Dec 16, 2021 - Technology

Spotify acquires Australian podcast tech company Whooshkaa

Illustration of podcast symbol with headphones on and smiling

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify on Thursday said it acquired Whooshkaa, a podcast technology platform that specializes in technology for radio broadcasters to turn existing content into podcasts.

Why it matters: The deal will help Whooshkaa expand and will help Spotify grow its ad inventory.

  • The deal "allows us to bring our pent up advertiser demand to a whole host of publishers that we don't work with today in the radio broadcast space," said Spotify's Jay Richman, who heads the company's ads business and platform.

Details: Whooshkaa’s "broadcast-to-podcast" technology will be integrated into Megaphone, a podcast monetization company that Spotify acquired last year for $235 million.

  • Whooshkaa's radio broadcast clients will be able to access Megaphone’s suite of tools and technology. (Megaphone places ads for thousands of podcast publishers.)
  • Whooshkaa's clients are typically large, independent podcasters and media publishers in Australia and Asia. Publishers include the local public broadcasters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • "They use our technology to save them time and to make the hosting process quite quite easy," said Whooshkaa's founder and CEO Rob Loewenthal. Whooshkaa's technology helps radio broadcasters insert advertising into the podcasting content. It makes money via licensing fees or ad revenue shares.
  • Deal terms were not disclosed, but presumably the acquisition was pretty small. A dozen people work at Whooshkaa. A spokesperson confirmed that the deal will not require regulatory review.

The big picture: Spotify has invested heavily in ad tech over the past two years to become a leader in podcast ads. It's spent hundreds of millions of dollars overall on podcast companies that help creators create, distribute and monetize content.

  • In February it launched the Spotify Audience Network, an ad network that combines all of the audio streaming giant's ad inventory. The company says it surpassed €1 billion in advertising revenue in 2021.

Bottom line: "Three years ago, we evolved Spotify's mission from music to audio and we got into podcasting in a big way," said Richman.

  • "The last year has been the year where we've emphasized assembling all these components into the first fully-verticalized audio stack, bringing audio creation, distribution, consumption, and monetization all into one place."

Go deeper: Spotify's plan to dominate audio ads

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