UPDATED: Amazon’s Audible audiobook unit wants to become a full-fledged podcast network: It announced that it has added about 100,000 podcast shows — comprising some 5 million episodes — to the service, available free to members and non-members alike.
The free podcasts now available on Audible include “Pod Save America,” “You’re Wrong About,” “This American Life,” “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “FiveThirtyEight Politics.” Audible says it’s going to add even more in the weeks and months ahead.
The podcasts are currently available in the Audible app and via search (including via Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant). In addition, Audible will feature third-party podcasts alongside its original shows on a landing page on the site at this link starting Wednesday. If you’re not an Audible member, you can listen to the podcasts for free but will need to sign in using an Amazon account.
Audible is playing catch-up in the podcasting biz: Both Apple Podcasts and Spotify say they host over 1.5 million titles on their platforms. Over the last two years, Spotify has dramatically upped its investment in the space, including with original shows.
“Audible listeners now have access to a wider range of innovative and thought-provoking content even beyond our growing library of Audible Originals and our unparalleled catalog of audiobooks — all in one place,” the company said in a statement.
The move comes after corporate cousin Amazon Music last month added a slew of podcasts to that service, including originals from DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith (a co-production between Amazon Music and Audible) and Dan Patrick.
Audible’s evident hope is that providing a large lineup of free podcasts — which are widely distributed across platforms — will serve as an on-ramp to push audio-entertainment fans to its subscription plans and premium a-la-carte offerings.
In August, the company introduced the Audible Plus, offering more than 11,000 pieces of content and more than 68,000 hours of entertainment from partners including Common, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Morello, Blake Griffin, André Aciman, Tayari Jones, Jesse Eisenberg, St. Vincent, Kevin Bacon, Kate Mara, Maria Bamford, Alanis Morissette and Harvey Fierstein.
The baseline Audible Plus costs $7.95 per month. Audible Premium Plus is $14.95 per month (which includes one credit per month for any premium selection title) and Audible Premium Plus Annual is $149.50 per year with 12 credits annually for any premium selection titles.
Updated 10/28, 8 a.m. PT: Audible said it is adding about 5 million free podcast episodes; previously it said it was adding 3 million