Amazon quietly acquired New York-based audio content discovery engine Snackable AI last December to boost its podcast features, as first reported by New York Post. The tech giant told TechCrunch in email on Friday that the Snackable AI team joined Amazon Music to work on existing podcast projects. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Snackable AI founder and CEO Mari Joller is now an AI and machine learning product leader at Amazon Music, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her profile notes 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 add structure and metadata to video and audio easily 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 Snackable AI joined Amazon to “to continue innovating and exploring new experiences on behalf of Amazon Music Podcasts’ customers.” Snackable AI raised $3.1 million in funding before being acquired by Amazon, according to Crunchbase.
Amazon added podcasts to its Music platform back in 2020 and has since been building out the offering and adding new features, such as synched transcripts. Last November, the company made most of the top podcasts on its service available without ads for Prime members. The Amazon Music app was also updated to include a new “Podcast Previews” feature that lets customers listen to short clips as a way to discover new podcasts they may like.
At the same time, Amazon began offering Prime subscribers a full music catalog with 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, like Apple Music or Spotify.
The tech giant closed the acquisition at a time when major companies, including Microsoft and Google, were racing to implement AI-powered features into the products following the launch and subsequent popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Amazon was among many other tech companies that touted the potential of AI during its latest quarterly earnings call last month. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy revealed during a call with investors that the company is building a more “generalized and capable” large language model (LLM) to power Alexa.