Spotify is one of the biggest names in music streaming but the company is looking to expand outside that box. In what would be its first major move in doing so, it is in talks to buy Gimlet Media for a princely sum of over $200 million, according to sources for Recode and the Wall Street Journal.
Gimlet is a Brooklyn-based company that produces popular podcasts such as Reply All (which we recommend for tech and internet culture related stories) and Crimetown (about, you guessed it, crime in different towns). The latter is already a Spotify exclusive.
Acquiring Gimlet would be a first for Spotify, which has never bought a company that actually makes and distributes content before, and will be a landmark sum for the still emerging podcast industry.
Although podcasting are still a relatively small industry, it's not dominated by any one big company, and is in a way open territory for a bigger media company looking to take over. In the music sphere, the old guard 'big 3' record labels (Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group) still keep a chokehold over licensing, but when it comes to podcasts its a different story.
Apple is still the dominant distributor of podcasts, which take their name from the Apple iPod. But Cupertino isn't really expanding on this front, and Spotify, with over 200 million users, is well positioned to exploit this and has already started promoting podcasts on its service.
As a fan of Gimlet Media's podcasts but a non-Spotify user, I'm not sure how to feel about this possibility. While I want Gimlet to have the resources to continue making great content, there are plenty of great Android apps for listening to podcasts, and I would hate to have Gimlet's work disappear from them.
Do you regularly listen to podcasts? Which are your favorite?