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Amazon acquires ART19, fills out its podcast capabilities

Amazon has acquired ART19 for its Amazon Music distribution platform. ART19 has long been one of the most innovative and future-tech podcast hosting and monetization platforms. The acquisition puts a third leg on Amazon’s podcast stool, joining the Wondery acquisition in December and Amazon Music’s distribution power through Alexa smart speakers. Continue Reading

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Jeff Umbro: SiriusXM, Spotify, Amazon, and the New York Times Announce Earnings

by Jeff Umbro

In this week’s column, The Podglomerate CEO Jeff Umbro rounds up recent earnings reports from Spotify, SiriusXM, The New York Times, and Amazon. (With stock charts.) A nice grab-bag of industry updates rounds out the issue. Oh, also a podcast recommendation. Continue Reading

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Jeff Umbro: Content Moderation: Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts?

by Jeff Umbro

In this week’s column, The Podglomerate CEO Jeff Umbro grapples with the often-overlooked, always-challenging topic of podcast content moderation. Should podcasting undergo the level of scrutiny that social networks do? Along with these ruminations, the column catches up with news from Spotify, Apple, and elsewhere. Continue Reading

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Audible makes changes to its maligned audiobook royalty rules

When was the last time you returned a book you purchased? If it was an audiobook you bought in Amazon-owned Audible, you might have benefited from a relaxed and encouraging returns policy which allows a listener to trade one audiobook for another within a year from purchase. Great for customers; bad for authors and publishers (and some voice performers) whose royalty statements were filled with deductions from payments received months earlier. There has been clamor for change. At the new year, Amazon has responded. Click through for the story. Continue Reading

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Amazon buys Wondery to join Amazon Music

The deal is not yet closed, but the agreement is. As rumored, Amazon will acquire Wondery, the last of the major creative networks in podcasting’s resurgent era to lose indie status. Amazon positions the company as joining Amazon Music, where Amazon’s podcast directory lives, but we see a future in Audible Originals for wondery’s creative production. Founder/CEO Hernan Lopez will step down to manage his new foundation; COO Jen Sargent will take over. Click through for quotes and context. Continue Reading

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Bill Rosenblatt: The Axis Collision of Amazon Possibly Acquiring Wondery

by Bill Rosenblatt
Guest columnist Bill Rosenblatt speculates a podcast world in which Amazon has acquired Wondery, fulfilling that rumor. A certain bifurcation would become evident in that scenario, pitching an Amazon/Spotify axis pushing for exclusivity of content, and an iHeartRadio/NPR axis pushing for ad revenue. A must-read column. Continue Reading

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Audible becomes more podcast-y with more shows, while retaining its image as curator

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. But it’s only 100,000 shows in a universe of 1.5-million, and a search for known shows came up empty. Continue Reading

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Amazon acquires podcast.com and podcasting.com

In a blockbuster domain acquisition which indicates strategic purpose, Amazon has acquired the domains podcast.com and podcsting.com, we learned from Podnews. The domains lead to the Audible landing page for podcasts. Audible does not distribute public podcasts via RSS, but it does create originals. This is a land grab by Amazon-owned Audible, and it seems like the company is creating a unique category definition and experience of audio storytelling. Continue Reading

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Bill Rosenblatt: Amazon Takes On Spotify In Podcasting

by Bill Rosenblatt
Guest columnist Bill Rosenblatt analyzes Amazon’s most significant entry to podcasting — a podcast listening service integrated with Amazon Music. Comparing Amazon to Spotify is instructive, and this piece also takes into account how Amazon’s lead in the smart speaker market plays into strategic decision around podcasting. One question for the near future, according to rosenblatt: How will audiobooks play in these global audio platforms? Continue Reading