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Amazon's Alexa gets podcasts from Apple and Spotify

December 16, 2019 · 3.6 minutes to read

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Analysis: podcasts on smart speakers

Most smart-speakers are in shared spaces, like kitchens or the living room. Yet 91% of podcasts are listened-to alone. That’s one reason, perhaps, why only 0.21% of Libsyn podcast plays in August 2019 were to smart speakers (source). Even if podcast listening was to treble on smart speakers, this is unlikely to produce a massive change in consumption: and certainly if only available in one country. (Expect lots of confused listeners trying to listen outside the US).

Despite the hype, Amazon Alexa is only market leader in two countries: the United States and the UK. In all other countries, Google is in front (and the Google Assistant is also embedded in many other devices, so it has more users everywhere). Google Podcasts syncs with the Google Assistant automatically; just as both Apple and Spotify’s Alexa skills do. Users will have to connect their Apple or Spotify account to their Alexa account, however; unlike the Google Assistant, which is already linked to your Google account.

This is to be welcomed by Amazon. Podcasts have always been playable through Alexa speakers using their default provider, TuneIn Radio. TuneIn recently lost a copyright court case in the UK, which could possibly open the floodgates for a number of other copyright actions against the company (and has the possibility of forcing it to cease trading). In many countries, Amazon has succeeded in finding other default directories for live radio; and it would make sense for an alternative default directory for podcasts.

Most interestingly, this is the first time that Apple has produced a third-party integration for Apple Podcasts. It communicates that Apple are serious about their podcast ambitions. Next, could we see an Apple Podcasts app for Android?

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Grovelling apology: Because Podnews is staffed by an idiot, we managed to partially get the name of Spreaker Prime wrong in a few editions last week, substituting it in one place for a, erm, competitor. We’re deeply apologetic to the good folks of Spreaker Prime about our idiocy, and are grateful to Spreaker Prime for their patience in dealing with a fool who can’t read what he’s typed. Massive apologies, Spreaker Prime. <- J, please check this before sending

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Podcasting Step by Step has an interview with Libsyn’s Rob Walch about “the truth about New and Noteworthy”. (Libsyn)

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