Amazon Music is getting more serious about its podcast endeavors. Today, the company announced that it’s acquiring Art19, a major podcast hosting and monetization platform for an undisclosed sum. This means Amazon will now have a hand in hosting podcasters’ shows as well as selling ads against them because Art19 operates an ad marketplace that targets and inserts ads into programming. An Amazon Music spokesperson says nothing will immediately change on the Art19 platform.
This is a major step for Amazon as it looks to take on a bigger role in the podcasting world. Amazon Music only started offering podcasts in September last year, as did Audible in October. But in the time since, Amazon Music has acquired Wondery, one of the last major independent podcast networks. Today’s acquisition gives it a fuller role in the industry. Not only will it make content through Wondery and distribute shows through its app, but now, Amazon can host those podcasts, as well as third parties’, and sell ads against them. This gives Amazon even more data about what’s happening both inside and outside its app. (Amazon Music already sells audio ads, so Art19’s business might complement that work.)
We’ve seen this same scenario already play out with Spotify. The company started out making content-based acquisitions, like that of Gimlet Media and Parcast, but then acquired Megaphone, an Art19 competitor. In that case, Spotify has focused on bringing a proprietary ad-serving technology to the platform, called Streaming Ad Insertion, in order to encourage podcasters to move over to the hosting service and take advantage of its ad marketplace. Other companies in the space have also taken a similar position. iHeartMedia acquired Triton Digital, and SXM Media acquired Midroll, an ad-serving marketplace and platform, in July. As we said in February, the podcasting business isn’t only about the flashy exclusive content deals, but who can sell and monetize shows.
Update June 24th, 9:11PM ET: Updated to reflect a spokesperson’s response to a request for comment.