In its latest acquisition, Amazon is buying ART19, a podcast hosting and monetization platform. ART19 started in 2015 as an independently owned podcast company that brings together podcast creators and publishers, providing them with tools for hosting, ad serving, audience targeting and measurement. ART19 says that it powers hundreds of millions of podcast downloads every month. According to Crunchbase, ART19 has six investors, with BDMI and DCM Ventures leading the pack. The company has raised $7.5 million to date, but it has not published any recent valuation data.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Amazon made a brief statement about the acquisition.
“We’re excited to announce that ART19 is joining Amazon Music. ART19 is an innovative company that enables podcast creators to manage, distribute, analyze and monetize their work, and we’re thrilled to have them on the team. Together, we will be able to expand our offerings and even better serve your podcasting needs,” Amazon said.
An Amazon spokesperson said that there will not be immediate changes made to the ART19 platform, according to The Verge.
ART19 also made a brief announcement on the banner of its website:
“We’re excited to announce we’re joining Amazon Music. Together, we look forward to empowering even more podcast creators with the solutions they need to engage listeners and monetize their work,” said ART19.
Regardless of the price tag, this is a big deal for podcast creators and advertisers. Powered by Amazon, podcast creators have yet another option to consider when choosing where to publish, distribute and monetize their podcasts. Advertisers also benefit with the additional resources and exposure Amazon can provide. As they could with ART19, advertisers get access to premium, host-read ads for select podcasts, and to a network of thousands of other podcasts for pre-made ads.
This acquisition follows Amazon’s acquisition of indie podcast publisher Wondery late last year for an estimated $300 million. Wondery is known for podcasts including Dirty John, Dr. Death, Business Wars, Joe Exotic: Tiger King, The Mysterious Mr. Epstein, JACKED and The Shrink Next Door. At the time of the deal, Amazon said nothing will change for listeners, but Amazon Music listeners will benefit from new content, and Wondery will be able to share more innovative content to educate and entertain listeners.
All of these tools combined give Amazon more resources, reach and power to compete with Apple and Spotify who are developing their own tools and making acquisitions of their own. For example, last month, Spotify acquired Podz, a tech startup focused on making podcast discovery easier and more personalized.
We’ve said this before but it bears repeating – the podcast wars are heating up – and they grow more intense with each passing week. Amazon Music wants to compete with Apple and Spotify and to do so, they need to be able to offer podcast creators, publishers and advertisers options for distribution and monetization. This acquisition will help level the playing field a bit, though Amazon Music has some catching up to do.