Spotify adds mystery and crime to its podcast arsenal with Parcast acquisition

Spotify is quickly becoming a major force to be reckoned with in the podcasting space. Hot on the heels of its acquisition of podcast companies Gimlet Media, and Anchor in February, the streaming music giant has announced its plans to buy Parcast, a podcast studio known for its prolific production of original true-crime, mystery, and sci-fi audio content.

“The addition of Parcast to our growing roster of podcast content will advance our goal of becoming the world’s leading audio platform. Crime and mystery podcasts are a top genre for our users and Parcast has had significant success creating hit series while building a loyal and growing fan base,” Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff said in the press release.

Parcast podcasts include titles like Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories, Serial Killers, Crimes of Passion, and Female Criminals, which have been described by The New York Times as, “a mix of historical fact, pop psychology and rampant speculation.” The productions tend to be low-budget affairs, but very popular, with many of its shows appearing in the top spots of Apple’s podcast charts. Parcast founder Max Cutler has said he was inspired by Serial, perhaps the best-known and most downloaded true-crime podcast.

Podcasting is a potentially lucrative new market for streaming music platforms like Spotify. As completely original content that is inexpensive to produce compared to music, it may not attract as many listeners, but the advertising opportunities are better. Though not a considerable source of revenue yet — U.S. podcast advertising earned only $314 million in revenue for 2017 — that number should go up and is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2022. If Spotify can capture only a portion of this money, it could be a decent add-on to its bottom line. The company reported its first profits in 2018.

Some have speculated that Spotify would like to become the Netflix of the streaming audio world, not only licensing content from third parties, but also producing a raft of its own original creations. Creating its own music label might be the ultimate goal, but in the meantime, getting its feet wet with original content via podcasting represents a much lower-risk investment.

If you’re looking for a podcast that covers all the latest in tech, may we humbly suggest Digital Trends’ own Tech With Benefits, a weekly look at the technology trends making the headlines, and how they impact our daily lives.

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