Audible has branched out to the open podcast realm, announcing an addition of 100,000 free shows. These podcasts appear in the Audible app and presumably can be heard by non-subscribers. This is a fairly big movement for the Amazon-owned Audible, a hardline subscription business. At the same time it makes sense inasmuch as it applies some stickiness to the Audible app, which of course continues to promote paywalled audiobooks and other audio programming.
At the same time, Audible.com also built a podcast landing page — a genuine free listening spot. Directionally, Audible appears to be leaning into free podcast listening as a side gig to its main subscription marketplace.
Worth noting that 100,000 free shows is like dipping its toe into the podcast ocean represented by 1.5-million shows in Apple. Using the landing page search engine, we did not find The Carson Podcast, a relatively obscure yet successful and long-running show, or WTF with Marc Maron, a venerable blockbuster which should appear in any self-respecting podcast search engine. So, some kind of weird Audible selectively seasoning is being applied to this podcast buffet.
By the way, non-podcast search results appear from the main Audible catalog when searching for podcasts. So there it is, acting partially as a pointer and funnel to the for-cost listening.
Audible is moving and changing fast. In August, the company revised its subscription layers, starting a “Plus” tier which includes Audible Originals, a catalog of Audible’s premier bespoke content.