Amazon Stealthily Acquires Snackable AI to Enhance Podcast Features
In December, Amazon discreetly bought New York-based Snackable AI, an audio content discovery engine, with the aim of improving its podcast offerings, as initially reported by the New York Post. Amazon Music confirmed in a recent email to TechCrunch that the Snackable AI team is now working on podcast projects within the company. The financial details of the acquisition remain undisclosed.
Mari Joller, Snackable AI’s founder and CEO, is now an AI and machine learning product leader at Amazon Music, according to her LinkedIn profile. She oversees “a team of engineers, applied scientists, and computational linguists to create AI-powered products for Amazon Music Podcasts’ customers.”
Established in 2018, Snackable AI concentrated on employing AI to easily add structure and metadata to video and audio content with AI-generated chapters, highlights, and more. The company’s technology offers a quick, efficient way to consume content by providing an “at-a-glance” view.
Joller’s LinkedIn profile indicates that Snackable AI joined Amazon “to continue innovating and exploring new experiences on behalf of Amazon Music Podcasts’ customers.” Snackable AI had raised $3.1 million in funding before its acquisition by Amazon, according to Crunchbase.
Amazon introduced podcasts to its Music platform in 2020 and has since expanded the offering with new features such as synced transcripts. Last November, the company made most of the top podcasts on its service ad-free for Prime members. Amazon Music’s app was also updated to include a “Podcast Previews” feature, allowing customers to listen to short clips and discover new podcasts.
Simultaneously, Amazon provided Prime subscribers with a full music catalog comprising 100 million songs, as opposed to the previous, more limited selection of 2 million songs. This move was seen as an attempt to draw subscribers away from rival music services like Apple Music or Spotify.
The acquisition came at a time when major companies like Microsoft and Google were eager to integrate AI-powered features into their products, following the launch and subsequent popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.