'Follow our podcast': Apple Podcasts to stop using 'subscribe'
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A small change with a big impact: no more “subscribe” as podcasting moves to “follow”
Exclusive: Apple Podcasts will no longer use the word “subscribe” in a few weeks. Listeners will be invited to “follow” their favourite podcasts instead. The new wording will be in iOS 14.5, which should be released later this month (and is available in beta). We expect Apple to communicate further with creators, and listeners, when this version of iOS is released.
This seemingly small change could dramatically affect the industry. Tom Webster from Edison Research says 47% of people who don’t currently listen to podcasts think that 'subscribing’ to a podcast will cost money, describing it as a stone in the shoe of podcasting’s growth run. He tells Podnews: “Today, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube are the three most widely used services to play podcasts, and now the word Subscribe means ‘automatically download for free’ in exactly none of them. Podcasters will have no choice but to adapt their language accordingly or risk confusing listeners.”
Other larger podcast apps have already changed: Spotify and Audible use “follow”, Stitcher uses “+ follow”, and Amazon Music uses “♡ follow”. Meanwhile, Google Podcasts and Castbox use “+ Subscribe”, and Overcast and Castro uses “Subscribe”.
Opinion: The word 'subscribe’ has been confusing potential listeners for more than fifteen years. It’s time for every podcast app to copy Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and Amazon by using 'follow’ - and for every podcaster to follow their lead. The way we talk about podcasts has changed forever: and that’s probably a good thing.
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