Apple drops: As we anticipated in last month's newsletter, Apple has revealed a paid-for subscription service it claims “leads the next chapter of podcasting”. While much of its content remains free, listeners can pay to subscribe to ‘premium’ content, which so far includes The Athletic, the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post among others. Eddie Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president of Internet Software and Services, said: “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.” The jury is out on what they make of it, however, after reports of teething problems with the new set-up and accompanying app updates, both for podcasters and listeners.
Spot the difference: No sooner had Apple announced its news than Spotify followed suit, the streaming giant “ushering in a new era of podcast monetisation”. Spotify’s paid subscription option is available to those who use their podcast creation platform, Anchor. The company also released a first-quarter financial update showing that the number of podcasts on the platform has now risen to 2.6 million. While Spotify said the number of users who “engaged with podcast content” has not risen from the previous quarter, it “saw a strong increase in podcast consumption hours”.
Audio book: Facebook is making further moves into audio by developing an in-app podcast player. This is on top of a separate Spotify miniplayer already launched for its news feed. By the summer, Facebook expects all users to have access to Live Audio Rooms, their rival to Clubhouse, which will include the option for hosts to charge for access.