Rumours suggest Apple are also planning a premium podcast subscription to rival efforts from Amazon, SiriusXM and Spotify’s unannounced potential premium podcast plan.

In November, a Spotify survey suggested the company are considering a separate Spotify Podcasts subscription to monetize the huge amounts spent on exclusive shows and networks, giving listeners an improved ad-free experience. New reports show Apple Podcasts may soon follow suit.

Over the last two years, Spotify have funnelled resources into their podcast platform, adding new features and exclusive shows from personalities such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Investments are seeing results in user growth, as according to a survey, 42% of all podcast listens come from Spotify. Spotify’s next real challenge is properly monetizing these shows to see a return on their investment.

As Spotify’s Podcast empire has continued to grow, Apple have also stepped up efforts with new features, acquiring networks and producing exclusive audio content that ties in with their original Apple TV+ shows.

SiriusXM and Amazon are also hoping to compete in the race, with SiriusXM purchasing podcast networks such as Simplecast and Stitcher, implementing shows on Pandora, as well as Amazon acquiring Wondery network last month for an undisclosed amount likely over $300 million. While Amazon may have been later to the podcast game than others, their audiobook platform Audible have completely dominated this sector of spoken work content for years. The company recently launched Audible Originals to Audible subscribers, growing their platform further.

Digital Music News detail some interesting statistics on recent podcast listening in the US, claiming spoken word listening now accounts for 26% of all listening by those aged 13+, a 3% rise over 2019. The article also states 55% of the entire US population are listening to at least one podcast, and 54% saying they’ve listened to at least one audiobook. The majority of listening takes place on smartphones, with 30% of all smartphone listening being some form of spoken word.