Will podcast listeners shell out a couple of bucks per month to avoid ads — or to simply support their favorite podcasters?
Apple is about to find out: The tech giant on Tuesday launched Apple Podcasts Subscriptions to customers worldwide, available for thousands of participating shows, offering a new way for creators and media companies to monetize their podcasts. Originally, Apple had planned to debut the podcast subscriptions in May.
Pricing for each subscription is set by publishers and creators, with a minimum price of 49 cents per month. The Apple Podcasters Program, which includes tools needed to offer premium subscriptions, costs $19.99 per year. Perks for subscribers, besides no ads, may also include early access to new episodes and exclusive content.
Apple will keep 30% of podcast-subscription fees in the first year and 15% in subsequent years, in line with the standard App Store revenue split. Podcast creators and publishers also can offer annual billing options, as well as free trials and sample episodes.
Companies participating in Apple Podcasts Subscriptions include Lemonada Media, Luminary, Pushkin Industries, Realm, Amazon’s Wondery, CNN, NPR, the Washington Post, Sony Music Entertainment and Three Uncanny Four, QCode, Bloomberg Media, Los Angeles Times, Politico, Vox Media, Campside Media, Tenderfoot TV, Radiotopia from PRX, The Athletic and Fox News.
Other studios and entertainment brands offering subscriptions through Apple including Audio Up, Betches Media, Blue Wire, Imperative Entertainment, Lantigua Williams & Co., Magnificent Noise, The Moth, and Neon Hum Media, plus channels from Audacy’s Cadence13 and Ramble, Barstool Sports, Jake Brennan’s Double Elvis, Headgum, iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect, Big Money Players, Grim & Mild, Seneca Women, Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland and Relay FM.
Apple also highlighted podcasts from independent creators, including “Birthful” with Adriana Lozada, “Pantsuit Politics” with Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, “Snap Judgment” with Glynn Washington, and “You Had Me At Black” with Martina Abrams Ilunga.
When listeners purchase a subscription to a show via Apple Podcasts, they automatically follow the show and the page is updated with a “Subscriber Edition” label so they know they have access to the premium experience.
Apple Podcasts users can discover channels for their favorite podcasts from each show page and through search, recommendations from the Listen Now and Browse tabs, and share channels using Messages, Mail and other apps. As users subscribe to channels, their Listen Now tab expands with new rows that provide access to all of the content included in the channel and with their subscription. Listeners who subscribe to two or more channels will see a My Channels row in the Listen Now tab, where they can browse and follow all of the shows offered.
Outside the U.S., podcast subscriptions and channels available through Apple Podcasts include ABC, LiSTNR, and SBS from Australia; Abrace Podcasts from Brazil; CANADALAND and Frequency Podcast Network from Canada; GoLittle from Denmark; Europe 1, Louie Media, and Radio France from France; Der Spiegel, Podimo, and ZEIT ONLINE from Germany; Il Sole 24 Ore and Storielibere.fm from Italy; J-WAVE from Japan; Brainrich from Korea; libo/libo from Russia; Finyal Media from the UAE; and Broccoli Productions, The Bugle, Content Is Queen, the Guardian, Immediate Media, and Somethin’ Else from the UK.
Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels are available in more than 170 countries and regions on Apple devices running iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, and macOS 11.4 or later.