Spotify today launched a paid subscription podcast platform, a week after Apple unveiled plans for a similar service.
The new product gives creators a way to monetize their content. They can access the feature through Anchor, Spotify’s podcast creation tool. After marking episodes as subscriber-only, they can publish them to Spotify and other platforms.
Creators initially won’t have to pay the streaming giant to use the service, although they will have to cover the transaction fees. From 2023, Spotify plans to introduce a 5% fee for access to the tool.
The paid content will be fully searchable within the Spotify app, and marked with a lock icon on the play button. Creators can choose to charge subscribers $2.99, $4.99, or $7.99 per month.
The product has launched with 12 independent creators, who will publish subscriber-only content in their existing podcast feeds. Spotify says it’s now accepting submissions from other creators on its waitlist.
NPR is also publishing a selection of shows for paid subscribers. Five of the network’s programs will be available from May 4 (How I Built This with Guy Raz, Short Wave, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, Code Switch, and Planet Money) with more to come soon.
The service rolls out in US today, with more countries to follow in the coming months.
Apple’s rival product is due to launch in May. However, the iPhone maker will take a 15% cut of creators’ revenues in the first year and 30% in the second.
Spotify’s lower fees and earlier launch could give it an edge over Apple in the podcast war.
The streaming giant has recently invested heavily in the medium to reduce its reliance on music. The company has plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into podcast deals with the likes of Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian West and acquisitions of podcast companies including The Ringer and Anchor.
In February, Spotify said that podcast listeners had doubled in the fourth quarter of 2020, helping the company increase its premium subscriber base by 24% year-on-year.
Most creators, however, are yet to reap the financial rewards. The new subscription services — and the rivalry between Apple and Spotify — should finally give them the chance to cash in on the boom.