Spotify Podcast Official to Exit in Latest Sign of Growing Pains

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Liz Gateley, one of Spotify Technology SA’s highest-ranking podcast executives, is stepping down after less than two years, according to people familiar with the situation.

Gateley, who has hired in February 2019, is shifting into a creative-consultant role, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the change isn’t yet public. Gateley came to Spotify from the TV network Lifetime, where she oversaw the hit show “UnReal.”

The change follows a stretch of explosive growth for Spotify’s podcast operations, but also one characterized by growing pains and some internal tensions.

The executive had previously worked for Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, and -- like Ostroff -- was supposed to bring her experience developing and producing stories for TV into the nascent medium of podcasting. Spotify has invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few years to build up its operations and fund original series from hosts like Michelle Obama and Joe Rogan.

Gateley was tasked with overseeing the development of podcasts across genres such as sports and comedy. But Spotify acquired companies, including Gimlet Media, Parcast and the Ringer, that already made shows in many of those areas.

Spotify changed her job earlier this year. In her new consulting role, Gateley will work on a handful of projects already in development at Spotify such as shows from DC Comics.

Spotify has flooded the podcast industry with resources that the field has never seen before, hoping to draw new listeners to the company’s music app and persuade advertisers to spend more on its shows. Spotify’s spending spree has converted more than 70 million of its users into podcast listeners.

But that expansion has also come with friction internally as different executives competed for shows and control. As Rogan emerged as Spotify’s most popular podcaster, some workers have griped about the spreading of misinformation on his show.

The podcast push has also brought labor issues. Unions for the three podcast companies Spotify acquired are pressing for higher pay -- and a say in how their shows are adapted into other mediums, such as television.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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