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Spotify downsizes podcast unit as part of new wave of layoffs

Spotify downsizes podcast unit as part of new wave of layoffs

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Spotify is conducting another round of layoffs, just a few months after its previous wave of job cuts. This particular wave affects the podcast division, wherein approximately 2% of Spotify’s workforce in this division will be let go.

According to Spotify in a statement, it is expanding its partnership efforts with leading podcasters from across the globe, with a tailored approach optimised for each show and creator which marks a fundamental pivot for Spotify in order to support the creator community better. 

Consequently, in order to adapt and create optimal organisation, Spotify made the "difficult but necessary" decision to make a strategic realignment of its group and to reduce the global podcast vertical and other functions by approximately 200 people, according to Sahar Elhabashi, VP, head of podcast business.

Spotify also revealed that it will be merging its podcast units, Parcast and Gimlet, into a combined Spotify Studios operation that will continue to produce a wide range of high-impact originals, including Stolen, The Journal, Science Vs, Heavyweight, Serial Killers, and Conspiracy Theories.

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She went on to add that Spotify will be providing affected employees with generous severance packages, including extended healthcare coverage and immediate access to outplacement support.

“We know news like this is never easy, especially for those impacted. These decisions are not something we take lightly. I want to express my appreciation for everything those leaving have done for podcasting and Spotify. Those impacted by this change have already received an invite for a 1:1 conversation today with a member of our HR team, and we are focused on ensuring that each step in this process is taken with the utmost empathy and respect,” Elhabashi explained.

Julie McNamara, the VP, head of Global Podcast Studios, will continue to oversee the Spotify Studios organisation, with Liliana Kim in charge of Current Content for Spotify Studios alongside Liz Gateley, who will be head of development.

As part of this announcement, Spotify shared some metrics about how its podcast operations are performing. The streaming platform stated that there are now 100 million podcast listeners on Spotify across 5 million shows. Podcast ad revenue has also experienced “high double-digit growth” from 2021 to 2022.

In its pursuit to improve the listening experience for its users, Spotify recently integrated with physical exercise tracking app Strava to enable users to easily stream music, podcasts, and audiobooks while tracking their workout activities on Strava. This new integration removes the need for Spotify users to switch between apps and allows them to easily tap into the motivation that gets them moving.

“One of our biggest goals at Spotify is to be everywhere our listeners are—whether that’s on a run, in the gym, or anyplace in between,” said Ian Geller, VP of business development at Spotify. “This integration with Strava is another way we’re moving with our listeners and allowing them to seamlessly connect to the music and audio they love."
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