(Bloomberg) -- Union members at two of Spotify Technology SA’s podcast studios said a decision by the company to put their shows exclusively on its own streaming service led to a drop in listeners, and a subsequent decision to cancel programs and fire workers.Spotify said Thursday that it was ending 11 podcasts and terminating employees. Union representatives at the company’s Parcast and Gimlet Media studios issued a joint statement in response on Friday saying each had 30% of their members let go. About 38 people lost their jobs in total. Some of their programs had lost up to 75% of their listeners after going exclusive, the employees said, and Spotify management didn’t do enough to stop the decline.
“Shows languished without marketing support, and teams were not given clear audience goals to meet,” the union representatives wrote. “The strongest indication these employees received that their shows were not meeting Spotify’s goals was when they were laid off yesterday.”Spotify declined to comment. The music streaming giant has made a big push into podcasting in recent years, acquiring studios and launching new shows. But the company now seems to be in a period of retrenchment.
The Parcast and Gimlet employees are organized through the Writers Guild of America, East. The union is asking Spotify to allow affected employees to take their contacts, sources and unfinished work with them.
The union members said the laid-off employees were given as little as an hour to wrap up their work and that listeners have not been provided any explanation for their shows’ cancellation. The majority of members in the Parcast union’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee were terminated, the workers said. They say Spotify didn’t provide explanation of how they chose who to terminate.
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