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Spotify acquires podcast discovery specialists Podz

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Podz uses machine learning to make preview clips from shows

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify has acquired Podz, a startup whose technology generates preview clips of podcasts, the streaming service has announced. Unlike other services podcasters can use to manually create clips, TechCrunch says Podz automates the process of finding key moments from episodes using machine learning trained on over 100,000 hours of audio.

The acquisition is aimed at improving podcast discovery, letting users browse short clips rather than 30-minute plus podcast episodes. Spotify says this will make it “easier for listeners to find the content they want to listen to, and for creators to be discovered and build a fan base.” Podz tells TechCrunch that users on its platform typically follow up to 30 podcasts, up from an average of seven.

The acquisition follows Spotify’s subscription podcasting announcement, in which it would allow select partners to charge for access to their content. Although Spotify isn’t planning on taking its 5 percent cut of subscription revenue until 2023, eventually it’ll have a direct financial incentive to encourage its listeners to find and subscribe to as many podcasts as possible. Especially since it’s now competing with Apple Podcasts’ own in-app subscriptions, which launched this week.

Spotify says it plans to integrate Podz’ technology into its platform, and that some of the results should be visible before the end of the year.