Apple on Tuesday announced a new podcasts subscription feature for its Podcasts app, which would allow podcast creators to sell subscriptions to an individual show or group of shows. Pricing will start at 49 cents per month. Apple will get a 30% cut of all subscription fees in the first year.
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.
Recode reports that Apple will wet its beak to the tune of 30% of subscription revenue that creators generate in their first year on the platform, and after that, Apple will collect 15%. This is the same pricing setup that Apple uses for other subscription options.
The Cupertino firm will not require podcast creators to create exclusive content for Apple, but it is reportedly encouraging them to distinguish their content on Apple Podcasts from other services by offering ad-free shows, extra content for shows, or early access to new content. Podcasters that wish to participate in the new program will need to sign up for Apple’s $19.99 per year Podcasters Program.
Podcast publishers will be able to begin offering subscriptions beginning next month. Up to six family members can share a subscription and will be available to listeners in over 170 countries and regions.
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 $19.99 (US) per year. Creators can enroll in the Apple Podcasters Program today through Apple Podcasts Connect.