Spotify shuts down podcast-focused Spotify Studios, lays off studio head

The studio produced several hit podcasts, including the recently released Nosy Neighbors, We Said What We Said, and Dope Labs.

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Image: Esther Moreno / Alamy Stock Photo

Spotify is reportedly shutting down its podcast-focused Spotify Studios, internally known as Studio 4, with the founding team disbanded and several members laid off in the process.

According to reporting by The Verge, an employee affected by the decision revealed that on January 7, the company notified affected employees, telling them their last days would be effective on January 21. All affected employees were said to receive two month’s worth of severance.

Spotify Studio head Gina Delvac was among those laid off by the streaming giant.

The affected employee also shared that Spotify seemed to treat the studio as something of an unwanted project. He took the internal moniker Studio 4 as an example of this treatment, describing the name as “insulting” to the people who work there, given that it has no brand identity or mission statement. They say it often operated more like a “junk drawer” for projects that didn’t find a home within the other three networks.”

“When you have Studio 4, it’s like, ‘Well, if all of these boxes are already checked by all of these other studios, then where does that really leave us,’ and so it felt to me like there was no clear mandate of what Studio 4 was supposed to do,” the employee told the publication.

The studio was instrumental in proving podcasting’s worth to Spotify with their early hit Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls 1 Keith, and have more recently been involved in the production of Nosy Neighbors, We Said What We Said, and Dope Labs. The employee also relayed that the studio’s lack of prominence despite this success was largely due to successful projects being farmed out to Spotify’s acquired networks.

The success of podcasts on the streaming platform has arguably led to Spotify’s greater investment in other non-music audio experience, with audiobooks, live talks, and education set to make an appearance on the platform as well.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley revealed in a survey last year that Spotify is now the preferred platform for podcast listening for 31% of the surveyed respondents, a finding that propelled Spotify to the title of the fastest-growing music service in the US.