Fifteen years ago, Apple Inc. started offering free audio programs to the masses, giving a chance for many creators to encourage new content in a premier, open platform to inspire, inform and entertain millions of listeners all around the world. Because of that since then, Apple has been playing a major role in bringing podcasts to the mainstream. However, rivals such as Sirius XM, Amazon and Spotify also offered podcasts exclusive to their platforms as well, this way gaining revenue from advertising and subscriptions. After years of such competition, Apple just recently unveiled a new and very promising feature: Apple podcast subscriptions
What exactly is Apple podcast subscriptions? The main idea of the subscription feature is selling subscribers to podcasters and expanding the audience of most shows while giving a slice of each transaction for the Apple company. This way it’s a win win. The podcast publishers will have the ability to sell or buy subscriptions and Apple will gain revenue by keeping 30% from creators in their first year, after that Apple’s cut will drop to 15%. The creators can set their own pricing starting at 49 cents a month (US) and same with perks included in each plan, for example no ads, bonus content, early access to new series . Also Apple does not require to create Apple-only exclusive shows, however you should not distinguish between the stuff you’re distributing via Apple and other platforms. The company noted that there will still be plenty of free podcasts that are available to everyone. Currently there are more than 2 million free shows.
So how does the feature work? Apple podcast subscriptions are now available in over 170 countries. In order to create monetizable content, podcasters have to enroll for the Apple Podcasters Program through Apple Podcasts Connect. Once all that is done, the creators will be able to set their own pricing and include extra perks. If the pricing is monthly or annual depends on the creator as well as other features. Podcasters also have the complete control of the quality of content they offer behind the paywall. Apple is giving creators the freedom to create multiple channels and shows that fit for different audiences and include different strategies of selling. However the best part, in my opinion, is the analytics of listener behaviour, which is extremely hard to find in other apps. Here you will have the ability to see how many people listened to your episode, when they discovered it and the change.
What you should know as a podcaster
The move has excited many creators. Many see this feature as a very potential change in the podcast environment. For podcasters it will no longer be as hard to gain revenue from their work. Before most of the money was gained by audio advertisements, however such ads are not as commonly used by sellers, so it is hard to find one. This feature offers a super easy way to support content creators. The Apple Podcast for Creators website
will help podcasters learn more about other shows and stay informed about the latest news and features. The current features involve an easier management of the show availability, editing metadata and schedule, organizing shows into channels and learning how listeners engage with the released content through visualization tools.
Final thoughts To summarize, Apple podcast subscriptions are a very potential and promising feature that could drastically change the popularity of podcasts in a good way. It is also a chance to gain revenue from podcasts more easily and for listeners to easily support their favourite shows. This will also work as an encouragement for listeners and creators, both to listen and create more. In the future we could be expecting some more features from Apple and a Spotify version of podcast subscriptions without the 30%. All podcasters should not miss to try this new feature.