- Spotify's podcast creation platform Anchor introduced a feature that lets people turn their video chats into podcast-ready audio. The new video-to-audio conversion tool works with video calling platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Twitch and Instagram Live, per an announcement on Anchor's blog.
- For podcasters who can't talk to others in face-to-face settings because of social-distancing limitations during the coronavirus pandemic, the video conversion tool "makes it easy to maintain the magic of in-person podcasting sessions," according to Anchor. The tool also supports .mp4 and .mov video files uploaded to its website.
- The converted video files appear in Anchor's episode builder that lets podcasters make edits and add features like background music, interludes, sound effects and voice messages. Anchor also broadcasts the podcast and provides free distribution on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Breaker and Castbox, among others, TechCrunch reported.
Anchor's video conversion tool is mostly aimed at podcasters who are using video calling services like Zoom to interview guests or have conversations with co-hosts, but it may have applications for mobile marketers that produce branded podcasts as well. New Amsterdam Vodka debuted the first branded podcast series on Spotify two years ago, and several marketers have since followed.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted operations for podcasters and production companies that are used to recording in-person, but are now limited to connecting with others through voice calls or other means of remote communications. Anchor aims to help podcasters overcome those hurdles with its new video conversion software. The feature shows Spotify leveraging one of several acquisitions it's made in the podcast space — it bought Anchor and the podcasting network Gimlet Media last February — to try to capitalize on creative trends during the pandemic.
Podcast production on Spotify has surged during the pandemic as more people, especially writers and producers in media centers like Hollywood, use their time in isolation for creative efforts. The number of podcast uploads jumped 69% to about 150,000 in March from a month earlier, the biggest monthly increase Spotify has ever experienced, the Los Angeles Times reported.
While podcast production has spiked, consumption has declined as fewer people commute to work during the pandemic, limiting the time that was once spent listening to audio programming. With fewer consumers commuting or going to the gym, Spotify's top 200 streams fell 16% in the U.S. and 12% worldwide from before the crisis, per a Raymond James study cited by Barron's.
Spotify today said its number of paying subscribers jumped 31% to 130 million in Q1 from a year earlier, while total monthly active users rose 31% to 286 million, indicating that the pandemic hadn't dented its overall growth.