Last December, Amazon quietly acquired New York-based audio content discovery engine, Snackable AI, to improve its podcast features, as first reported by New York Post. The tech giant told TechCrunch in email Friday that the Snackable AI team has joined Amazon Music to work on existing podcast projects. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Snackable AI founder and CEO Mary Joller is now a product leader in AI and machine learning at Amazon Music, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her profile states that she leads “a team of engineers, applied scientists and computational linguists to build AI-powered products for Amazon Music Podcasts customers.”
Founded in 2018, Snackable AI specialized in using AI to easily add structure and metadata to video and audio with AI-generated chapters, highlights, and more. The company’s technology provides an “at-a-glance” view to make consuming content fast and efficient.
Joller’s LinkedIn profile says that Snackable AI has joined Amazon to “continue to innovate and discover new experiences on behalf of Amazon Music Podcasts customers.” Snackable AI raised $3.1 million before being acquired by Amazon Crunch base.
Amazon added podcasts to its music platform in 2020 and has since expanded its offerings and added new features such as synced transcripts. Last November, the company made most of the best podcasts available on its service ad-free for Prime members. The Amazon Music app has also been updated with a new “Podcast Previews” feature that allows customers to listen to short clips to discover new podcasts they might like.
At the same time, Amazon Prime began offering subscribers a full music catalog of 100 million songs, instead of the previously more limited selection of just 2 million songs. The move was seen as a way for Amazon Music to lure some subscribers away from other music services, such as Apple Music or Spotify.
The tech giant completed the acquisition at a time when major companies including Microsoft and Google are racing to implement AI-powered features in the products following the launch and subsequent popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Amazon was one of many other tech companies touting the potential of AI in its latest quarterly earnings report last month. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy revealed while speaking to investors that the company is building a more “generalized and capable” large language model (LLM) to power Alexa.