Amazon Music is set to take on Apple and Spotify on yet another front after launching its own streaming service for podcasts.

The tech giant announced the initial roll out of its podcasts business on Wednesday to users of Amazon Music in the US, UK, Germany and Japan. The audio service will be offered to users at no additional cost on all tiers on the app and Alexa.

The venture will see Amazon create original shows, lining up celebrities such as Will Smith and DJ Khaled, a US rapper and producer, in an effort to expand its user base while including existing shows listened to on other apps.

“Our customers’ listening habits are constantly evolving, and we know they’re looking to us to provide them with a rich experience rooted in music and entertainment,” said Steve Boom, vice president of Amazon Music.

“With this launch, we’re bringing customers even more forms of entertainment to enjoy, while enabling creators to reach new audiences globally, just as we’ve done with music streaming.”

The move puts Amazon in direct competition with Apple and Spotify in a fiercely competitive market that is expected to grow 30pc to $1.1bn by the end of the year, according to a report from Deloitte in December.

Spotify in particular has made a big play on podcasts, after making a string of acquisitions of podcast firms such as Gimlet Media and The Anchor, while investing heavily in exclusive contracts with the likes of Michelle Obama and Joe Rogan in a bet that is almost worth $1bn.

But news of Amazon’s foray into podcasts sent shares in the Swedish streaming giant down more than 6pc on Wednesday, as investors were rattled by the emergence of a new competitor.

Spotify currently commands almost 300m monthly active users, while Amazon said in January that it had surpassed 55m users for its music service.

The Apple One subscriptions combine several services – including Apple Music, Apple TV+ and iCloud storageat a lower price than users would pay if they bought each service individually.

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World news – GB – Amazon Music takes on Apple and Spotify with launch of podcasts

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