This week, Apple announced its entry into the premium podcasts space allowing creators to monetize their shows directly within Apple Podcasts, with subscriptions. Apple’s service launches in May and will let podcasts offer ad-free episodes and bonus content to listeners for a monthly membership.
Somewhat controversially, Apple will take 15-30% commission of the podcasts subscription revenue. The Wall Street Journal says Spotify is set to announce similar subscription features next week, but will not take a cut of revenue.
Apple’s pitch is that it will allow podcasters to easily add paid subscription content to their shows and sell it through the Podcasts app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Users will be able to press one button inside the app to subscribe, just as simple as downloading an app. Apple believes the 15-30% commission fees (plus a $20/year membership fee to be part of the Apple Podcasters Program in the first place) reflect that convenience.
However, Spotify definitely has the edge in terms of distribution as it simply supports many more platforms including Android phones, and has about twice the number of paying active subscribers on its service. If The Wall Street Journal is correct, it will also be attractive to publishers that balked at Apple’s commission rates when they announced the podcasts subscription initiative earlier this week.
For a while, Spotify has offered its own original podcasts that are exclusive to the Spotify app. Apple has dabbled in this area with some companion podcasts for TV+ content. However, it seems to want to make original audio shows, too. The Wall Street Journal report says Apple is in active discussions with podcasters to produce shows that would be exclusive to Apple Podcasts. Access to these Apple original shows may require an Apple Music or Apple One subscription.
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