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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

Nov 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Vox Media poaches top NPR host, lands distribution deal with WNYC

Noel King. Photo: Sandy Honig/NPR

Vox Media has inked a deal with WNYC, a member station of NPR, to distribute its flagship podcast "Today, Explained" to public radio stations across the country beginning next year.

  • It's also poached Noel King, co-host of NPR's flagship show "Morning Edition," as editorial director and co-host of "Today Explained" with the podcast's current host Sean Rameswaram.
Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.

Updated 11 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

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