French startup Majelan is pivoting a year after launching a podcast player and service. The company, created by former Radio France CEO Mathieu Gallet and Arthur Perticoz, is abandoning the podcast aggregation side of its business and focusing on premium audio content going forward.
Like many podcast startups, Majelan came under criticism shortly after launch. Aggregating free podcasts with premium content alongside them à la Luminary is a controversial topic in the podcast community. Spotify has followed the same path, but Spotify is also an order of magnitude bigger than any other podcast startup.
Some podcast makers have decided to remove their podcast feeds from Majelan to protest this business model.
Podcasts remain an open format. Creators can create a feed, users can subscribe to that feed in their favorite podcast app. You don’t need to sign up for a particular service to access a particular podcast, it’s all open.
“We’ve decided to stop aggregating free podcasts – free podcasts mean podcasts, period. For us podcasts are RSS feeds, it’s an open world, ”Perticoz said in a podcast episode. “We need a more payment-oriented app. We cannot aggregate free podcasts as our strategy is paid content.
The result is a more targeted service that will be launched on July 7 in France. After a free trial, you must subscribe for 5 to 7 € per month, depending on the length of your subscription. You can then access a library of premium audio content – Majelan doesn’t quite rightly call them podcasts.
“Going forward, we’re going to focus on original content, we’re going to focus 100% on paid content,” Gallet said in the same podcast episode.
And to be even more specific, Majelan will focus on personal growth, such as creativity, activism, mindfulness, innovation, entrepreneurship and health. According to the co-founders, some content will be produced in-house, some will be co-produced with other companies, and the startup will also acquire existing podcasts and repackage them for Majelan.
This movement has been in the works for some time. The startup presented it to its investor board in December. Premium subscriptions have worked well for Movies, TV, and Music. Now let’s see if subscriptions will also take off with spoken audio.