Hot Pod Reporter
Ariel Shapiro is the lead reporter of audio industry newsletter Hot Pod. She previously worked at Forbes, where she covered media and entertainment and created the magazine’s first list of highest-earning podcasters. Shapiro is a graduate of New York University’s Business and Economic Reporting program and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After a very public and acrimonious breakup with Spotify, Meghan Markle has a new podcast deal with Lemonada Media. She will launch a new show with the network, which will also take over distribution for her Spotify podcast, Archetypes. The company had another splashy launch last year with Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Spotify for Podcasters is changing, and according to some creators, not for the better.
An expanded partnership with Riverside will replace some of the platform’s native mobile and web creation tools, and it’s sunsetting Music + Talk, a feature introduced in 2020 that allows podcasters to plug licensed full-length tracks into episodes. Podcasters who focus on music, in particular, have a particular need for that capability and say their shows will be gutted by the change.
The New York Times reported earnings yesterday, and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien told investors that “our digital performance, including podcasts, was impacted by marketers avoiding some hard news topics like the Middle East conflict.” The NYT has published extensive (and important) podcasts about the war in Gaza and surrounding conflicts. Conventional wisdom in podcasting goes that advertisers avoid politics and other controversial topics, which is perhaps why brands gravitate toward sports and comedy shows.
Always one to project its creator-friendly bonifides, Spotify issued a statement this morning saying that the streamer paid out $9 billion to the music industry in 2023. The company has released this figure the past few years in the context of mounting criticism that artists on the platform are not adequately compensated for their music. Spotify also recently announced major changes to its royalties system, including a new policy in which only songs that get at least 1,000 streams annually earn royalties, which the company says is intended to get more money into the pockets of working artists.