Apple has unveiled Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which the company describes as “a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favorite creators alongside millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts.”
Starting in May, listeners in more than 170 countries and regions can sign up for premium subscriptions that include a variety of benefits curated by creators, such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series.
Listeners will be able to enjoy premium subscriptions from independent voices and premier studios, including Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, to leading media and entertainment brands, including NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and many more.
“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, in a press release. “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.”
Also next month, listeners will be able to discover channels, which are groups of shows curated by creators with unique titles, descriptions, and artwork. Just as they can with shows, listeners will be able to browse free channels, which make it easy to find more shows from their favorite creators, as well as paid channels and channels that provide additional benefits for subscribers, says Cue.
With iOS 14.5, listeners can access a redesigned Apple Podcasts app featuring an enhanced Search tab that provides quick access to Top Charts and categories. Apple Podcasts also features new pages for every show and episode to make it easier to follow, listen, and share. The new Smart Play button helps listeners automatically start episodic shows from the latest episode and serialized shows from the beginning of each series. Listeners can also now save individual episodes, which are downloaded for offline playback, making it easy to bookmark podcasts to listen to later from Library.
A new Apple Podcasts for Creators website is designed to help creators learn more about podcasting, stay informed about the latest news and features, and explore in-depth guides with best practices. Starting today, all creators can access an updated Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard, which has new features that make it easier to manage shows on Apple Podcasts, including the ability to edit metadata, schedule and manage show availability, organize shows into channels, manage multiple users and roles, and learn how listeners are engaging with their shows through new performance metrics and visualization tools.
From Apple Podcasts Connect, creators can enroll in the new Apple Podcasters Program, which provides access to all the tools needed to build and distribute premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts.
Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will be available to listeners in over 170 countries and regions in May. Specific software requirements for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels will be shared ahead of availability.
Pricing for each subscription is set by creators and billed monthly by default. Creators can additionally offer annual billing, which subscribers can manage from their Apple ID account settings, now accessible from Listen Now. Listeners will also be able to access free trials and sample episodes offered by creators.
Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share a subscription. Listeners will be able to access the enhanced Search tab with Top Charts and categories, new show and episode pages with the Smart Play button, and Saved Episodes on iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and macOS 11.3. Saved Episodes are also available on watchOS 7.4 and tvOS 14.5. These software updates will be available next week.
The Apple Podcasters Program, which includes all of the tools needed to offer premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts, is available to creators in over 170 countries and regions for US$19.99 per year. Creators can enroll in the Apple Podcasters Program today through Apple Podcasts Connect.