploring ways to put podcast broadcasts on an equal footing with its longstanding music offer.

Citing sources said to be familiar with the company’s plans, Bloomberg reported last week that Spotify is testing a new version of its app that will make podcasts more prominent and accessible than they are now.

In the current version of the app, podcasts are just one of eight options at the top of users’ library pages, sitting beneath six different music-related options.

It is reported that the new version will enable users to select the library page where the words “music” and “podcasts” will be displayed with a large font to make browsing easier and delivering podcasts in fewer clicks.

“There are plenty of podcasts we’d all enjoy if only we knew they existed,” said Barry McCarthy, Spotify’s chief financial officer, in a recent interview with Bloomberg.

“There is no search engine, no search interface that understands what podcast you and I like. We’re working hard on that problem,” he added.

Spotify currently lags behind Apple and YouTube for podcast listeners, but the loss-making company is keen to expand into the medium to encourage advertisers away from radio, boost its income and so reduce the huge 60% of its revenue that it pays out in the form of music royalties.

Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content officer, was crystal clear about the company’s podcast ambitions when she told delegates at last month’s SXSW conference in Texas that if Spotify wants to be the world’s largest audio platform, then “podcasting has to play a part in that”.

“We’re already seeing incredible numbers,” she said. “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.”

There is much to play for. According to a recent Global Ad Trends report from WARC, podcasts could account for 4.5% of global audio advertising spend by 2022, a total of $1.6bn, or almost double the $885m expected to be spent this year.

Sourced from Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff