Apple buys podcast search startup Pop Up Archive

iPhone maker looks to capture more of the fast-growing internet audio market. 

The company had picked up a small Oakland-based startup called Pop Up Archive in what appears to the be an effort to build up its in-house podcasting tools.

Until its recent shutdown, the online platform focused on building tools to transcribe, organise, and search audio files. 

Indexing and searching audio files is much more challenging than the written word, which has made it harder for podcast listeners to find shows they want to listen to. 

Pop Up Archive was founded in 2012 to help podcast producers automatically transcribe their audio recordings into text, which can then be used to make recommendations or match advertisers with the right topics. 

Its search and recommendation engine was used by outlets including NPR, the US public radio organisation, and its popular radio series This American Life, until it shut down last week. 

Nicholas Quah revealed the reason for its closure in Hot Pod, a podcasting industry newsletter, saying Apple had ‘acquired a technology dedicated to increasing the knowability and sortability of the hundreds of thousands of shows distributed through its Apple Podcast platform,’ adding that it would have ‘widespread implications for the ecosystem.’

Apple offered the Financial Times a followup, noting, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

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