Social audio platform Audioboo has launched a new paid service which offers users the chance to upgrade to 30-minutes of recording time and a host of additional benefits.

Launched in March 2009, Audioboo allows users to record a near-unlimited snippets of audio, which they can share with friends or broadcast to the world. They can also add images, titles and tags and upload it to Audioboo.fm, complete with biographical and geographical information on where and when it was recorded.

From today though, registered users can choose to upgrade to Audioboo Plus, where they can get access to unlimited 30-minute recordings, Facebook fan page updates, enhanced iTunes podcast settings, personal support and first access to new features.

Whilst Audioboo’s basic account will remain free to use, the new Plus service will be available for a yearly charge of £60 and it’s the first use of Audioboo’s new payment platform, designed to let users upgrade their accounts or pay for bite-sized pieces of content.

Mark Rock, Audioboo CEO, said:

“Longer recording times and optional account upgrades have been a popular request among our community of users recently. Obviously Audioboo Plus won’t be for everyone, but for users looking for a simple-to-use answer to podcasting, it should be the ideal solution. We will of course continue to offer a free basic service for all users. The Plus account offers a place to host your audio reliably and takes away everything that has previously made podcasting so tricky. Hopefully this will introduce a whole new audience to the joys of podcasting, as well as making life easier for seasoned users. We’ve seen some really exciting projects on Audioboo recently, and I hope this latest development will facilitate a host of new, original content and show traditional broadcasters how powerful social media can be”.

Back in 2009, Audiboo announced a new paid-for ‘Pro’ service which failed to gain much traction. In its latest bid to claw in the cash, Audioboo is diminishing the free service by cutting the sharable clip-length to 3-minutes for those who sign up from now on, whilst current free users will continue to enjoy 5-minute clips for another year before they too will face the cut.

The new Audioboo service is likely to appeal to the amateur>professional podcasting market, but it will be interesting to see what effect the reduction in the free service will have on its overall uptake. A couple of weeks back, we wrote about the freemium flaw, where we looked at how other services such as Spotify were diminishing their free services to encourage uptake of their paid services.

Audioboo isn’t stopping there though, and it will be unveiling more paid services in the future, focusing on listeners rather than the content creators. Rock added:

“In developing this infrastructure, we’ve looked closely at fan club models and the way that users interact with online services such as games. Whilst we’re launching the service initially for content creators, we will be expanding in the future to offer paid access to exclusive audio content from authors, celebrities and industry experts.”

Current Audioboo users include The Guardian, Sky News Radio, The FT, BBC, and comedian, writer and actor Stephen Fry. So you can expect to have the option to pay for some audio content in the future.