Spotify exits the IAB; podcasting particularly affected; a signal of extraordinay self-sufficiency

In what is seemingly a statement of global self-sufficiency, Spotify is no longer represented on the IAB’s list of compliant podcast companies. (We learned this from Podnews.) Those companies are certified by the Interactive Advertising Bureau to meet standards of measuring podcast consumption established by the IAB.

The IAB, with its definitions of legitimate downloads, plays, and advertising formats, is recognized with near-unanimity in the online audio industries. Agreement of those standards is especially important in podcasting, where audio can be both passively heard (streamed), and actively acquired (downloaded). The IAB describes its mission in podcasting as developing and providing “a common language around measurement.” That common language provides coherence to the multi-faceted podcast industry, and a basis for industry-wide measurements.

It is not too much to say that without the IAB’s standardization work, and near-universal buy-in across the buy and sell sides, the podcast industry as currently conceived, approached, measured, and transacted, would not exist. (Spotify also sells advertising in its non-subscription music streaming business.)

The movement feels momentous in its abruptness, absence of presage, widespread reaction, and inherent implication. Nobody needs reminding that Spotify is a behemoth in the global audio realm. But there in a tectonic rumble here, and a bold self-sufficiency in Spotify’s separation from a central force of the online advertising ecosystem — like a planet breaking away from the solar system.

We have not received any confirmation from Spotify, but the company offered the following statement to Podnews, indicating that the exit might be temporary, and that here is no disagreement or theoretical break with the IAB’s mission:


“Spotify values our longstanding partnership with the IAB. For 2024, we’re taking a pause to make sure that we can participate in an active way and will reevaluate a formal membership later this year. In the meantime, Spotify remains committed to the IAB mission. We champion its efforts and remain deeply connected to the work supporting digital advertising without direct membership this year. While Megaphone, Chartable and S4P are not officially IAB certified at this time, all three platforms are compliant to the IAB v2.1 standard.”


The podcast standards were developed, and are continually evolved, by the IAB’s Podcast Technical Working Group. As of this morning, Spotify was listed as a member of the Technical Working Group.

The IAB’s Podcast Compliance Certification document is located HERE.


Brad Hill


  1. Could delisting from the IAB be a sign of weakness or trouble on the horizon for Spotify in their ongoing search for profitability?

  2. Andrew — I have no inside information, and Spotify is giving only boilerplate comments. They say this is a temporary move. My guess is that Spotify might want to experiemtn with new/original ad formats or measurements that might not align with IAB standards. The risk with leaving the IAB is that you’re no longer having the same conversations about metrics with advertisers. The possible advantage is that you can experiment with metrics and conversations that tilt more to your favor. It’s important to remember that advertisers need Spotify (nearly) as much as Spotify needs advertisers. Cheers.

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