Spotify has already invested around $1 billion in podcasting between its acquisitions, exclusive deals and other partnerships. Now, it wants people to do more than just listen -- it wants them to watch, too. The company announced today it's opening access to a new tool for creators that will allow them to begin publishing their video podcasts to its service. The tool will be provided by the company's podcast creation platform Anchor, and expands on the global launch of video podcasts last year, which encompassed only a select group of creators.
At the time, Spotify said its debut lineup of video podcasts included Spotify Originals and Exclusives, as well as some third-party podcasts. But there wasn't a way for any creator to publish video to the service. Instead, they would have to turn to other video platforms, like YouTube.
Now, that's changing. With Anchor, creators will be able to upload their videos through their account, similar to how they create and publish audio episodes today. Once published, fans can listen to the podcasts across platforms, including through the Spotify mobile app, desktop app, web player and on most smart TVs and game consoles. Creators will also be able to monetize their videos as they do their audio podcasts through the use of subscriptions.
While creators can set their pricing and determine what a subscription includes, Spotify suggests subscriptions could provide access to exclusive video content or even unlock the video portion of the creator's podcasts. The video podcasts can also incorporate the creator's existing advertising partnerships, and soon they'll support the newer Automated Ads, too.
While Spotify is officially opening access to Anchor creators, the feature is being rolled out gradually. That means interested creators will have to sign up for a waitlist for the time being. For comparison, Apple already offers video podcasting hosting to all creators using all hosting solutions.
In the meantime, Spotify's video lineup will include video podcasts from its Originals and Exclusives, like The Ringer’s Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay and The Joe Rogan Experience; and it will include other video creators who will now publish on Spotify, including Philip DeFranco, Jasmine Chiswell, The WAN Show, Juicy Scoop with Heather McDonald and more to come.
Spotify has tried and failed to expand into video in years past. Its first efforts in original video half a decade ago largely flopped, and the company shelved its video plans for some time. But more recently, the company signaled its potential interest in returning to video when it acquired sports network The Ringer, which came with a YouTube-based video operation. It then went on to make more deals that could translate to video, like the one with TikTok star turned Netflix actress Addison Rae.
The expansion of video to more podcast creators directly follows news that YouTube is now also considering investing further in its own podcasting efforts. Bloomberg this month reported the company is hiring its first executive focused on podcasts. This may have encouraged Spotify to promote its own video podcasting efforts, even though the actual access to start uploading is still blocked by a waitlist.
Currently, to find video content on Spotify, you'll need to navigate to the episode page from the show you want to watch, then hit play to start the episode. From the play bar at the bottom of the screen, you can tap to view the video in full-screen mode. You can then choose to either listen or watch the program, depending on what you're doing.
There isn't yet an easy way to see all the podcasts that are video-enabled, however. Spotify also declined to share how many podcasts would be available as videos at launch, but said it expected to have rolled out access to "thousands" by year-end.