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Spotify should focus on podcasts, Morgan Stanley says

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer

When it comes to music streaming, Spotify has a leg up on the competition with the highest satisfaction with the most amount of engaged, audio-hungry, and happy listeners, according to Morgan Stanley’s fifth annual music and radio survey.

But the Swedish company, which had a direct public listing in April 2018, has a key area in which it is not taking advantage: podcasts.

The Morgan Stanley report found that Spotify users have great loyalty to the platform in a number of ways. They used other services less than customers of, say, Apple Music. They also consumed 4.4 hours of content per week, far more than Apple Music’s 3.7 hours and Amazon Music Unlimited’s 1.7 hours.

The users reported the highest satisfaction amongst “pure play” à la carte subscription streaming services, and strong family-plan student participation. An enormous two-thirds of all music streaming also happens in playlists, over half of which are self-curated.

Spotify’s sticky body of users, who are tied to the service, also love podcasts more than any other subscriber group. According to the survey data, Spotify users who pay for the service listen to 5.2 hours of podcasts per week, 48 minutes more than Apple Music users. But these podcast-loving subscribers aren’t consuming their podcasts on Spotify.

“While Spotify’s paid users spend more time listening to podcasts than others, Apple remains the platform with highest overall podcast listening – underscoring the importance of podcast leadership for Spotify long-term,” Morgan Stanley wrote.

The survey polled respondents about why, looking to ascertain whether the issue is awareness or discovery, and found that about a quarter of podcast listeners have a hard time finding the podcasts they want. At the same time, just 50% of Spotify users think their service has all the podcasts they want.

With a demographic hungry for podcasts and frustration with the current means to consume them, podcasts represent growth potential for Spotify – especially given that streaming is making significant inroads in the car, where 40% of content is consumed, up 10 percentage points from last year.

Spotify did not return a request for comment.

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Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, retail, personal finance, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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