Spotify is opening up its podcast catalog to third-party apps. The company this week launched a new version of its Podcast APIs that makes it possible for third-party apps to connect to Spotify in order to manage a user’s podcast library, search its podcast catalog, and fetch detailed information and podcast shows and episodes, the company says.
The launch is significant as it taps into the wider developer community to help Spotify grow its podcast user base. More importantly, it offers access to Spotify’s exclusive shows outside of Spotify’s own app for the first time.
Spotify, like many streaming providers, has begun to use the term “podcast” loosely. To Spotify, the name simply means an audio program, presented in an episodic format. But originally, the word was meant to refer to audio episodes made available over the web using the open format RSS.
Apple’s own Podcasts app, despite its majority market share, never changed what a podcast was by putting select shows behind some sort of paywall, membership or paid subscription.
But Spotify (and other newcomers like Luminary), have done exactly this. In Spotify’s case, it acquired technology startups designed to help people create and manage their podcasts, as well as a number of podcast networks — including The Ringer, Gimlet, and Parcast — which put out some of the industry’s top shows. The investments in the podcast-streaming side of Spotify’s business helped boost podcast listening on its service by 200% last year and have paved the way for the company to generate additional revenue through better-targeted ads.
Today, many of Spotify’s 700,000 some podcasts are exclusive to its service. That means if you want to listen to them, you have to join Spotify.
Unfortunately for podcast listeners, it also means you had to use the Spotify app to stream these shows, instead of your otherwise preferred third-party podcast app like Overcast, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Castro, or the many others that fill the app stores.