Apple in talks to buy podcast recommendation service Swell for $30 million

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Apple is in talks to buy Swell, a startup described as “Pandora for talk radio,” according to several sources.

Swell’s service compiles different podcasts and sorts them into personalized streams, thereby acting as a sort-of podcast recommendation system. The deal would reportedly set Apple back a cool $30 million.

Swell previously described its mission statement as “to be the world’s most relevant and easy-to-use audio news service, bringing the listener the content they want to hear most, wherever they are.”

Apple’s interest in Swell comes on the back off its acquisition of BookLamp, a similarly priced acquisition that was designed to improve Apple’s e-book services. In this case, Swell would likely help Apple augment its iTunes Radio service — particularly since Apple’s existing podcast app generally scores less-than-favorable reviews from users.

Interestingly, Swell had reportedly been beta-testing an Android app, although this was never released to the public, and now likely never will be, since the Swell app is set to shut down this week. Many of the company’s employees, possibly including CEO Ram Ramkumar, are set to join Apple.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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