Spotify’s annual profits might have been $38 million higher if not for its users’ penchant for “white noise” podcasts. These soothing podcasts, often featuring sounds like rain, ocean waves, or pure static, have amassed a daily listenership of three million hours as of January, as revealed by an internal document seen by Bloomberg.
Such is their popularity that Spotify mulled over removing them, redirecting listeners to more commercially viable options like tracks from Drake or Ed Sheeran. If Spotify had opted to banish “white noise” from its “talk” section, halt new uploads, and divert users to other content, the company’s gross profit could have surged by around $38 million, internal analysis suggests.
However, Spotify chose to keep the content. “The idea of removing white noise podcasts was considered but not implemented. They remain on our platform,” confirmed a Spotify representative.
Interestingly, Bloomberg observed that these podcasts benefited from Spotify’s own algorithm which prioritized “talk” content over music, albeit at a financial cost to Spotify. The platform’s emphasis on talk content inadvertently bolstered the visibility and appeal of these white noise podcasts. It’s also worth noting that some white noise podcast creators might earn as much as $18,000 monthly through advertising.
Yet, some Spotify fans expressed concern on Reddit, noticing that certain favorite white noise podcasts disappeared without warning.
Despite this, Spotify’s stock has rocketed by over 60% since January. Although the company didn’t meet Wall Street’s second-quarter expectations, reporting a net loss of $333.4 million (or $1.71 per share), its stock remains strong. This loss was significantly higher than the previous year’s loss of $138 million (or 94 cents per share).
Additionally, in July, Spotify made waves by revealing a price increase of up to $2 for its ad-free package. Addressing the change, the company mentioned in a blog post, “Given the evolving market dynamics since our launch, we’re adjusting our Premium pricing in various global markets. This helps us to keep innovating and ensures we continue offering value to both fans and artists alike.”