After a brief delay, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels are now available in 170 countries and regions. This includes channels from creators like the Los Angeles Times, Luminary, NPR, Pushkin Industries, CNN, The Washington Post, Sony Music Entertainment and QCODE, which are available at launch. Additional podcast channels will be added weekly, says Apple. Listeners can now purchase premium podcast subscriptions through the Apple Podcasts app to gain early access to content, enjoy an ad-free experience, and support their favorite creators.
With thousands of subscriptions, channels, shows, genres and formats, there is something for virtually everyone.
“Listeners can’t get enough of their favorite podcasts and want a simple way to support the extraordinary creators who make them possible,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, in the company’s June 15, 2021 announcement.
“Now, listeners can enjoy new content and additional benefits for thousands of new and popular podcasts, alongside millions of free shows, with more arriving every week. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will help creators grow their businesses and continue to make podcasting an important source of information, entertainment, connection, and inspiration for hundreds of millions of listeners around the world,” Schusser added.
How subscriptions and channels work
When listeners buy a subscription to a particular show, they automatically follow the show. Also, premium podcasts are marked as “Subscriber Edition,” so subscribers know which podcasts will give them a premium experience. Podcast listeners who subscribe to two or more channels will have a My Channels row in their Listen Now tab, so they can see what shows are available on those channels.
Apple is touting discoverability as a top feature. Listeners can find the favorite podcasts and discover new ones by searching, and reviewing recommendations from the Listen Now and Browse tabs. They can also share channels through Messages, Mail and other apps.
Apple previewed new shows and seasons available through Apple Podcasts Subscriptions in their announcement. Subscribers can listen to new and original shows, get early access to new seasons of their favorite shows and bonus episodes, all ad-free. Here are a few of the podcasts that Apple is promoting right now:
- Season 2 of “Chameleon: High Rollers,” featuring Trevor Aaronson from Campside Media
- “The Handoff,” featuring Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo from CNN
- “The Midnight Miracle,” an original series featuring Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey and Dave Chappelle from Luminary
- “To Live and Die in LA,” featuring Neil Strauss from Tenderfoot TV (subscribers will get early and exclusive access to bonus episodes)
Apple is touting new subscriptions and channels, including:
- Lemonada Media
- Radiotopia from PR|
- Pushkin Industries
- Tenderfoot TV
Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is also offering new and emerging formats including scripted fiction, mindfulness and sleep, and kids and family. News organizations will also offer subscriptions and channels, including The Athletic NBA Show, Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, The Washington Post, ABC and others.
Pricing for subscriptions is set by podcast creators, starting at $0.49 per month. Listeners can manage their subscriptions and subscription billing from Apple ID Account Settings from the Listen Now tab in Apple Podcasts. Subscriptions can also be purchased or given as gifts through the Apple Gift Card. In addition, Apple Card customers get 3% daily cash back with each Apple Podcasts Subscription. Each Apple Podcasts Subscription can be shared by six family members through Family Sharing. As with most of its products, Apple keeps 30% of first year revenue. The revenue share drops to 15% in subsequent years.
Competition for podcast audiences, content and market share is heating up with each provider wanting to provide the best experience for their listeners. Apple has offered podcasts for years, but it is investing more in podcasts as the popularity of them grows. According to eMarketer, Apple Podcasts and Spotify Podcasts are virtually tied with approximately 28 million listeners. eMarketer estimates that, by 2023, Spotify will grow to 37.5 million listeners, compared to about 28.8 million for Apple. If Apple wants to grow, rather than stay constant, it needs to continue to attract podcast creators and listeners.