Spotify dissolves its founding podcast studio and fires part of the team.
Spotify, one of the major players in the music industry, is closing its first podcast studio and laying off some of its employees. Studio 4, or Spotify Studios as it’s known externally, had 10 to 15 employees and created episodes including Dissect and Chapo: Kingpin on Trial, according to a concerned employee. On Friday, Spotify informed affected staff that its final days would be January 21. They will receive severance pay for two months. Some workers have been relocated, while others have been fired and ordered to look for work on Spotify’s website. Gina Delvac, the head of the studio, was also fired.
No comments from Spotify regarding the shutdown
The music industry giant declined to comment on the matter. Julie McNamara, head of studios and video in the United States, accepted the layoffs in a message to Spotify Employees spin-off by The Verge and said closing the studio would allow the company to “move faster and make more meaningful progress and facilitate more effective collaboration across our organization.”
Studio 4 was rarely mentioned in the press, despite being a company that publicizes its podcasting activities wherever he can. However, Studio 4 sometimes appears in earnings reports as Spotify Studios. It was Spotify’s original podcasting studio, and it included all of the company’s podcasting staff prior to significant additions to the company’s network. More staff were brought in later with episodes like Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls 1 Boy, but the first team helped confirm the podcasting business model and audience enthusiasm. According to a former employee who requested anonymity due to his current job in the industry, Keith.
Spotify’s in-house studio services, including its three purchased networks: Parcast, Gimlet and The Ringer, were eventually completed by the team. Studio 4 gets its name from the fact that it is Spotify’s fourth studio. It’s also “insulting” to the people who work there, as one Spotify employee described it, because it lacks a corporate identity or mission statement. According to them, it was frequently used as a “bin drawer” for initiatives that could not find a place on the other three networks.
The studio’s output spanned music, musicians, celebrity partnerships and influencer-hosted material, though it didn’t have its own set ambitions.
“A lot of Spotify Studios’ triumphs were never really expressed because the management was continually rotating,” adds the former employee, noting that Liz Gately ran the studio before she moved to another job. Delvac took control and McNamara was named club manager in September. Previously, Courtney Holt, vice president of global podcasting, held the position. (Dawn Ostroff, head of content and advertising, sits above Holt and McNamara.
Nosy Neighbors, We Said What We Said and Dope Labs are just a few of the shows the team has recently created. According to the former employee, the company produced one episode, Wind of Change, but was later handed over to Gimlet to handle the Pineapple Street Studios partnership’s next release, Welcome to Your Fantasy. It was said that success was at the rendezvous.
Spotify has invested millions in additional studios and networks since the launch of Studio 4 and in high profile collaborations with famous podcast personalities like Joe Rogan, Call Her Daddy’s Alex Cooper and Armchair Expert’s Dax Shepard. With the purchase of hosting business Megaphone, which was the centerpiece of most of the company’s ads this year, it is also aggressively focusing on its advertising technology. On the other hand, Spotify did not provide any figures on the performance of its purchased companies.
Even though the podcast studio claims to have more podcasts than ever, according to a Business Intern August article, Gimlet failed to grow in the tech sector due to “unclear strategy” and “internal disagreements.” The leaked numbers for September 2020 had the lowest stats of the four studios in terms of hours of use. Meanwhile, according to a story from Verge, Spotify’s licensed exclusives, including Joe Rogan’s program, may have lost significant viewership due to adoption of the platform.
Spotify did not say how partner programs will be created in the future or what will happen to shows currently in development. Following the release of this report, the Dissect team took to Twitter to state that the program would continue to be produced with Spotify. Original content will no doubt continue to air on all three networks Spotify has purchased. Yet the closure of Studio 4 demonstrates that Spotify couldn’t create an entirely self-sustaining production team from scratch.
When asked, the affected employee could not identify the podcast studio’s biggest program or what people should know.