Apple considering premium podcast service to compete with Amazon, Spotify

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 3
Apple is reportedly mulling the release of a paid podcast subscription service, in an attempt to generate more revenue, and lure creators away from rivals like Spotify and Amazon.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Although details on the potential service are scarce, The Information reports that Apple is currently in discussions about launching the new premium podcasting service. The catalog would presumably contain exclusive content.

By charging users to listen to shows, the premium podcast service could allow creators to make more money. That could help Apple attract podcast makers and bolster the company's services revenue.

Apple's Podcasts platform has long been synonymous with the medium. The iPod, in fact, helped to create the entire industry. Thus far, however, Apple hasn't tried to monetize the podcasting platform.

The launch of a premium podcast subscription service would echo Apple's move to monetize some of its platforms, such as Apple News and Apple Music.

The move could also threaten fast-moving players in the podcasting industry like Amazon and Spotify. Both companies have, in recent years, taken steps to gain more control of the market through acquisitions and exclusive contracts.

Popular podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience" ditched Apple Podcasts in 2020 and became a Spotify exclusive. In December, Amazon bought podcast startup Wondery, the company behind several Apple TV+ adaptations and reportedly a potential Apple acquisition target.

It would also bring the Podcasts platform into competition with startups like Luminary, which charges $2.99 a month for exclusive podcast content.

This isn't the first time that rumors have suggested Apple is looking into original podcasts. Back in 2019, Apple was said to be in talks with production companies about funding exclusive shows.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,673member
    It seems to me this is just another area where fragmentation is happening.  Streaming TV is already pretty much a mess.  Netflix, Prime, Disney+, AppleTV, Peacock, CBS All Access, HBO Max, Hulu, etc. Discovery+ just started as well.  Then add in the likes of YouTube TV, AT&T and others for "TV service" type platforms.  
    Then there is music/podcasts.  Apple music.  Spotify.  Pandora.  And Apple news.  And iCloud.  And Apple Arcade.  

    It's honestly mind-boggling.  One has to wonder if, eventually, there will be consolidation.  I can't see room for all these competing services in the long run.  
    Ofermike54watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    Apple had how much time? Like 15 years to work on Podcasts. Now their own creation is leaving their hands after they had a monopoly for a decade.
    Ofermike54lkrupp
  • Reply 3 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    sdw2001 said:
    It seems to me this is just another area where fragmentation is happening.  Streaming TV is already pretty much a mess.  Netflix, Prime, Disney+, AppleTV, Peacock, CBS All Access, HBO Max, Hulu, etc. Discovery+ just started as well.  Then add in the likes of YouTube TV, AT&T and others for "TV service" type platforms.  
    Then there is music/podcasts.  Apple music.  Spotify.  Pandora.  And Apple news.  And iCloud.  And Apple Arcade.  

    It's honestly mind-boggling.  One has to wonder if, eventually, there will be consolidation.  I can't see room for all these competing services in the long run.  

    But but but competition is good!!
    mike54lkrupp
  • Reply 4 of 12
    My vote for acquisitions would be iHeart Radio and Crooked Media - for starters. Shame they let Wondery slip through their fingers. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Beats said:
    Apple had how much time? Like 15 years to work on Podcasts. Now their own creation is leaving their hands after they had a monopoly for a decade.
    They didn’t work on it because the feedback from podcasters was they wanted the service to be free and cross-platform.

    Competitors are throwing large amounts of money around now, so clearly podcasters have changed their minds about exclusivity on platforms.
    n2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Tim Cook needs to first figure out how to restore my library of a gazillion podcast episodes that I spent hundreds of hours downloading.  They literally disappeared overnight in the transition to Podcasts.  Moving to Overcast has helped somewhat, but I'm still missing hundreds of episodes. No way will I pay $4.99/month for Podcasts.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250716172?login=true


    mike54
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Control_Z said:
    Tim Cook needs to first figure out how to restore my library of a gazillion podcast episodes that I spent hundreds of hours downloading.  They literally disappeared overnight in the transition to Podcasts.  Moving to Overcast has helped somewhat, but I'm still missing hundreds of episodes. No way will I pay $4.99/month for Podcasts.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250716172?login=true


    This was a fascinating. 

    That is exactly right. Age 20-something Pablum-pukers with a kindergarten-level education are now designing electronic kindergarten picture-books in the place of working apps designed for grown adults with fully functioning human brains.

    Yup. This told me everything I needed to know. 

    The podcasts are not lost by the sounds of it. The problem is that you collect podcasts, a bit like people collect stamps. You want to know the exact file location of every podcast on your machine so you can rifle through them with the Finder as though you were thumbing through a record collection. 

    The vast majority of Apple’s customer listen to a podcast once and then never listen to it again. The podcast app is geared towards that: subscribing, listening. Not many people are that concerned with the actual file and where it sits on the disk. Apple chose to keep it simple, rather than fit  a file archiver into it because they built the app based on how the majority of customers use it. 

    This is very similar to the argument folk make about having a separate app for music you’ve bought and music you stream. 

    Folk care about listening to music, not where it came from and how it’s stored. 


    n2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,392member
    Just gonna point out that, to date, nobody has made monetizing podcasts in this manner work. Spotify certainly hasn't made a dime on it -- and will never see back the money they threw at Joe Rogan. Wondery and Luminary never made a dime off their plans to monetize podcasts.

    Of course, some podcasts do monetize themselves through Patreons (et al) and in-podcast sponsorships (but that's not what we're talking about here -- we're talking about the gatekeepers monetizing podcasts). Given that the idea of subscription podcasts is directly contradictory to what Apple intended when it created a catalog system and made the podcast a mainstream thing, I really can't see them going this route. Indeed I think any attempt at this would contribute to the death of podcasts as a "level playing field" where regular people with something to say and decent equipment can compete head-to-head with well-funded businesses.

    It would be, to put it mildly, disappointing if Apple opted to monetize podcasts for its own profits.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    brianusbrianus Posts: 147member
    Beats said:
    Apple had how much time? Like 15 years to work on Podcasts. Now their own creation is leaving their hands after they had a monopoly for a decade.
    Ugh, sorry to nitpick but why do so many people assume podcasts were Apple's "creation"? I see this claim a lot for some reason. They were a grassroots invention that took advantage of open standards like RSS, and piggybacked on the popularity of the iPod, but Apple had no hand in the creation of the technology. Apple jumped on an existing bandwagon when they added Podcasts to iTunes in 2005.

    n2itivguymobird
  • Reply 10 of 12
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 993member
    From my perspective, Apple should buy Castro and integrate into the iOS...as a podcast enthusiast it’s got a great interface.  I am saying this as an Outcast user currently (which is also good but not as slick).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Listening to old episodes of Fresh Air helps me fall asleep, so I had hundreds of saved episodes. I'm an atypical podcast subscriber in that regard, I guess.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,382member
    chasm said:
    Just gonna point out that, to date, nobody has made monetizing podcasts in this manner work. Spotify certainly hasn't made a dime on it -- and will never see back the money they threw at Joe Rogan. Wondery and Luminary never made a dime off their plans to monetize podcasts.

    Of course, some podcasts do monetize themselves through Patreons (et al) and in-podcast sponsorships (but that's not what we're talking about here -- we're talking about the gatekeepers monetizing podcasts). Given that the idea of subscription podcasts is directly contradictory to what Apple intended when it created a catalog system and made the podcast a mainstream thing, I really can't see them going this route. Indeed I think any attempt at this would contribute to the death of podcasts as a "level playing field" where regular people with something to say and decent equipment can compete head-to-head with well-funded businesses.

    It would be, to put it mildly, disappointing if Apple opted to monetize podcasts for its own profits.
    Yes, it does seem at odds with Apple's philosophy based on the past.  'Included software and services sell Apple hardware.' However, as I scan my monthly fees to Apple it's evident there is a new Apple these days.  I'm not bitching since my AAPL clearly benifits.
    edited January 17
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