YouTube Premium and Music Adds 13 More Countries to Reach 60 Total

YouTube Premium and its sidekick YouTube Music are now available in 13 additional countries, more than a year after launch.

That brings the total countries supported to 63 for Premium, and 62 for YouTube Music.  The odd man out is South Korea, which has Premium but lacks the paid Music tier.

Google reworked its YouTube Premium and Music Premium subscriptions to be a bit less confusing, but it hasn’t helped adoption rates.  In November 2018, we reported that the YouTube Music app fell out of the top 10 streaming services in the U.S.

That was a depressing sign, and YouTube has yet to share worldwide subscription totals.  Meanwhile, industry whisper numbers suggest soft uptake on the paid side, with YouTube itself possibly lacking the motivation to upgrade users.

Regardless, the global march continues. As of this morning, YouTube Premium is now available in these additional countries:

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Lat
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey

In addition to the additional countries, Google announced a new feature for the YouTube Music app. Now listeners can switch seamlessly between audio and music videos with a single tap. The feature is available to YouTube Premium and YouTube Music subscribers.

A video button will appear at the top of the screen when you start listening to a song. Tapping that button switches between just audio or the music video, too. The new feature is now live and available on over five million official music videos.

“If a song has a video, YouTube Music will surface a video button so switching between audio and visuals is just one click away,” YouTube Music product manager Brandon Bilinski shared in a blog post.

If you’re not into watching music videos, there’s a setting in the YouTube app to disable the feature. Then again, once videos are removed from the picture, YouTube’s competitive differentiation goes away.  While Apple Music and Spotify are laser-focused on expanding their presence through podcasts and other features, YouTube seems kinda oblivious.

Google Play Music is currently hanging in the balance between YouTube Music and YouTube Premium. GPM is a vestigial service that Google is likely to chop or fold into YouTube Music sooner rather than later. These broader rollouts for YouTube Premium are likely one more nail in the coffin for GPM.

YouTube is one of the in the industry.  The YouTube Music subscription tier changes that a bit, and YouTube recently claimed that its premium service pays the same royalties as Spotify’s premium tier.

Overall, YouTube claims they paid $6 billion to music rights owners, with $1.8 billion paid in 2018 alone.

Apple Decides to Invest In Original Podcasts — Putting a Big Buzzkill on Spotify's Expansion

Looks like Spotify rattled Apple’s podcast cage one too many times.

Now, after spending hundreds of millions on its podcast expansion, Spotify has a potentially serious problem ahead.  Earlier today (Tuesday), Wall Street reacted to news that Apple had decided to invest in original podcasting content, just like Spotify.

Of course, Apple’s the 800 lb. incumbent when it comes to podcasts — which might explain why Spotify’s stock immediately faced downward pressure on the news.  But this didn’t spill over into a panic, not by any stretch.  By the closing bell, SPOT had slipped nearly 2% to land at $151.26, a not-so-scary finish that shaved fewer than three points from the previous close.

Still, the specter of Apple dumping potentially hundreds of millions into original podcasting isn’t welcomed news at Spotify.  Already, Spotify has dropped monstrous sums to acquire podcast companies Gimlet Media and Anchor, with a max-out investment of $500 million earmarked for 2019.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to invest in “the kind of deals it didn’t make before,” which signals a departure from a podcasting platform to a podcasting studio.  Or, something in-between, with heavy-hitters still living on Apple’s market-leading app alongside Apple-funded series.

Sounds like pretty potent stuff, with Spotify potentially forced to ramp up its bidding for top-ranked podcasting talent.

“You do not listen to a podcast, then a piece of music, and then a podcast. Experience has shown us that running in separate applications works great on iOS.”

— Eddy Cue.

Bloomberg also noted that the podcast bankrolling will coincide with Apple’s move towards TV-focused investments.  All of which fits neatly into Apple’s broader shift towards subscriptions and content.

Apple’s podcasting app is already embedded onto every single iOS device.  In fact, it’s one of Apple’s pre-loaded apps that can’t be removed.

Two years earlier, Spotify promised that it was ‘coming after’ Apple and its podcast dominance.  But even prior to Apple’s content-financing decision, the company’s well-entrenched podcasting app has proven to be a tough target.

And, for that matter, so have Spotify users.  For now, Spotify is aiming to blend music and podcast content, with the idea that listeners will embrace the mixed basket of content.

That’s an approach that Apple sharply disagrees with, however.  “These are two different things,” Apple executive Eddy Cue recently told French publication Numerama.

“You do not listen to a podcast, then a piece of music, and then a podcast. Experience has shown us that running in separate applications works great on iOS.”

 

Master P Shares Awkward Encounter With Tyler Perry: "The Energy Wasn’t There"

New Orleans has produced quite a few high prile talents, so when two them came face-to-face at this year’s ESSENCE Fest in The Big Easy, it was expected that they’d show each other love. However, according to Master P, that wasn’t the case. The I Got the Hook Up 2 filmmaker shared a story with TheYBF Podcast where he stated that his recent interaction with cinematographer Tyler Perry was an overall uncomfortable experience.

“I bumped into Tyler Perry yesterday at ESSENCE Fest] but it was awkward,” P said. “I thought we was going to embrace each other. I think that people are afraid when they see me, because they know I’m so independent and I’m doing this, so I don’t know, am I threatening to them or whatever. I’m ready to embrace him, like a black man from New Orleans. Like, I’m happy for you brother, but it was like the energy wasn’t there.”

The hip hop icon fered up his own reasons as to why Perry wasn’t receptive to him. “Maybe I’m too real, ’cause I say stuff like I wouldn’t put on a dress to be in a movie,” P added. “That’s not speaking to him, I just wouldn’t do that as me. My morals are different. I don’t care how much money, I just wouldn’t do it, but I’m committed. I remember seven years ago, me and him met and said we was gon’ do something. We never did it, but I don’t know. I’m just saying, to see me, where I’m rising up right now in the film side, I woulda thought he’d be happy another brother from New Orleans…you know what I’m saying? It wasn’t a bad thing but it wasn’t what I was expecting.”

Steelers James Conner Reveals He Had A Week To Live Before Cancer Diagnosis

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner was diagnosed with cancer back in 2015, and he recently revealed how that diagnosis came just in the nick time.

During an appearance on Mike Stud’s podcast, “Ya Neva Know: ya know what I mean?,” Conner described the moment he learned the devastating news, including how a doctor told him he only had “about a week” to live.

Says the 24-year old running back (H/T Hunter Homistek):

“As a running back, I’m like, ‘This is the worst thing in the world,'” Conner told Stud. “A running back with an MCL] injury? It ain’t cool.”

“I’m rehabbing for that, trying to make a comeback before the season ends,” Conner said. “And then I’m rehabbing and stuff and I get] night sweats, bro. I’m getting like 15 minutes sleep at night, going through it. Sleep, who doesn’t] love sleep? That’s the worst stuff] in the world … And so I get some tests done, and I got tumors surrounding my heart … I got tumors growing all around it, and it’s pressing.”

“The doctor told me I had a week left,” Conner said. “He said, ‘You got about a week. If you don’t] get this treated, you have] about a week at the rate it’s growing.'”

 

Conner underwent chemotherapy to combat the Hodgkin lymphoma, and he was declared cancer-free in May 2016. The former Pitt Panther had a breakout season last year in the absence Le’Veon Bell, rushing for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games, to go along with 497 receiving yards and one receiving TD.

The Steelers will open up the 2019 season on the road against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, September 8.

Amar’e Stoudemire Allegedly Threatens Knicks’ Podcasters: "Meet Me In Person"

They’ll chalk it up as hearsay until Amar’e Stoudemire says otherwise. It would appear that Stoudemire has been found guilty “doing too much” in his defensive maligned Knicks’ owner James Dolan. According to the production staff at LeKnicks Podcast, a periodical devoted to New York Knickerbockers’ basketball – Amar’e hit them with a disapproving DM upon the discovery a post in which his face is juxtaposed with a quote praising James Dolan, the bane every surviving Knicks fan in ’19.

“For me, I signed with the Knicks because James Dolan,” the quote reads, below which stands the following caption, authored by a LeKnicks’ staffer with the intention espousing modesty out Amar’e Stoudemire. “Of course you did, he was the only one willing to shell out $100 mil on you and your weak ass knees,” reads the LeKnicks caption. “FOH with this brainwashed propaganda bullshit.” 

From there, Amar’e is alleged to have DM’d them a 2nd time with idle threats a violent clash. “Yo. Meet me in person. I want to chat with you,” Stoudemire allegedly wrote DM. LeKnicks provided  “unauthenticated” receipts DM’s Screenshotted post. As Complex’s Abel Shifferaw pointed out, the Twitterverse has intercepted Amar’e’s underlying motives for defending Dolan’s honor online: a potential NBA comeback no sooner than next season. Chris Haynes Yahoo Sports has indicated that about 12 NBA teams sent scouts to watch him and Monta Ellis train/play on the Pro-AM circuit.

Google Employees Caught Listening to Private Conversations Through Google Home

Millions upon millions of individuals listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, news, weather reports, and much more Google Home devices, but it was recently revealed that Google Home speakers are listening right back — and not just to voice commands.

Google admitted in a statement this week that some of its employees are assigned to listen to, review, and analyze soundbites of user conversations — conversations that aren’t necessarily directed towards the Home device.

According to Google, a minute portion of audio clips — about .2 percent of total recordings — are transcribed and analyzed. Google also stated that this process plays an important role in helping to make users’ Google Home experiences as positive as possible.

In the past, Google Home’s leading smart-speaker competitor, Amazon Echo (Alexa), was revealed to collect some user conversations and allow certain employees to analyze these conversations in order to optimize Alexa’s functionality and performance.

Amazon has received a bit more press in this regard, as Alexa has leaked conversations to users’ friends and has even seen its recordings cited as evidence in a murder case. Moreover, all Amazon Echo users’ voice inputs are recorded and saved, and these clips can be accessed one’s account settings.

The development coincides with data showing that music is now the most popular request across smart speakers, often by a large margin.  That creates a brand-new gatekeeper, with Google, Amazon, and Apple jockeying for leadership positions.  It may also box out Spotify in the long-term, depending on how critical the smart speaker becomes in the future music streaming landscape.

Consumer reactions to Google’s eavesdropping seem to be even — that is, some believe it’s a big deal, and others believe it’s not worth a second thought.

And judging by the relatively lax manner in which Google issued the specified statement, it appears that the matter will blow over relatively quickly.  This may be partially because of the considerable, multi-year efforts of Amazon to calm worries, concerns, and criticism of the Echo’s recording-review policies.

So the next time you’re enjoying a pleasant conversation in the vicinity of your smart speaker, remember that a Google employee might be enjoying with you — albeit from the other end.

Drake & Most Of B2K’s Millennium Tour To Headline 2019 OVO Fest

Toronto, CA – Drake has announced the lineup for his ninth annual OVO Fest, and it looks strikingly similar to the bill from the B2K Millennium Tour.

The festival’s performers include B2K, Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, the Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, Bobby V and, of course, Drake as the headliner. Besides Champagne Papi, all of the other artists were featured on the B2K reunion tour.

The upcoming event will take place on August 4-5 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. Drizzy is also hosting two other activities ahead of the festival.

From July 29 to August 2, the OVO Basketball tournament will be held at the Goldring Centre. The OVO Summit, which is described as “immersive conference for Canadian creatives and lifestyle entrepreneurs looking to grow their careers, hone their skills and make a lasting impact on the creative economy in Canada,” is scheduled for August 2 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The OVO Festival is making a return after its 2018 absence. Past entertainers to grace the stage include JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Lil Wayne, Eminem and The Weeknd.

Check out some of the Twitter reactions to the 2019 lineup below.

Titans’ Mike Vrabel Says He’d Cut His Penis Off To Win A Super Bowl

Athletes and coaches are always looking for competitive advantages and ways to defeat their opponents. Coaches will devise interesting schemes and tactics to propel their teams to victory while the players study tape and figure out the strengths and weaknesses who they’re about to play. For Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, he’d be willing to undergo even more drastic measures in order to secure his team a win.

Vrabel appeared on the “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcast with two his players, Taylor Lewan and Will Compton. Both players asked their head coach if he would ever consider cutting f his penis in order to win a Super Bowl. Vrabel already has three titles with the New England Patriots as a player, but would love to get his first ring as a coach. Surprisingly, Vrabel is more than willing to part ways with his genitals.

“Been married 20 years … yeah, probably,” Vrabel said before adding that his wife would probably help him cut it f. “She’d be like do you want me to do it? Do you want to do it now?” 

The Titans failed to make the playfs in Vrabel’s first year as head coach, although the team was able to secure a winning record 9-7. You can watch the full episode the podcast in the video above.

With Major Labels Alone Taking a 70% Cut on YouTube Premium Royalties, Internet Creators Guild Shuts Down

Whose fault is it when an up-and-coming content creator collective shuts down?  The company itself or the music industry at large?

According to the Internet Creators Guild (ICG), the music industry.  Notably, major labels and advertising agencies.

In an e-mail sent out to creators, ICG’s Board of Directors confirmed on Monday it would close its doors.

Founded in 2016, Hank Green, a popular online video blogger, launched the Internet Creators Guild with a two-fold purpose.  First, the organization wanted to advise rising stars like himself.  Second, ICG also wanted to represent them.

Lamenting the company’s closure, the board explained,

In the last four years, we’ve worked toward that goal by striving to increase transparency in brand deals, assisting creators when they were being treated unfairly by advertisers or platforms, interfacing with journalists, providing a community for creators to meet and share, and putting pressure on platforms to meet the needs of creators.

Unfortunately, ICG faced a problem other start-up organizations often fail to overcome – financial stability.

We still believe that creators need to have a place where they can join together, support each other, and collectively bargain.  But we have not found a way to support the staff necessary to continue our mission.

In addition, music licensing with unnamed video platforms – i.e., Facebook and YouTube, among many others – caused ICG to decline.

Our relationships with platforms often yielded positive results, contributing to constructive discussions around the state of creators and the industry.  However, these platforms often required us to not discuss these relationships as a condition of having these conversations.

Thus, the Internet Creators Guild couldn’t “be transparent” nor push for the real value of its members’ works.

For example, the organization revealed major labels receive 70% of every dollar spent on YouTube Premium.  Creators make more money from subscribers than non-paying users.  Yet, if labels would stop taking “a lion’s share” of revenue, Premium could have been “game-changing” for many content creators.

Further slamming the industry, ICG wrote,

Record labels stand in solidarity with each other and can hold YouTube hostage.  This is one of the many reasons collective action is necessary in our space.

Major advertisers also push to keep their brand deal rates “shrouded in mystery.”  In fact, standing against transparency, these companies don’t want rates to go public.  This often hurts content creators who struggle to make a profit from their work.

We hope that creators will continue to strive for transparency by insisting that their payment be excluded from any nondisclosure agreement associated with their brand relationships.

The Board of Directors has confirmed all current ICG members will promptly receive membership refunds on a pro-rata basis.

The post concludes,

Thank you for your vision and support for the ICG, we’re deeply grateful.  The same goes out to all of our board members and executive directors (current and former), everyone who has helped us with research, joined us for the podcast, or reached out for a quote or background research on any of the complicated issues creators face today.

 


Featured image by Thomas Galvez (CC by 2.0).

Jay Onrait: Chris Broussard Is "Biggest F*cking Fraud In History Of Sports Media"

Chris Broussard, like many other NBA “insiders,” was dead wrong about Kawhi Leonard’s free agency plans this summer and fans have had a field day pulling the receipts on twitter. In fact, Broussard was recently scolded by one his former Fox colleagues, Jay Onrait, who is apparently furious about the whole thing.

During a recent episode  the “Jay and Dan Show, Onrait, who now works at TSN, berated Broussard for his Kawhi reports, labelling the FS1 host as “the biggest fucking fraud in the history sports media, ever.”

Onrait’s rant about Broussard, as well as Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, includes the following (H/T New York Post):

“Everyone knew nothing, nothing! And they were saying that they knew everything!” Onrait said. “Chris Broussard, who worked at Fox and is the biggest f–king fraud in the history sports media, ever — ESPN kicked him out, Fox kicked him out, I don’t know what he’s doing now — saying that the Clippers were out it for sure and it was down to the Lakers and Raptors. He knew nothing. They knew nothing. It’s all bulls–t.

“And I know it’s all bulls–t. I get it. All those shows in the daytime, ‘First Take,’ and again, I like all these people personally. I like them all. And I understand why they’re doing those shows. It works. It gets numbers. People like them, it’s entertaining. I’m not criticizing that side it. I’m just saying, if anyone in the history the world takes anything the daytime guys say seriously, and I’m including ESPN’s] Stephen A. Smith] in this. I know Stephen A. has a lot connections, but he says a lot stuff that’s completely 100% f–king false. … If anyone tells me, ‘Stephen A. said something,’ or, ‘Max Kellerman said something,’ no. It’s all bulls–t. Nobody knows anything. And they should have known that Kawhi was the kind person that this would backfire on them about.” 

Joe Budden Blasts Crissles For Bringing Up A$AP Rocky’s Ferguson Quote

For the most part, people are riding with A$AP Rocky in the midst his legal battle in Sweden. The rapper’s currently detained by authorities for his involvement in an altercation with a few men who harassed him and his crew on the street. A petition was launched for his freedom earlier this week but The Read podcast co-host Crissle brought up an old quote Rocky’s around the time Ferguson. “I thought this when I heard about ASAP Rocky‘s situation in Sweden,” she wrote along with a screenshot the quote.

Earlier today, Joe Budden went on his podcast to blast Crissle for bringing up that tweet in the first place which caused a whole lot commotion on Twitter. He referred to Crissles as “that nasty ass bum ass homegirl” before explaining that he didn’t think it was the right time to bring up the quote. 

“That’s so nasty on Twitter,” he said. “I seen her put it out. It’s just like, you niggas that be preaching this pro black shit but get evil in a heartbeat,” he continued before condemning Rocky’s initial comments. 

Crissles caught wind the comments and responded by saying Budden should be glad that she paved the way for him to get into the podcasting world. It seems like things have simmered down since but we’ll see if he ends up addressing the feud on his next podcast. 

BTS Powerhouse Big Hit Is Reportedly Building Its Own Streaming Service

Why play by Spotify’s rules, when you can make your own?

Thanks in large part to Korean boy band group BTS, Big Hit Entertainment unveiled a major milestone last month.  The Korean entertainment agency representing the K-Pop group, among many others, now has a valuation well above $1 billion.

And that’s on the low-end.

The Hyundai Research Institute estimated that the private agency’s true valuation is between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Last year alone, Big Hit generated $214.2 billion won ($181.6 million) in sales.  The company also posted a net profit of 50.2 billion won ($42.5 million) and an operating profit of 64.1 billion won ($54.3 million).

According to a one South Korean source to DMN, Big Hit is now bigger than entire music industries in most Asian countries.

Now, the Korean entertainment agency will reportedly unveil a brand-new music streaming service.

BTS?

According to multiple sources speaking with the Korea Herald, Big Hit Entertainment has teamed up with top local game developer, Netmarble.

A Big Hit investor speaking on the condition of anonymity explained,

The two firms have started development work as a venture project.  The platform is targeting global users around the world.”

Both companies recently launched BTS World, a mobile game featuring the K-Pop boy band.  Once the unnamed music service launches, BTS will release songs exclusively on the platform.

In addition, the new service may also feature podcasting services.  But don’t expect Big Hit and Netmarble to launch the music platform anytime soon.

The two firms will continue to analyze the marketability of the new platform before its official launch.  They would not rush.

Another music industry source revealed that the entertainment agency has long wanted to diversify its business.

Big Hit has been seeking to enter the music distribution business as part of its efforts to diversify revenue sources, which are now largely dependent on BTS.

In addition, the music platform would help the company avoid licensing costs.

Operating its own platform may help reduce some commission fees paid to distributor partners, but more importantly, that would help Big Hit gauge its own brand power with the general public, not just BTS fans.

A spokesperson for the entertainment agency denied the existence of the platform without providing specifics.

 


 

DMC On "Your Mom’s House": Interview Details His Past As A Bullied Honor Roll Student

DMC has a very interesting way classifying musical genres. The 55-year-old rapper is ten considered one the pioneers hip-hop music and its surrounding culture. However, when he first found out about hip-hop, he wasn’t as involved in it as he would grow to be. During an in-depth chat with the hosts Your Mom’s House podcast, DMC spoke about his interests from before he discovered hip-hop and how his life led him to become one the core members Run-DMC.

“My whole life prior to music was Marvel comic books,” said DMC, whose real name is Darryl McDaniels. “Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man, the Avengers, the whole nine. Read, collect, draw. Read, collect, draw. Read, collect, draw. That’s all I did. By me always reading comic books made me a good reader in school. I was an honor roll student, which I’m very proud to this day.”

He remembers how two girls used to always be smarter than him, namedropping them and speaking about the friendly competition they had. After seventh grade, DMC discovered this beautiful little thing called hip-hop, which absolutely changed his life. “In seventh grade, something crazy happened to me. This thing called hip-hop comes over the bridge from the Bronx. Now, I didn’t know what it was at first,” he said. At that point, he wasn’t even a music fan. He says that his parents used to listen to soul classics like Aretha Franklin around him, but that he didn’t necessarily identify with them. Now, he classifies genres by the feelings they give him. 

DMC says that folk rock and classic rock changed his entire worldview, bringing him over from comics to the microphone. “When I heard rock, there was just something about the rock drums that was heavier than soul and disco.] So rock music was like superheroes to me. And then the folk music was like social studies or history in school because even though these dudes were big rock stars, most their music was about politics.”

As a student, DMC could finally relate to some the topics being sung about and rock music played an integral role in that. Without comics, or rock, we wouldn’t have Run-DMC as we know it. Watch the full interview below!

Larsa Pippen Is Still Egging On The Jordyn Woods & Tristan Thompson Scandal

Yes, Jordyn Woods kissing Tristan Thompson was a shady move that lead to the 21-year-old being kicked out the Kardashian clan since Khloe Kardashian was all kinds hurt and betrayed. We’ve seen the reactions had by the family on the final episodes the latest season  Keeping Up With The Kardashians where Khloe called Jordyn “fat” and got slammed for her comment. 

You’d think that the whole ordeal would be a thing the past considering that Jordyn is seemingly doing fine and Khloe’s got mom things to worry about but the family’s friend Larsa Pippen is still egging on the situation, something no one asked for. The 45-year-old who sometimes appears on KUWTK made an appearance on the Hollywood Unlocked UNCENSORED] podcast and detailed how there was more Jordyn and Tristan suspicion than just the kiss. 

Larsa Pippen Is Still Egging On The Jordyn Woods & Tristan Thompson Scandal
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty s

“I called Kim. She didn’t believe me — she was like, ‘No way. There’s no way,’” Larsa explained. “Then we called Kourtney and Kourtney was like, ‘Yeah, I believe it…there were other situations where Jordyn and Tristan] were in the same room together and it was like, a weird feeling. And Kourtney was in that room.”

Whether it’s a true statement or not, people have taken to Twitter to tell Larsa to keep it down considering that she cheated on her husband, Scottie Pippen, with Future. Peep some reactions below. 

Spotify Signs an Exclusive Podcasting Deal with Kevin Bacon

Spotify has signed an exclusive agreement with well-known actor and musician Kevin Bacon, who will star in a scripted comedy podcast, I’m Gonna Be Kevin Bacon, in the near future.

The project is happening, though a specific release date hasn’t yet been provided.  But if you’re wondering where else Spotify is allocating its $500 million-plus podcasting budget, here’s yet another answer.

The Bacon partnership is just one component of Spotify’s recent efforts to add podcasts to its repertoire — and dramatically lower its royalty costs in the process. Last month, Spotify inked a deal with the Obamas, who will release “multiple” exclusive programs through the streaming service.

I’m Gonna Be Kevin Bacon will follow a washed-up actor who blames Kevin Bacon for his career failures; said actor then embarks on a comprehensive quest to bring Bacon to justice.

The 12-episode program will be crafted with the help of several members of Funny or Die, a comedy-focused media-production company that was founded by Will Ferrell.  It was also reported that multiple actors and celebs will make cameo appearances in I’m Gonna Be Kevin Bacon, though the names of these individuals were not disclosed by Spotify.

In addition to illustrating Spotify’s broader expansion into audio (not just music) entertainment, I’m Gonna Be Kevin Bacon is significant in that it signals a major change of pace from the traditional podcast, which generally focuses on conversation, news, interviews, or other nonfiction topics.

Bacon, a native of Philadelphia, has enjoyed considerable career success throughout the last four decades.  Since making his film debut in Animal House, he has starred in a string of critically acclaimed works.  You Should Have Left, a horror film co-starring Bacon and Amanda Seyfried, will release sometime this year.  Bacon is also currently starring in City on a Hill, a Showtime drama.

Lastly, Bacon has a good deal of music experience — a point that might have factored into his signing with Spotify. Kevin and Michael Bacon comprise The Bacon Brothers, a country, folk, and rock hybrid group. Since 1995, the duo has released nine records, the most recent of which dropped in 2018.