Asked why Stern might prefer Spotify to SiriusXM, Ek said, “I can’t really speak to Howard Stern specifically” but then expatiated on the “more and more great creators around the world that are turning to streaming service Spotify” for its scale, global reach and interactive opportunities. He was speaking on a conference call to discuss the streaming giant’s second-quarter earnings.
“Because this is an interactive medium, it allows them to better connect with their audience, seeing the data, seeing how they are engaging with the content, seeing the feedback directly. It is an international platform too, not just domestic. So while we are very large in America, we are equally large in Europe and Latam and Asia as well,” said Ek.
“This is a global platform unlike anything else. Thirdly, the size of this platform is just huge compared to many of these platforms that may operate in just one market. So I think the combination of that interactivity and flexibility that it allows you and the global nature and scale of this platform is what excites a lot of creators to be on our platform.”
SiriusXM will announce its own latest financials Thursday morning and CEO Jim Meyer will certainly be asked, as he has at every recent earnings call and conference, what the deal is with Stern’s contract. At a media confab in June, Meyer said he plans to pick up the pace on renewal talks and “work hard” to keep the outspoken longtime host of The Howard Stern Show and dedicated Sirius XM channel, Howard 100. The “King of All Media” moved to SiriusXM from over-the-air radio in 2006.
“The relationship between Howard and myself has been great and is great right now… I trust Howard and Howard trusts me,” said Meyer, nothign that renewal talks had started late last year. “Howard’s agent and I communicate every week back and forth and I had hoped to be able to sit and do this process in person and get going. I think it is probably going to take too long to wait for a good window for that, that so I don’t see any reason why we won’t pick up the pace on those discussions. I want Howard to work at Sirius XM for as long as Howard wants to work.”
Both companies are investing aggressively in podcasting, acquired and original. “Spotify is now going after all of audio, and that is a larger market that just music itself,” Ek said Wednesday. Podcasting was a small percentage of ad revenue but the fastest-growing piece last quarter, he said, and helps boost engagement.
Mark and Jay Duplass, creators of HBO’s Room 104 and Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, are the latest creatives to sign with Spotify to create original podcasts, following pacts with Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan and Warner Bros. and DC.
SiriusXM recently acquired podcasting business Stitcher from E.W Scripps. A spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to comment.