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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify is building a suite of interactive podcast features that will help users develop stronger personal relationships with niche creators.

Driving the news: In an interview with Axios, Spotify head of podcasts, live and video Michael Mignano said the company is working to have its user experience be "less passive" by adding things like video, polls, live audio conversations and Q&A features to its podcasts and subscription offering.

  • The company said last week it would open up video podcasting to creators and will heavily encouraging them to use videos in their podcasts. They promised video would "feel like a seamless experience" for creators.
  • Spotify announced on its latest earnings call that it now has 3.3 million podcasts on its platform, up from 500,000 two years ago.

The big picture: Podcasts have traditionally been distributed through RSS feeds that made them very accessible, but hard to innovate on top of.

  • Spotify developed an end-to-end podcasting platform in an effort to make podcasts easier to innovate on top of through the acquisitions of companies like Anchor, a free podcasting platform and Megaphone, a podcast monetization company.

The bottom line: "RSS as an open protocol is super useful in the distribution of content itself but it doesn’t allow you to do a lot with that content," Mignano said.

Go deeper

Roblox sues YouTuber over “terrorist threats”

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Roblox Corporation is suing a YouTuber for breach of contract and fraud.

Details: Social gaming platform Roblox is seeking $1,650,000 in damages against content creator Benjamin Robert Simon ("Ruben Sim"), alleging that he is the leader of a "cybermob" and "commits and encourages unlawful acts designed to injure Roblox and its users."

2 hours ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

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