The two L.A.-based comedic internet stars, who first rose to fame on the now-defunct Vine app, have sizable followings on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok — a fanbase Spotify is banking on to attract listeners. On Instagram alone, Thompson counts 5.9 million followers and Dion has 1.8 million.
The yet-untitled podcast with Thompson and Dion joins a growing roster of Spotify originals from content creators and influencers, including Lele Pons, Addison Rae and Kim Kardashian West. Spotify also has overall deals for original podcasts with Barack and Michelle Obama, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, and filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass.
Spotify’s announcement of the podcast with Thompson and Dion comes as Joe Budden, one of its highest-profile podcasters, said he will end his exclusive deal with the platform when his contract expires next month. Budden alleged Spotify has “undermined and undervalued” his popular hip-hop and cultural commentary talk show, exploiting his audience as a way to build up the audio streamer’s burgeoning push into podcasting.
Thompson and Dion’s pod is set to premiere on Spotify later in 2020. The series will feature the duo sharing personal stories, dishing on pop culture, fashion and music, and doling out advice to fans.
“My friend Denzel and I have always dreamed of having a podcast, and the fact it’s with Spotify is the cherry on top!” Thompson said in a statement provided by Spotify. “I can’t wait to start this journey and I couldn’t be happier!”
Dion added, “I’m so ecstatic to have Spotify as a partner for our podcast, it feels like family. Rickey and I are ready for this new adventure. I can’t wait for us to speak our unapologetic minds and, most importantly, have fun while doing it!”
As of the end of June, Spotify had 299 million total monthly active users worldwide (up 29% year-over-year). About 21% of the service’s users listen to podcasts and consumption continues to grow at “triple-digit rates” year over year, the company said. All told, Spotify’s podcast catalog comprises over 1.5 million shows, 50% of which debuted in 2020.
Pictured above: Rickey Thompson (left), Denzel Dion