Spotify's failure to renew security certificate causes Megaphone podcast blackout
What happens when a technology company fails to renew a security certificate? In Spotify's case, that led to a podcast blackout. Podcast listeners were unable to access their favorite shows for over eight hours due to an outage on Megaphone, a podcast hosting platform owned by Spotify. The problem was caused by the streaming giant's failure to renew Megaphone's SSL certificate.
- In the list of issues faced by technology companies, 'CMS outage due to failure to renew SSL certificate' certainly won't find a place. Well, that changed when Spotify did just that and it led to a total podcast blackout.
- This is a bad look for a company like Spotify which is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build a comprehensive podcasting tech stack.
The podcast outage for over eight hours stemmed from Spotify's failure to renew Megaphone's SSL certificate. According to Podnews, the certificate expired at 5:30am IST on Tuesday. Megaphone came back online by 3:30pm IST. But podcasters experienced issues with the Megaphone CMS even after that. The platform's status page says that the issue was fully resolved at 7:15pm IST.
In a statement, Spotify's spokesperson Erin Styles said, "Megaphone experienced a platform outage due to an issue related to our SSL certificate." She continued, "During the outage, clients were unable to access the Megaphone CMS and podcast listeners were unable to download podcast episodes from Megaphone-hosted publishers. Megaphone service has since been restored."
SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is an encryption tool for websites. It allows a server to send data to the client (say, your smartphone or laptop) without being modified or spied on. Megaphone obtained a two-year SSL certificate in May 2020.
Megaphone was purchased by Spotify in 2020 for $235 million. It places dynamic ads into episodes. Megaphone's business goes beyond Spotify as it distributes shows to other platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. It allows the streaming giant to make money off of podcasts even on competitor platforms.
The acquisition of Megaphone is the biggest by Spotify. It was the crown jewel in the company's plan to create a comprehensive podcast tech stack. The streaming giant later bolstered Megaphone by acquiring radio-to-podcast tool Whooshka and analytics tools Podsights and Chartable.
The podcast outage invited some bitter remarks from both podcasters and podcast listeners. Many took to social media to express their displeasure and warn others of what was going on. Most people questioned the huge delay in solving the issue, considering that it should have been child's play for a company like Spotify. Others were baffled that such an issue even happened.