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Spotify Rivals YouTube with New Podcast Comment Feature

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jul 11, 2024

Spotify Rivals YouTube with New Podcast Comment Feature

Spotify has introduced a new interactive feature called podcast comments, allowing listeners to leave comments on any episode page that supports it. This feature aims to foster a sense of community among listeners. Podcast creators can like and respond to these comments while maintaining control over which comments appear on their pages.

This addition puts Spotify in more direct competition with YouTube as a platform for creator-listener interaction. It follows Spotify’s earlier expansion into video podcasts, which began with tests in 2021 and expanded more broadly in 2022. Spotify now offers support for video podcasts created by non-hosted podcasters. Currently, there are over 250,000 video podcasts available on the platform.

Spotify reports that 9 million listeners have engaged with interactive features like polls or Q&As, introduced in 2021. This engagement represents an 80% increase compared to the previous year. The company aims to use podcast comments to further enhance community building among creators and listeners, potentially improving listener retention and increasing podcast consumption.

How Will Comments Impact Listener Engagement?

Internal data from Spotify indicates that listeners who engage with interactive features are approximately four times more likely to return to a show within 30 days and listen to twice as many podcasts on average compared to those who do not engage with these features. Over 70% of podcast listeners expressed a desire for more ways to interact with their favorite hosts, making the comments feature a welcome addition.

The commenting feature will be optional for podcast hosts. Maya Prohovnik, Spotify’s VP of Podcast Product, emphasized a careful approach, balancing creative expression with the need for high-quality, safe conversations. The feature will roll out gradually, starting with selected podcasts and expanding to all users over the next month.

How Will Creators Manage Comments?

Creators will have significant control over the commenting experience. They can:

  • Enable or disable comments on a per-episode basis
  • Approve comments before they appear
  • Block commenters
  • Receive notifications for new comments or milestones

Spotify is also testing systems to facilitate the scaling of comments without manual moderation, ensuring comments adhere to the platform’s policies automatically.

Why Did Spotify Decide to Launch Comments?

The commenting feature was tested in beta and received positive feedback, leading to its public launch. Initially, creators who previously utilized interactive features like polls and Q&As will have the first opportunity to enable comments.

Spotify’s podcasting strategy has shifted from heavy investment in exclusive content to providing a platform for all podcasters, including those streaming video content. This shift has helped Spotify achieve profitability in the podcasting sector. While the new commenting feature does not currently include monetization options, Spotify is exploring ways to identify a show’s super fans through comments, potentially leading to future paid features similar to YouTube’s Super Chat and Super Stickers.

In the meantime, the comments feature is expected to drive user engagement through push notifications, encouraging listeners to participate in social networking elements within the app. Prohovnik noted, “Just like with video podcasts, it’s clear to us there’s a need. People want that deeper engagement on Spotify, and that’s really our goal.”

Featured Image courtesy of Chesnot/Getty Images

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Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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