Spotify is in advanced talks to buy the podcast studio Gimlet Media, according to two people briefed on the proposed deal, a move that could help the music streaming service improve its profit margins and reduce its dependence on the major record companies.
The two people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the talks. Representatives of Spotify and Gimlet Media declined to comment.
Since Spotify went public last year, it has increased its investment in podcasts, once a minor part of its offerings. A deal with Gimlet, the company behind popular podcasts like “StartUp,” “Reply All” and “Crimetown,” would greatly expand that portfolio.
Gimlet, which was founded in 2014 by Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber, two veterans of public radio, has also recently moved into television production. “Homecoming,” an Amazon series starring Julia Roberts, is based on a fictional podcast from Gimlet.
“We created an I.P. factory,” Mr. Lieber, the president of Gimlet, said in a recent interview with The New York Times. “We generate a lot of stories.”
Spotify, which has 200 million users around the world, 87 million of whom pay for monthly subscriptions, has signed celebrities like Amy Schumer and Joe Budden to exclusive deals for podcasts, which the company promotes widely.
Those shows can draw Spotify’s users to spend more and more time on the service. While music fans may revolt if a popular song or album has been held back — or “windowed” — from streaming for a few weeks, podcast listeners tend to be less bothered by such gaps.
The more podcasts that Spotify’s users listen to, the less reliant the company becomes on the licenses it must regularly negotiate with the major record companies. Barry McCarthy, the company’s chief financial officer and a former finance chief at Netflix, has frequently told analysts that his goal is to improve Spotify’s profit margins.
Music is by far Spotify’s greatest expense. According to its financial reports, its costs for content — which is primarily music — are equal to about 75 percent of the company’s revenue.
Spotify shares have fallen about 30 percent since their peak in August. The stock closed at $137.21 on Friday, up 1.3 percent for the day.
The talks were first reported by Recode.