Battle of the Paid Pod: How Does Spotify’s Service Compare to Apple’s?

Battle of the Paid Pod: How Does Spotify’s Service Compare to Apple’s?
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Last week Apple announced its plans to integrate a paid podcasts subscription program, effectively kicking off the podcast wars. Now, Spotify has responded with the announcement of its own podcast subscription set up.

Spotify’s new podcast subscription service

spotify paid podcasts
Image: Spotify

Spotify’s paid podcast system is fairly similar to Apple’s in that it allows content creators to set their own prices to receive revenue. Subscribers will also be required to subscribe to individual shows of their choosing rather than a bundle fee.

The new feature will be available within a suite of creator tools in Anchor, which is Spotify’s podcasting platform. Creators are able to pick and choose which episodes will be subscriber-only. This content can then be published on Spotify’s platform and to other listening platforms.

Creators will have a choice of 3 pricing tiers — $US2.99, $US4.99, or $US7.99 (Australian pricing tiers are yet to be confirmed). What content is included in that price is up to creators, with bonus material, archived episodes and ad-free content all being potential options.

Spotify has said it is launching this program with a group of 12 independent creators, along with a collab with NPR, and will expand to additional shows in the coming weeks.

Paid podcasts will also leverage Spotify’s Audience Network which is a first-of-its-kind audio advertising marketplace for advertisers and creators to connect.

The platform will launch in the US from today and will be available in additional markets in the coming months.

Spotify’s paid podcasts will be identified by a small lock symbol in place of the play button. However, one caveat that The Verge picked up on, is the need for listeners to subscribe via the show’s dedicated landing page on Anchor rather than directly through the Spotify app. This is something as small as clicking on a link provided by creators but will require subscribers to leave the Spotify app to subscribe.

How does it compare to Apple’s paid podcasts?

There are a few differences between Apple and Spotify’s paid podcast programs.

For starters, the fight for exclusive podcast programming is only just beginning. So far Apple has announced a number of big-name podcast creators it will be working with including QCODE, Tenderfoot and The Los Angeles Times.

It seems Spotify is also partnering with content creators for its paid podcasts, however, it hasn’t announced the participants just yet. Its partnership with NPR will start by bringing five shows to the platform and making them sponsor-free for subscribers from May 4.

The revenue collection models between Spotify and Apple also differ slightly. Spotify will give participating creators 100% of their subscription revenue for the first two years (excluding payment transaction fees). From 2023 it will introduce a 5% access fee.

On the other hand, Apple collects 30% of revenue for the first year and 15% for the following years which also gives podcast creators access to a suite of podcast creation tools.

As noted before, Apple will also allow subscribers to activate their subscription in-app, while Spotify listeners will have to navigate to the Anchor podcast page.

On the whole, the Apple and Spotify paid podcast systems are pretty similar for listeners. Your choice will probably come down to which podcasts you wish to subscribe to and which listening platform is your app of choice.

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