March 7, 2021

Podcast wars: Amazon to acquire Wondery, escalating competition with Spotify

Amazon announced an agreement to acquire Wondery, the Los Angeles-based podcast production studio known for hit shows such as “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death, ”and“ Business Wars. ” Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but a previous Wall Street Journal report valued the deal at more than $ 300 million.

The acquisition promises take Amazon further into original audio content, squaring off against Spotify, the streaming music service that has been on its own podcast acquisition spree. Spotify has made a series high-profile deals with podcast creators such as Joe Rogan and Bill Simmons, in addition to acquiring podcast platform Anchor and production company Gimlet.

Upon completion of the deal. Wondery would join Amazon Music, which launched a podcast distribution platform earlier this year along with a slate of orginal shows. Audible, the audio book company owned by Amazon since 2008, also has been making its own push into podcasts and custom audio content.

Amazon’s move into podcasting also could have implications for its competition with Apple Music and other audio services.

In a post announcing the deal, Amazon said listeners will “continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers.” Amazon said it will work with Wondery “to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe, just as we do with music.”

It added, “This is a pivotal moment to expand the Amazon Music offering beyond music as listener habits evolve. Our commitment to podcasts, our focus on high quality audio with the Amazon Music HD tier, and our recent partnership with Twitch to bring live streaming into the app, make Amazon Music a premiere destination for creators. ”