Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

Apple (MacRumors):

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.


The new Apple Podcasts for Creators website helps creators learn more about podcasting, stay informed about the latest news and features, and explore in-depth guides with best practices. Starting today, 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, organize shows into channels, manage multiple users and roles, and learn how listeners are engaging with their shows through new performance metrics and visualization tools. From Apple Podcasts Connect, creators can enroll in the new Apple Podcasters Program, which provides access to all the tools needed to build and distribute premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts.


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.

Peter Kafka:

First take on Apple’s pod plans: creator-friendly way to generate more $ w/out cannibalizing existing biz.

I had thought Apple would require some kind of exclusivity but am told that’s not so: you can distribute pod with ads on Spotify, Apple etc and sell ad-free via Apple too.

Matt Medeiros:

Looks like Apple will keep 30% of your private podcast revenue + the $19.99/year in the first year. Moving to 15% of subscribers in year 2+ -- according to their terms.


Update (2021-04-20): Paul Haddad (MacRumors):

What’s the justification behind charging 30% to host podcasts? It’s not like the App Store where there’s a huge review infrastructure and super rich SDK.

Owen Williams:

and you STILL have to host your own RSS feed/files for all of the regular content, i don’t get it

Marco Arment:

Well, this is fun.

Tried going to Apple Podcasts Connect when signed into my developer account. Hit Cancel, signed out.

Now I can’t get into App Store Connect with my dev account.

Always redirects to podcastsconnect, even in another browser.

Update (2021-04-22): Nathan Gathright:

Just like the App Store, Apple owns the customer relationship and can choose to offer a refund if they decide you haven’t fulfilled the benefits offered in your subscription. You have to reimburse the money, but Apple retains their cut, natch.

Ben Thompson:

As a longstanding | critic | of | the App Store, you might expect me to be scandalized by Apple’s podcast subscription offering…and you would be wrong! In fact, Apple’s podcast offering is an excellent example of how the App Store should operate (with one big exception).

Apple’s podcast subscription offering gets four big things right, three of which are the complete opposite of the App Store.


I’m actually very open to allowing Apple to be my payment processor; in my experience, though, a critical part of the creator business model is having a direct connection with your customers. That is something Apple simply doesn’t allow.


Apple’s podcast offering, as I laid out above, rightfully competes on the merits with alternative ways of paying for subscription podcasts in the Apple Podcast app. Unfortunately there is a meta competition problem, which is that no one else can offer a podcast subscription service like Apple’s.

Ashley Carman:

confirmed that apple podcast subscription content has to be uploaded through apple’s backend, not through RSS. the regular content that you’ve had in the feed can still go through RSS.

Benjamin Mayo:

The biggest issue I can see for adoption of Podcasts Subscriptions so far is the lack of API/automation support. All subscriber audio has to be manually uploaded in a web interface.

Update (2021-05-03): Jason Snell:

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions has a lot going for it—but its limitations reinforce that this is really just a first attempt. Worse, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions highlights how some of Apple’s App Store policies effectively bar any other podcast app developer from competing with Apple.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

So all those Apple pundits, who for years now have vociferously defended Apple's shakedown of developers and helped shape the narrative that developers are greedy and not to be trusted, now have Apple muscling in on their podcast revenue. Anyone know where I can order a violin? A really, really, really tiny one.

Paying for your favorite podcasts to be ad-free is a great model for podcasters, so I get that the Upgrade and ATP folks seem tentatively positive on this.

However, while I'm sure doing podcasting well is an expensive operation, $50/yr for Upgrade+ (with entire segments cut otherwise) or $96/yr for ATP is, not nothing. Not really practical to subscribe to more than very, very few of those.

For consumers, surely all-you-can-eat podcasts for flat fee is more attractive (but also so far hasn't taken the world by storm, so maybe that model isn't practical).

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