How Apple Might Integrate Podcasting Acquisition Scout FM, Based On Clues In iOS 14 Apple Music


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Imagine the perfect custom talk radio station tailored exactly to your unique likes, with a never-ending flow of great content.

That’s exactly what Apple could soon be delivering with its recent podcasting acquisition, Scout FM. Because that’s precisely what Apple has achieved already — in the music sense — with its new personalized music stations in iOS 14.

Earlier this year Apple acquired Scout FM, something that is only coming to light now. It’s a podcasting startup that uses AI to create automatically-curated lists of podcasts strung back to back to back to create a personalized talk track for your day. This is oddly analogous to what Apple is currently delivering with music, as I recently wrote about. iOS 14’s Apple Music app offers a completely custom “radio station” that has become my perfect DJ, with great known music plus tracks I haven’t heard from artists I like, plus entirely new material that I’m finding surprisingly good.

Apple Podcasts, like just about every other podcasting app on the planet, currently works much like Apple Music used to: manually pick podcasts you like, subscribe to them, and then listen to them. Or, search for new podcasts and listen to them.

That’s pretty much what Apple Music used to be like — and you can still do that, if you wish.

But the new Apple Music will continue playing after a song you’ve selected, picking music it thinks you’ll like in a feature called “Autoplay.” Or, you select your personal radio station for a never-ending stream of music.

Apple Music currently has 60 million songs globally. There are over a million podcasts now, with over 30 million episodes (including TechFirst, where I do live interviews for this Forbes column). In both cases, there’s enormous treasure buried inside that you’ll never be able to unlock manually, or by searching.

It’s a discovery problem, thanks to the enormous amount of content.

But an Apple Podcasts powered by Scout FM’s AI technology for surfacing relevant and interesting podcasts and auto-playing them continuously would help you find new voices…