Spotify is set to buy podcasting companies Gimlet Media and Anchor in a move that will reshape the landscape of the nascent industry.
The streaming service announced the two deals in a blog post from CEO Daniel Ek today, in which he called podcasting the “next growth phase in audio.” While Spotify wouldn’t disclose the size of the Gimlet and Anchor deals, Recode reported
that the company paid $230 million for Gimlet alone.
Spotify said in its concurrent earnings report that it’s prepared to spend a total of between $400 million and $500 million on acquisitions this year that will bring more established podcast titles under its exclusive control and bolster its own ability to produce them in-house.
Those twin goals are evident in Spotify’s deals this week; Gimlet is a major podcasting network that’s home to popular titles like Reply All, StartUp and Homecoming, while Anchor is primarily a suite of tools for the production, distribution and monetization of homegrown podcasts.
“Podcasting is evolving as a mashup platform of hobbyists and serious producers,” Fred Jacobs, an audio media consultant at Jacobs Media Strategies, said in an email. “These acquisitions tell us Spotify has the full spectrum of podcasting in its crosshairs.”
Podcasting is still generally seen as having major potential in the digital audio space thanks to its ever-growing popularity as a medium, but the industry has also been hampered by a lack consistent measurement standards and targeting capabilities. The failure of monetization to keep pace with a glut of content was evident in moves like BuzzFeed’s shuttering of its podcast division and Panoply’s slashing of editorial operations last fall.