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Spotify looks to lure podcasters, listeners away from Apple with polls, Q&As

It’s no secret that Spotify has its sights set on total podcast domination, given its high-profile acquisition of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, along with several exclusive launches like The Michelle Obama Podcast and one that features the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, better known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But the streaming music giant is still looking for additional ways to attract both listeners and podcast creators to its platform, and its latest move is the introduction of podcast polls and Q&As.

If you’re a podcast creator, polls and Q&As give you a free way to increase your engagement with your audience. Normally, a listener has few ways to directly interact with their favorite podcasts, given that most platforms like Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts are essentially no more than a way to find, subscribe to, and play podcast episodes. With Spotify’s new tools, podcasts become interactive, with polls and the ability to ask listeners questions, right on the episode page.

Podcasters can see which Spotify users have responded, and in the case of Questions and Answers, they can choose to highlight individual responses as a way of encouraging more interaction. Polls can be used in a variety of ways, from gauging listener enthusiasm for a given topic to giving them a say over future episodes.

For now, the feature only works on Spotify’s mobile apps for iOS and Android, but it’s available to all podcasters who use Spotify’s publishing platform. As a listener, you can engage with any podcast poll or question without a Spotify Premium subscription, as long as the podcast isn’t a Premium tier exclusive.

Spotify podcast questions and answers.

These new tools aren’t just window dressing. The podcast advertising revenue pool is expected to hit more than $1 billion this year, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and Spotify knows the key to grabbing the lion’s share of that money is attracting creators and listeners alike. So far, the strategy seems to be working. The WSJ predicts that this will also be the year that Spotify dethrones Apple for the title of podcast platform with the greatest number of listeners. Meanwhile, Apple’s market share of the podcast universe appears to be shrinking — from 34% in 2018, to 24% in 2021, according to Forbes. Apple and Spotify also compete head-to-head for streaming music subscribers.

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