Spotify has bought more podcasting platforms - but is it neglecting the music?

Spotify app open on iPhone
(Image credit: 9091086 / Shutterstock)

Spotify has acquired two more podcasting companies as it continues its push to dominate the world of spoken word content. 

The music streaming service has announced that it's buying both Chartable and Podsights, which are two of the biggest podcast marketing and ad attribution companies, according to The Verge.

Chartable is a podcast analytics platform that allows publishers to "grow their podcast audiences through promotional attribution and audience insight tools", while Podsights is an advertising measurement service that helps advertisers to measure how well their ads are performing on podcasts.

In a blog post, Spotify said that the acquisitions will help companies that advertise through podcasts to better measure how ads perform, and help publishers to expand their listenership and grow their businesses.

While these are Spotify's first acquisitions this year, they're the latest in a long line of buyouts in the spoken word space, with the company saying it believes the "opportunity for digital audio and podcast remains significant". 

It's a strategy that seems to be paying off for Spotify. In 2020, it bought the rights to distribute The Joe Rogan Experience, which has quickly become the most popular podcast on the platform - though that particular show has embroiled the streaming service in controversy in recent weeks.

Analysis: Is Spotify missing a trick?

Spotify and Apple Music, side-by-side

(Image credit: nikkimeel / Shutterstock)

Spotify's heavy investment in the podcasting space does seem to be effective in expanding the streaming platform's reach, but we can't help but wonder: what about the music?

For all the buzz around podcasting on Spotify, there's still no word on its long-promised high quality streaming tier, Spotify HiFi. The service was expected to launch in 2021, bringing CD-quality lossless audio streaming to the company's extensive music catalogue, delivering on what Spotify said was one of the most requested new features from its subscribers. 

In 2022, there's no sign of Spotify HiFi, with CEO Daniel Ek even admitting that he doesn't know when the service will be launched

Meanwhile, rival services like Apple Music and Amazon Music HD have been offering hi-res audio streams since mid-2021, at no extra cost to their subscribers. Apple Music also introduced Spatial Audio streaming last year, which it says has been a huge success, and allows listeners to hear their favorite songs in immersive virtual surround sound.

Apple Music is also expected to launch a new service dedicated to classical music this year. Lines of code relating to something called 'Apple Classical' was discovered in the Apple Music beta for Android recently, suggesting a launch date could be coming soon. 

apple music classical on iphone and macbook

Images of Apple Classical were posted by 9to5Mac. (Image credit: 9to5Mac / Apple)

We already knew that Apple was planning to launch a standalone app for classical music, after the company bought streaming service Primephonic in 2021 - at the time, Apple said that it plans to offer Apple Music subscribers Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content. 

If Apple Classical does launch soon (and with a March 8 Apple event on the cards we might not have to wait long), subscribers will be able to search classical music by repertoire and composer. The service could also mitigate some of the issues that surround searching for classical music on streaming services; classical music categorization is pretty complicated, and it can be difficult to find exactly what you're looking for on regular music streaming services. 

With Lossless and Spatial Audio support, and a new focus on music curation for specific genres, Apple is clearly focused on delivering the best music listening experience possible for its subscribers. 

Spotify, which is leaning heavily into podcasts, is still the most popular music streaming platform in the world, and its our favorite choice thanks to its excellent search function, simple layout, and great playlists.

For its part, Spotify says that podcast listening hasn't significantly reduced the amount of time users are spending on music. In a 2020 study, Spotify found that new podcast listeners spent 20% more time listening overall, and "mildly" reduced the amount of time they spent listening to music. 

If these habits have continued into 2022, Spotify's push for podcasts will only encourage its users to spend more time on the platform, rather than trying to squeeze podcasts into their music listening time. 

Still, if higher quality streams really is one of the most requested features from its users, Spotify would do well to listen - otherwise, it could lose those subscribers to Apple, which offers its own robust podcast library.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.