Via this week's Hot Pod newsletter, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek talked up profitability and the annoyance of having to work with pesky... (checks notes) human beings:
Creating a great audio ad is something that's quite costly and quite expensive for marketers to do...What generative AI has the promise to do is allow for that creative cost to come down...You can translate whatever creative you had into lots of different languages; you can use the same voice actor; but instead of producing one or two ads, you can have 1,000 or 10,000 or even 100,000 ads that are individually created to each user.
Translation: We heard what was happening in the actors strikes regarding AI licensing and wanted to get ahead of that in podcasting by eliminating humans as quickly as possible.
Spotify shareholders are thrilled with the company reporting an operating profit for the first time in a year, sending the stock up nearly 10 percent on the news. The revenue bump was in large part due to the streamer’s $1 price increase earlier this year, but executives also pointed to the downsizing of the podcast operation — which included hundreds of layoffs and the dissolution of Gimlet and Parcast — as a contributing factor...CFO Paul Vogel said that after being a real “drag” on profit margins in the past, podcasting will soon break even and turn toward profitability.
Translation: We won't acknowledge how we pumped up the podcasting market with millions of dollars in speculation on shows and production companies, and then dumped them just as quickly, blaming the shows for not making us back the overpriced millions we spent on them.
I understand why podcasters put their shows on Spotify. It's where a huge audience is. But Spotify has shown over and over that they don't care at all about the artists or creatives involved in creating content for their audio streams. Spotify seems to be happy with a future that involves as few humans as possible in the arts.
Just a soulless computer sitting in the corner spitting out algorithmically generated 1's and 0's that they can charge a monthly fee for.