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Spotify is reportedly buying The Ringer, what state is the streaming service in?

1 month ago by Jared Russo in M&A

The Ringer is reportedly heading to Spotify, in a deal that would augment the subscription audio service's offerings with a slew of extremely popular podcasts. Based on social data surrounding Spotify, the music disruptor's deal should allow it to continue what has been - at least, on most networks - a story of scale. 

When we wrote about Spotify ($NYSE:SPOT) last, it was 10 months ago and hinted at a future where the company begins adding more types of content. While an easy and obvious call, it was still correct to assume Spotify had plans beyond streaming your favorite jams.

So what exactly is the state of Spotify before it splurges on another media outlet to just suck out its podcasts and throw away the carcass, just like it did with Gimlet, Anchor, Parcast, and others? Not to say that this will happen with The Ringer, which reports hint at another acquisition bolstering Spotify's podcast network, but Spotify could certainly become a podcasting empire by buying up all the game in town and slapping "exclusive" on each one. It would cost a rumored $200 million to get some of the best audio content available right now, but it's worth it to Spotify if it wants to own your ears going forward.

Not too many digital media platforms can get 100 million downloads a month. The problem is The Ringer also has amazingly talented writers, producers, and creatives who do video. Will that be a focus for Spotify? Can Bill Simmons be their Howard Stern?

Our best guess as to what these reports hint at is: Spotify wants to be the one-stop-shop for all your audio needs, music, podcasts, audiobooks, and then eventually buy and grow more to get users into new verticals. Enough speculation and rhetorical questions. Now it's time we dive into Spotify's financials, staff count, social media reach, and other fun alternative data!

A snapshot of Spotify

Spotify has done a fantastic job of growing its user base over the years, and with that comes an influx of a new workforce. The company grew by 227% over the last five years, and there isn't any reason to believe they will slow down in adding quality talent in front of or behind the mic.

Curiously, the last few months have seen a dip in job openings, falling 31% since Q4. However, before major technology M&A deals, we've commonly seen steep cuts to job postings as the C-suite holds off on hiring plans to instead recalibrate for the future of the organization. 

And if you needed any more proof that Spotify has dominated our phones, here are how many total ratings the app has secured on both Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store. It's quite a lot.

Spotify's social media

While it's all well and good that people download and listen and rate Spotify, surely there has to be another way to track the brand's popularity online somehow. And that's where social media data comes in, because there's no better way to say "I love you" to a corporation than to see their dumb posts on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram while you're checking for memes.

Twitter following? That's up 133% over the last five years. Instagram following? Up 1000% over the last four years (not shown, buy our data to look at those numbers, they're really good and no that 1000% is not an exaggeration). 

Facebook following is up....oh wait, this one isn't going up. Weird, do young people not use Facebook anymore to discuss the current trends in music? Is Lizzo not the talk of the town on messenger? Oh well. The number of likes has flatlined for the last two years, and the 'Talking About' count has dropped, which means maybe Facebook isn't the place to tell your parents or grandparents about Billy Eilish's new album. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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