Podcast platforms The Ringer and Gimlet Media have officially ratified their first union contracts with Spotify.
The Writers Guild of America, East today unveiled the podcast companies’ three-year Spotify agreements, in an official statement that was shared with Digital Music News. The platforms – which are “two of the first podcast production companies to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East” – voted unanimously in favor of the deals, with 48 and 65 members of Gimlet bargaining units, respectively. Media and The Ringer.
For more information, Spotify reportedly paid a quarter of a billion dollars last year for The Ringer (which sports writer Bill Simmons founded in 2016), as part of a wider entry into the podcasting space. . Just before the parties finalized the massive deal, however, staff at The Ringer clarified that they only learned of the talks through a Wall Street Journal report. The Writers Guild of America, East then called for a meeting on behalf of the entity’s union members (only writers and producers, it should be mentioned).
Spotify’s $ 230 million takeover of Gimlet Media happened in 2019. Contrary to The Ringer’s deal, however, employees decided to unionize about a month after the deal was closed. . Podcast production company Parcast, bought by Spotify in 2019, unionized in September 2020.
The Stockholm-based streaming giant also lost $ 235 million on the advertising and podcast publishing platform Megaphone in November 2020, but it is not known if these team members intend to unionize. .
The two newly negotiated contracts come with “significant increases in minimum wage,” including $ 57,000 per year plus overtime at The Ringer and an annual salary of $ 73,000 for associate producers at Gimlet. In addition, screenwriters and producers’ employees will receive a “minimum” 2% annual salary increase, severance pay of 11 weeks (or more), “Spotify benefits” and more.
Regardless of benefits and compensation, multi-year contracts state that senior executives should limit their reliance on contractors in bargaining unit roles, including offering freelancers a permanent position after 10 months or at least notifying them one month in advance that such a position is not available. .
Finally, the agreements specify that half of the candidates for a position in an open unit “who arrive on stage after the telephone interview will come from traditionally under-represented groups (BIPOC, LGBTQ +, disabled people, military veterans)”. Further, in terms of editorial standards, “the company will not modify or omit to post content based on the direction of advertisers” and “bargaining unit employees will not be required to work on advertising and branded content. ”
The fact that Spotify continues to operate Gimlet and The Ringer as independent business units – and engages in negotiations with the syndicated entities – after losing around $ 500 million to acquire the companies seems to indicate a big push. scale to diversify into the non-music sector. audio entertainment. On that front, the company also acquired Clubhouse competitor Locker Room late last month.
Separately, employees of Secretly Group, a family of independent labels based in Indiana, voted to unionize last month. The individuals finally received official recognition from management just before the March 25 deadline.