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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Podcasts have historically been open and freely distributed, but new subscription offerings for podcasts from Apple and Spotify aim to challenge that status quo.

Between the lines: As the subscription podcast ecosystem develops, it wouldn't be surprising if other major podcast publishers start to toy with the idea of putting some of their podcasts behind a paywall.

Driving the news: Spotify on Tuesday launched its new subscription podcast platform that gives podcast creators the ability to create podcasts exclusively for paid subscribers on and off Spotify.

  • Creators using Spotify's podcast creator platform Anchor will be able to mark episodes as subscriber-only and publish them to Spotify and other podcast listening platforms, the company said Tuesday.
  • For the next two years, creators can pocket 100% of their subscriber revenue, excluding payment transaction fees. Starting in 2023, Spotify says it plans to introduce a 5% fee for access to the tool.

Apple announced its podcast subscription service last Thursday.

  • Apple's new service includes all of the tools needed by creators to offer premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts for $19.99 annually.
  • Apple will take a 30% cut from podcast subscriptions, similar to what it takes for any transactions made via apps within its app store.
  • That cut drops to 15% after the first year, but it's still much larger than Spotify's fee.

The New York Times has had conversations around paywalling podcasts, but there are no imminent plans to put any behind a paywall, sources told Axios.

  • The Times purchased Audm, a subscription narrated article product, in March. A spokesperson says this "is an example of our ambitions in this area."

NPR plans to launch a public radio podcast subscription service, the company confirmed to Axios.

  • The new NPR podcast subscription will allow listeners to directly support their favorite podcasts and receive sponsorship-free versions of individual podcasts for a small fee, a spokesperson tells Axios.
  • The idea would be to share the revenue with local member stations to help introduce podcast listeners to local radio. (Radio and podcast audiences don't always overlap.)

NPR says it will be partnering with Apple and Spotify on their new podcast subscription platforms, but it will also be committed to keeping content free.

  • “NPR remains committed to making news and other content available to the public free of charge as part of its public service mission,“ a spokesperson said.

The big picture: The financial return on investment in podcasts remains to be fully realized for most creators.

  • In order for podcasts as an industry to grow, the biggest podcast companies need to invest in more ways to help creators get paid, which is why subscription platforms make sense.
  • Subscription podcast platforms are becoming more popular as consumers show a willingness to pay for premium audio experiences without ads.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 3, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minneapolis chef Yia Vang's favorite foodies to follow

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Yia Vang

Yia Vang has emerged as one of the Twin Cities' more celebrated — and busiest — chefs.

But what does the chef do with the down time he does have? Read on for his screen time faves:

  • 📱 Device of choice: iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • 👇 First tap of the day: "TikTok! I should lie and say emails though … My alarm, that's an app!"
  • 📰 Go-to news source: Apple News 🎧
  • Podcast queue: "I'm a huge fan of The Folly Coffee Podcast by friend Rob. He's such a great interviewer and interviews all sorts of people. And obviously, White on Rice!"
  • 📺 Streaming: All the Marvel movies on Disney+
  • 📚 Reading list: "'Extreme Leadership' by Jocko Willink and Leif Babib. It's about these two former Navy Seal guys who started a consulting company based on Navy Seal leadership tactics. I'm kind of a war dude, so I like hearing war stories."
  • 😂 Favorite app: "Mematic...I love making memes out of candid photos of my friends."
  • 📸 Twin Cities' must-follow foodies: "@WhatHappyMakes does a great job of getting into the stories of food and mental health and how it all relates. And @JDHovland, because there's no pretentiousness with him —  it's not about the hipster trendy place, it's about the hole in the [wall], ma-and-pa type shop."

Read our past Screen Time interviews with musician Dessa, former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and retired judge and NFL player Alan Page.

School principals are not OK

Principal Alice Hom (purple jacket) of New York's Yung Wing School P.S. 124 near a vaccination van in November. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The overwhelming majority of secondary school principals experienced frequent stress last school year, according to a RAND Corporation report out Wednesday.

The big picture: The stress levels among female principals and principals of color were especially stark, with nearly 40% in these groups reporting constant job-related stress, compared to about 24% of male principals and 26% of white principals.

It's official: Stock market having worst start to year ever

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been a decidedly ugly start to the year for the stock market, with particular pain in the tech trade.

State of play: As of the end of trading Tuesday — the 16th session of the year — 2022 is now, officially, the worst-ever start in the history of the S&P 500, according to data from Ned Davis Research, a stock market research shop.

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