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2020
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7

Spotify launches a news channel

“They’re going to launch something that radio has had for decades but that has never existed in podcasting format: a simple news channel.”

My prediction is that Spotify will launch a news channel.

Podcasts are becoming a huge business now, and Spotify is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into trying to topple Apple as the big dog in the space. To that end, they’re going to launch something that radio has had for decades but that has never existed in podcasting format: a simple news channel.

It would just be a curated playlist of individual podcast episodes, much as Spotify already puts together curated playlists of music. But Apple doesn’t allow such playlists, giving Spotify a clear advantage in the space.

Spotify has already tested these waters with its Daily Drive product, a playlist designed for car commuters that includes both news and music. Since Spotify’s acquisition of Gimlet Media closed, the Daily Drive list has featured Gimlet podcasts almost to the exclusion of all other podcasts, which raises the big debate that will arise when Spotify News launches: Will it be biased in favor of its own products? (Answer: Yes, it will be.) Expect, therefore, some tough questions to be put to Gimlet’s Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber in 2020.

Felix Salmon is chief financial correspondent for Axios.

My prediction is that Spotify will launch a news channel.

Podcasts are becoming a huge business now, and Spotify is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into trying to topple Apple as the big dog in the space. To that end, they’re going to launch something that radio has had for decades but that has never existed in podcasting format: a simple news channel.

It would just be a curated playlist of individual podcast episodes, much as Spotify already puts together curated playlists of music. But Apple doesn’t allow such playlists, giving Spotify a clear advantage in the space.

Spotify has already tested these waters with its Daily Drive product, a playlist designed for car commuters that includes both news and music. Since Spotify’s acquisition of Gimlet Media closed, the Daily Drive list has featured Gimlet podcasts almost to the exclusion of all other podcasts, which raises the big debate that will arise when Spotify News launches: Will it be biased in favor of its own products? (Answer: Yes, it will be.) Expect, therefore, some tough questions to be put to Gimlet’s Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber in 2020.

Felix Salmon is chief financial correspondent for Axios.

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