Google Acquires Podcast App 60db (Oct 10, 2017)
Business Insider is reporting that Google has acquired a podcasting app called 60db, which specialized in shorter audio segments, among other things. Interestingly, 60db had earlier published a blog post on Medium announcing the acquisition, only to take it down immediately after, though not before it was captured by a publication covering the podcast market. In that post, the company said it was joining Google News, which is an interesting wrinkle given that Google’s current podcasting efforts sit within Google Music and not Google News. That suggests that the podcast app might perhaps complement web-based news with audio news, conceivably as part of Google Home. Podcasts have become a big focus for other companies in the last couple of years after Apple was almost the only big player in the market for a long time, and it still dominates overall listening, in part by virtue of being the only platform with a dedicated podcast app installed on its devices. But Spotify, Amazon, and now Google are all taking the space more seriously, which will mean some meaningful competition for those users who care enough to look for alternatives to the default apps that come with their phones.
via Business Insider
It’s becoming increasingly clear that original content is going to be an important part of differentiation in the streaming music space going forward, between Spotify’s earlier video content and now several new podcasts, and Apple’s focus on Beats 1 radio and its TV shows. The difference is, of course, that Spotify has a free tier, where this original content will also be available, while Apple will restrict its TV shows to paying subscribers. For Apple, the cost isn’t that big a deal – it has a much bigger company to fund such investment – but for Spotify such additional costs will push it yet further away from profitability without any big direct revenue benefit.