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 the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

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: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spotify's $235 million acquisition of podcast monetization company Megaphone on Tuesday is the latest in an acquisition frenzy that's stirring up the podcast industry.

Why it matters: The past year has seen several key companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars in podcast acquisitions, including Spotify, iHeartMedia, Apple, SiriusXM and others.

Driving the news: Spotify's Megaphone deal comes on the heels of an investment spree by its rivals.

  • iHeartMedia on Friday said it would acquire the rest of Voxnest, a podcast monetization company. (It owned a minority stake in Voxnest prior to the deal.) On Monday, it announced a partnership with audio production company Pushkin to be its exclusive sales partner for many of its most popular podcasts. (Full disclosure: Axios partners with Pushkin to produce its Axios Today podcast, and also works with Megaphone.)
  • SiriusXM's $325 million acquisition of Stitcher closed last month. The deal gave it access to Midroll, a podcast ad company that Stitcher bought in 2015. This summer, the radio giant acquired Simplecast, a podcast management platform that helps podcasters publish, manage and measure their content. It already owns podcast ad company AdsWizz, which it acquired through its purchase of Pandora in 2018.
  • Apple earlier this year reportedly acquired Scout FM, a startup that creates radio-like stations for podcasts. While Apple has long been the king of hosting podcasts, it hasn't invested as much in podcast monetization through ads.

Be smart: Companies like Amazon, Google and others have also made moves into podcasting, but so far, they have not seemed as eager to acquire new firms to build their audio empires. That could change in the future.

The big picture: For now, podcasting is a small but growing advertising medium. The industry as a whole still only brings in less than $1 billion in ad revenue, even though more than 90 million people listen to podcasts monthly, per Edison Research.

  • But just as Google and Facebook bolstered the digital ad market by aggregating lots of ad tech companies, the same thing is beginning to happen in audio.
  • Companies like Spotify, SiriusXM, iHeartMedia and others aim to grow the podcast advertising market by aggregating podcast services together through deals like the ones struck this week and later securing a chunk of the services' revenue for themselves.

What's next: There are still a few independent podcast companies that are likely to get acquired as the podcast industry continues to consolidate.

  • Apple and Sony are among two firms that are eyeing an acquisition of the independent podcasting studio Wondery, Bloomberg reports. Sources tell Bloomberg that Wondery is seeking $300 million to $400 million in a possible sale.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

Audio messaging platform Yac raises $7.5M Series A

Yac

Yac, an online voice messaging platform, has raised $7.5 million in venture funding led by GGV Capital and the Slack Fund, which funded the app last year.

Why it matters: Yac helps companies integrate audio messaging into their workflow. It launched at the beginning of the pandemic and has benefitted enormously from companies needed improved communication during remote work.

Jan 18, 2021 - Podcasts
How It Happened

Trump's Last Stand Part I: Where It Starts

In episode one of How It Happened: Trump's Last Stand, Axios political correspondent Jonathan Swan draws a direct line from President Trump's election night speech, in which he falsely declared victory, to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

But, but, but: The story really starts in early October, as Trump is recovering from COVID-19 and struggling to turn around a flailing campaign.

Go deeper: New episodes come out Mondays, beginning January 18.

Credits: This show is produced by Amy Pedulla, Naomi Shavin and Alice Wilder. Dan Bobkoff is the executive producer. Additional reporting and fact-checking by Zach Basu. Margaret Talev is managing editor of politics. Sara Kehaulani Goo is Axios’s executive editor. Sound design by Alex Sugiura and theme music by Michael Hanf.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.