Apple snaps up startup that makes finding podcasts more like listening to radio

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iPhone FM radio chips
Why can't finding the right podcast be more like this?
Photo: Alan Levine/Flickr CC

Apple quietly snapped up podcasting app Scout FM, which tries to make podcasting sound more like tuning into radio stations, for an undisclosed amount earlier this year.

Scout FM worked by letting users choose particular topics, then automatically customizing a radio station-like podcasting listening experience for them. It was intended as a way to cut through the findability clutter of hundreds of thousands of available podcasts.

A Bloomberg report Thursday noted that:

“Scout FM was popular among some users of Apple devices and could be integrated with CarPlay, the interface that appears on supported car screens when connected to an iPhone, and Apple’s Siri digital assistant. It was also optimized for devices based on Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the acquisition, but declined to comment further. The company shut down the app after the purchase.”

Likely of particular interest to Apple is the artificial intelligence that makes it possible to create these podcast mixes. Apple has focused on both podcasts and AI in recent years, and is currently developing original podcasts related to Apple TV+ shows.

Importantly, Apple rivals such as Spotify are pouring many, many millions of dollars into podcasts. For example, Spotify recently acquired exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the world’s most popular podcasts.

Source: Bloomberg