Anchor’s over $100 million acquisition of Spotify appears to be paying off. In the data released this year, the company says Anchor, which makes podcast creation software, is powering 80 percent of new podcasts on Spotify this year.
The software is contributing more than 1 million shows to Spotify. Overall, Anchor powers 70 percent of the entire Spotify podcast catalog or about 1.3 million of the more than 1.9 million shows.
People also seem to be listening to that content. Spotify says Anchor accounts for more consumption, in terms of time spent listening, than any other third-party podcast hosting or distribution provider on its platform. (Excluding shows owned or operated by Spotify.) Sounds surprising, at least to me, especially considering that big networks like NPR, The New York Times, and Wondery all put their shows on Spotify.
Mike Mignano, head of podcast mission at Spotify, says the data point speaks to the large global podcasting ecosystem that people might not know exists. With over a million Anchor shows on the platform, listening times add up quickly, even though some shows only have a small group of dedicated fans.
“I think people still tend to think of podcasting as being this sort of small, niche community, and I think the 2020 growth has highlighted that it’s very, very quickly grown far beyond that, and there’s just so much more scale and depth to the medium than I think people realize,” he said.
He also added: “We feel like for all the people in the world that want to say something, or want to share their voice, or want to have themselves heard, there can be actually far, far, far more new podcasts over the next couple of years.”
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Spotify says Anchor’s top five markets in 2020, based on show count, are the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. In Indonesia, Spotify signed nine shows as exclusive.
Meanwhile, the fastest-growing markets, seeing monthly average increases as new events, are India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Indonesia. India accounts for nearly 40,000 shows made by Anchor and has been growing at an average 22 percent month-over-month increase in 2020.
However, many of these creators may not make money through their podcasting, or at least not with Spotify’s help. Although Anchor supports monetization and automatically inserts ads into participating events, the feature is only available in the US. So, while various countries are contributing to Anchor’s growing reach, content creators on the platform are most likely not making a living, or even not earning, because of their podcasting work.
Mignano and a spokesperson declined to comment on when monetization to other markets, although in the US, a spokesperson says more than 100,000 creators have generated revenue through Anchor’s sponsorships product.
Spotify itself has another great podcasting year. It made two acquisitions – The Ringer and Megaphone – and signed several exclusive deals with luminaries like Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian West.
Yesterday, two of the most popular shows on the platform this year, including The Joe Rogan Experience and The Michelle Obama Podcast, are both investments for the company. But not every show involves a recognizable name, which is why the Anchor deal has become an essential part of Spotify’s podcast strategy. People all over the world create events using Spotify’s proprietary software.
Whether they can become superstars and make money from that work, however, is the next challenge for Spotify, at least if it is to retain this podcaster for years to come.