Amazon announced this week that it is purchasing award-winning podcast studio Wondery for an undisclosed sum that The Wall Street Journal reports is between $300 million and $400 million.
“We’re pleased to announce that Wondery—an innovative podcast publisher with a track record of creating and producing top-rated podcasts—has signed an agreement to join Amazon Music,” the Amazon announcement post explains. “Wondery is an innovative podcast publisher with a track record of creating and producing top-rated podcasts that entertain and educate listeners, including Dirty John, Dr. Death, Business Wars, and The Shrink Next Door.”
Wondery is one of the top-rated and highest-quality podcast studios on earth, and I can verify that personally since I listen to a lot of podcasts, including the first three mentioned in that quote above. And with podcast listenership exploding in 2020 because of users staying at home thanks to the pandemic and having more free time, there’s been a lot of movement in this space. Thanks to this acquisition, Amazon is joining the ranks of companies like Spotify and Apple that have invested a lot this year in original content.
Amazon says that it will not put Wondery’s content behind an Amazon Music paywall, and that users can continue to enjoy the podcasts through whatever apps and services they are using now.
“This is a pivotal moment to expand the Amazon Music offering beyond music as listener habits evolve,” Amazon notes, adding that Amazon Music added podcast support just recently, in September 2020. “Our commitment to podcasts, our focus on high-quality audio with the Amazon Music HD tier, and our recent partnership with Twitch to bring live streaming into the app, make Amazon Music a premiere destination for creators.”
I’m curious that American Scandal, my favorite Wondery podcast, wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the announcement post. You should check it out: It’s incredibly well-made, and the host, Lindsay Graham, has a perfect voice.