Amazon reveals ‘confidential’ podcast plan in mass email; shows must agree not to disparage Amazon

BigStock Photo / KFifa

Amazon Music and the tech giant’s Audible subsidiary plan to offer podcasts from third-party content providers directly on their platforms, significantly expanding their audio offerings and going head-to-head with Apple, Google, Spotify and others major podcast distribution platforms.

But first, they’ve got a PR mess to deal with.

The company disclosed the plans on Monday in a mass email to podcast content producers, including journalists and media organizations that cover Amazon, declaring that the information about its podcast plans were “confidential” without following the standard practice of first securing their agreement to treat the message as confidential.

This information, of course, was promptly tweeted and reported publicly — quickly making it to the home page of Techmeme, the widely followed tech news aggregation site.

Then came the real mess. Podcasters who clicked through to submit their shows discovered this clause in the content license agreement that’s a requirement to participate in the program: “Your Content may not (a) include advertising or messages that disparage or are directed against Amazon or any Service; …”

That’s a non-starter for many podcast hosts, particularly those that comment regularly on the tech giant.

Amazon has previously offered podcasts on its Echo speakers via the TuneIn music service. The reach of Alexa-enabled devices and the Amazon Music service could be a big draw for many podcasters. The message notes that the shows would be available via services including Amazon Music’s free tier, reaching more than 55 million customers.

Audible, best known for its audio books, has been expanding in recent years to include a variety of episodic shows and other varieties of audio content.

GeekWire was among the podcast content producers that received the message. We have not submitted our weekly GeekWire Podcast for inclusion, or agreed to the license terms, and we did not agree to treat the information in the email confidentially before receiving it.

We’ve contacted Amazon and Audible seeking comment for this story, and haven’t yet heard back.

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