Amazon Music is the latest streaming service to embrace podcasts. The company announced this morning it's launching support for podcasts in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan on Amazon Music at no additional cost, and is rolling out its own original programming. The first slate of originals on Amazon Music will include shows hosted by creators like DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith, Dan Patrick and others.
At launch, Amazon says customers will find "millions" of episodes from top shows and many of their favorites already available, including popular programs like "Crime Junkie," "What A Day," "Radiolab," "Revisionist History," "Planet Money," "Ear Hustle," "Why Won’t You Date Me? with Nicole Byer," and "Stuff You Should Know."
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Amazon Music will also serve as the exclusive home for the music-meets-true-crime podcast, "Disgraceland," which will explore various criminal connections in the music industry. The show will debut on Amazon Music in February 2021. Disgraceland's host, Jake Brennan, says the Amazon Music partnership will allow the show to produce more episodes and release on a weekly basis, providing more consistency for fans.
Among the Amazon Music originals, DJ Khaled will be hosting "The First One," where he will interview his favorite artists about the hits that made them iconic. Becky G, meanwhile, will host "En la Sala," which will see the star interacting with big names in music and entertainment to discuss social issues, relationships, politics, sports and more.
Broadcaster Dan Patrick is teaming up with Amazon-owned IMDb for "The Scene with Dan Patrick," which will disassemble famous scenes from movies and TV shows.
An untitled project from Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith's Westbrook Audio will be released on both Amazon Music and Amazon-owned Audible.
Amazon Music didn't specify how large its total podcast catalog was at launch, but an Amazon spokesperson told us it's 70,000. Its website continues to solicit creator submissions, as well. In total, Amazon Music's service reaches over 55 million customers. That means distributing to Amazon Music will be necessary for any top podcast creator.
The new podcasts will be available on Amazon Music's apps across mobile and web, and will be organized for browsing by category, as curated recommendations, in top charts and more. Show pages will feature trailers, if available, and podcasts can be streamed across Alexa devices, including Echo Auto.
Podcasting has grown in recent years to become a sizable industry. In the U.S., for example, forecasts predict the audience for podcasts will top 100 million in 2020, and podcast ad revenue will climb 14.7%, despite the pandemic, bringing total ad revenue near the $1 billion mark. Major streaming services have been chasing their own original content to draw in users to their platform. Even Apple has been dipping its toe in podcast originals in recent months.
The news follows Amazon's recent addition of Twitch live streams to Amazon Music -- a move that allowed Amazon to differentiate its offering from other top music services, like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, for example.
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"Our customers’ listening habits are constantly evolving, and we know they’re looking to us to provide them with a rich experience rooted in music and entertainment," said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music, in a statement about the launch of podcasts. "With this launch, we’re bringing customers even more forms of entertainment to enjoy, while enabling creators to reach new audiences globally, just as we’ve done with music streaming. Podcasts, paired with our recent partnership with Twitch to bring live streaming into the app, makes Amazon Music a premiere destination for creators," he added.