Did Spotify Just Kill One of Its Best Features For Podcasters?

Tombstone with spotify logo that has on headphones and podcast mic with cemetery in background
MarinaP/Shutterstock, Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock, Spaxiax/Shutterstock, Novikov/Shutterstock, Andreiuc88/Shutterstock, Remix: Linzi Silverman

There are a lot of changes going on with Spotify recently. But do these new changes go one step too far? 

That’s the question we’re asking after Spotify announced that it would be sunsetting a number of key features podcasters rely on in June. These include its web recording, mobile recording, and, most notably, “Music + Talk” features.

Introduced in 2020, the Music + Talk feature enabled creators to plug full-length, licensed tracks into episodes running on Spotify. It’s a pretty fundamental feature for a lot of podcast creators, particularly when podcasts cover music.

According to the Spotify website, Spotify’s expanding partnership with podcast creation platform Riverside will ensure creators receive similar web and mobile editing tools by June.

Within the “Spotify for Podcasters” area in the app, there’s a new “Create With Riverside” button. It allows creators to record, edit, and publish whole podcast episodes from within the browser window. But at the time of writing, there’s no tool to replace the Music + Talk feature. 

And all these new editing features don’t mean the partnership is popular. According to The Verge, creators are already reporting that the removal of these tools basically kills their podcasts.

But in a statement to The Verge, Spotify spokesperson Jordan Smith claims that not many creators will be affected.

“Music + Talk was a format we had high hopes for, but after 3 years of investment, it has not gained meaningful traction with listeners, and remains non-monetizable for creators,” Smith said.

“We believe we’ll make the most impact for creators by continuing to focus on tangible ways they can find and grow an audience and build a sustainable living,” Smith continued. “While we are always exploring unique formats and solutions for podcasters, we have nothing to share at this time.”

This might seem like a superficial change. But creators’ reactions to the change demonstrate how Spotify is losing its previously-iron-clad grip on the podcast economy.

Spotify’s two most popular podcasts, “Call Her Daddy” and “The Joe Rogan Experience,” recently ended their exclusivity with the platform. So the question is, can Spotify really afford to alienate their other, albeit smaller, creators? We aren’t so sure.

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