Apple buys podcast app Scout FM amid increased competition from Spotify

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
Apple this year purchased Scout FM, a startup that used artificial intelligence to curate and deliver podcasts to users, according to a new report.

Scout FM


Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Apple bought Scout FM earlier this year, though an exact date and transaction value were not revealed. The company ceased operation following the buyout.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the acquisition.

A popular app on both iOS and Android, Scout FM provided podcasts in a more digestible format. Whereas apps like Apple Podcasts require listeners to select shows, the startup offered themed "channels" with custom curated content in a system that resembled terrestrial radio programming.

Like other curated content apps, Scout FM relied on user listening habits, stated preferences and other metrics to create customized podcast playlists, the report said. According to a TechCrunch report published in 2018, the service was able to create a curated podcast station based on a few questions that were asked to determine user preference.

Scout FM initially targeted smart speaker platforms and started life with experiments running on Amazon's Alexa. The product launched with 30 Alexa skills including a "Game of Thrones"-themed radio station. Apps for iOS and Android followed.

News of Apple's Scout FM buy arrives as digital content market competitors ramp up their own podcast offerings. Music streaming leader Spotify, for example, is quickly building out its podcast library and has scored exclusive contracts with popular broadcasters including Joe Rogan.

Apple was a major force in establishing podcasting more than a decade ago (the term is derived from audio content made for consumption on iPod). After leaving the platform to grow organically, the tech giant more recently has showed a renewed interest in the medium and is consistently updating its Podcasts app with new features.

In June, reports claimed Apple was working to bring Apple Music-style "For You" profiles and bonus content to its first-party app. Whether the rumored service incorporates Scout FM technology is unclear.

Apple has completed a number of acquisitions this year, including payments tech startup Mobeewave, enterprise device management company Fleetsmith, AI firm Inductiv and VR streaming firm NextVR. Most recently, reports in August claimed the iPhone maker bought Spaces, an AR technology startup spun out of DreamWorks Animation.
patchythepirate

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Many people will say that they don't subscribe to Apple's News+ because they don't like the idea that News+ is curated. And now we're going to see curated Podcasts as well? I'm not sure this is a step forward. I have subscribed to Apple News from the beginning, and use it for 30% of my news, but I rarely notice news stories that fit my political viewpoints. It definitely feels curated; it almost feels censored. And now Podcasts will get the same treatment? Maybe it should be called News- (minus).

    lkruppchemengin1patchythepiratebyronl
  • Reply 2 of 12
    OferOfer Posts: 262unconfirmed, member
    Spotify is making huge headway in the podcast space while Apple’s podcast app has turned into a buggy mess (at least on my older iPhone). Hopefully they make some serious changes to it.
    lkruppchemengin1patchythepiratewatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 3 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Apple invented the podcast.

    They should be ABSOLUTELY ASHAMED of themselves how they've even allowed anyone a piece of their market.

    They completely fumbled he ball by taking "iTunes" out of the marketing and allowing their laziness to give way for copycats to take a chunk of the market. What an absolute fu** up!!!!!
    lkruppOferpatchythepiratebyronl
  • Reply 4 of 12
    I wish Apple would just cut to the chase and buy IBM already. They have a massive IP library that would be very useful for Apple going forward, especially their patents and groundbreaking work in the field of nanoscale electronics and nanomanufacturing.
    JinTechpatchythepiratewatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Though Scout FM focused on podcasts, I think Apple is looking at using Scout FM’s algorithms to power Apple Music 1’s push into terrestrial radio. 
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 1,042member
    I wish Apple would just cut to the chase and buy IBM already. They have a massive IP library that would be very useful for Apple going forward, especially their patents and groundbreaking work in the field of nanoscale electronics and nanomanufacturing.
    I've been saying/thinking this exact thing for years.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 7 of 12
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,039member
    Beats said:
    Apple invented the podcast.
    Apple did not invent the podcast. It predates Apple’s involvement.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    davgreg said:
    Beats said:
    Apple invented the podcast.
    Apple did not invent the podcast. It predates Apple’s involvement.
    The podcast was invented by Adam Curry (former MTV Vjay and current cohost of the no agenda podcast) along with Dan Winer. 

    edited September 2020
  • Reply 9 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    It's funny watching Apple go full circle from having 99% of the podcast market to buying an app that takes Apple's podcast idea.

    davgreg said:
    Beats said:
    Apple invented the podcast.
    Apple did not invent the podcast. It predates Apple’s involvement.

    Someone always gets bothered when I mention this.

    "Podcast" is short for iPod broadcast.
    patchythepiratetobianbyronl
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Beats said:
    It's funny watching Apple go full circle from having 99% of the podcast market to buying an app that takes Apple's podcast idea.

    davgreg said:
    Beats said:
    Apple invented the podcast.
    Apple did not invent the podcast. It predates Apple’s involvement.

    Someone always gets bothered when I mention this.

    Probably because you’re wrong. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Beats said:
    It's funny watching Apple go full circle from having 99% of the podcast market to buying an app that takes Apple's podcast idea.

    davgreg said:
    Beats said:
    Apple invented the podcast.
    Apple did not invent the podcast. It predates Apple’s involvement.

    Someone always gets bothered when I mention this.

    "Podcast" is short for iPod broadcast.
    So what?  Apple didn't invent every iPod accessory or anything with a slightly similar name.  You're wrong, Apple categorically did not invent the podcast.
    edited September 2020 byronl
  • Reply 12 of 12
    kolvas said:
    davgreg said:
    Beats said:
    Apple invented the podcast.
    Apple did not invent the podcast. It predates Apple’s involvement.
    The podcast was invented by Adam Curry (former MTV Vjay and current cohost of the no agenda podcast) along with Dan Winer. 


    By the term, “podcast” was invented by Apple.. as episodic series of spoken word digital audio files, with one distribution place, categorization, and iconic name. Beats is absolutely right.
    Otherwise, I remember one local Mac magazine with CD-ROM, featuring MacOS (what, System 7!!) oriented spoken word show each month.. that time it was MOV file, using Qualcomm PureVoice audio codec.
    By the definition, we can consider any 80’s spoken word shows distributed on Sony DAT tapes a “podcast”!
    For me, podcast is just a style, brand for lenghty audio file. Nobody invented. Unpatentable.
    watto_cobrabyronl
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