Spotify announces 200 job cuts in podcast division

Jun 6, 2023, 7:20 AM UTC
2 mins read
Spotify announces 200 job cuts in podcast division
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Spotify yesterday announced its decision to lay off 200 employees from its podcast division. This move marks the second round of layoffs for the company as it undergoes a significant restructuring phase in response to years of substantial investment. Spotify’s decision aligns with similar actions taken by industry peers such as Meta and Roku, both of which have also implemented job cuts amid an uncertain economic climate.

Despite the restructuring news, Spotify’s shares experienced a modest increase of approximately 0.5% during early trading, outperforming the generally muted broader market sentiment. The company had pursued an aggressive strategy of expanding its podcast business in recent years, driven by the belief that the immersive nature of podcasts would attract a larger audience and subsequently entice more advertisers to the platform.

However, this ambitious endeavor resulted in a considerable surge in operating expenses for Spotify. Last year, the company’s expenditure grew at twice the rate of its revenue. Additionally, the recent rise in interest rates and high inflation have compelled businesses across various sectors to curtail their ad spending, further impacting Spotify’s podcast advertising revenue.

To address these challenges, Spotify previously downsized its workforce by 6% earlier this year and bid farewell to Dawn Ostroff, a key figure in shaping the podcast business and navigating through controversies, such as the fallout surrounding Joe Rogan’s show and its alleged spread of misinformation about COVID-19.

In light of the ongoing restructuring, Sahar Elhabashi, the head of Spotify’s podcast business, stated on Monday that the company had made the “difficult but necessary decision to make a strategic realignment.” As part of this realignment, Spotify intends to merge its Parcast and Gimlet studios into a single entity called Spotify Studios, which will exclusively produce Spotify originals.

Elhabashi further emphasized that Spotify would adopt a tailored approach for each show and creator moving forward, departing from the previous uniform strategy. This shift in strategy aims to enhance the uniqueness and individuality of each podcast, ensuring a more personalized experience for both content creators and listeners alike.

While the decision to lay off 200 workers may be disheartening for those affected, Spotify’s realignment signifies the company’s determination to navigate the changing landscape of the podcast industry. By streamlining its operations and focusing on producing high-quality original content, Spotify seeks to maintain its position as a leading player in the podcasting space while optimizing revenue generation and ensuring a seamless user experience.

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