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Ava DuVernay Inks Spotify Deal to Produce Exclusive Podcasts

Ava DuVernay (Courtesy of Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Spotify and filmmaker Ava DuVernay signed a multiyear deal for a slate of exclusive podcast shows, the latest high-profile podcast pact for the audio streamer.

Spotify and DuVernay will develop and produce exclusive original audio programming through Array, DuVernay’s multiplatform arts and social impact collective, in concert with Spotify’s Gimlet studio. The scripted and unscripted narrative podcasts will “amplify a variety of voices and perspectives,” according to Spotify. The slate will be overseen by Array Filmworks president Sarah Bremner.

“Recognizing the undeniable power of voice and sound, I’m thrilled to extend Array’s storytelling into the realm of podcasts,” DuVernay said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with Lydia Polgreen [Gimlet’s managing director] and her passionate team drew us to Spotify as a home for our audio narratives and we couldn’t be more excited to begin this new creative journey.”

Polgreen added, “Ava DuVernay and her team at Array are at the forefront of telling powerful stories about the most pressing issues of our time.”

As part of its major investment in podcasting, Spotify has been lining up podcast content deals with a range of partners, including the Obamas, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kim Kardashian West, Warner Bros. and DC Comics, and more. Spotify has touted growing podcast listenership over the past year — and the platform now offers 1.9 million podcast shows — but some on Wall Street believe the push has not yet delivered meaningful results.

“Spotify’s partnership with Array continues our commitment to bringing the world’s most powerful and creative voices into podcasting,” said Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer. “We look forward to Spotify listeners hearing from the exceptional creators that Array will be bringing to our global platform.”

DuVernay’s credits include Oscar-nominated film “Selma” and documentary “13th” and miniseries “When They See Us” for Netflix. She founded Array in 2011. The organization comprises four mission-driven entities: film distribution arm Array Releasing; content company Array Filmworks; programming and production hub Array Creative Campus; and nonprofit group Array Alliance.

Spotify ended Q3 in 2020 with 185 Ad-Supported Users and 144M Premium Users

Variety's Todd Spangler contributed to this post.


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