With the video streaming market starting to feel a little saturated, audio and podcasts, in particular, could be the next big focus. Apple reiterated its commitment to the medium by introducing a paid subscription service. Shortly after, arch-rival Spotify has come up with its own subscription platform that one-ups the Cupertino giant in one major way.
Unlike Apple, Spotify's offering will not take any commission (excluding payment transaction fees) for the first two years. The company only plans to take a 5% cut beginning in 2023, but even that seems to be a bargain against Apple's 30% commission (15% starting the second year) that creators will have to cough up from the get-go.
Spotify will allow creators to select one of the three price tiers for their podcasts: $2.99, $4.99, or $7.99 per month, and they will also have the freedom to select which episodes will be behind the paywall.
For podcast listeners, these paid podcasts will be searchable and discoverable, just like any other podcast. A lock symbol will make it easy to distinguish between a paid and a free one. The first set of paid podcasts on Spotify will be from 12 independent creators and will be available in the US. The audio giant has also partnered up with NPR Radio to offer five shows that will be available starting May 4.
For users who have been listening to podcasts for a while, the last couple of years may have been a bit rough. Not only are they getting exclusive to certain platforms, but they're also being put behind a paywall. However, on the bright side, these paid subscription services may finally let your favorite independent creators earn enough to turn podcasting into something more substantial than a side hustle.