Amazon will soon make podcasts available to its 55 million customers on Amazon Music, including its free tier, as well as on its audiobook service Audible — but only if podcasters agree to speak well of the tech and e-commerce giant.
In a confidential email sent to podcast producers and obtained by Billboard, Amazon invites podcasters to submit their programs for early consideration, adding that the company will not re-host their content exclusively, but instead stream “directly from wherever you host it.” The news was first reported by The Desk‘s Matthew Keys.
There’s one catch: The content license agreement stipulates that content may not “include advertising or messages that disparage or are directed against Amazon or any Service.”
Some email recipients were quick to call out the stipulation on Twitter, like Corey Quinn, host of cloud computing podcast Screaming In The Cloud, who wrote, “I’m a freaking entertainment podcast and I can’t consent to that. How can any actual news podcast?!”
Potential controversy aside, the news reflects a growing music industry push into podcasting. Spotify and Google Play Music also now integrate podcasts, while Apple has a separate Apple Podcasts app. And, currently, Amazon Alexa users can already request podcasts through their smart speakers that then play via one of these other apps.
Spotify has made four podcast-related purchases over the past year and a half (The Ringer, Anchor, Gimlet Media and Parcast), also landing exclusive podcasting deals with Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian West, Michelle Obama and Warner Bros. As well, SiriusXM last month confirmed plans to purchase podcast platform Stitcher from E.W. Scripps Co. for $265 million, following its acquisition of podcast hosting and distribution company Simplecast the prior month — not to mention its 2019 purchase of online radio platform Pandora, where podcasters can upload their shows for distribution among its 61 million monthly listeners.
Amazon Music declined to comment.