In a substantial overhaul, Spotify announced Wednesday, among other things, the addition of podcasts from various sources including NPR, WNYC, Slate and others. Clearly Spotify has designs beyond music with a goal of becoming an all-in-one streaming service. In fact most of the headlines from various tech blogs including Engadget and The Verge did not focus on the new music features but rather the inclusion of podcasts and video.
This is the first serious challenge to the dominance of Apple's iTunes as a gateway to audio on-demand content and clearly a means to reposition Spotify prior to Apple's coming streaming relaunch. It should create exposure for podcast content, and with any kind of luck, offer richer metrics for podcasters to understand who and when people are listening.
Techcrunch commented that adding podcasts could rope in hardcore news and talk radio fans. Both could help Spotify get more users. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek acknowledges that it is all about increasing use of the platform. He said "there were a lot of times when people wanted to use Spotify but had to leave it to come back for five minutes or ten minutes of entertainment."
How much content will be original versus already developed video and audio offerings is unclear. But given the list below, one thing is clear; Spotify is no longer just a music service and podcasts have a new and significant platform.