Spotify has lost another executive in the talk content industry. Learned that Nir Zicherman who heads the new audiobook vertical at Spotify will be leaving this year. He is one of the few remaining executives that built Spotify’s Podcasting business.
Michael Mignano left Spotify in the last year. Zicherman and Mignano co-founded Anchor, a tool for podcast creation and distribution. Spotify acquired Anchor for $150 million in 2019. Zicherman joined Mignano as part of the product division. Zicherman became the head of audiobooks in 2022. Spotify spokesperson Rosa Oh said that he will remain on until October 1, 2018 to help establish the next audiobook leader.
Spotify launched its audiobook vertical in the fall of last year after completing its $123,00 purchase of audiobook distributor Findaway. Apple’s strict in-app purchasing rules have complicated the vertical’s a la cart purchase model. Zicherman, however, told HOT Pod that the company was looking for new business models, including free ad supported titles or an all-you can listen subscription.
Zicherman told Hot Pod Summit that “applying a blanket-approach to everything – every piece of content and every creator – actually hurts the business.” “So, the future I see for Spotify is different business models that support the many different types podcast content and audiobook content available.”
Spotify is reportedly going to start an external search for its next audiobook executive. Whoever fills this role has a huge job ahead. In the past, CEO Daniel Ek positioned audiobooks as the third most important vertical of his company after podcasts and music. It is clear that the industry is growing. Audio Publishers Association reports an increase of 25 percent in sales for North America by 2021, totaling $1.6 billion. Ek, however, has a bigger dream. He believes that the audiobook market could reach $70 billion.
Zicherman’s departure not only marks a major change in the audiobook program at Spotify, but it also represents another loss for Spotify’s podcasting old guard. In the last year, many of the top executives and founders who joined Spotify during the podcast boom have left. Last spring, Courtney Holt announced his departure. Mignano who headed the company’s technology stack for podcasting followed. Gimlet cofounder Alex Blumberg left quietly in the fall, around the time that his podcast canceled. Dawn Ostroff, chief content officer and advertising director of the company, announced her departure in January. This was followed shortly by Max Cutler, Parcast’s founder and head for talk creator content, partnerships and .