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Spotify is losing its audiobook chief

Spotify is losing its audiobook chief

Spotify is losing another talk content executive. The Verge has learned that Nir Zicherman, who leads the company's new audiobook vertical, will be leaving the company this year. He will depart as one of the last remaining executives who built out Spotify's podcasting business.

Zicherman co-founded podcast creation and distribution tool Anchor with Michael Mignano, who left Spotify last year. Spotify bought Anker in 2019 for $150 million, at which point Zuckerman and Mignano joined the company's product division. Zuckerman takes over audiobook business in 2022. He'll be staying until October 1 to help establish the next audiobook lead, according to Spotify spokeswoman Rosa Oh.

Spotify launched its audiobook vertical after completing the acquisition of audiobook distributor Findaway for $123 million. The vertical adopted an à la carte purchase model, which was complicated by Apple's strict in-app purchase rules. However, Zuckerman told Hot Pod in February that the company is looking at developing new business models for audiobooks, including free ad-supported titles or even Netflix-style all-you-can-listen subscriptions. Is. to be able

"Applying a blanket approach to everything — every piece of content, every creator, like podcasting — I think really hurts the industry," Zikkerman said at the Hot Pod Summit. "So the future that I see on Spotify is a number of different business models to support all the different types of podcast content that exist and all the different types of audiobook content that exist."

According to Oh, Spotify will begin an external search for the next audiobook executive, and whoever fills that role will have a tall task ahead of them. Last year, CEO Daniel Ek told investors about audiobooks as the company's third major vertical after music and podcasts. The industry is definitely growing. The Audio Publishers Association projects a 25 percent increase in total sales in North America to $1.6 billion in 2021. But one is dreaming big; He said that the global market for audiobooks could be up to $70 billion.

Zicherman's departure is not only a big change for the company's audiobook effort, but also another loss among Spotify's old guard of podcasting. Over the past year, most of the founders and top executives who came to Spotify during its podcast boom have opted to leave. Last spring, the company's top podcast dealmaker, Courtney Holt, announced her departure, followed by Mignano, who led the company's podcasting tech stack. Gimlet co-founder Alex Blumberg quietly went into decline at the same time his podcast How to Save a Planet was canceled. In January, Don Ostroff, the company's chief content and advertising officer, announced his leave, followed shortly by Max Cutler, founder of ParkCast and head of talk creator content and partnerships.

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