Apple Finally Attempts To Monetize Podcasts


Over 15 years ago, when nobody was paying attention to podcasts, Apple was quietly amassing a library of free podcasts that would grow to over 2 million shows. In podcastings earliest days Apple was the only easy way for podcast consumers to listen to their favorite shows. Yesterday Apple decided it was time to try to make some money from the industry it helped create.

Now with podcasting the talk of the town, and Spotify getting a lot of press that it is gaining on Apple (although that’s still questionable), Apple has unveiled Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. The free shows will not be going away.

Here’s how the Apple model will work. Starting in May, Apple will allow podcast publishers sell subscriptions and set their own pricing, starting at 49 cents a month in the US. Apple will keep 30 percent of the subscription revenue in year one and 15 percent after that.

Podcasting revenue is not likely to add much revenue to Apple’s bottom line. The Podcasting industry generates about $1 Billion per year in ad revenue. According to reCODE, Apple’s services unit, which includes things like App Store sales and Apple Music generated $15.8 billion in the last three months of 2020.

On Monday a slew of companies announced they were partnering with Apple to become a part of the premium service, including: Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, QCODE, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment and others.


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