Image Credit: Spotify

Just a week after Apple announced Apple Podcast Subscriptions, Spotify announce Paid Subscriptions, their answer to monetizing podcasts.

Currently, many podcast creators monetize their shows through service such as Patreon as a means to offer exclusive content in exchange for a monthly fee. This gives listeners a way to support their favourite podcasters, while gaining early access, bonus episodes, behind the scenes content and more. Last week, Apple announced plans for their premium Apple Podcast Subscriptions platform, due to launch next month. Open to all podcasters, this essentially bakes a Patreon-like experience right into Apple Podcasts, giving creators the chance to monetize their shows via a subscription they can set.

After Spotify hinted at offering more choices for podcast monetization at their Stream On event in February, we recently heard rumours that they were planning to implement a similar service to Apple’s into their own podcast platform later this week. Today we got the official announcement of Spotify’s upcoming Paid Subscription platform, with the streaming service labelling it a “new era” for podcast creators.

Paid Subscriptions from Spotify will begin rolling out in the US today and expand internationally in the coming months. Creators will find the necessary tools within Anchor, the podcast creation platform owned by Spotify. Podcasters can simply mark episodes as subscriber-only to lock them to paying subscribers only. Locked episodes will still be searchable, discoverable and show up in the shows feed in Spotify, as with regular episodes.

Spotify have debuted Paid Subscriptions with a collaboration from NPR (interestingly, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions was also launched with NPR). A selection of their shows will be available sponsor-free for paying subscribers from May 4th. 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 to follow in the coming weeks. Sponsor-free premium shows are marked with a “Plus”, for example “Planet Money Plus” and a lock icon on the play button.

As rumoured in our previous article, for the next two years, no cost will be required by the creator. Minus payment transaction fees, creators will receive 100% of the subscriber revenue, until 2023 where Spotify plan to introduce a 5% fee. This is in stark contrast to Apple’s plan. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will require a yearly fee of $19.99, plus Apple will take a 30% cut of revenue from the first year, with this decreasing to 15% for following years. This is a fantastic strategy from Spotify, launching so soon after Apple’s, pleasing both creators for more revenue and fans, who know all of their money will be going directly to the creator. Payments are made via a browser to avoid Apple’s App Store fees.

Unfortunately, unlike Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, Spotify’s Paid Subscriptions are not open to all creators from day one. The first group of participating creators includes 12 independent podcasters. Spotify are accepting submissions through their waitlist and hope to expand the program to more creators and the rest of the world in the coming months.