On Monday, Spotify Technology announced its intention to implement a second wave of redundancies, resulting in the reduction of 200 positions within its podcast unit. This strategic restructuring follows a prolonged period of substantial investment, as the company seeks to adapt its business model accordingly.
This decision affects approximately 2 per cent of the music-streaming giant’s workforce, bringing Spotify in line with other prominent industry players such as Meta Platforms and Roku. These companies, facing an uncertain economic landscape, have also resorted to similar measures by implementing a second round of job cuts.
During early trading, the shares of this Sweden-based organisation exhibited a modest increase of approximately 0.5 per cent, outperforming the relatively subdued performance of the broader market.
In recent years, Spotify has actively pursued the expansion of its podcast business, anticipating that the format’s heightened engagement levels would attract a larger number of advertisers. However, this ambitious endeavour resulted in a surge of the company’s operating expenditure, growing at twice the rate of its revenue last year. Furthermore, rising interest rates and persistent inflation have prompted businesses to curtail their advertising expenditures.
Consequently, earlier in 2023, Spotify took the decision to reduce its workforce by 6 per cent, while also announcing the departure of Dawn Ostroff, a pivotal figure in shaping the podcast business. Ostroff adeptly navigated the company through contentious episodes, including the controversies surrounding Joe Rogan’s show and its alleged dissemination of misinformation concerning COVID-19.
In light of these circumstances, Sahar Elhabashi, the head of Spotify’s podcast business, conveyed on Monday that the company has reluctantly but necessarily opted for a strategic realignment. This course of action aims to address the prevailing challenges and align the organisation with its evolving objectives.
Additionally, Spotify unveiled its plan to consolidate the Parcast and Gimlet studios into a unified entity known as Spotify Studios. This amalgamation will oversee the production of Spotify originals. Elhabashi emphasised that the company intends to adopt a bespoke approach tailored to each individual show and creator, departing from the previously uniform approach.
By undertaking these measures, Spotify aims to optimise its operations, remain agile in a dynamic market, and position itself for sustained success in the podcast industry.