Apple Launches Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

A global marketplace for premium podcast subscriptions

Apple is making it easier for podcast fans to find and discover their favorite podcasts. Starting in May, Apple is launching Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a global marketplace for premium podcast subscriptions like those produced by The Washington Post, Pantsuit Politics, Meet Cute, The Athletic, NPR, Luminary, Pushkin and more. The service will be available in 170 countries and regions, and it will include discoverable channels curated by creators, including both free and paid channels.

“Fifteen years ago, Apple took podcasts mainstream, offering creators a premier, open platform to inform, entertain, and inspire hundreds of millions of listeners around the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Today, Apple Podcasts is the best place for listeners to discover and enjoy millions of great shows, and we are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. We’re excited to introduce this powerful new platform to creators around the world, and we can’t wait to hear what they make with it.”

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a global marketplace for premium podcasts
Apple Podcasts Subscription, a global marketplace for premium podcasts. Image courtesy of Apple.

Though Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is a marketplace for podcasts, the individual creators set pricing, and the default option for podcast subscriptions is monthly billing. Creators may choose to offer annual billing and, when they do, subscribers can manage their billing preferences under their Apple ID account settings which they access via Listen Now. Listeners can also get free trials and listen to sample episodes when creators offer them. With Family Sharing, up to six family members in a household can share a subscription.

Chris Argentieri, president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Times, had this to say about Apple Podcasts Subscriptions.

“Subscriptions have always been an important source of support for our business, and podcasting has established itself as a powerful medium for large audiences to engage with our brand of journalism and storytelling. The ability to marry the two with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will allow us to expand our audio offerings to cover new formats, stories, communities, and more,” said Argentieri.

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Alex Mather, the founder and CEO of The Athletic is also excited about the new offerings through Apple Podcasts Subscriptions.

“Our team loves bringing deeply immersive storytelling to maniacal sports fans around the world, and our listeners tune in to over a million hours of sports news, analysis, and storytelling each week. We know true sports fans are always looking for stories about their clubs and teams told through a new lens, and with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, we can deliver even more great stories in an all-new way, ad free, directly through Apple Podcasts,” Mather said.

Apple Podcasts offers more than 2 million free shows and is available for free on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod mini, CarPlay, iTunes on Windows, and some smart speakers and car systems.

Apple Podcasts for Creators

Along with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, they are also launching a new website for Apple Podcasts for Creators to help podcasters to be more successful. The new resource for creators has the latest news and features, in-depth podcasting guides, best practices and more.

Using an Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard, podcasters can manage their shows, including editing the metadata, scheduling shows, organize programs into channels, manage users and their roles, and learn more about listener behavior through metrics like performance metrics and visualization tools.

Podcasters who want to be part of the Apple Podcasters Program and offer premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts can sign up at Apple Podcasts Connect (editor's note: this URL is only available if you create an account). The service for creators is $19.99 per year.

Insider Take

This new offering will presumably help Apple better compete with Spotify for podcast listeners. In fact, since the two services are neck and neck in terms of listeners, according to eMarketer and Statista, this might help Apple pull ahead of Spotify. However, we expect these services and others to continue competing for market share with new benefits and features for subscribers and for creators.