Spotify is testing placing suggested news podcasts into algorithmically generated playlists

Spotify plans to spend half a billion dollars on podcast-related acquisitions and now it’s just made its first move towards improving podcast discovery on its platform with the creation of a fresh new playlist that combines podcast episodes and music recommendations.

“Your Daily Drive” is a news-focused playlist designed for people who commute frequently in their vehicles, according to The Verge. The algorithmically-driven test features music that fits the user’s interests along with short news podcasts that weren’t made by Spotify.

The Swedish music-streaming giant, which now counts more than a hundred million paid subscribers, has confirmed the test in a boilerplate statement to the publication, saying “We’re always testing new products and experiences, but have no further news to share at this time.”

The feature is being tested with a small subset of users in a Portuguese-speaking country, but it’s unclear if a wider rollout might be happening anytime soon.

Apple’s iTunes is, and has been, the most-traficked podcast directory but Spotify wants to challenge that. Earlier this year, the Swedish company snapped up podcast networks Gimlet Media and Parcast, as well as podcaster creation and hosting platform Anchor.

On top of that, the firm has funded original podcast programming.

Promoting these shows heavily is one of the ways Spotify wants to increase engagement and advertising (unlike Spotify, Apple does not sell ads against podcasts hosted on iTunes).

Spotify is also challenging Apple’s “agency” model and the 15-30 percent fee Apple takes on App Store sales in an antitrust complaint filed in March with a European competition watchdog, prompting it to address the accusations with an open letter published on its website.