Spotify is putting together podcasts and music. The company announced today that it is testing a new podcast format that will allow podcast listeners to listen to entire pieces of music during a show, instead of just a short example. Hosts will also be able to create shows in this format through Anchor, Spotify’s proprietary podcast creation app. The new format effectively makes Spotify the only podcast platform where hosts can include entire songs in their shows without having to worry about copyright.
Anchor makers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland will have access to this interactive format, which you can imagine they could use to promote songs as a radio DJ or to offer historical context or more insights like a podcast music. Basically though, Anchor̵
In fact, any shows that will benefit from this interactive format will be exclusive to Spotify because the technology is based on the company’s agreements with record labels. (Musicians will be paid per song stream as they already are.) Spotify says the way these podcasts are created allows the company to treat podcast songs and comments almost like playlists, which gives podcasters the power to include complete songs in their shows.
However, only premium Spotify subscribers will listen to full songs. Free users will only hear a 30-second preview of each track because free users are unable to play the songs directly; they can only play randomly.
Along with this announcement, Spotify is launching seven new original exclusive series that will take advantage of the format and make music a focus. Listeners of these shows and those created by Anchor will be able to interact with the track list of each episode of the podcast to save the tracks for later and jump to different segments.
The broader strategy with this launch appears to make Spotify the most attractive place for creators to launch and maintain their shows. Apple has begun archiving some of New Zealand DJ Zane Lowe’s Apple Music radio shows as podcasts, but the feature is limited to Apple hosts only. Spotify is giving other creators the power to become radio DJs, which could give it an edge over its competitors.
For example, a music show that typically can’t include full tracks might be inclined to try and do its show in Anchor, if nothing else, its version of Spotify includes the full tracks. Hosts could then start promoting Spotify as a listening venue, which could lead more people to the platform and sign up. The company has already tried other interactive podcast features such as announcements and polls that could increase its value as a streaming platform and make it a more dominant player in the space.