Using a media industry studies framework, this thesis analyses the emergence and renegotiation of industry lore in times of disruption by analysing industry discourse surrounding Spotify’s acquisitions of and integration into the podcast industry in their self-proclaimed effort to be a market leader in the audio streaming industries. Since its founding in 2007, Spotify has continued to present itself as a supportive entity to the music industry yet continues to be dependent on Investors. Diversifying into adjacent audio media and multisided market strategy is seen as Spotify’s effort to become a profitable company. Spotify, using large quantities of aggregated data, has worked to redefine the value of the podcast medium as a diverse and engaging medium that, in conjunction with music, provides a viable alternative to radio. A process of renegotiation of existing practices and understandings within industry discourse is observable as discursively changing interpretations of podcasts value to and around the Spotify platform emerge. Spotify’s use of trade stories to drive narratives around significant changes within the company's strategy appears to mirror the approach to Spotify’s conception centred around the legal alternative to piracy narrative, and similar synergy narratives between industry and Spotify appear in podcast industry discourse. Five narrative themes of discourse were identified around which the renegotiation of industry lore was analysed. Firstly, the use of diversity of content and audiences in approaching the discursive construction of a unified global audience in the presence of a celestial jukebox of data and the reconstruction of the value of music and podcasts in the context of algorithmically curated diversity. Secondly, the renegotiation of exclusivity from consumer marketing towards a form of leverage in creating co-dependency with digital conglomerates. The use of data in establishing market control. The imaginary of algorithmically curated flow in redefining broadcast logic. Finally, the discursive renegotiation of the meaning of engagement between converging industries into new understandings of the value of content within the audio streaming industries. The analysis concludes by situating this industry lore within the power relations of the music industry and a critical review of the platformization practices of Spotify.

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Michael Wayne
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Felix Gebauer. (2022, June 27). Spotify – The Spotify of Podcasts Analyzing the discourse surrounding Spotify’s ‘next phase of growth in audio.’. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from