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Apple Reportedly Plans to Fund Original Podcasts

Apple has plans to open its checkbooks for podcasts that would be exclusive to its podcasting apps, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The investments would help the company defend its market leadership in an increasingly crowded field, and fend off competitors like Spotify, Pandora and Luminary.

News of the plans sent Spotify’s stock down more than 3%; the company’s shares ended the day of trading priced $151.45, down 1.82%. Apple declined to comment.

Apple has long dominated the podcasting space with a tight integration of podcasts into iTunes, giving iPod and later iPhone users easy access to downloadable shows.

In the following years, the company began to separate podcasts from other types of media with a dedicated podcasting app, which first launched for mobile devices in 2012, and ultimately found its way to the desktop this year. Last year, Apple also launched dedicated analytics for podcasters, doing away with the need for third-party analytics services.

But while Apple’s podcast apps still draw huge crowds, the company is increasingly getting competition from other industry players that use exclusive content to lure podcast listeners away from the iPhone maker. In March, upstart Luminary emerged from stealth with a podcast subscription service that charges consumers $7.99 per month for access to podcasts from Lena Dunham, Trevor Noah, NPR’s Guy Raz and others.

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Spotify, which has been competing in the music subscription space with Apple for years, has also stepped up its podcasting game, with plans to invest as much as $500 million into podcasts in 2019. As part of those investments, the music service acquired podcasting startups Anchor and Gimlet Media in February. Some of the high-profile talent that produces original podcasts for Spotify includes the Obamas, Rob Riggle and Amy Schumer.

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