Apple has unveiled Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a premium subscription offering featuring podcasts from brands like The Athletic, NPR and Sony Music Entertainment, that will be available alongside free shows on Apple Podcasts.
Starting in May, the ad-free offering will roll out in more than 170 countries, featuring access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series. Pricing for each subscription will be set by creators and billed monthly by default with Apple keeping 30% of subscription revenue in year one and 15% after that. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share a subscription.
“Fifteen years ago, Apple took podcasts mainstream, offering creators a premier, open platform to inform, entertain, and inspire hundreds of millions of listeners around the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a company announcement. “Today, Apple Podcasts is the best place for listeners to discover and enjoy millions of great shows, and we are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. We’re excited to introduce this powerful new platform to creators around the world, and we can’t wait to hear what they make with it.”
Among enhanced interface changes, listeners will be able to discover Channels – groups of shows curated by creators – that they’ll be able to browse, making it easier to find more shows from their favourite creators as well as paid channels. With next week’s iOS 14.5 update, a redesigned Apple Podcasts app will be introduced with an enhanced Search tab providing quick access to Top Charts and categories, a new Smart Play button that will automatically start shows from the latest episode, and a save feature making it easy to bookmark podcasts to listen to later.
New features for creators
Apple has additionally introduced a new Apple Podcasts for Creators website where podcast producers can explore best practices, access an updated Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard, and enroll in the new Apple Podcasters Program, which provides access to all the tools needed to build and distribute premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts. The program will run $19.99 (USD) per year.
Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg, the co-founders of podcast and audiobook production company, Pushkin Industries, are among those getting behind the new Apple offering.
“Podcasting totally changed my approach to storytelling, and Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is a mind shift,” said Gladwell, host of the award-winning Revisionist History. “Our producers and I have so many ideas that don’t fit into existing models but will now have an outlet. This is a big step forward in the evolution of the audio content business, and we are excited about it.”
“We strongly believe that paid subscriptions are what independent creators like us need to succeed and thrive over the long term, and we’re thrilled that Apple is taking the lead,” added Weisberg.
Subscribe Now – Free!
Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.
The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.
Let’s get started right now.