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Massive podcast outage due to Spotify's failure to renew security certificate

Massive podcast outage due to Spotify's failure to renew security certificate

Podcast listeners couldn't access many of their favorite shows for more than eight hours on Monday nights and Tuesday mornings because of an outage at Megaphone, the Spotify-owned podcast hosting platform. The interruption occurred due to the company's failure to renew MegaFon's security certificate.

"Megaphone experienced a platform outage due to a problem related to our SSL certificate," Spotify spokesperson Erin Stiles said in a statement. "During the outage, customers were unable to access MegaFon CMS and podcast listeners were unable to download podcast episodes from MegaFon-hosted publishers. MegaFon service has since been reinstated."

This is a simple mistake with big implications. MegaFon, which incorporates dynamic commercials into episodes, hosts many of the industry's top shows. It distributes shows on platforms beyond Spotify, including Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Spotify hosts its own licensed and owned shows on Megaphone, such as The Joe Rogan Experience and The Ringer Show. (Disclosure: Vox Media, owner of The Verge, also publishes podcasts on Megaphone). Styles said the company is reaching out to affected publishers.

This is the second time in a week that JRE has been particularly affected by technical issues with Spotify. On Wednesday, a glitch led to the removal of dozens of episodes from the show's feed.

Spotify acquired Megaphone in December 2020 for $235 million, making it the streamer's biggest purchase in its quest to build a broader podcasting tech stack (for comparison, it paid about $150 million for Anchor) . The tool allows the company to earn money by listening to podcasts that also happen on competing platforms. Since then, Spotify has enhanced Megaphone by acquiring and integrating analytics tool Podsights and Chartable and radio-to-podcast tool Whooshkaa.

Spotify did not comment about why MegaFon's SSL certificate was left to expire and why it took so long to fix. According to the information received by Podnews, the certificate expired at 8 pm on Monday. According to the forum's status page, the issue was not resolved for the next eight hours. Even after MegaFon came back online just before 6 p.m. ET, podcasters experienced delays with MegaFon CMS. By 9:45 am, the company said the problem was completely resolved.

SSL certificate, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is a data encryption tool for websites (that's the "S" in HTTPS) that allows servers to communicate with clients (your computer or phone, for example). Is. Others who send the data cannot easily modify or spy on them. While SSL certificates used to be good for up to three years, from September 2020 SSL certificates were limited to a maximum of 13 months. However, Megaphone achieved two years of certification in May 2020, seven months before it was acquired by Spotify.

The outage upset listeners and podcasters alike, who took to social media to warn others about the problem and request that Spotify fix it. Luke Braun, a podcaster who hosts Locked on Vikings and Locked on the NFL, said the outage could lead to thousands of downloaded shows on the platform because uploads were delayed. Before MegaFon fixed the issue, the only platform on which he could post Tuesday's episodes was YouTube, which accounted for about 20 percent of his audience.

While Braun says he's completely satisfied with the Megaphone he's been using since 2018, he also wasn't completely surprised that the outage happened over such a dumb mistake. "It sounds like a brain fart," he said.

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