Rumor Fact(ory): Spotify shopping for The Ringer podcast network

Spotify’s next podcast acquisition could be The Ringer, the network established by Bill Simmons in 2016. The Ringer is a sports and pop culture podcast publisher; Bill Simmons is ex-ESPN and helped start the 30 For 30 sports series.

The Ringer currently displays 38 shows on the network homepage. (State Farm is displayed as the lead sponsor on six of them.) the network serves over 100-million downloads per month, according to Engadget.

Spotify has quickly grown influence in podcast distribution, ranking a substantial second behind Apple in most measurements. This trend describes Spotify’s apparent ambition to be considered an audio platform, more than a music platform. In the Spotify app, Podcasts and Music share equal representation in a Premium user’s Home and Library tabs. Spotify has previously acquired Gimlet (content network), Anchor (content and hosting tech), and Parcast (content).

Twitter reaction to the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of this rumored news contains several expressions of fear that Spotify will make the Ringer podcasts exclusive to the Spotify app, or put them behind the Spotify Premium paywall. There is nothing in initial reports which indicates that eventuality.

Brad Hill