Earlier this month, we all had a chance to revisit what we listened to most in 2022 with Wrapped. From the year’s top artist (congrats on the three-peat, Bad Bunny) to identifying our listening personalities (where the “Deep Divers” at?), fans worldwide shared their listening habits. But that’s only the icing on the cake. The year also saw new content offerings such as audiobooks and more programs to support diverse and underrepresented voices, all designed to bring the best experience to listeners and creators.
Ring in 2023 by reliving Spotify’s highlights from 2022.
Commitment to platform safety
At the start of the year, we shared several actions we’re taking to balance creator expression with safety, including publishing our Platform Rules and taking steps to ensure creators and users alike understand what’s permitted on Spotify. This summer, we unveiled the Spotify Safety Advisory Council, an interdisciplinary group of experts that are providing our teams with an outside-in view of the safety landscape and helping us ensure that our products and policies address the needs and concerns of our users, creators, and artists around the world.
Acquisitions expand our offerings
Early in the year, we acquired two podcast technology companies: Podsights, a podcast advertising measurement service, and Chartable, a podcast analytics platform. This move helped us uplevel measurement for podcast advertising and give publishers a new way to grow their business through insights and promotions tools.
Over the summer, we closed on the acquisition of Findaway, a global leader in digital audiobook distribution. Findaway works across the audiobook ecosystem with a platform and offerings that serve authors, publishers, and consumers. Their technology and know-how helped accelerate Spotify’s entry into audiobooks earlier this fall.
As the world’s leading audio streaming platform, it made perfect sense to bring Heardle, the beloved interactive music game to Spotify. It has provided a fun and innovative way to help fans discover new songs and artists.
We also acquired Kinzen, a global leader in protecting online communities from harmful content. Our partnership with the Dublin-based company, which began in 2020, has been critical to enhancing our approach to platform safety. The company’s technology and unique approach helps Spotify better understand, prepare for, and prevent abuse trends from emerging on our platform.
Frequency carves out a spot for Black creators
We expanded Frequency, our global initiative and holistic destination for celebrating Black art, entertainment, creativity, culture, and community both on- and off-platform, with even more opportunities for Black creators. In addition to on-platform hubs and playlists, we hosted The Free Studio, a four-day residency that brought together nine Black musicians and creators. Spotify’s popular playlist Ripple Effect continued the Frequency Sunday Dinner series in Houston, as well as cities across California.
Helping diversify the voices of podcasting
Programs like Sound Up, the Creator Equity Fund, and RADAR for Podcasters help underrepresented voices and emerging talent in the audio space. From education and workshops to on-platform amplification, these initiatives give creators the tools they need to tell their story. In October, we introduced the Africa Podcast Fund, a first-of-its-kind initiative to support burgeoning podcasters through financial grants, workshops, and networking opportunities. In December, we launched Elevate for Podcasters in partnership with the Inevitable Foundation. The program empowers professional podcasters with disabilities, providing the funding, mentorship, equipment, and accommodations they need to level up their careers.
Introducing User Choice Billing with Google
Our multi-year agreement with Google represents a first-of-its-kind option in payment choice with opportunities for both consumers and developers. Users who’ve downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store are presented with the choice to pay with either Spotify’s payment system or Google Play Billing. These two options living side-by-side in the app give users the freedom to subscribe and make purchases, using the payment option of their choice. With this announcement and our partnership, Google is allowing more choice and competition—decisive steps that demonstrate how platforms should work.
Blend it up
Blend combines the best of Spotify’s personalization capabilities and collaborative playlist functionality into a single shared playlist. In 2022, we took Blend to a whole new level. Users can now Blend with up to 10 people or they can Blend with artists like Lizzo, Post Malone, and Charli XCX. Fans also have the opportunity to shop artist merch from the Blend experience. Blend represents another way we can give artists a new oportunity to interact with fans, and to bring added personalization to a listener’s music experience.
Playing with video
In 2022 we expanded video podcasting to Anchor creators in over 180 global markets. Podcasters love having the option to accompany their audio with visual components, and fans get the opportunity to deeply connect with the content. We also introduced Spotify Podcast Subscriptions for video podcasts, an integration with Riverside (the go-to platform for remote recording), embeddable video, video bulk-replace, video-specific analytics, and interactive podcast features, such as polls and Q&A.
Celebrating EQUAL’s first anniversary
Since its launch, EQUAL has spotlighted women artists through global partnerships, activations, new content experiences, and on- and off-platform support. April marked the program’s one year anniversary. Among EQUAL’s major accomplishments: listeners streamed more than 13 million hours of program artists in the first month of joining.
Reimagining with Roblox
We entered the virtual universe Roblox to create Spotify Island, an audio paradise where fans and artists from all over the world can connect and explore exclusive sounds, quests, and merch. We enhanced the experience during the year with K-Park and Planet Hip-Hop.
Spotify and FC Barcelona team up on the field
In July, we kicked off a partnership with FC Barcelona, becoming the Main Partner of the Club as well as the Official Audio Streaming Partner. We joined the team in Miami during the club’s preseason tour and brought artists like Ovy on the Drums, Piso 21, and Mau y Ricky along for the fun. Through the in-stadium LEDs and our other marketing channels, we promoted artists of all sizes from around the world including BLACKPINK, Fireboy DML, Megan Thee Stallion, Aitch, Pomme, Feid, and Rigoberta Bandini. For FC Barcelona’s October El Clásico showdown—one of the most iconic events in all of sport—we celebrated Drake’s 50 billion streams by creating a limited-edition kit. Get more details on this multiyear partnership on our Spotify: For the Record podcast.
Upping the ante with audiobooks
This fall, we introduced audiobooks to listeners in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. With more than 300,000 titles on the platform, we are giving book lovers a new way to enjoy storytelling on Spotify.
Time to play fair
We believe everyone benefits when competition is fair. Unfortunately, Apple does not, and they’ve consistently abused their dominant position to favor their own services, stifle innovation and hurt consumers. This year, we continued to urge policymakers to take significant action to protect competition and consumers from Apple’s anticompetitive behavior. For more on this fight, listen to Spotify: For the Record, where entrepreneurs, U.S. senators, and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek discuss the importance of consumer choice.