The logo of the music streaming service Spotify is displayed on a smartphone on April 20, 2017.
Spotify has its own podcasts, sure, but Monday marks the launch of the streaming leader's first foray into branded originals. The new podcast series, "Ebb & Flow," is presented by New Amsterdam Vodka and is described as the spot where buzz worthy hip-hop and R&B artists can "get real with their fans and share stories about their hustle and grind, tears and doubts, and the good, bad and ugly of their come up in the music industry."
Hosted by DJ and curator Jasmine Solano, "Ebb & Flow" launches with five 30-minute episodes in the bank, featuring up-and-comers Skinny Mars, J.I.D, Saweetie, Bryce Vine and GASHI. "Ebb & Flow is not your typical interview series," Solano said. "In some of the episodes, artists started tearing up. We got into some really emotional talks. It really just felt like I was talking to some of my best friends. I think that just comes from artists talking to artists, entrepreneurs talking to entrepreneurs; there’s a sense of understanding and camaraderie."
The branded podcast -- a first for New Amsterdam as well -- arrives as Spotify remains under pressure to become profitable as it pays approximately 70 percent of revenue per music stream to labels and publishers. Podcasts represent a more potentially profitable type of content for the service, given their lower overhead costs. Spotify's current roster of non-branded original podcasts include Dissect, Good As Hell, Microphone Check, Are & Be and Amy Schumer's 3 Girls, 1 Keith.
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"At Spotify, we are focused on fueling the discovery of stories, culture and communities through audio-driven experiences," the company said in its announcement of "Ebb & Flow." "Podcasts are an integral part of this discovery. And as the number two podcast provider in the world, podcasts help us to bring fans closer to the creators and subject matters they love."