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Do you need another subscription service in your life? If you’re not tapped out on video- and music-streaming services, Substacks, and Patreons, Apple has a new option: podcasts.
Apple already offers millions of podcasts for free via its Podcasts app, but with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, audio creators will be able to charge fans for access to their shows.
Podcasters can decide how they want to price their shows. They can lock down everything behind a paywall or offer a freemium model that mixes free listening with added perks for subscribers, like ad-free shows, early access, or extra episodes. Podcasters can also create channels, where they can group and curate their shows.
Pricing will be set by the podcaster and billed monthly by default, though annual subscriptions are also an option. This being Apple, the company will take a 30% cut for the first year and 15% thereafter. Creators themselves will have to pay Apple $19.99 per year to join the program.
Everything will be tied to your Apple ID like other apps, but up to six family members can share a subscription through Family Sharing.
Apple will roll out podcast subscriptions in May. Among those who have signed up to offer them are Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, as well as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, and Sony Music Entertainment.
With iOS 14.5, which rolls out next week, the existing Podcasts app will get a makeover, including an enhanced Search tab for quick access to Top Charts and categories, plus a Smart Play button that automatically starts episodic shows from the latest episode and serialized shows from the beginning of each series. Listeners can also save individual episodes.
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