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“With more than 200 million users around the globe, Spotify is already one of the world’s most-used apps, but we see an opportunity apart from where we sit today. An opportunity that will allow us to reach beyond music to engage users in entirely new ways,” wrote Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO and cofounder, back in February. “To really understand, take the current value of the video industry. Consumers spend roughly the same amount of time on video as they do on audio. Video is about a trillion dollar market. And the music and radio industry is worth around a hundred billion dollars. I always come back to the same question: Are our eyes really worth 10 times more than our ears?”
Ek went on to announce his intent to redefine Spotify from being about music to focusing on audio, and he announced two acquisitions: Gimlet Media and Anchor. Gimlet, which has been a media darling since it launched with a podcast about its own startup story, received the bulk of the attention as reporters sought to nail down its $230 million acquisition price. As the creator of such podcasts as Homecoming and Reply All as well as StartUp, Gimlet represents Spotify’s desire for building a more robust catalog of exclusive originals with a proven hitmaker. Doubling down on that idea, Spotify also bought the scripted storytelling platform Parcast in March.
But if Spotify is going to achieve Ek’s mission to make our ears as valuable as our eyes, the acquisition to watch is the one that’s received the least attention: Anchor.