Spotify will give podcast listeners data that they can't get anywhere else. The company is today downloading its Spotify for Podcasters beta from beta, giving more podcasts a chance to see data such as listeners' taste, age, gender, location, and how long they've listened to a particular episode. Aside from Apple offering some analysis of the show, this is the most detailed information that podcasters are likely to have on their audience.
About 100,000 podcasts have signed up for the program since its beta launch last October, according to Linea Hemenes, content marketing manager at Spotify. But Spotify has more than 450,000 shows as part of its catalog, so there are ways to bring those hosts to the analytics platform. The dashboard is available worldwide, but so far only in English.
"It's still really the beginning," says Charlie Helman, Spotify's market maker. "This is the part of the conversation where we keep getting feedback and trying to replicate the product."
Podcasters have long had no data about their listeners, which creates problems when trying to sell ads. Spotify is uniquely qualified to provide these podcasts, as each Spotify user requires a listening account where they have provided basic demographics about themselves, as well as their music listening habits.
Nothing about the dashboard will change when it comes out of beta, though Hellman says it will be refined over time as podcasters respond to the product. The idea is to look at Spotify for Artists, a dashboard that provides for musicians but is podcast-optimized.
The dashboard aims to "give as much information" as Spotify can to podcasts and creators, says Dawn Ostroff, chief content officer, says On the edge,
Spotify now allows musicians to post tour dates, sell merch and create playlists. It's easy to imagine that the company is doing the same for podcasts, which can make the dashboard more powerful than what is available today. In theory, it could also become an ad spot if Spotify wants to become an ad network or help connect brands with podcasts.
Currently, podcasters are unable to submit their broadcasts for inclusion in podcast playlists, but Hellman says that "over time, as we refine the format that works with listeners, we will try to return all opportunities for better participation to podcasters. "
The data in the podcast dashboard, of course, is not all Spotify knows about listeners, but Ostroff says it's distilled to the "most relevant" ones. to what additional data the show created by Spotify may have access to what is presented on the dashboard.
"We obviously have access to other types of data that we can use depending on what we're looking for," she says. "But to really get in and find the most useful data points for podcasts across the board, we were able to come up with a dashboard."
For now, company podcasting technologies like Anchor and SoundTrap are also kept separate from the dashboard, but they round off Spotify's broad ambitions for podcasting.
"All the different podcast and company initiatives have a very specific vertical that they focus on," says Ostroff. "If you think about it … how much this industry is evolving, and the different ways people who are interested in podcasting can contact us seems like an intelligent strategy."
The more Spotify lists are displayed on its platform, the more attractive it is to listeners. But as it caters to new podcasts, the streaming service has to offer them something in return for providing their broadcasts if it wants to avoid a Luminary-like kickback in which the startup podcast wants to benefit in part from the freely available creator work. Beyond Spotify already counts more than 200 million active listeners per month, a huge global user base that provides creators with detailed information about listeners – data they can't get anywhere else – sweetens the deal on the platform and makes it even more attractive.