Apr 20, 2021 - Economy

Apple unveils new subscription podcast service


Apple is launching a new podcast subscription service within the Apple Podcasts app, CEO Tim Cook confirmed Tuesday.

Why it matters: Until now, Apple's podcast ambitions have mostly been tailored to courting listeners. Tuesday's announcement was more focused on setting up a service in which podcast creators can better monetize their content.

  • The new service includes a feature called "The Apple Podcasters Program," which includes all of the tools needed by creators to offer premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts for $19.99 annually.
  • Apple is also debuting a redesigned analytics platform called "Podcasts for Creators" to help creators access more data about how their content is performing.

Details: The new service will launch in over 170 countries and regions. It will include free, subscription and "freemium" tiers that allow podcast creators to choose how and which content to up-sell.

  • Some subscriptions allow podcast listeners to unlock new content, while others offer perks like bonus episodes or an ad-free experience.
  • The podcast app itself is also getting a design refresh. Moving forward, it will include new "channels," or groups of curated shows, that help users discover content by certain genres or creators.
  • Several publishers, like The Washington Post, Luminary and The Athletic were highlighted as partners with content that will be available at launch.

Yes, but: Apple says it will take a 30% cut of the money made off of podcast subscriptions, which is similar to what it takes for any transactions made via apps within its app store. That cut drops to 15% after the first year.

  • Creators will also need to upload their podcasts through Apple's backend system if they want to have them be a part of Apple's subscription program, which limits the creator's ability to fully own the direct relationship with their listeners.

Go deeper: More details from Apple's event

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