New York — Spotify is laying off 200 employees from its podcasting unit, amounting to 2% of the audio streaming company’s global workforce.
In a note Monday, the Sweden-based company said it has “made the difficult but necessary decision to make a strategic realignment” within its podcast department, including merging Parcast and Gimlet Media studios into one. Bill Simmons’ sports podcast, “The Ringer,” will remain separate.
“We are expanding our partnership efforts with leading podcasters from across the globe with a tailored approach optimized for each show and creator,” Spotify VP Sahar Elhabashi wrote in the note. “This fundamental pivot from a more uniform proposition will allow us to support the creator community better.”
Spotify has bet big on podcasts in recent years. In 2019, it redesigned the app to emphasize them, and has spent more than $500 million dollars on podcast producing studios. It also has a number of exclusive podcasts it distributes, such as “The Joe Rogan Experience” and Alex Cooper’s “Call Her Daddy” podcast.
However, the company has been paring back the number of exclusives it has. Deals with self-help guru Brené Brown, sports journalist Jemele Hill and Barack and Michelle Obama’s deals are expiring.
Spotify (SPOT) said it has 100 million podcast listeners and is the no. 1 podcast publisher in the United States. It added that podcast ad revenue “experienced high double-digit growth” from 2021 to 2022.
This is Spotify’s second round of layoffs this year. In January, roughly 6% of its global workforce was cut because of a slowdown in advertising spending.
“Like many other leaders, I hoped to sustain the strong tailwinds from the pandemic and believed that our broad global business and lower risk to the impact of a slowdown in ads would insulate us. In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth,” CEO Daniel Ek said at the time.
One notable layoff during that was Dawn Ostroff, its chief content officer, who signed a number of podcasting deals during her short tenure.
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