Lucas Shaw and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. plans to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service, according to people familiar with the matter, increasing its investment in the industry to keep competitors Spotify and Stitcher at bay.
Executives at the company have reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations are preliminary. Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy, but has said it plans to pursue the kind of deals it didn’t make before.
Avi Salzman, Barron’s:
Podcasting could become a lot more like television — with shows siloed on different services and companies competing to host must-have content. That means you might have to pay up — or at least listen to extra ads — to hear your favorite podcasters.
No one is too alarmed by this Apple rumor, because maybe nothing will come of it. But a good way to think about it is to imagine if the popularity of Apple and Spotify were reversed. Imagine if Spotify was the one with 60% of the podcast app market and then they decided to release Spotify-only exclusive “podcasts”. It would be an obvious threat to the openness of podcasts.
This is an understandable, predictable, and inauspicious direction to take. Is anyone — aside from executives, of course — excited about an increased siloing of media? I doubt it.