Apple has unveiled Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favourite creators, alongside the millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts.
Starting in May, listeners in more than 170 countries and regions can sign up for premium subscriptions that include a variety of benefits curated by creators, such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series. Listeners will be able to enjoy premium subscriptions from independent voices and premier studios, including Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, to leading media and entertainment brands, including NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and many more.
“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. “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.”
Also in May, listeners will be able to discover channels, which are groups of shows curated by creators with unique titles, descriptions, and artwork. Just as they can with shows, listeners will be able to browse free channels, which make it easy to find more shows from their favourite creators, as well as paid channels and channels that provide additional benefits for subscribers.
With iOS 14.5, listeners can access a redesigned Apple Podcasts app featuring an enhanced Search tab that provides quick access to Top Charts and categories. Apple Podcasts also features new pages for every show and episode to make it easier to follow, listen, and share. A new Smart Play button helps listeners automatically start episodic shows from the latest episode and serialised shows from the beginning of each series. Listeners can also now save individual episodes, which are downloaded for offline playback, making it easy to bookmark podcasts to listen to later from Library.
A new Apple Podcasts for Creators website has been designed to help creators learn more about podcasting, stay informed about the latest news and features, and explore in-depth guides with best practices. All creators can access an updated Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard, which has new features that make it easier to manage shows on Apple Podcasts, including the ability to edit metadata, schedule and manage show availability, organise shows into channels, manage multiple users and roles, and learn how listeners are engaging with their shows through new performance metrics and visualisation tools. From Apple Podcasts Connect, creators can enrol in the new Apple Podcasters Program, which provides access to all the tools needed to build and distribute premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts.
Commenting on the launch of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, John F. Lansing, president and CEO of NPR, said, “Apple has been a valued partner to our podcasting work since it all started back in 2005, and we support their plan to enable a new revenue source for content creators on their platform. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will provide another opportunity for listeners to support their favourite podcasters at NPR and our Member stations in our mission to create a more informed public.”
Chris Argentieri, president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Times, added, “Subscriptions have always been an important source of support for our business, and podcasting has established itself as a powerful medium for large audiences to engage with our brand of journalism and storytelling. The ability to marry the two with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will allow us to expand our audio offerings to cover new formats, stories, communities, and more.”
Stefan Ottlitz, co-CEO and head of Product for Der Spiegel, said, “Audio is a uniquely powerful medium that provides Der Spiegel an opportunity to deeply engage audiences so they can form a meaningful relationship with our brand. We’re pleased to see this significant investment in podcasting from Apple, which will open doors to new, long-term revenue opportunities that will further empower us to pursue even more ambitious independent audio journalism.”
Dennis Kooker, president of Global Digital Business and US Sales at Sony Music Entertainment, said, “Apple is putting creators first with their approach to the subscription model. Offering subscriptions provides new flexibility and options for consumers, and is an important addition to helping creators better monetise their works. All of this will lead to more investment and even better shows for podcast fans.”
Pricing and Availability
- Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will be available to listeners in over 170 countries and regions in May. Specific software requirements for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels will be shared ahead of availability.
- Pricing for each subscription is set by creators and billed monthly by default. Creators can additionally offer annual billing, which subscribers can manage from their Apple ID account settings, now accessible from Listen Now. Listeners will also be able to access free trials and sample episodes offered by creators.
- Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share a subscription.
- Listeners will be able to access the enhanced Search tab with Top Charts and categories, new show and episode pages with the Smart Play button, and Saved Episodes on iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and macOS 11.3. Saved Episodes are also available on watchOS 7.4 and tvOS 14.5. These software updates will be available next week.
- The Apple Podcasters Program, which includes all of the tools needed to offer premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts, is available to creators in over 170 countries and regions for AUD$27.99 inc. GST per year. Creators can enrol in the Apple Podcasters Program through Apple Podcasts Connect.