Spotify is spending a lot of money on podcasts that don’t actually involve talking. That’s according to a report from Bloombergwhich claims the company could increase its annual gross profit by a whopping $38 million if it steers users away from so-called white noise podcasts.
These types of podcasts play various kinds of soothing sounds on a loop, like static, crashing waves, or rain, and they’re more popular than you might think. One reason for their popularity is that Spotify has been unknowingly pushing them in front of users thanks to their “algorithmic push for ‘speech’ content (versus music),” according to Bloomberg.
The creators behind these “podcasts” make money from the ads that play during their episodes. Last year, a report of Bloomberg suggested that white noise podcasters could rake in at least $18,000 per year from ads placed by Spotify; now reports based on internal documents that white noise podcasts accounted for 3 million hours of daily consumption on Spotify as of January 2023.
When Spotify noticed it was sending users to white noise podcasts, the platform considered removing these shows from its talk feeds, banning future uploads, and pushing users toward other types of content. However, this plan never worked. “The proposal in question fell through: we continue to have white noise podcasts on our platform,” says a Spotify spokesperson. Bloomberg. The company did not immediately respond to the edgerequest for comments.
Although Spotify says that white noise podcasts are safe on the platform, things could change. As reported by Bloombergsome white noise podcasters have noticed their episodes suspiciously disappearing from the platform.