This interview was first in the Podcast Business Journal newsletter, with the latest podcast news and data. Subscribe free today.
Anna Sian is Director of Creator Marketing, Podcasts at Spotify — this interview has been lightly edited for style and readability
JC: What is Spotify Wrapped for Podcasters, which went live this week?
AS: It’s contextualized data about your audience, so you may see things like which of your episodes was the top episode of the year, which episodes were the ones that listeners discovered you by - the first episode that they heard of yours when they became your new fan. You’ll see which countries were your top countries of the year and even where you were on the rise, so where there might have been some new countries on your list. You’ll see how fans shared your podcast, the social platforms they used to share your show, what your podcast average rating was, and tons more really exciting stories.
JC: It’s for any podcaster in Spotify right, whoever they host with?
AS: It is for hosted and non-hosted podcasters. All you need to do is claim your show at Spotify for Podcasters to access your Wrapped.
JC: What new data have you added this year?
AS: We’ve refreshed a lot of our data stories from last year. If you’ve seen the 2022 Wrapped, there’s some builds on that: but new this year you’ll also see some really interesting stats about your audience, like what their favorite podcast genres are, or their favorite music. It’s a really interesting way to sort of connect the dots between your podcast fans, listener behavior for other types of genres, and other formats.
JC: The most talked about episode: is that most talked about in terms of Q&A on the Spotify for Podcasters platform?
AS: Yes, exactly. So you’ll see some interesting stats if you’re using our interactivity features. There’s been so many new folks using Q&A and polls - something like 14 million responses have been published to shows. So you’ll see a lot more creators kind of sharing that type of data this year.
JC: I was going to ask about sharing. So last year the Podnews Daily podcast, for example, saw 779% more listeners and I thought that was a very good stat and I ended up sharing that. Do you know what stats podcasters share the most?
AS: First of all, congratulations! I would definitely share that stat as well, that’s a huge gain.
It’s so different. Everyone gets a different set of data. We have a summary share card that has a lot of highlights on it, like your top episode, your biggest gains for the year, and so on: so I imagine that’s going to be the one that’s shared most.
JC: Now, this coincides with 2023 Wrapped, which is the feature that Spotify users get with their music and podcast consumption - and I know that that drives a lot of traffic to Spotify; so is there something that podcasters should be doing to benefit from the traffic?
AS: This is a huge moment for Spotify listeners and creators. It is a global cultural moment, so to speak, and so this is the time when we are trying to get podcasters to really take a look at their show page and make sure everything looks the way that they would like it to look when it starts to get more attention. They can add social links to their show, for example, so make sure that people can find them on other platforms, and there are a lot of different ways to spruce up your show - “Best Place to Start” is a way to pin content on your page. There’s a lot of different things that they can do once they start getting engaged with Spotify for Podcasters to make sure that their show is in the best state for all that new discovery.
JC: I know that for some of the people who are reading this, they will have a number of different shows, and one of the things that you can do in Spotify for podcasters is link to your other shows. So you’re not leaving it up to the algorithm. It’s up to you to link to other shows, which I think is a really strong thing to do.
AS: Totally. I think you can use that feature for a lot of different things. If you have other shows, it’s a great way to drive people to them. If you have a friend who’s a podcaster that you really want to support, you can also do that. It’s just another avenue for getting more consumption towards another show.
JC: How long has it been running?
AS: So Wrapped has been around for nine years, but this is the fifth year of Wrapped for Podcasters, so I’m really amazed that it’s gotten here after where we were in 2019. There are 10 times as many people listening to podcasts in Spotify and overall podcast consumption has grown by something like more than 1400%. And there are just so many more people, so many more ears on podcasting, and the creator ecosystem has grown a ton as well, and so we’re just in this new place where the spotlight is on podcasts and Spotify has invested so much in podcasting, growing the pie for everyone.
JC: What sort of changes has Wrapped for Podcasters seen since 2019?
AS: I think the biggest change is the scale of it all and also where podcasters fit into Spotify’s brand overall. I mean, I’m in the marketing side of things at Spotify so I can speak to the fact that when we first started in 2019 with Wrapped for Podcasters, it was still kind of a new concept to a lot of Spotify listeners, and so now I think they have an expectation that they want to see their top five podcasts.
They want to share with the world, with their friends, what they’re listening to, and I think a ton of people who are new to podcasts are looking to their friends for those recommendations because they want to invest their time wisely. So I think it is a different world that we’re living in and I think it’s to the benefit of podcast creators everywhere.
JC: And we certainly see that the number one way of finding a new show is by word of mouth, and so anything that helps that is good.
AS: Yep, that’s right, so share with your friends what your most embarrassing podcast is that you listen to. Don’t be shy!
JC: So, looking back at 2023, you’ve launched a number of new tools within Spotify for podcasters, for creators, video interactivity like polls and rating and Q&As and sharing, and almost all of those features are for creators wherever they’re hosted, not just those that host their shows on Spotify for Podcasters. What was the thinking behind making it available to everyone?
AS: We know that people have their own ways of managing their show or they have their own creation flow that works for them, and we didn’t want that to be a barrier to entry for people to start using things like Q&A and polls or video right. I had joined the team when we were still Anchor, and that was almost five years ago. But with Stream On, that was the time when we decided we wanted to make that mission that Anchor also had, of democratizing audio to be a reality for Spotify as well, and so it is part of what we were built to do, and we want to keep that optionality open for creators. So yeah, you can do most things as a creator not hosted with us, and we hope to bring more and more features to all creators.
JC: Wrapped is one of the things that Spotify does which is such a good thing for the industry. Anna, thank you so much for your support and for your time today.
AS: Thank you so much for having me.
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