Spotify launches Paid Subscriptions for podcasts
· 5.2 minutes to read
Spotify has announced their Paid Subscriptions service, which is hosted on Anchor. NPR is a launch partner, as we reported last week. Unlike Apple, who will take 30% of your subscription revenue, Spotify “won’t charge” until 2023 (after which it’s 5%). There are plenty of other things to know, though (indeed, there will be a charge) - see our analysis, below.
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- As Spotify put some prices up in the US and UK, Deezer’s COO, Laurence Miall-d’Aout, released a short statement saying (in part) “We just wanted to let you know that Deezer isn’t going to raise prices in the middle of the pandemic. Music, podcasts and radio help people cope and we don’t feel this is the time to make things harder for them.” Ooof.
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Our Editor, James Cridland, looks at the Spotify Paid Subscriptions product alongside Apple’s recent announcements.
Spotify’s Paid Subscriptions tool sounds nice when compared with Apple - who can argue with free, after all. But it isn’t quite as straightforward as that. Or, even, free.
- It’s not actually free. Standard payment processing fees still apply. Stripe charge 2.9% +30¢, and I’d expect Spotify’s pricing to be similar. Apple’s fees include payment processing.
- It’s US-only for now, as all Anchor monetisation has been. The company is hoping to expand “in the coming months”. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions are available in 170 countries and regions.
- It’s not even available to all creators in the US. There’s only a waitlist that you can join, and the service uses that phrase “the coming months” again.
- Listeners can’t buy a paid subscription to your podcast in the Spotify app. (If they did, Apple and Google would want up to 30% of the money, something the EU Commission is currently investigating). Instead, they’ll get taken to an Anchor web-page, and listeners will be asked to enter their credit card details. For Apple listeners, paying for a subscription is as simple as buying an app.
- It’s not limited to the Spotify app, though. Just link to that Anchor web-page. Like Patreon and similar services, listeners who subscribe will be given a private RSS feed that works in any podcast app (except, ironically, Spotify). Apple Podcast Subscriptions only works in the Apple app (and, by extension, only on Apple hardware).
- You’ll have to use Anchor to host these. You could, of course, duplicate your feed into Anchor (it’s got the tools to do that), but you need to use Anchor as a host for Spotify Paid Subscriptions. For Apple, you similarly have to upload your shows to their system.
- It’s not either or. Apple does not have an exclusivity clause, and just wants parity of pricing with other platforms. The terms and conditions of Spotify’s service aren’t public, but I’d expect them to have the same stipulation.
- Spotify are building an Open Access Platform - which potentially could allow sites like Patreon/SupportingCast/Supercast, or your own website, handle the billing and login. Apple haven’t announced this (and it’s very unlikely they’d do it).
- There are 345m monthly listeners on Spotify. However, only 25% of them listen to podcasts. Apple Podcasts doesn’t release any overall figures, though.