Spotify is buying Chartable and Podsights, two podcasting-focused analytics companies, for an undisclosed amount of money. Spotify said it would use the Podinsights technology in its broader advertising-oriented network in a news release.
In many ways, Chartable and Podinsights acquisitions remind me of Facebook’s under-the-radar purchase of Onavo, the VPN/data tracker. It paid $200 million in 2013 for a company that allowed it to gather deep intelligence into what was happening with various apps — who was hot, who was not, and what was going to be hot. Many sources over the years told me that Onavo allowed Facebook to figure out the potential of Snap even before Snap founders knew what they had on their hands. Onavo data was crucial in making deals for Instagram and Whatsapp, amongst other things.
That is certainly a foreboding comparison.
Spotify has been on a bit of an acquisition tear, buying up an audiobook company and a monetization business, too. It sure seems like Spotify would like to be a part of the movement taking whatever is great about the free and open parts of the web, combining it into one big platform, and digging a big moat around it. Social networks did that for discussion boards, and Spotify wants to do it for podcasting and radio — monetized, in part, by gross personalized ads that depend on massive data collection and tracking.