Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Report: Amazon Beefing Up Podcast Platform

Amazon is beefing up its audio offering with a hefty investment in the live music and podcast space, according to Axios.

Under its Amazon Music division, the company is building out a live audio platform that is meant to disrupt traditional radio and rival the likes of Spotify and Clubhouse.

The endeavor includes paying podcast networks, musicians and celebrities to use the feature for live conversations, shows and events, the report said.

The plan is for users to access live concerts, performances or podcasts through their Amazon accounts. Axios noted that Amazon is already in touch with major record labels about live audio events with artists.

The NYPost reports the move comes amid an explosion of streaming audio content. According to research firm eMarketer, podcast advertising revenue is expected to balloon to $1.13 billion by the end of 2021, marking a 45 percent jump over last year.

In the last two years, Spotify has made a massive push into the space with buzzy, exclusive podcasts from Joe Rogan, Michelle Obama and Prince Harry and Megan Markle, setting up a major rivalry between the Swedish streamer and Apple. Amazon, too, has invested in the space, buying podcast subscription company Wondery last year for a reported $300 million.

Meanwhile, live audio has become hot during the pandemic with voice-based social networks like Clubhouse, Twitter, Water Cooler and Locker Room, a sports-centric app that Spotify acquired in March which allows sports fans to partake in conversations on games and news.

But sources told Axios that Amazon isn’t looking to build an audio social network like Clubhouse, but rather a “digital radio-like tool for live-streaming performances and conversations.”

The platform will likely include podcasts and talk radio programs, but Amazon is focused on music and events for now.

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