Gimlet and Parcast unions slam Spotify over podcast layoffs


Last week, Spotify cancelled 11 of its original podcasts and laid off some employees from its Parcast and Gimlet divisions. At the time, this was reported as being “less than 5%” of Spotify’s podcast staff.

However, the unions representing employees at the two divisions say that’s not the whole story. “That number is misleading. The reality is that each bargaining unit… has lost about 30% of its members. These aren’t small cuts, they are massive restructurings,” claimed their joint statement, adding that at least 38 employees are affected.

However, the unions didn’t stop there, adding some biting criticism of Spotify’s podcasting strategy for good measure. “Their decision to make most of Gimlet’s and Parcast’s shows Spotify exclusive caused a steep drop in listeners – as high as three quarters of the audience for some shows. Yet the company did little or nothing to staunch the bleeding,” they claimed.

“Shows languished without marketing support, and teams were not given clear audience goals to meet. The strongest indication these employees received that their shows were not meeting Spotify’s goals was when they were laid off yesterday.”

The additional claim that “Spotify gave employees as little as an hour to close out their work” will sting, for a company that has talked up its progressive employment policies in the past, from parental leave to employee assistance and self-care.

Written by: Stuart Dredge