On Spotify’s ability to revolutionise the profitability of podcasts

Verrrrryyy interesting deal by Spotify, confirmed on Wednesday, to acquire Gimlet and Anchor – two promising podcasting companies.

For BBC News I offered this analysis on how Spotify can inject some steroids into the podcast business, though not without risks:

What’s particularly powerful is Spotify’s ability to match users with podcasts the same way it does (spookily) well with new music. There are 16,000 different “signals”, the company says, that help it do that. Those same signals will mean Spotify bring the earning potential for podcasts to the next level: if you listen to a health and fitness playlist, you’re likely to respond well to podcast ads offering fitness gear, perhaps.

But on the other hand, I realise the future I’m describing here sounds rather awful. Imagine having a podcast on in the car, with your friends judging you based on the advertising that is being played out. “If you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, you should try…”

Spotify typically takes its sweet time in rolling out new features – though that’s surely not a bad thing in this instance. Getting this right is going to be hard.