Stitcher bought by Deezer: here's why

What does a music company want with podcasts? Content, it turns out.

By James Cridland
Posted 27 October 2014, 12.53pm edt
New Media Expo

The big news last week was that music subscription company Deezer has bought Stitcher, a podcast app which offers around 35,000 talk shows from broadcasters across the world.

There is little to separate Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music All Access, Rdio and other similar services in terms of content. By and large they have the same catalogue, and can only differentiate themselves in terms of price and user experience.

What Deezer has done is realised that content is important too; and it is pulling in additional talk content from across the web. As a differentiator, that is pretty smart. Spoken word content like this brings more of a "shared experience and human connection" to their service - which has been my definition of radio's USP for some time now. While Stitcher doesn't have the same smarts as NPR One, because it doesn't create its own content, it does have some great content and some clever algorithms already in place. This could be a serious threat to full-service radio if done well.

I think you could also see, relatively quickly, an opportunity for people making talk content to be able to monetise that through services like Deezer - albeit on similar micropayment levels to music. That could revolutionise the spoken word market, which has hitherto been unable to monetise aside from in-programme advertising. I, as a content maker, get revenues from consumption of that content if on a web page: but not from audio. That could change with this announcement, perhaps.

Omny, an app in Australia that merges music and radio content, appears to be doing something similar. It only really works if you get more granular content than an entire podcast, though.

By putting radio content together with music in a personalised fashion, is this the death for radio? I'm not so sure. But it's good to see Deezer realise that to replace radio, they need to be thinking about more than just music.

James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.

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