A very happy holidays to you all! The news is slow, and the food is fried. I made the best latkes of my life (of anyone’s life?) this weekend and also ate four Peter Pan jelly donuts in the span of 24 hours. It really is the most wonderful time of year.
On that note, we have a modified Hot Pod schedule for the next two weeks. We’ll have a Thursday issue for HP Insiders and be off Friday. Next week, we’ll only be publishing on Wednesday. And I am not saying that I hope you don’t read any of them, but I do hope you take some well-deserved time with loved ones and away from the internet.
Today, Spotify flirts with an Anchor rebrand, and Angela Merkel loves true crime. Who knew?
Anchor may be getting a rebrand
Spotify simply loves a user survey, and this time, it is about the future of Anchor. According to a report from TechCrunch, a survey was sent out to participants in the Spotify for Podcasters program proposing bringing its features and Anchor’s under the same umbrella.
The survey contained a sample announcement, which said: “Anchor and Spotify for Podcasters are now Spotify Creator Studio, the all-in-one platform for creators of all kinds (and sizes) to express themselves and find success on Spotify.”
Spotify acquired podcast host Anchor in 2019, and it has been a key tool for building up the platform’s podcast library of 4.7 million shows. It is where many of Spotify’s amateur shows start out, with occasional success on the charts. But Anchor, which has long been the top podcast host in the market, is starting to slip. In November, 21.6 percent of all podcasts were created on Anchor. That still puts it far ahead of the runner-up (Buzzsprout, which captured 9 percent of all podcasts created), but that is down from its nearly 26 percent market share in April. Spotify for Podcasters, meanwhile, provides stats (including a Wrapped) for users who upload their podcasts to Spotify with another host, such as Buzzsprout or Libsyn.
The proposed new setup would break the users down into essentially the two same groups: “unhosted” (fka Spotify for Podcasters) and “hosted” (fka Anchor). It does not seem as though much would change. Unhosted users would get some stats and be able to post Q&As and polls, which are currently only available to Anchor users. Hosted users would maintain the core tools of Anchor — creation of podcasts and video podcasts, dynamic advertising, and subscriptions.
So if little is functionally changing, why rebrand at all? It is certainly cleaner to have Spotify’s main podcast tool bear the company’s name. Maybe it also creates a clearer pathway to lure podcasters who use outside podcast hosts. I also suspect that branding everyone under the Spotify Creator Studio will allow more room for creativity when providing stats on the podcast business.
Either way, it may not happen any time soon — or at all (we are still waiting on HiFi, y’all!). “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of surveys and tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” the company said in a statement to Hot Pod. “Some of these end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. We have no news to share on future plans at this time.”
Music startup Duetti is building a catalog for the TikTok era
Blockbuster catalog deals may have slowed in recent months, but the streaming era has revealed the long (and sometimes unexpected) life of songs. Janko Roettgers wrote for The Verge about a startup founded by former Tidal executives that is snapping up the rights to older songs that have the potential to blow up on TikTok and Spotify.
“The proposition: Duetti will buy the rights to songs that it has identified as already performing well on streaming services,” Roettgers wrote. “The company then further milks those songs with the help of playlists, influencer partnerships, and other forms of optimization and, over time, buys rights to additional songs from artists it partners with.”
We have seen the process over and over with old songs finding new life, like with Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” But while many catalog deals have focused on songs that were always iconic, Duetti is using data to identify deep cuts that have potential to blow up. Roettgers’ piece is a good look at how streaming is changing the music landscape and redefining what it means to be a hit.
Angela Merkel makes rare public appearance on true-crime podcast
Angela Merkel has kept a pretty low profile since stepping down as leader of the free world, but she has emerged to guest on German podcast Are we Talking about Murder? This is a chaotic choice, and I love that for her.
That’s all for now! See you next week.