Spotify lands podcast deal with J.J. Abrams’ firm Bad Robot

TV writer-producer and filmmaker J.J. Abrams at the Ahmanson Theater in the Los Angeles Music Center
TV writer-producer and filmmaker J.J. Abrams’ company, Bad Robot, has entered a multiyear first-look podcast deal with Spotify.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As competition increases for content, Spotify on Wednesday landed another major podcast deal — this time, with J.J. Abrams’ Los Angeles production company, Bad Robot.

The exclusive, multiyear deal will give Spotify a first look at new narrative nonfiction and fiction podcasts out of Bad Robot’s new audio division, Bad Robot Audio.

“Bad Robot productions have produced some of the world’s most riveting and award-winning content and we cannot wait to see how their imaginative stories transcend into the audio space,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in a statement. “We are committed to bringing some of the world’s most respected and dynamic creators to Spotify exclusively, and we are thrilled to add Bad Robot and J.J. Abrams’s mind-bending and world-building stories, alongside their hugely loyal following of dedicated fans, to our wide-ranging catalogue of world-class audio talent.”


Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Spotify has worked on nearly two dozen original or exclusive podcasts with social media influencers over the past year, as it aims to grow its reach in podcasting.

The partnership is among several that Spotify has reached with Hollywood players, including Chernin Entertainment, Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Archewell Audio.

Bad Robot, formed by Abrams in 2001, has produced popular TV series such as “Alias” and “Westworld,” and films, including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“Podcasts have obviously become a go-to destination for entertainment, education and discovery,” Abrams, Bad Robot’s co-chief executive, said in a statement. “Given Bad Robot’s work in TV, film, games and music, podcasts was an obvious topic of conversation within the company for a long time.”

“Last Podcast on the Left” is the second podcast to end an exclusive agreement with Spotify and will become available on multiple platforms next year.

Bad Robot on Wednesday said its audio division would be led by head of podcasts Christina Choi, who was previously a director of content partnerships at Amazon-owned audio book and podcast company Audible and is a former Spotify executive.

While Spotify has been seen as a leader in developing and landing original and exclusive podcasts, competition has heated up among rivals to beef up their content and advertising revenue. At least two podcast programs ended their exclusive arrangements with Spotify after their deals ended.