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The Client
Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming and media services provider founded on 23 April 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. It is one of the largest music streaming service providers with over 406 million monthly active users, including 180 million paying subscribers, as of December 2021. As of 2020, there are 1,750,000 podcasts in the world, and the market demand for podcasts continues to rise. Spotify has positioned itself as a leader in the curation and creation of podcasts—with over 2.2 million podcast episodes in its catalog. Part of this strategy has involved acquiring popular podcast networks like Gimlet Media, Parcast, and The Ringer. Another part of its strategy involves licensed and exclusive content like Renegades: Born in the USA with President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. Abolition X Spotify Podcast
The Situation
Spotify Studio’s manager of Post Production Technology, Ben Meadors, was working to achieve a process for post production as Spotify Studios scaled. His role was to design processes to safely bring content into and through the organization, and onward to delivery and archiving. The video creative and post-production teams at Spotify can have as many as 40 people. Ben wanted to ensure they have the media they need with the most efficient workflows possible. He wanted an infrastructure that gave the team:
  • Fast turnaround times for media production
  • Ability to easily rotate teams of freelancers
  • Collaboration during media production
Ejecting an External Hard Drive Workflow: One of the first challenges Ben took on was to remove the limitations presented by an external hard drive workflow. It was quite a large challenge for just one person, so Ben reached out to Peter Price at CHESA to help him build a new solution. The limitations included:
  • The workflow centered around duplicating content
  • It could not scale-out easily
  • It slowed production
  • It required frequent backups
  • It required moving content between drives for editing
Files at the Ready:  Another challenge was creating a solution for quick asset recovery. Spotify had creative teams all over the country who had created terabytes of B-roll footage. The previous media management solution was not intuitive. Editors could spend hours searching if they didn’t know many details about the media they needed. With iconik managing all of Spotify’s podcast media assets, there is a whole suite of tools to help creative teams find media fast.
It used to be convoluted to find assets, but now it can be a three-button click. The time saved by this excited many of our key stakeholders, which made iconik buy-in that much stronger at the start.”

-Ben Meadors

Manager, Post-Production Technology, Spotify Studios

How CHESA Helped Them
On-premise content is stored on Open Drives shared storage in multiple geographic locations, and indexed in iconik. The iconik Storage Gateway (ISG) manages the geo-located storage and sends proxy versions into the iconik cloud. Any content stored in the cloud is also indexed in iconik. This offers a complete view over all assets in the different locations, from anywhere. Users can then use iconik to search, preview, download, and request the originals as needed. Now, all of Spotify’s podcast content is available to editors from the cloud. No more shipping hard drives! iconik cloud Files at the Ready:
Editors can retrieve whatever assets they need with search tools like:
  • Visual AI Auto-Tagging – Artificial intelligence can recognize every detail in media. Colors, subjects, feelings, and environments become searchable.
  • Search for Spoken Phrases in Transcripts – Transcriptions become part of an asset. This means editors can locate a video by searching for dialog. Each word becomes a part of the asset metadata.
  • Filtered Searches – Standard and custom search parameters make finding assets less like a needle in a haystack and more like fish in a barrel. Filters can include date, file type, media format, and AI tags.
  • Saved Searches – Users can save filters and search parameters to recall the search results again. Saved searches save the search—not the results. This way the results are always up to date.
  • Discovery View – User content recommendations based on activity and admin selections.
With media assets so easy to find in iconik, teams are finding more uses for them. Everything is visible and nothing is wasted. CHESA Spotify
“One of the most appealing things about iconik is that it’s a one-stop shop for post-production. We’ve been able to streamline our workflow significantly by combining asset management with the sharing, collaboration, and transcription tools inside iconik.” – Ben Meadors, Spotify Studios
  Establishing a Creative Hub: The ease at which iconik has fit into so many workflows already has led to plans for even further integration. With the continued help of CHESA, Ben is designing new workflows to tie more of Spotify’s 3rd party services into iconik. The agility of iconik allows it to be woven through the entire media lifecycle. Now with an infrastructure that’s built to scale, Spotify can continue to create and grow its podcast operations without limitations. MORE: Listen to this episode of The Workflow Show podcast to learn more about Ben Meador’s work and Spotify’s podcast media workflow.
Check out this video to see how Spotify’s Podcast Operations uses iconik:
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