Podcast listeners were unable to access many of their favorite shows Monday night and early Tuesday morning due to a malfunction on Spotify’s podcast hosting platform, Megaphone. The failure was the result of a failure to renew Megaphone’s security certificate.
“Megaphone had a platform outage due to an issue with our SSL certificate,” Spotify spokesperson Erin Styles said in a statement. “During the outage, customers were unable to access the Megaphone CMS and podcast listeners were unable to download podcast episodes from Megaphone-hosted publishers. The megaphone service has since been restored.”
It’s a simple mistake with big consequences. Megaphone, which inserts dynamic ads into episodes, is home to many of the best shows in the industry. It also distributes shows on platforms outside of Spotify, including Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Spotify hosts its own licensed and proprietary shows, such as The Joe Rogan Experience and shows from the bell, on Megaphone. (Disclosure: Vox Media, owner of) The edge, also publishes podcasts on Megaphone). Styles said the company is contacting affected publishers.
This is the second time in a week that JRE was particularly affected by technical issues at Spotify. On Wednesday, dozens of episodes have been deleted from the show’s feed due to an outage.
Spotify acquired Megaphone in December 2020 for $235 million, making it the streamer’s largest purchase in its quest to build a comprehensive podcasting tech stack (by comparison, it paid about $150 million for Anchor). The tool allows the company to monetize listening to podcasts even on competing platforms. Since then, Spotify has expanded Megaphone by purchasing and integrating analytics tools Podsights and Chartable and radio-to-podcast tool Whooshkaa.
Spotify did not comment on why Megaphone’s SSL certificate has expired and why it took so long to fix it. Certificate expired at 8pm ET Monday, according to data found by Pod news† The problem was only solved after eight hours, according to the the platform’s status page† Even after Megaphone came back online just before 6:00 AM ET, podcasters experienced delays with the Megaphone CMS. From 9.45 amthe company said the issue was fully resolved.
The SSL certificate, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is a data encryption tool for websites (it’s the “S” in HTTPS) that allows a server to communicate with a client (for example, your computer or phone) and send data that others can. not easy to modify or spy on. Where SSL certificates were previously good for three years, from September 2020 SSL certificates were limited to a maximum of 13 months. However, Megaphone obtained a two-year certificate in May 2020, seven months before it was acquired by Spotify.
The outage annoyed listeners and podcasters alike, who took to social media to warn others of the problem and request that Spotify fix it† Luke Braun, a podcaster who hosts Locked up on Vikings and Locked on NFL, said the outage could cost the shows thousands of downloads across platforms because the upload was delayed. Before the megaphone problem was solved, YouTube was the only platform where he could post Tuesday’s episodes, accounting for about 20 percent of his audience.
While Braun says he’s generally happy with Megaphone, which he’s been using since 2018, he wasn’t entirely shocked that the outage occurred because of such a silly mistake. “It looks like a brain fart,” he said.