Spotify links podcasts and music nearby. The company announced today that it is testing a new podcast format that will allow podcast listeners to hear entire music tracks during a show, as opposed to a short rehearsal. Hosts will also be able to create shows in this format through Anchor, the podcast creation app owned by Spotify. The new format effectively makes Spotify the only podcast platform where hosts can include entire songs in their shows without worrying about copyright.
Leaders in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland will have access to this interactive format, which you can imagine they can use to promote songs such as radio DJs or to offer historical context or insight into more like a music podcast. It is important, however, that the episodes that Anchor users create will only be available through Spotify and will not be distributed elsewhere.
In fact, all broadcasts that take advantage of this interactive format will be exclusive to Spotify, as the technology relies on the company̵
Still, only Spotify premium subscribers will hear full songs. Free users will only hear a 30-second preview of each song, as free users cannot play songs directly; they can only shuffle the game.
Along with this release, Spotify is releasing seven new original, exclusive series that will take advantage of the format and make music a central focus. Listeners to these shows and those created by Anchor will be able to interact with the playlist of each podcast episode to save the songs for later and skip to different segments.
The broader strategy with this launch seems to make Spotify the most attractive place for creators to launch and maintain their shows. Apple has begun archiving some of DJ Zene Lowe’s Apple Music radio shows as music podcasts, but the feature is limited to Apple’s hosts. Spotify gives other creators the power to become radio DJs, which may be inferior to its competitors.
For example, a music show that can’t usually include full songs may be tempted to try to do its show on Anchor only if its version of Spotify includes full songs. Hosts can then start promoting Spotify as a listening location that can attract more people to the platform and subscribe. The company has already tried other interactive podcast features such as ads and polls, which can add value to it as a streaming platform and make it a more dominant player in the space.