Amazon Music has launched its expected Podcasts listening section. It is straightforward, cleanly presented, and unconcerned with innovation. (That last point not necessarily a bad thing for a mass-market platform.)
We cruised through the mobile and web version of the new platform, which is bundled into Amazon Music similarly to the Spotify presentation. In fact, beyond basic structure of the music/podcast combination, it’s tempting to imagine that Amazon is borrowing design cues from Spotify:
Ease of use is the key UEX consideration here, and if podcast newcomers find their way in via this interface, they should be instantly comfortable with the presentation.
On the curation front, this first iteration has not launched with much originality. Most of the content buckets are the “Trending In…” and “Popular In…” type. A few genres are “Trending In…” which, on the first day, probably don’t represent much Amazon usage trending. So, all in all, this directory looks as if it could be a stylish replication of Apple’s podcast directory. We mostly see well-known, top-of-heap shows.
Playback is also without surprise. Skip buttons allow 15-second rewinds and 30-second fast-forwards. Boom. That’s it.
Users can Follow podcasts (hooray for Follow instead of Subscribe!) but only from the full podcast page, not from the directory listing. Experienced listeners might prefer to whip through the directory and set up their favorite shows without clicking into the shows and back out to the directory. Again, this is set up for newcomers mainly.
Clicking into the Library allows listening to episodes of Followed podcast from newer to older. Also, clicking the “+” icon next to episodes puts them in the Library Playlist feature for more curated listening to favorite episodes of Followed shows.
The mobile view of Apple Podcasts carried through the basic dark=background design principle, the same features, and is well integrated into the existing Amazon Music experience.
All in all, a clean, stylish, easily understood podcast listening app that newcomers can easily grab hold off. Experienced listeners who routinely use Amazon Music will value this addition, even if they wish discovery were deeper and more creatively induced.