Podcast News Roundup | Are Spotify Exclusive Podcasts Bad For Business & More!

Welcome back to HeadStuff’s Podcast News Roundup, your go-to place for podcast news and recommendations. This week’s roundup features HeadStuff’s Podcast Of The Week and also looks at TED Talks Daily’s mystery episode, whether Spotify exclusive podcasts are bad for business and the free Podcast Clinic Newsletter from Podspike.

As always if you host a podcast and want it featured as our podcast of the week, email us at [email protected] and we’ll be sure to check it out!

Podcast of the Week

Una and Andrea host Una and Andrea’s United Ireland, looking at issues around the counties of Ireland. Together, they discuss the impact of various decisions across the country and how this effects each county in different ways. There is clearly one glaring issue posing a risk to all of us at the moment in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hosts focus on the important changes as they develop and give a deep dive into what this means for the country, rather than offer another gloomy take on how hard the lockdown has been.

Thankfully, Una and Andrea dig out some other important news to discuss, such as climate change and the need for a climate revolution, the data centre takeover in Dublin and Ireland’s millennial crisis.


The podcast also features special episodes, like their ongoing “32 Questions” series, comprised of shorter episodes with interviews from various people around the country to offer their insight on a series of topics. Guests come from all over Ireland and can include anyone from politicians to writers, reporters and artists.

Topical and up to date, the hosts delve into the important issues everyone should care about around Ireland. Providing weekly episodes, they discuss these topics in an attempt to prepare the population of Ireland with important revelations and explorations for what is going on in the country, and the wider world. Go and give them your support by listening to their most recent episode now.  

TED Talks Daily release a Mystery Episode

Utilizing dynamic ad placement, TED Talks Daily has managed to release an exciting project with their “Mystery Episode”. 

Using the dynamic insertion tools from PRX Dovetail TED Talks Daily cleverly created an episode that plays a random episode from a pre-selected pool to individual listeners. 

At the heart of the PRX Dovetail publishing platform is a dynamic audio stitching tool that seamlessly weaves sponsorship messages to episode segments. Battle-tested with the biggest podcasts in the industry, the platform allows producers to continuously update sponsorship messages on their entire catalog, creating more opportunities to monetize the work they’ve already done.

Thought dynamic audio insertion was only good for ads? Think again! 

We are excited to see how the tool gets used in the future from podcasting creatives. 

Are Spotify’s exclusive podcasts bad for business?

The list of shows that are joining to Spotify exclusively is growing fast, from the world leading Joe Rogan Experience to fan favourites like Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard and Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper. 

Irish shows The 2 Johnnies and Niall Breslin’s Where is my Mind? have also been snapped up by the audio giants. 

But is this a good move for Spotify and the podcasters involved? 

Richard Kramer, an analyst from Arete Research has criticised Spotify. “Taking shows exclusive reduces their reach and attractiveness to advertisers,” he notes, adding that “few titles are popular enough to bring in new subscribers to offset the loss of ad revenue from greater reach”. Creators also face risks in other areas, like event ticket sales, merchandising, or books: Brené Brown’s book sales dropped after she became a Spotify exclusive.

Brett Schafer, writing for The Motley Fool, argues that Spotify are clever in bringing podcasts into the fold as their advertising income can help crank up the gross margins; “The obvious reason Spotify would sign exclusive deals is that it wants the listeners of these shows to move from other podcast apps to Spotify. It can then make money directly off these programs by getting them on its new advertising platform called the Spotify Audience Network.”

For example, let’s look at the recent Call Her Daddy deal, which is for three years and $60 million. If the show averages three million listeners a week, at a $50 CPM (the dollar payout per thousand ad impressions, the standard measurement in podcast advertising), that is $150,000 in sales per week, or $7.8 million annually.

This may look low relative to the $20 million Spotify is shelling out to make the show exclusive each year. However, what a lot of investors aren’t considering are the indirect benefits of bringing a show like Call Her Daddy to Spotify. For one, if it convinces people to listen to all of their podcasts on Spotify, the potential for advertising revenue is a lot higher than what Spotify is getting from direct listens of that specific show, especially when looking at a multi-year time horizon.

It will also help advertise Spotify’s ad-free music subscription, which is where it currently makes the majority of its revenue. The more free users it gets listening to podcasts on the service, the closer they are to paying up for the monthly subscription.

These indirect benefits, while hard to quantify, show how these large exclusive deals can be profitable for Spotify. Investors shouldn’t think of them purely as content deals but as customer acquisition tools to get more and more people to listen to podcasts on Spotify and/or subscribe to its paid music tier.”

Promotions experts Podspike launch free Podcast Clinic Newsletter

The Podcast Clinic launched this week, offering articles and advice from a team of specialists to soothe your promotional aches and pains 

The Podcast Clinic newsletter, available at the Podspike website, is part of a range of recent upgrades by Podspike – a company dedicated to giving passion-podcasters access to affordable, easy-to-use services so they can launch a personalised promotions campaign for their show.

The newsletter will include practical, personalised advice. Plus each month, one show will be given a comprehensive promotions health check, identifying how it can gain more listeners. Featured podcasts receive a month’s free Pro Membership to Podspike to put that advice into action.