Apple announced some changes to its Apple Podcasts app at Tuesday’s Spring Loaded event. While not quite the dedicated Podcasts+ subscription service some were expecting, the update will allow individual creators to easily disseminate paid podcasts. From the sound of things, it’s a bit like an App Store for podcasts.
Apple describes Apple Podcasts Subscriptions as a “global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favorite creators,” alongside offering millions of free shows.
Creators singled out by Apple include Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, QCODE, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and 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 statement. “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.”
Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will be available in 170 countries starting next month.
Apple also announced that iOS 14.5 will bring a redesigned Apple Podcasts app. This will feature enhanced Search tab, new dedicated pages for each show and episode, a Smart Play button for helping navigate serialized shows, easier downloading for offline playback, and channels.
New focus on podcasts
Apple’s enhanced focus on podcasts is a way to take on the likes of Spotify, which has heavily invested in podcasting. The possibility of paid podcasts was first rumored earlier this year. This is after Apple reportedly held discussions with podcasters about buying the rights to their shows a couple of years earlier. The news that the Podcasts+ service could arrive at Spring Loaded was reported this week by Recode reporter Peter Kafka.
Apple recently launched original podcast series The Line. This suggested that Apple was upping its emphasis on podcasts.