Spotify had record audience growth across all of its owned channels in 2022, said Scott Henkemeyer, its global head of content strategy and publishing for owned editorial channels.
Audience growth, for Spotify, refers to page views and listens, Henkemeyer noted.
The audio platform’s news blog, For the Record, has brought in tens of millions of pageviews and impressions over the past year. Spotify also has a podcast under the same name and two others – Spotify: Mic Check and Spotify: Discover This — which have been listened to hundreds of thousands of times this year, said Henkemeyer via email.
Henkemeyer added that the earnings episodes of the For the Record podcast have the highest user completion rate.
Since its IPO in early 2018, Spotify has made significant investments in its owned media, which is now firmly a part of the platform’s storytelling ecosystem.
Spotify began by creating the For the Record news blog and podcast. The two channels take readers and listeners behind the scenes on earnings reports, breaking news and product launches.
Since then, Spotify has further developed its owned efforts, building new channels designed to reach different audiences.
Over the past year and half, the audio streaming company has launched podcasts Spotify: Mic Check and Spotify: Discover This. The former features personal conversations with musicians and podcasters, allowing creators to connect with their audiences in a more intimate setting.
Spotify also built a website called Loud & Clear, which aims to provide more transparency about artist compensation and the economics of the music industry. The portal was recently updated with 2021 royalty data.
With its editorial channels rapidly evolving, Spotify recently established an in-house digital creative team, according to Henkemeyer.
The unit supports Spotify’s owned channels and other external forums with creative strategy, art direction, graphic design and video production. It also helps expand audience reach with digital event production for the company’s local and global markets.
“In-house creative talent ensures there’s a deeper understanding of the brand and the business,” Henkemeyer said. “The resulting work is not only produced more efficiently, but with a unique understanding of the end user in mind.”
Spotify has been closely monitoring users’ constantly-evolving preferred consumption methods. The expectation is that all the owned channels work together, Henkemeyer noted, respectively addressing users where they’re likely to digest content. For example, while journalists may be drawn to traditional written news content, Gen Z is “arguably more likely to consume information on Instagram,” Henkemeyer said.
“We never want to be absent in one space, or prioritizing one space over another. We think about it as a concerted effort,” he added. “So if we’re producing long-form content on For The Record, [we’re also asking], ‘What’s the companion social media play?’”
As part of its annual Wrapped campaign, Spotify produced an episode of Discover This focused on recapping the year in music with external guests, while also penning a few blog posts on the initiative’s global impact, including how it led to the highest-grossing merchandise sales week for artists in Spotify history.
Despite a substantial investment in owned media, Spotify is equally committed to earned content, said CJ Stanley, Spotify’s co-head of global communications.
“Our approach to our earned, our pitches and how we want to reach external audiences and the press is as important as how we’re approaching our owned editorial channels,” Stanley said.
Being able to tap into both functions, Stanley added, gives Spotify more opportunities to customize its approach based on the specific audience.