Spotify unveils Patreon partnership, redesigned app and more

Annual Stream On event sees flurry of feature updates and partnerships

Podcasters will now be able to make subscription content available to Patreon members through their Spotify accounts, the streaming giant has announced, thanks to a new partnership between the two companies.

The news came alongside a flurry of announcements from the company's annual Stream On event held today at the Los Angeles Arts District, including a number of new advertising and content partnerships, and a significant redesign to the Spotify app.

Stream On is an annual event which was held in person for the first time this year since the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing together content creators, artists, and podcasters to demo new tools and make exclusive company announcements. This year’s event featured appearances from Spotify’s biggest podcast creators including Call Me Daddy’s Alex Cooper, Emma Chamberlain, and Joe Rogan.

“I'm well aware of the complexity of producing a show, the tech behind getting a podcast published makes it feel like a whole different skill set from the content creation itself,” said Cooper. “But Spotify For Podcasters makes it feel as simple as hitting post on a photo or video so we as creators can just focus on making great content. The technology driving your podcast is so important when you're building a content business but at the end of the day, your show comes down to you and your voice.”

As part of the show, the company revealed that it has partnered with subscription service Patreon to allow creators to make exclusive members-only Patreon content available on Spotify, as well as letting creators receive direct payments from fans. Further partnerships were announced through Megaphone, including Netflix and Australian publisher Schwartz Media, who have signed onto the platform as its latest publishers as well as NPR, who has now joined the Spotify Audience Network. 

The main announcement of the day revealed that Spotify will be rolling out an entirely new user experience across its application, which will include new features aimed at improving discovery. This includes an autoplay feature for podcasts in which new targeted episodes that fit the user’s taste will start playing as soon as the previous one ends, similar to the existing autoplay features for music.

The new UX will also incorporate personalised sub-feeds that include audio and video previews of podcast episodes, audiobooks, and music as well as discovery news feeds in the search page that will preview short Canvas clips and tracks from different genres and playlists like Discover Weekly and New Music Friday. The features will roll out in separate waves over the coming weeks and months starting from today across Spotify’s more than 500 million monthly active users across 184 markets, which is a newly announced user record for the audio giant. 

"Podcasters everywhere know that podcasts have been notoriously hard to discover. So we designed this new feed to offer fans way more opportunities to learn about your work with very little effort," said Spotify co-president and chief product and technology officer Gustav Söderström.

Spotify for Podcasters, the company’s all-in-one podcast creator platform, will also roll out new features, including the integration of features from Spotify’s enterprise ad-insertion and hosting platform Megaphone as well as its creator hosting platform Anchor, as well as broadening the availability of its video podcasting and interactive episode tools, which will be accessible to all users through the Spotify for Podcasters platform. Anchor is being integrated into Spotify for Podcasters with immediate effect, while Megaphone will be integrated at an unspecified future point.

Söderström also revealed that over 70,000 users have started to add video to their podcasts and that as part of the new developments, creators will be able to upload video podcasts without being restricted to hosting their podcast on Spotify’s Anchor platform. “Users tell us they love being able to switch between watching and listening to your podcasts,” said Söderström. 

A range of tools and updates aimed at music fans and artists were also announced during the event, including new features for promoting concerts and merchandise, expanded music advertising options, and the ability to add clips to artist pages.

Starting from today, podcasters can also apply to Spotify Labs, which is a series of workshops around the world that will provide opportunities to create podcasts in Spotify’s production studios, learn from Spotify experts and connect with fellow podcasters and artists.

“Stream On is about all the ways we are bringing Spotify to life and letting creators at all stages of their careers know that we are open for business. We are focused on building the best home for them – a place where they can establish a career, thrive and grow and where the world can be inspired by their creativity,” said Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek. 

“And that’s what we’ve been doing for almost 17 years: building, improving and reimagining this home to better meet creator needs and help them chart new pathways to success. As we look to the future, we are excited to expand that ambition to even more creators across new formats. We’re enabling more creativity, discovery and personalisation than ever before by providing the best resources, support, and interactivity.”

Spotify also announced a number of content partnerships with digital creators. Gaming YouTuber Markiplier will produce video podcast episodes of his popular podcasts Distractible and Go! My Favourite Sports Team, the first of which will premiere today. Additionally, the platform announced that it has signed an exclusive deal with Drew Afuala to move The Comment Section podcast to Spotify from 5 April. 

New partner podcasts will be coming soon to Spotify too, including another podcast series in its partnership with Warner Bros and DC, which has seen a number of fiction series based on the Batman universe. The new scripted fiction series titled Secrets In The Dark is debuting later this year and will star award-winning comedian Hassan Minhaj as comic book character Riddler. Additionally, Spotify announced that the second season of Forbidden Fruits with Julia Fox and Niki Takesh will premiere on 17 March as a video podcast.

“I identify as a comic and one of the things that I'm so grateful for is I get to be playing an iconic character like the Riddler,” sad Minhaj. “in a million years I would have never thought that I'd be included in the canon, in the history of Edward Nygma - but, you know, dreams do come true.”

The announcements follow a somewhat turbulent period for the company, involving a significant round of cost-cutting layoffs and the departure of several high-profile executives, including Parcast co-founder Max Cutler and former content boss Dawn Ostroff. However, although Ek admitted that he “probably got a little carried away and overinvested”, he confirmed that Spotify will continue to make investments into new podcast and audiobook opportunities that best fit the company.