Spotify has launched its paid podcast subscription service. This lets podcasters who host their shows on Spotify's Anchor platform to charge listeners for their podcasts. As rumoured, podcasters can choose to offer subscriber-only extras such as bonus content and no adverts.
Spotify has opened a waiting list that podcasters can join. Once their turn comes, they should be able to offer subscriptions.
For the first two years, Spotify won't take a cut of podcasters' earnings, but creators will have to cover the cost of transaction fees through Spotify's payment partner Stripe. From 2023, Spotify will take five per cent of creators' subscription revenue, which is less than Apple will take with its forthcoming podcast subscription service.
Spotify's service is currently only available in the US, but will come to other countries "in the coming months". It launched with 12 independent podcasts, including Tiny Leaps, Big Changes and Mindful in Minutes, offering subscriber-only content.
Broadcaster NPR will also offer subscribers ad-free versions of certain shows from 4th May. These include How I Built This with Guy Raz, Short Wave, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, Code Switch, and Planet Money, with more following in the coming weeks.
These NPR shows will be tagged as 'Plus' – for example, Planet Money Plus.
Spotify claims the new service will help podcasters grow their audiences.
"By enabling wide distribution of subscriber-only content, our aim is to help podcasters maximise their subscription audiences and grow them from their existing listener bases," it said in a blog post. "Within Spotify, this content will be searchable and discoverable like any other podcast episode."
Paid-for shows will show up with a lock on the Play button. Because subscribers pay through Spotify's Anchor platform, Spotify won't have to pay Apple any cut of in-app purchases.
Anyone hosting podcasts elsewhere will also soon be able to integrate them into Spotify, though it's not clear exactly how this will work.
Apple announced last week that it was launching its own podcast subscription service next month. As well as setting the price, podcasters on Apple's platform can decide what extras (if any) you get for paying – examples include bonus content, early access, and ad-free shows. Free trials and sample episodes are also options.
With the news that Spotify raised its UK prices this week, hopefully, this service will be worth paying that little bit extra for.
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