Jul 17, 2019 Apple may be deep-diving into podcasts — because Spotify caught up (fast) Read More Pause... Apple is actually getting serious about podcasting after years of complacency. Bloomberg reported that the original home of the podcast is switching its strategy from reactive to proactive — it's contacting podcast producers, asking them to go exclusive with Apple: Shows only for Apple Music subscribers.
50%-70%... That's the share of podcast listens that happens in Apple's podcast app. The rest are divvied up between platforms (Stitcher, Google Music), so Apple got complacent. It didn't give creators much data about their listeners, and it didn't give listeners a great interface for audio enjoyment. Then Spotify started to catch up. Fast. Here's how:
Big goals: CEO/Founder Daniel Ek announced he wanted 20% of listening on the streaming platform to be non-music content.
Big acquisitions: So Spotify bought podcast producer Gimlet and its 29 original podcasts in February, followed by 2 other pod-cquisitions. It's committed $500M to the initiative.
Big results: Spotify is now 2nd to Apple, jumping from near nothing to 10%-20% of listens.
Spotify shares fell 2% Tuesday on word of Apple's moves.The Takeaway:Apple used to create, now it follows... With iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Siri, Apple built entirely new product categories. Now it's playing catch-up. Here are its recent 2nd-mover moves:
Music streaming ➡️ Copied Spotify
Apple TV+ streaming ➡️ Copied Netflix
Beats & HomePod speaker ➡️ Copied Bose twice
Original podcasts ➡️ It might just be copying Spotify again Apr 4, 2019 iHeartMedia challenges Spotify with possible IPO Read More Long-time listener, first-time IPO'r... With 848 stations, iHeartMedia is America's biggest radio broadcaster. And it just filed paperwork to list its shares on public markets.
1 catch: It filed for bankruptcy last year with $20B in debt from the '08 financial crisis. So it needs to thank a bankruptcy judge who said it only has to pay a portion of that debt back.
Battle of the bands 2019... is Spotify vs. iHeart. And antenna-loving iHeart is putting up a shockingly good fight:
Total $$: The two brought in about the same revenue last year (~$6B), but Spotify's growing much faster.
Total Ears: iHeart has 275M US listeners. Spotify has 207M (with 62M in North America).
Live Events: iHeartMedia leads with 20K/year, featuring Cardi B, Ed Sheeran, and iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina.
Podcasts: Spotify has acquired 3 podcast companies this year. But iHeart already connects 16.6M podders, making it the #2 podcast creator behind NPR.
Social: iHeart's radio hosts and personalities enjoy 145M followers, compared to the 28M following Spotify's.The Takeaway:"Companionship" is the jingle... iHeart dropped that word 21 times in its IPO filing. Talk radio personalities bond powerfully with daily commuters or anybody enjoying an AM/FM dial. It barely veils resentment for Spotify's core biz of "music collection...which essentially replaced downloads and CDs." It hopes advertisers agree. Aug 1, 2019 Spotify hits 232M users globally — but podcasts were the star Read More Turn it up... Shares of Swedish music streamer Spotify dipped on word it added fewer paying subscribers last quarter than expected. Here's what Spotify's 232M-strong moshpit of "monthly active users" looks like:
The freebies: 129M (up 27%) tolerate an ad every few songs so they don't need to pay any cash money.
The premiums: 108M (up 31%) pay monthly for ultimate listening control.
Average revenue per user: $5.42. That's a combo of ads and monthly subscription, and it's been declining as Spotify entices broke college students to sign up.
Growth is strong, young Skywalker... CEO Daniel Ek believes his company's 31% user growth is double Apple Music's growth rate. And the percentage of users who canceled their subscription — aka the "churn rate" — hit a record low 4.6%. It's still making a loss though as it focuses on the race against Apple for eardrums.The Takeaway:It's not music. It's "listen"... Spotify prioritized podcasts for key reasons. First, it's easier to work with pod creators than 4 powerful record labels representing most music artists. Second, Spotify's pod listeners stay in the app longer (and we assume are better looking). So Spotify acquired Gimlet's collection of pods in February, along with 2 other pod-cquisitions. Add in some in-app nudging and Spotify has doubled its number of pod listeners since the start of 2019.
PS: You can "festify" the stuff you listen to into a music fest-style lineup poster (don't know how Les Mis soundtrack got in there).