Spotify closes its eponymous podcast studio


Spotify dissolves its founding podcast studio and fires part of the team. An affected employee tells The edge that Studio 4, or Spotify Studios as it was externally referenced, consisted of 10 to 15 employees and produced shows like Dissect and Chapo: Kingpin on trial. Spotify called affected employees on Friday and told them their last days would be January 21. They will receive a two-month allowance. Some employees were reassigned while others were laid off and pointed to the job site Spotify. Studio manager Gina Delvac was also let go.

Spotify declined to comment. In a note to Spotify staff obtained by The edge, however, Julie McNamara, head of studios and video in the United States, admitted the layoffs and said closing the studio would allow the company “to move faster, to make greater progress and to facilitate more effective collaboration within our organization ”.

For a company sharing news of its podcasting efforts wherever it can, Studio 4 has rarely, if ever, appeared in the press. (I only documented one public use of it.) However, Studio 4 Is it that sometimes appear in income reports like Spotify Studios. It was the first podcasting studio created by Spotify and was made up of all the employees who worked on podcasting prior to the company’s major network acquisitions. Additional staff were later hired, but the initial group helped prove the podcasting business model and listeners’ interest with shows like Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls 1 Keithsays a former employee who asked not to be identified due to ongoing work in the industry.

The team eventually completed Spotify’s internal studio offerings, including its three acquired networks: Parcast, Gimlet and The Ringer. Studio 4’s name is literal, as it is Spotify’s fourth studio. It’s also, as one Spotify employee told me, “insulting” the people who work there, given that it doesn’t have a brand identity or mission statement. They say it often functioned more as a “garbage drawer” for projects that did not find a place in the other three networks.

“When you have Studio 4 it’s like, ‘Well if all of these boxes are already checked by all these other studios then where does that really leave us’, and so I felt like that there was no clear mandate of what Studio 4 was supposed to do, ”said the affected employee.

While the studio doesn’t have its own clear initiatives, its content spanned music and artists as well as celebrity offerings and content hosted by influencers.

“A lot of Spotify Studios’ successes were never really expressed because management was always restless,” the former employee said, noting that Liz Gately once ran the studio but was then mixture in a new role. Delvac took over and in September McNamara was hired to oversee the team led by Courtney Holt, vice president of global podcasting. (Above Holt is Dawn Ostroff, responsible for content and advertising.)

“I’ve never heard anyone mention Studio 4 by name or refer to any of the works or shows we’ve done as something to celebrate,” said the affected employee. “We are intentionally ignored in the explanations of metrics, growth, listening and all that sort of thing. “

“When you go through a year of that… where you’re backstage, and you’re creating stuff, and it just doesn’t have the love or the sparkle that other studios get, I think it causes a lot of. righteous thoughts running through your head like, “Hey, what does the upper echelon of the Spotify executive community think about the studio, what are we doing and how easily could they just sweep it under the hood? carpet, “which they ended up doing,” adds the former employee.

The team produced the most recent programming as Curious neighbors, we said what we said, and Doping laboratories, as well as partner programs like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 2020 Holiday Special. The former employee says that a show, Winds of change, was produced by the studio, but was later assigned to Gimlet to oversee the upcoming release of the partnership with Pineapple Street Studios – Welcome to your fantasy. They say the successes have been given.

Since Studio 4’s inception, Spotify has spent millions not only buying new studios and networks, but also making massive deals with big names in the podcast like Joe Rogan, Alex Cooper from Call her daddy, and Dax Shepard of Chair expert. It also focused heavily on its ad technology with the acquisition of hosting company Megaphone, which was the centerpiece of most of the company’s ads last year. However, Spotify did not share any numbers on how its acquired entities are doing.

Although Spotify claims there are more podcasts than ever before on its platform, an August Business intern report said Gimlet himself has struggled to develop within the tech company due to “unclear strategy” and “internal tensions.” It had the lowest number of the four studios in terms of hours consumed in leak measurements for September 2020. Meanwhile, a Edge The report revealed that Spotify’s licensed exclusives, Joe Rogan’s show in particular, may have lost a significant chunk of its audience when switching to the platform.

As of yet, Spotify has not said how partner programs will be produced in the future and what will happen to shows currently in production. The original programming will obviously live within the three networks that Spotify purchased, but the shutdown of Studio 4 shows that Spotify has not been able to create a fully independent production team from scratch.

When asked what the studio’s biggest show was or what people should know, the affected employee couldn’t name one.

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