Business Insider has published an investigative piece about Spotify’s podcasts studio Gimlet, riffing off figures indicating a “late-summer slump” in 2020 that contrasted to growth for the company’s other studios.
The claim is that “Gimlet is struggling to find its place within Spotify’s podcast universe”, although there is also an official rebuttal from Gimlet boss Lydia Polgreen asserting that “we’re making shows that get a lot of attention and speak to audiences that I think are really important and underserved”.
Actually though, we think the most interesting part is in some comments by Polgreen later in the article, about the wider competitive environment.
“The podcasting landscape is much, much more crowded than it used to be. Any publisher that you look at, everything that they’re making now is getting smaller audiences. The question of what qualifies as a quote-unquote hit in podcasting is really a shifting thing.”
Which shows Spotify promotes and how obviously has a big impact too, and there are clearly some tensions around how narrative / investigatory shows rub along with news, sports and other kinds of podcasts. But the audience fragmentation question is one we’ll return to.