Last week, Apple announced its new show-level podcast subscriptions, including a business model of taking a 30% cut of subscriptions for the first year and 15% thereafter.
Given the ongoing tensions (and, indeed, regulatory investigations and lawsuits) around the company’s similar cut of App Store transactions, the podcast plans offered an opportunity for Spotify to swoop in and undercut its rival.
Now it appears to be taking that opportunity. “Spotify plans to announce its own offering next week, according to people familiar with the matter,” reported the Wall Street Journal, as part of a larger piece on Apple and Spotify’s podcasts battle.
“It will not charge podcasters, nor take a cut from their subscriptions, and will allow them to set their own pricing… Users of Spotify’s iOS app who subscribe will be routed to a website for the transaction, meaning that Apple won’t take a cut of that revenue.”
And thus another set of battle lines were drawn, although the real story here is less about rev-shares, and more about the world’s two biggest podcast services both offering show-level subscriptions. If Spotify’s system works in the same way as Apple’s, that will mean podcasters can have matching premium content (e.g. exclusive episodes) across both platforms.
That’s good news for podcasters of all stripes, music included. Sony Music, for example, was one of the partners announced for Apple’s podcast subscriptions launch. “Offering subscriptions provides new flexibility and options for consumers, and is an important addition to helping creators better monetise their works,” said its digital boss Dennis Kooker last week. “All of this will lead to more investment and even better shows for podcast fans.”
If that investment can scale across both Apple Podcasts and Spotify, that’s even better news – as long as both sides resist the temptation to throw barriers in the way of such a strategy.
Meanwhile, we’re also interested in whether show-level podcast subscriptions on Spotify could be a stepping stone to artist-level subscriptions on the service in the future. If podcasters can create their own paywalls with exclusive content, it’s not a huge stretch to imagine musicians doing that too, if given the opportunity.
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