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How Spotify plans to challenge YouTube’s video podcasting supremacy

A video screen showing the Spotify logo
REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A video screen showing the Spotify logo.
  • Adario Strange
By Adario Strange

Media & entertainment reporter

Published

This week, Spotify began a broad rollout of video podcasts on its service, adding a range of new, high-profile video podcasts, as well as opening the option to publish video podcasts to smaller podcasters. The effort may help the company chip away at YouTube, whose 17-year domination of video streaming is buttressed by a wide array of popular video podcasts.

Frequent Spotify users are likely aware that certain podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience and Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay (both Spotify-exclusive shows) are already available as video podcasts on its platform. But by opening up the floodgates to other video podcasters, Spotify and its global reach (365 million users across 178 markets) is now officially in competition with YouTube’s video podcast empire, which reaches roughly 2.2 billion users.

Inclusion in Spotify’s video podcasting program requires going through Anchor

Access to the new feature comes via Spotify’s free Anchor podcast service, which it acquired in 2019. Prospective video podcasters can sign up to distribute video podcasts on Anchor, and if accepted into the program, they will then show up on Spotify. “We’re approving applications on a rolling basis starting immediately,” Anchor co-founder and Spotify’s head of talk, Michael Mignano, told Quartz. “We’ve already begun activating some shows.”

To kick off the new video podcasting feature, Spotify has added additional shows to the video podcast menu including marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk (The GaryVee Audio Experience), comedian Heather McDonald (Juicy Scoop), and political commentator Philip DeFranco (A Conversation With…). 

It’s unlikely Spotify will be able to catch up to YouTube on the video front anytime soon but it is still far ahead of other major players in the video podcasting space, such as Amazon-owned Twitch, which has roughly 41 million users

One of the first questions the Anchor sign-up form asks is if the video podcaster currently uses YouTube to distribute their work, a signal that Spotify understands how entrenched its primary competition is in the space.

“We won’t comment on the specifics of other platforms,” Mignano said when asked why users should opt for the new Spotify service over YouTube. “What I will say is that with our video podcasts feature, creators will benefit from Spotify’s reach… and future availability of our suite of podcast monetization tools.”

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