Vox Media acquires Spotify exclusive podcast Where Should We Begin?

Award-winning podcast to turn into weekly “always-on” show after three years at Spotify

Award-winning psychology podcast Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel has been acquired by Vox Media’s podcast network, three years after the podcast signed an exclusive deal with Spotify

As part of this acquisition, Vox Media will be responsible for the sales, marketing, and distribution duties of Where Should We Begin? while podcast production and creative consulting company Magnificent Noise will continue to produce it. Other Vox Media brands such as New York Magazine and The Cut may also collaborate and hold live events with Perel in the future as part of the partnership.

“Esther brings a unique combination of talents to the podcast space: she informs us, entertains us, answers big questions that we’ve all had on our minds, and helps her listeners improve the relationships in their lives,” said Vox Media senior vice president and audio and digital video general manager Ray Chao. “She empowers us all to understand and navigate what it means to be human. We’re beyond thrilled to bring Esther’s influential voice to the Vox Media Podcast Network.”

The podcast will also start producing more frequent episodes starting this summer, transforming into a weekly “always-on” show. This is opposed to the current podcast schedule which is more seasonal and can sometimes have large gaps in between episodes. The newest episode of the show was released 11 March this year, eight months after the previous one. 

Perel is a best-selling author and professional psychotherapist who first launched the Where Should We Begin? podcast as an Audible original in 2017 as a way for listeners to tune into real-life anonymous couples therapy sessions that she has had with clients. Perel also hosts another podcast under Gimlet Media, which launched in 2020, titled How’s Work? and features people having harsh conversations around job culture and work dynamics. 

“When I started Where Should We Begin?, I opened up the four walls of my office for the very first time and began a global public health campaign, specifically for relationships,” said Perel. “As the podcast has grown, we’ve eagerly sought creative partners to help us bring the podcast to even broader audiences. We’re beyond excited to begin working with Vox Media to bring new episodes to listeners every week – and perhaps a few surprises outside of the feed too.” 

Spotify has recently announced a number of new creator partnerships including a video content deal with YouTuber Markiplier to stream his podcasts Distractible and Go! My Favourite Sports Team as video podcasts, as well as an exclusive new podcast deal with award-winning broadcaster Louis Thereoux

Although not directly related, this announcement with Vox Media comes after a rough financial period for audio giant Spotify which reported £200 million in operating loss income, which was blamed on heavy podcast investments made by CEO Daniel Ek. This also resulted in the company laying off 6% of its employees and restructuring in the management teams. However, Ek said that Spotify will continue making investments into podcasting and audiobooks in the future where he sees fit despite tightening the company’s budget moving forward.