Amazon Wants Podcasts on Audible and Amazon Music, But Drops Anti-Disparagement Rule
Amazon will soon offer free podcast feeds to Amazon Music and Audible subscribers, bringing native support for podcasts to its smart speakers, displays, and Fire TVs for the first time. According to a confidential email sent on Monday to major podcast producers and first reported by The Desk, Amazon will channel podcast feeds for streaming and downloading on Audible and both the free and premium versions of Amazon Music.
Podcasts are available on Amazon Echo smart speakers through TuneOn and other third-party apps, but podcasts have not been part of the music and audiobook content provided directly by Amazon and the company wants to expand. The email offers producers the chance to be part of the initial lineup of podcasts presented to what Amazon says are a combined 55 million Amazon Music and Audible customers, although there isn’t a timeline in the application.
Submitting a podcast feed is free but the tempting offer to get in at the ground floor was immediately rejected by many producers. They turned Amazon down because the terms and conditions for submitting a podcast feed originally included a clause barring any negative comments about Amazon and its partners and products. Though email to producers was marked confidential, recipients immediately started sharing it because Amazon had neglected to get them to agree to confidentiality before sending the information. A day later, the anti-disparagement clause is no longer there, although Amazon has not said if it was deliberately included at first, or if it was perhaps just a remnant from the agreements it makes with advertisers.
Amazon’s interest in controlling podcast feeds comes at a time when there’s a rise in both supply and demand for audio content, especially podcasts, and that smart speakers are becoming a central source for news and entertainment. Amazon smart speakers have been a place for many podcast platforms, including the recent addition of Pandora’s podcasts, following Apple and Spotify earlier this year. Amazon wants to compete as both a platform and a provider, which could prove tricky as it offers a home and a rival to other podcast services. Still, the potential for adding to Alexa’s userbase via podcasts could make it worthwhile for Amazon to navigate through that maze. And that’s before considering that Amazon could then experiment with more native interactive audio ads like those that Pandora, Spotify, and other streaming services are testing out right now.