Spotify has a brand new original topping its podcast charts, but it would probably prefer you didn’t know about it.
Last week Spotify launched a new pop culture show, broken breadon Spotify Live. broken bread‘s Recordings now sits at number 11 on Spotify’s Top Podcasts chart, having held up at number two for most of the week, just behind Joe Rogan. The show’s popularity — and the reason the company might remain silent about its new hit — is due to its two hosts: Jackie Oshry Weinreb and Claudia Oshry (aka Instagram’s Girlwithnojob), who come with huge built-in audiences. While the sisters have delivered their massive following to the app, they have a controversial history that could be problematic for Spotify at a time when the company is being extra cautious.
The sisters had a short-lived show at Oath, Verizon’s now-defunct media brand, in 2018, which was subsequently canceled The daily beast reported that their mother is notorious conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller and that the sisters had both previously posted racist and anti-Muslim statements on social media. The sisters apologized, deleted their Twitter accounts and started over The morning toast as an independent podcast. Some fans felt uncomfortable not wanting to deny her mother’s activities, but her audience is undeniable. The Oshry sisters have more than 3.5 million combined Instagram followers, their flagship podcast is currently in the top 100 on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and they maintain a seemingly robust Patreon base (stats are private now, but as of 2019 , they had more than 9,000 subscribers). The Oshry sisters did not respond to a request for comment.
But if the Oshry sisters are controversial, you wouldn’t know it from their show. The morning toast is mostly run-of-the-mill pop culture fare, and broken bread a lot is the same: Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe dress, Hailey Bieber’s skincare line, Britney Spears’ wedding. The Spotify Live platform also allows fans to join the show and ask for advice on light topics like puppy training and bachelorette issues.
Modeled after other Spotify Live shows like After Hours with Alex Cooper and Dating Harry Jowsey, the original show takes place in the Live app and will later be released as a podcast on Spotify. Unlike those shows broken bread do not receive advertising from Spotify. The company has not issued a press release about the show and has not posted it on any of its social channels. The only publicity appears to have come from the Oshrys themselves on their social accounts and podcast.
That may have something to do with the backlash Spotify received for its nine-figure deal with controversy machine Joe Rogan. Rogan has the arguably largest podcast in the world, and as Spotify expands its podcasting power, the company needs him. But Spotify’s relentless support for Rogan has caused some reputational damage, if not monetary damage. Spotify declined to comment on why they chose to partner with the Oshry sisters, or if their past has anything to do with the show’s lack of promotion, but with the way the company has been doing it is broken breadit seems to go without the baggage for the Oshrys’ sizable fan base.
Even if broken bread itself is harmless, debuting at a time when Spotify is being extra cautious. Last week, the company announced a security advisory board to help with its content moderation policies (a move Geller described as “a government-sponsored internal coup”) and struck a new deal with Integral Ad Science to to solidify its brand safety analytics for advertisers.
But the company is also trying to promote its social audio app Spotify Live (formerly known as Spotify Greenroom) at a time when social audio is faltering, and broken bread maybe his biggest hit to date. If the Oshrys continue to deliver numbers, the show will be difficult for the company to ignore.