Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon announced Wednesday that it plans to acquire Wondery. The startup will be a part of Amazon‘s subscription music service, Amazon Music.

Why it matters: The move reaffirms Amazon’s growing ambitions to get into the podcasting space. Podcasts are a natural fit for the company, which already has a subscription music business, an audiobook business, and owns a sizable chunk of the smart speaker market in the U.S.

  • In May, Axios reported that Amazon was looking to invest in localized podcast content, like news and sports, to help bolster its Alexa voice assistant.
  • Multiple job listings and reports have suggested that Amazon Music, as well as Amazon’s audio book arm, Audible, are looking to invest more in podcasting.

What they’re saying: "When the deal closes, nothing will change for listeners, and they’ll continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers,” the tech giant said in a statement.

  • “With Amazon Music, Wondery will be able to provide even more high-quality, innovative content and continue their mission of bringing a world of entertainment and knowledge to their audiences, wherever they listen.”

Details: Deal terms have not been disclosed, but a recent Wall Street Journal article suggested that Wondery is valued at over $300 million.

  • The WSJ reported earlier this month that Wondery was on track to bring in about $40 million in revenue this year, with about 75% of that revenue coming from advertising, and the rest from licensing fees it charges for other companies to distribute its podcasts.
  • Wondery has produced several hit podcasts, such as “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death,” “Business Wars,” and “The Shrink Next Door.”
  • Amazon says it hopes to “accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe, just as we do with music” with the Wondery deal.

The big picture: The deal is the latest in an audio acquisition frenzy.

  • The past year has seen several key companies, such as Spotify, iHeartMedia, SiriusXM, and Apple, invest hundreds of millions of dollars in podcast acquisitions
  • Wondery was one of the last remaining independent podcast platforms that was large enough to be considered an obvious acquisition target.

Go deeper: Podcast wars heat up

Go deeper

Parler shows signs of life

Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Far-right-friendly social network Parler is beginning to resurface after going dark last week following a series of bans by Google, Apple and Amazon.

The big picture: By tapping service providers that are friendly to far-right sites, Parler — home to a great deal of pro-insurrection chatter before, during and after the Capitol siege — may have found a way to survive despite Big Tech's efforts to pull the plug.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."