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Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Spotify on Wednesday reported significant ad revenue growth from its podcast business, as part of its quarterly earnings disclosure.

Take a listen: Company founder and CEO Daniel Ek appeared on the Axios Re:Cap podcast to discuss how the podcast business model is changing, why he's spending big on exclusive shows and his personal favorites in both podcasting and music.

Highlights...

Audience: Ek tells Axios that podcast listeners are stickier than music listeners, even though there had been industry concerns that increased podcast content would cannibalize music attention share.

  • He doesn't believe that podcast audience will ever overtake music audience, pointing out that music continues to dominate terrestrial radio.

Exclusives: He does not believe Spotify has editorial responsibility for what is said on its podcasts, including "The Joe Rogan Experience."

  • "We have a lot of really well-paid rappers on Spotify too, that make tens of millions of dollars, if not more, each year from Spotify. And we don't dictate what they're putting in their songs, either."
  • Spotify last year signed an exclusive deal with Kim Kardashian to launch a podcast on criminal justice, and Ek says he hopes it will begin airing "later in the year."

Creators: Ek does not believe that podcast creators will be paid per-stream royalties, as Spotify pays to music creators. He does, however, believe there will be a broadening and acceleration of podcast monetization options.

Rivals: Ek, whose company has accused Apple of anticompetitive practices, says that Apple has an understandable head start in podcasting — pointing out that the very word owes its existence to Apple's iPod devices.

Playlist: One of Ek's favorite podcasts right now is, "Invest Like The Best," hosted by Patrick O'Shaughnessy, while one of his favorite musical artists is African dance hall star Burna Boy.

Go deeper

Aug 31, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Amazon quietly building live audio business

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

2 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.