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Spotify launches first branded podcast, as it tries to convince investors there’s money in advertising

By | Published on Tuesday 21 August 2018


Having promised investors that it would start making decent money from the advertising side of its business – you know, one day, somehow – Spotify has made a move into branded podcasts. New Amsterdam Vodka is involved in a new show on the streaming platform called ‘Ebb & Flow’, via which – it reckons – rising hip hop and R&B acts will “get real with their fans and share stories about their hustle and grind, tears and doubts, and the good, bad and ugly of their come up in the music industry”.

The show is presented by Jasmine Solano, who says: “‘Ebb & Flow’ is not your typical interview series. In some of the episodes, artists started tearing up. We got into some really emotional talks. It really just felt like I was talking to some of my best friends. I think that just comes from artists talking to artists, entrepreneurs talking to entrepreneurs; there’s a sense of understanding and camaraderie”.

The new podcast launches with five episodes, featuring Skinny Mars, JID, Saweetie, Bryce Vine and Gashi. Whether or not this proves to be a big money-spinner for Spotify remains to be seen. But having a specific original thing to point at is something brands like. And podcasts are so hot right now. I mean, just look at our own Setlist podcast. Sizzling.

Agreeing, I think, Spotify says in a statement: “At Spotify, we are focused on fuelling the discovery of stories, culture and communities through audio-driven experiences. Podcasts are an integral part of this discovery. And as the number two podcast provider in the world, podcasts help us to bring fans closer to the creators and subject matters they love”.

Speaking of speech-based content on the streaming platforms, over on Apple Music today is the day that Nicki Minaj promised to lay down some truths on her Beats 1 show about how she was cheated out of her rightful number one position in the US album chart. Although she did then say she was joking about all that, so maybe she won’t. I guess you could tune in to find out. Imagine that, someone tuning in to Beats 1!

Prior to declaring that a Twitter rant about her chart position was just “sarcasm/dry humour”, she claimed that one reason she’d missed out on the number one spot was that she’d be penalised by Spotify. All because she played tracks from her new album ‘Queen’ on that Beats 1 show, before said music was live on Apple’s rival streaming platform. ‘Queen’ was held back by Spotify for twelve hours as a result, she said.

Spotify has now responded to this, unsurprisingly denying it. “Spotify supported Nicki Minaj with a Times Square billboard, a host of the largest playlists, New Music Friday and the new music release shelf”, a spokesperson for the company told Variety. “Her song ‘Bed’ actually saw an increase based on the promotions put behind the campaign. The company continues to be big fans of Nicki”.