Apple might bankroll original podcasts

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Podcasts and Apple TV are among the applications expected to make the jump from iOS to macOS 10.15.
With original content being developed for television, Apple is reportedly looking to create podcasts.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple’s growing services business will soon feature original podcasts, according to a report that, if true, amps up the tech giant’s battle with rival Spotify.

Apple’s pursuit of original podcast content came to light via a news bulletin from a Bloomberg terminal. Even before the full story published, the news sent Spotify’s stock on a fall of more than 2 percent.

Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, reported that Apple executives are in preliminary discussions with media companies to buy the rights to podcasts.

Spotify and Apple already go head-to-head with dueling music streaming services.

The Apple Podcasts app comes with iPhones and is considered the go-to platform for listening to podcasts. However, Apple Podcasts is merely a directory of links for users to download podcasts from other platforms. Apple said earlier this year that Macs soon will get a dedicated Podcasts app as well.

“You are nowhere in podcasting if you don’t have shows listed in Apple podcasts,” Lex Friedman, chief revenue officer of Art19, told Bloomberg. Art19 provides services to podcast producers such as Wondery Media and Tribune. But given all the recent activity by its competition, “it would surprise me if Apple didn’t do anything with exclusives.”

Spotify spent millions of dollars positioning itself as the go-to podcast app. It has acquired three podcast companies, including Gimlet Media, in the last two years to build up premium content.

It also invested heavily in original shows, including from comic Amy Schumer. Last month, Spotify signed former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to a deal for a series of exclusive podcasts.

Source: Bloomberg