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Image: Swell.am

Apple's solution to fixing podcasts? Buy a talk-radio app for $30 million

The personalised radio and podcast app allows you to listen to podcasts and audio news, but is expected to be shut down this week as part of the deal.
Jul 28th 2014, 3:54 PM 8,586 24

APPLE IS CLOSE to buying Swell, a radio app that provides users with personalised podcasts and audio news feeds, for $30 million (€22.3 million).

As part of the deal, the Swell app will be shut down later this week and most of its staff will then work for Apple directly, according to Re/Code.

Described as the ‘Pandora for talk-radio,’ the app is only available to iOS users in the US, but a beta-version for Android has been tested out in recent times.

The app would tie in with Apple’s soon to be released in-car service, CarPlay, which allows a user’s iPhone to integrate with their car to provide directions, and access certain services while driving.

Apple’s own official podcast app is popular, but users have given the latest version an average rating of 1.5 stars out of five (with all versions getting two out of five stars) in the App Store.

On the other hand, Swell lends itself well to in-car play and has both high engagement and ratings among users, despite its trouble in getting users.

If the deal goes through, it will be one of many recommendation services Apple has acquired this year. The biggest one involved Beats, which offers a music curation service alongside its headphone range, for $3 billion, while social search engine Spotsetter and book recommendation service, BookLamp were both purchased for undisclosed sums.

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Quinton O'Reilly

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