“Our continued success in growing the podcast ecosystem is predicated on the necessity that the Spotify Machine is always in motion,” Ms. Elhabashi said. “And with these changes, we will accelerate into the next chapter for podcasts on Spotify with strong discovery and podcast habits for users, thriving monetization and audience growth for creators, and a valuable, high-margin business for Spotify.”
In a statement on Monday, Gimlet and Parcast’s unions, which are part of the East branch of the Writers Guild of America, criticized Spotify for its handling of the acquisition of the two studios. “They wasted that opportunity: canceling shows with dedicated audiences, leaving half-finished projects to die on the vine and giving teams little direction as to what they actually wanted to see produced,” the statement said.
“Spotify acquired Gimlet because it saw something special in the studio,” the unions said. “But instead of building on that legacy, the company undermined it, and four years later Gimlet is no more.”
The Parcast union said its workers’ final months at the company “were plagued by a lack of directions and transparency, confusion, and announcements that were backtracked hours or days after being made.”
Spotify declined to comment on the unions’ statement.
Podcast downloads increased by 20 percent in 2022 compared with the year before, according to a January report by Triton Digital, an audio audience measuring company, but investment in the industry is slowing.
Podcast publishers, including Vox Media and Pushkin Industries, have announced layoffs this year. Other media companies, such as Amazon, SiriusXM and NPR, have cut podcast budgets in the last year.