Spotify launches a set of editorially curated podcast playlists

Spotify is continuing its investment in the podcast streaming side of business with the launch of a suite of editorially-curated podcast playlists, as well as new Spotify for Podcasters functionality that will help creators to find new fans for their shows. The company is today introducing a set of 17 programmed podcast playlists, — including flagship playlists Crime Scene, Brain Snacks, and Best Podcasts of the Week — which will be updated regularly.

The launch indicates that Spotify is approaching its podcast business much as it had music, in terms of consumer-facing features.

Already, Spotify had turned its personalization technology to podcasts in order to make better suggestions of what to listen to, as it had done with personalized music recommendations through custom playlists like Discover Weekly. And it had allowed users to make their own podcast playlists, as they can do with their favorite tunes.

The only big missing piece was a set of podcast playlists that could match the draw of Spotify’s top programmed music playlists, like RapCaviar and Hot Country, for example. That where today’s launch comes in, as it introduces a set of localized playlists across varying topics, categories, and themes, led by flagship playlists with mainstream appeal.

The new playlists are described by Spotify as follows:

FLAGSHIP PLAYLISTS (localized by markets):

Best Podcasts of the Week: A weekly collection of the latest must-hear episodes. Picked fresh every Tuesday.
Crime Scene: Dive into these gruesomely popular true crime podcasts. Updates every Tuesday.
Brain Snacks: Learn something new in the time it takes to watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Updates every other Thursday.


Murder Monday: Binge our freshest crop of bone-chilling murder stories. Updates every Monday.
Who Run the World?: Stories of inspiring women lifting each other up and changing the world. Updates once a month.
This Week in Hollywood: The latest celebrity news, pop culture and entertainment news. Updates every Friday.
Family-Friendly Fun: Fun, educational podcasts for the entire family. Updates monthly.
Latinx & Proud: Check out the latest Latinx stories from your favorite creators and cultural commentators. Updates twice a month.
Talk Flirty to Me: From ghosting to great loves, these pods will get you through dating’s wild ups-and-downs. Updates twice a month.
Fodder for Foodies: The full menu of tales and conversation from the world of food. Updates once a month.
LGBTQ+ Voices: Stories and interviews behind the lives of a thriving LGBTQ+ community. Updates every other Thursday.
Unsolved Crimes & Mysteries: Hair-raising stories of haunted places, inexplicable disappearances, and murder cases gone cold. Updates twice a month.
Climate Crisis: Thought-provoking conversations and stories about the world’s fight against climate change. Updates once a month.
Real People, Real Stories: Gripping personal stories about everyday life that you’ll want to hear. Updates once a month.
Let’s Talk Women in Hip Hop: Hear from the women creating and redefining hip hop culture. Updates every two months.
Stay in the Know: Smart, engaging podcasts that go beyond just the headlines. Updates every Tuesday.
100% Celebrity Interviews: Your favorite celebrities get candid about their careers, relationships, and so much more. Updates once a month.

These playlists are designed to reach more casual playlists listeners or even first-time podcast listeners, for that matter. These users may not know what podcasts they want to listen to, but may have an idea of what type of programming appeals to them. Instead of having to browse through the podcast descriptions or sample various episodes, listeners can instead engage in a lean-back experience where they just hit play on a pre-programmed set of episodes.

Spotify will also cater to podcast creators with new features launched today, as well. Already, music artists are able to use Spotify’s backend tools to add metadata to their tracks in order to better categorize their work, then submit new songs directly to Spotify editors for playlist consideration. For podcasters, Spotify has rolled out a Spotify for Podcasters dashboard with daily streaming data on their shows, improved show pages to introduce podcasts to listeners, an API so developers can build new experiences around podcasts, and more.

Spotify now says it will introduce more backend tools for podcast creators, as well, aimed at helping them gain new fans. Today, this includes playlist notifications which will alert creators as to when they’ve been included on a Spotify podcast playlist. A similar feature is available for music artists.

The notifications will allow creators to quickly capitalize on their playlist exposure — by posting to social media about their inclusion, for example.

The launch of the new playlists arrives at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted podcast streaming, with some reports showing a drop in unique listeners and a decline in podcast downloads alongside sharper decline in ad revenue. Users now working from home are no longer tuning in to favorite shows during commutes or while running around town, which means podcasts now have to compete with home media consumption — like streaming Netflix and watching the news — not just other audio options, like music.

Spotify downplays those concerns today by noting that podcast listening grew 200% over 2019. But it doesn’t include data on podcast consumption these past few weeks under COVID-19 lockdowns.

Certainly, there will be a time when people return to work and their commutes, but the numbers of commuters may dwindle as companies realize the cost savings that come from work-from-home workforces. And will these podcast listeners spend this time listening to news instead of for pleasure? Will the advertisers return in full force? Where podcasts fall in the post-COVID era remains to be seen. But for today, it’s business-as-usual in terms of Spotify’s roadmap for its podcast feature development.

The new playlists are launching today across 6 markets. (US, DE, SE, UK, MX, BR)