Spotify is gobbling up the podcasting world. Image: Tina Tiller

MediaNovember 1, 2021

Why your favourite podcast is only on Spotify now

Spotify is gobbling up the podcasting world. Image: Tina Tiller

Love podcasts? Hate Spotify? We have some news for you…


My favourite podcasts keep disappearing from my apps. What’s going on?

Oh that’s easy: Spotify owns them now.

Wait, what?

Yep. Spotify has been splashing around millions buying up studios, then turning the podcasts they make into exclusives, meaning new episodes won’t appear on feeds from your other apps any more.

Why would Spotify do this to me? 

It’s not personal – it’s a business move. People listen to podcasts for much longer than a single song. Many go for up to two hours at a time. That’s a lot of advertising time. Also, the more free users Spotify gets, the more opportunities it has to convert them into paying subscribers. It’s working: Spotify’s just overtaken Apple as the preferred podcast streaming service in the US.

Did they take Heavyweight?

Sniff. Yes, they took Heavyweight.

How about Reply All?

Yes, but … you might want to read this first.

What else has become a Spotify exclusive?

There are many. 544 Days. How to Save a Planet. Deathbed Confessions. The Michelle Obama Podcast. Crime Show. Armchaired and Dangerous (with David Farrier). And so much more. They’ve got Bill Simmons and Kim Kardashian and Joe Budden and Amy Schumer. The full list is here.

Wait – they got Farrier?

They got Farrier.

How about Joe Rogan?

Shh. Don’t. (But also yes.)

What else should I listen to then?

Don’t mean to brag, but all of The Spinoff’s best podcasts are on Spotify (and everywhere else you get your podcasts too): The Fold, Remember When, When the Facts Change, Gone By Lunchtime, The Real Pod, First, Business is Boring, and Nē, our new podcast that’s by Māori, for Māori. That should keep you busy. If you want more, here’s a list we made to soundtrack your stupid little lockdown walks.

So you’re saying I probably need to set up a Spotify account?

If you want to keep all of your podcasts in one feed at the same time, then yes, you do.

I hate this. 

You’re not the only one. The backlash is real. Here’s a popular Reddit thread, I will not listen to Gimlet shows on Spotify, a Wired story headlined Spotify is breaking podcasts, and someone who hates using the app. A quick Spinoff survey found some staff saying they refuse to use Spotify for podcasts as well –  and one already has a premium subscription. It was the principle.

It sounds like music and podcasts should be kept separate.

That’s true. Spotify hasn’t said if it will make its own podcast app, but that seems like an obvious business move if it’s spending all this money (and it will probably have a separate subscription fee).

OK, I’ve set up a Spotify account and followed my favourite accounts…

Well done!

…but I don’t like the layout.

Oh, yeah. Didn’t we mention that? It’s janky. It’s not designed for podcasts. It’s for music.

So podcasts and music will show up together in my feeds now?

‘Fraid so.

What do I do with my Stitcher, Overcast and Apple Podcast apps?

You can delete them, or keep using them. Or just use Spotify for the exclusives.

But how will I know when new episodes drop?

You can turn on notifications for the shows you follow. That’s what we’re doing.

Do I need to start paying a Spotify subscription fee?

Only if you want to avoid the ads. Otherwise, it’s free to listen to podcasts on Spotify.

OK, OK. Any chance they’ll change that horrible lime-green logo?

Right?! Hopefully. Facebook just became Meta so anything, literally anything at all, is possible.

Keep going!