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Spotify contemplates removing ‘White Noise’ Podcasts

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Creators of white noise podcasts on Spotify are reaping substantial earnings, causing a stir within the audio streaming service, which reportedly attempted to curtail their success. Bloomberg reveals that an internal document highlights the surprising popularity of podcasts featuring white noise content, such as sounds like waves, vacuums, and whirring fans.

These podcasts collectively amass a staggering 3 million hours of consumption on a daily basis. This phenomenon was inadvertently fueled by Spotify’s algorithm, which promoted such content to its listeners as part of its push to establish itself as a top podcast platform.

Previously, Bloomberg disclosed that white noise podcast producers were making up to $18,000 per month. Notably, many creators on the platform, beyond those focused on white noise, employ Spotify’s free hosting software Anchor to release their shows.

Acquired by Spotify in 2019, Anchor not only assists creators in podcast creation and distribution but also facilitates monetization of their content.

While white noise podcasts garnered significant listener engagement, they reportedly generate less revenue for Spotify compared to other genres. The company contemplated removing them entirely and blocking future uploads within this category. Moreover, there were considerations about tweaking the algorithm to suggest “similar content” that is more cost-effective for Spotify.

These actions were projected to boost the company’s annual gross profit by $38 million. Though specifics about “similar content” weren’t provided in the internal document, it might refer to other types of soothing content aimed at aiding sleep or reducing anxiety, which is the typical purpose of white noise.

A thread on the Spotify subreddit from a couple of months ago showcased multiple users voicing their concerns about their favorite white noise podcasts disappearing. Bloomberg also interviewed a content creator who experienced the vanishing of their content for a few weeks before its restoration.

While Spotify didn’t confirm any temporary removal, the company informed Bloomberg that the discussed proposal did not come into effect, and they continue to host white noise podcasts on their platform.

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