Spotify’s Michael Krause Talks Industry Trends Ahead of Our Music and Podcasting Summits in Germany

On April 18 and 19, experts from across the audio industry—including artists, publishers, and marketing and advertising professionals—will once again gather in Berlin for Spotify’s All Ears Podcast Summit and All Music Friday Summit.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in panel discussions and workshops and see performances and live podcast recordings. This year’s events follow the tremendous success of our 2023 summits in Berlin, during which All Ears made history as the country’s largest-ever podcast event.

For the Record sat down with Michael Krause, Spotify’s General Manager for Europe and the managing director for the summits, to talk audio trends, the music and podcasting scenes in Germany, and more.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s summits?

I’m very excited to bring the industry back together and continue our conversations around the future of the audio field in Germany. I’m of course partial to seeing some of my Spotify colleagues talk, like Sten Garmark, who oversees the user experience and has worked on countless new functionalities we’ve rolled out these past few months, or Sulinna Ong, who leads our global music editorial teams. But most importantly, I believe it’s the energy in the room, the unexpected discussions that will pop up, that make it so thrilling.

What are some of the most exciting and interesting trends you’re seeing in audio, locally and globally? 

What’s got me excited is the new ad formats launched over the past few months and the enthusiasm we’re seeing here in Germany, as well as across Europe. We’re innovating on the ad experience, we’re introducing better targeting with tools like Streaming Ad Insertion, we’re helping advertisers reach podcast listeners at scale with the Spotify Audience Network, and we’re proving the impact of digital audio advertising with Spotify Ad Analytics. Most recently, we launched call-to-action cards (CTA cards) in Germany as a new format that makes podcast ads interactive for the first time, with an experience that enables listeners to hear, see, and click.

Germany is one of the largest music markets globally. How is Spotify contributing to that growth? 

It’s always been our mission to create connections between fans and artists the world over. We’ve lowered barriers to entry into the music field, and we’re seeing more and more artists thriving on Spotify. What is of the utmost importance to me, and to my teams, is that we enable the new professional artists of tomorrow to find success on our platform. Our programs such as EQUAL and RADAR are empowering them to do just that. 

You’ve been at Spotify for seven years now. What are some of the most impactful changes you’ve witnessed during your tenure?

When I joined Spotify, podcasts were barely a thing. Seven years later, we’ve grown into podcasting, audiobooks, and have just launched courses in the U.K. But most importantly, we’ve gone from being available in 80+ countries then to 180+ countries today. Over 600 million people use Spotify—that’s so many opportunities for audio creators to connect to new fans. I’ve always been a big believer in the company, but the growth, the developments have taken us all on an incredible journey. And I’m even more excited for what lies ahead, both as a user and as a bandmate.

Podcasts are huge in Germany. How do you think the local podcast market will continue to evolve? Any specific goals you have?

We’ve launched so many tools and functionalities over the past year that enable creators to develop and engage with their communities, and it’s rewarding to see them start using them. Video podcasts are one of those, and it’s such an incredible, different way to interact with fans. We want to continue to allow all of our creators to develop and grow their audiences on our platform to give them the flexibility of deciding what makes the most sense for their content and for their communities.

You’ve just unveiled the Loud and Clear report for 2023 in Germany. What’s most compelling to you, and what opportunities lie ahead for Spotify in Germany? 

What’s most impressive to me is that German artists were discovered for the first time in 2023 more than 6.7 billion times. That’s a staggering amount of discoveries, and that directly goes back to our mission—to unlock the potential of audio creators at large and connect them to their audiences worldwide. And what’s both an opportunity and a massive success is that revenues generated by Spotify for German artists grew by 14% from 2022 to 2023, whereas Germany’s music industry revenues at large grew by 7% in that time frame. Spotify revenues in that market grew twice as fast. We have become a key driver and contributor to the German music industry, and we’re excited to continue partnering with artists and creators in Germany to further develop their careers.