Spotify’s Head of Original Video and Podcasts, Tom Calderone, Departs

Spotify's Head of Original Video and Podcasts, Tom Calderone, Departs

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar
  • Music industry executives would like Spotify’s video efforts to focus on
  • Spotify has over 60 million paying subscribers

Spotify is parting ways with Tom Calderone, the head of original video and podcasts, after the music-streaming company’s initial round of programs failed to catch on with audiences.

The online pioneer confirmed Calderone’s departure in an email Thursday. Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar, the service’s most popular playlist, Rock This and other features, a spokesman said.

With the move, Spotify is narrowing its video ambitions. Calderone, the former head of cable network VH1, commissioned a dozen series from producers including Tim Robbins and Russell Simmons. He also oversaw podcasts, an area of growing importance at the world’s largest paid music service. Now the company is making clearer that it wants videos on the service to stay closer to the music industry.

While Spotify has known for some time it wants to offer more programming beyond music, the company has struggled to settle on a strategy.

Before YouTube, Hulu or Sony introduced online TV services, Spotify tried to assemble a bundle of TV channels for a live video service in Europe. The company abandoned those plans after failing to line up all the channels it wanted for the right price, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Spotify also licensed short-form videos from Vice Media Inc., Viacom’s Comedy Central and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in 2015. Then in 2016, the company hired Calderone to oversee an in-house studio. He led Viacom’s VH1 during its heyday and quickly ordered shows including Simmons’s “Traffic Jams,” where musicians composed a song while stuck in traffic and performed the it on reaching their destination.

Despite those efforts, video never been featured prominently within Spotify, a source of frustration for many partners. No series has broken out.

Music industry executives would like Spotify’s video efforts to focus on music. That would bring more attention to their artists and new releases, and not divert royalty-generating listeners to other content. Thanks to Spotify, the music business is growing for the first time in almost two decades and record labels aren’t especially keen to see the company diversify into other forms of entertainment.

And of late, Spotify has tested seeding playlists with music videos and short documentaries, including Rap Caviar.

While Spotify is still formulating a video strategy, its investment in podcasting continues to grow. The company has purchased advertising in popular shows Reply All and The Bill Simmons Podcast, and plans to announce a new slate of original podcasts soon.

The company is planning to go public later this year or early next, and just reached a new long-term deal with Warner Music Group, the third-largest record label.

With more than 60 million paying subscribers for the music service, Spotify has commissioned non-music content to increase the amount of time users spend with the app and keep them from leaving to watch video on YouTube or Facebook. Non-music programming also benefits the company by reducing the share of sales it must hand over to music rights holders.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple launches ‘Podcasts Connect’ Web portal for managing digital content

Apple on Tuesday made it easier for podcaster to validate, publish and manage their content online with the launch of a new iTunes Connect-based Web service called Podcasts Connect.


From podcast submission to RSS feed editing, the Podcasts Connect portal keeps a bevy of content management tools — presented in an easy-to-use dashboard style layout — close at hand with Mac and PC Web browser support, an upgrade from the previous system that required clicking through the “Submit a Podcast” link in iTunes.

As noted by podcast hosting service Libsyn earlier this month, the new dashboard lets users create new podcasts or take control of existing feeds. Anyone with an Apple ID can submit a podcast for validation once they create an RSS feed and associated host URL.

According to Apple’s Podcasts Connect support webpage, users can submit, test and validate episodes directly from on the Web portal. The dashboard also provides content management tools, allowing users to refresh, delete, hide and unhide specific shows from the iTunes podcast directory. More advanced options include monetization and marketing management.

Since popularizing podcasts as an accessible, yet widely distributable, digital medium, Apple has generally taken a hands-off approach to the serialized Internet broadcasts. The company does, however, pre-install a first-party Podcasts app on iOS devices and hosts a corresponding content category in the iTunes Store. Most recently, Apple added a Podcasts app analogue to fourth-generation Apple TV boxes with tvOS version 9.1.1.

The Podcasts Connect portal went live on Tuesday and is accessible by anyone holding a valid Apple ID.

[“source-appleinsider”]