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Amazon cranks up its music service with podcasts

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Sep 17, 2020 - 09:33 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon on Wednesday added podcasts to its streaming music service, tapping into a trend and taking on rivals including Spotify and Apple.

Amazon Music added hit podcasts such as RadioLab and promised a line-up of original shows from radio host DJ Khaled, actor Will Smith and others.

The podcasts are included in Amazon’s streaming service in the US, Britain, Germany and Japan.

“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 Amazon Music vice president Steve Boom.

Amazon Music subscribers can listen to the service at its website, through smartphone apps, or on Echo smart speakers sold by the Seattle-based company.

A survey on podcast consumption this year showed that 37 percent of US adults had listened to a podcast within the previous month, a figure which has more than tripled over the past decade, market tracker Statista reported in June.

Weekly consumption of podcasts has also jumped, with some of the world’s top publishers seeing millions or streams and downloads monthly, Statista concluded.

A follow up survey in the US found that 10 percent of younger listeners, ages 18 to 34, said they believe people should pay for podcasts and they should be ad-free, according to Statista.

“We’re thrilled to offer customers a convenient podcast listening experience that fits their lifestyle,” said Amazon Music podcasts director Kintan Brahmbhatt.

Productions coming to Amazon Music include a new multi-media podcast from musician Rebbeca Gomez, known as “Becky G,” exploring issues and trends, with each episode devoted to nonprofit organization.

“In quarantine, with so much time to consider the world around us, it felt like the perfect opportunity to open a new line of communication and pay it forward,” Gomez said.

Shares in Spotify, which features podcasts at its streaming music service, slid some three percent in trading on the New York Stock Exchange in the wake of the Amazon Music news.

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