Spotify loses podcast strategy leader Courtney Holt

Spotify will suffer a severe blow with the early departure of Courtney Holt, who spearheaded the streaming platform’s aggressive plan to enter the world of podcasts. as collected Bloomberg, the leader will leave the Swedish company in the coming weeks and will complete a five-year cycle within this framework. In this period, it was vital to make some of the platform’s most important bets in the genre, like the arrivals of Joe Rogan and Barack and Michelle Obama.

At this time, Spotify has not confirmed Holt’s departure; However, the aforementioned media ensures that the executive will assume an advisory role, and in addition his successors have been appointed. Once your departure is finalized, your responsibilities will be shared between Julie McNamararesponsible for studios and video in the United States, and Max Cutlerresponsible for new content initiatives.

The departure of Courtney Holt represents a very significant challenge for the company led by Daniel Ek. During his tenure in the business, he was not only tasked with exclusively signing major figures in politics and entertainment, but also spearheading economic efforts. to absorb other podcast networks; such were the cases of The Ringer, Parcast and Gimlet.

Holt also didn’t explicitly confirm his apparent exit, but he did post a tasteful parting tweet. “I want to thank the amazing teams at Spotify
that I had the chance to direct and with whom I was able to interact. The goals we set for ourselves were ambitious, yet we achieved a lot. There is a great future for the company beyond what you can see and hear today!”

Not a minor fact, it’s the second podcast-related executive Spotify loses just days apart. Last week Lydia Polgreen’s departure had already been confirmedwho was in charge of running Gimlet Media.

Spotify loses the “architect” of its podcast strategy

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

Spotify drags several months of controversy around its podcast strategy. The most notorious is what happened with The Joe Rogan Experience earlier this year, following accusations against the controversial host for using racial slurs and proliferating misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines. This not only generated an impact on the musical order, due to Neil Young’s notorious departure from the platform, but also revealed the ambiguity used by the company to steer clear of any editorial responsibility.

However, this was not the only case that caused internal controversy. At the beginning of 2022, Spotify shut down Studio 4, the first dedicated to the production of original podcasts. The same, also known internally as Spotify Studios, had a very promising start, but when the company started to expand and buy others, it was forgotten.

And to this must be added the additional complexity that the departure of Courtney Holt would imply to address certain negotiations. For example, with higher ground, the company that produces the Barack and Michelle Obama podcasts, which is reportedly pushing for a new deal. While the alliance between Spotify and Archewell Audio, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, did not bear the expected fruit either. More than a year after its formalization, no podcast has yet been launched under this label.

How will Spotify reorganize after the departure of the man who is considered the “architect” of its podcast strategy? The platform has managed to establish itself as a heavyweight of the genre and has The Joe Rogan Experience the most listened to podcast in the world. However, it will be interesting to see how he will be able to adapt to the departure of the man who, in recent years, has held the title of vice-president of podcast global.