A new player enters the increasingly crowded competition for podcast ears

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It’s shaping up to be a banner year for podcasts. Just a month ago, Spotify announced that it was spending nearly $340 million to acquire podcast studio Gimlet and podcast distribution platform Anchor. 

Over the weekend a new entrant, Luminary, emerged from stealth mode and debuted its “Netflix for podcasts” platform.

Secret Sauce Glossary
Stealth mode: A startup yet to announce its product, business model, etc. in an attempt to protect itself from competitors before launching.

The Netflix of podcasts

Luminary has raised $100 million in funding to develop its own podcast app and assemble a star-studded lineup of exclusive podcasts featuring the likes of Lena Dunham, Trevor Noah, Guy Raz (our hero!), and more.

Luminary is betting that the quality of its exclusive content warrants a premium subscription -- a model that has been proven out with Netflix and Spotify, but has yet to really be done with podcasts (like Spotify, Luminary will also have an ad-supported free tier).

A slice of Apple’s pie

Luminary isn’t even the only new $100 million podcast company. Last month, Himalaya launched its platform for “discovering, listening, and organizing podcasts.”

The race is clearly on to become the go-to podcast platform. Between the Spotify acquisitions, Google launching a podcast app last summer, and the newcomers Luminary and Himalaya, it appears that everyone wants a piece of the podcast pie.
Apple, the clear market leader, has been surprisingly quiet over the last few years in the podcast department.

That being said, last week they sent an email to all podcasters threatening to remove podcasts that didn’t meet metadata requirements -- a signal they could be making a push for better categorization and recommendation for users. 
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Yours truly,
Zac Cherin
Brendan Uyeshiro
Brendan Uyeshiro