Spotify loses another top podcast executive

Hello audiophiles!

I am very happy to present to you my first public edition of hot capsule. Following the trail blazed by Nick and Ashley, I’ll be in your inbox every Tuesday with scoops, news, analysis and japes (the quality of these not guaranteed). And, the closest I can get to being in a makeover montage, today I can also introduce a new look for hot capsule courtesy of ace design teams at The edge and VoxMedia. Readers will notice we have an updated logo and layout with warmer colors to go along with the hot capsule Name.

So what’s my business? Like everyone else in modern media, I jumped around a bit before landing at The edge. I’ve done stints at MSNBC, Paramount Plus and, what concerns you most, covering media and entertainment at Forbes. In my old life as a cataloger of capitalist machinations, I was making the 2019 list of highest paid comedians when I started getting advice that Joe Rogan – “you know, the NewsRadio guy” – was making a stupid amount of money from his podcast. So I started (and started, and spear) the first of the magazine list of highest earning podcasters. Even though no one was making Kylie any money, it was clear that the business was bigger and growing at a faster rate than any of us outside of the industry could have anticipated.

Cut to: frenzied acquisitions, nine-figure licensing deals, and tech giants bending and shaping the once tinkering podcasting industry to their liking. And somehow, after all that, things aren’t any less messy – probably more. For me, that makes it a dream beat. I look forward to exploring the sources of tension within the industry: lawsuits trying to extort advertising dollars from unwieldy creators, streamers inflating themselves with podcasts to ease the burden of expensive music royalties and celebrities who start a podcast because, why not, just to learn that it’s a lot more complicated than speaking into a microphone.

Moreover, money. Podcasting is expected to be a $2 billion industry by next year, and I plan to track where that’s at. (Not everything can go to Rogan.)

I also look forward to hearing from you, dear reader! Good things always come from conversations with people in the industry, rather than press releases. This kind of back-and-forth makes my job more fun and this newsletter a better read. So feel free to reach out to me at ariel.shapiro@theverge.com with advice, recommendations, and general thoughts.

When it comes to shows, I don’t play favorites. Sorry, that’s a lie – I’m Brian Lehrer ride or die.


SCOOP: Anchor co-founder Michael Mignano leaves Spotify

Another one biting the dust. Like I reported yesterday, Spotify’s podcast tech czar Michael Mignano will be leaving the company at the end of June, the company has confirmed. He is the streamer’s third senior podcasting executive starting last month.

In April, Spotify lost two major figures on the editorial side. The first was Lydia Polgreen, a New York Times journalist and former editor of HuffPostbecame Managing Director of Gimlet in 2020. She announced that she would return to Time as an opinion columnist. Then came the news that Courtney Holt, Spotify’s head of studios and video who struck blockbuster deals with Joe Rogan and the Obamas and helped make the streamer a true force in podcasting when Apple was the default, would also leave.

Mignano left a different mark on the company. After co-founding the DIY podcast platform Anchor with Nir Zicherman in 2015, Mignano sold the app to Spotify for $150 million in 2019 and came on board to lead the tech on podcasts, video and everything. which had nothing to do with music. Megaphone, the podcast advertising and publishing platform purchased by Spotify in 2020, fell under his purview. In 2021, he oversaw the company’s expansion into live audio when it bought Locker Room last year, which has since been rebranded as Spotify Live.

But Mignano’s original app turned out to be its most significant contribution to Spotify, growing the service’s library to 4 million podcasts, up from 1 million podcasts in 2020. The company recently revealed that 85% of its new podcasts are uploaded through Anchor.

It’s not that Anchor created Joe Rogan or Alex Cooper stars for Spotify (it didn’t). But the sheer volume of largely unmoderated content it produces has helped change the company’s view of itself: that it’s a platform for creators, not an editor. That’s the argument the company has used to defend its hands-off approach to Rogan’s COVID misinformation, a stance that has pushed back angry subscribers and folk rock legends look alike.

As Spotify attempts to manage this tension, Mignano is moving away from the day-to-day management of creator platforms. He is heading to a start-up venture capital firm, details of which will be announced closer to his departure. Zicherman remains with the company as head of audiobooks and secure content.

Facebook drops all podcasting

After less than a year in the podcast game, Facebook is out. Starting this week, users will no longer be able to upload new podcasts and all shows will be removed from the platform starting June 3. Bloomberg reported for the first time.

The social network announced a slew of audio features last spring, including a central audio hub, shareable clips and sound bites, which let users create short TikTok-style audio clips. The hub and Sound Bites will shut down in the coming weeks, the company has confirmed. The only real remnant of Facebook’s audio infrastructure that will remain will be its Live Audio Rooms, which will be integrated with Facebook Live.

“After a year of learning and iterating on early audio experiences, we decided to simplify our suite of Facebook audio tools,” a Meta spokesperson said. hot capsule. “We are constantly evaluating the features we offer so that we can focus on the most meaningful experiences.”

Facebook attempted to quietly shut down. He reportedly informed his audio partners of the decision via email. It will not notify users of the change and will leave it up to publishers to announce the news to their listeners.

However, there is still a Zuckerberg who believes in podcasting. On Monday, SiriusXM announced that Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi, a radio personality, Web3 lawyer and former Facebook spokesperson, will host a new podcast called Crypto Cafe with Randi Zuckerberg. Let’s hope she’s as unhinged as she is 1980s Crypto Feminism Music Video.

More great hiring news

Because there wasn’t enough news on Monday, iHeartMedia and Freakonomics Radio Network both made big hires.

Freakonomics Radio Network has hired the head of the NPR podcast Neal Carruth as the new CEO. He will lead the network’s editorial strategy, which has expanded to five regular shows and has a dedicated channel on SiriusXM. Carruth spent 23 years at NPR, where he helped create the Morning News podcast First and oversaw the development of shows like Silver Planet and the NPR Political Podcast.

And iHeartMedia tapped former Stitcher chief revenue officer Sarah van Moselle to run its ad buying service, the iHeart Audience Network. She will also participate in partnerships, sales and development of podcast publishers. Van Mosel worked at Stitcher when it was acquired by SiriusXM, after which she oversaw podcast revenue strategy across the company.


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