California-based giant Apple announced on Tuesday that it will offer an option for podcast creators to offer paid subscriptions, a turning point 15 years after launching its own listening platform that has greatly contributed to popularizing the format.
“They can now help their favorite animators build their business model and contribute to their creativity,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, during an event that was streamed online to introduce new products.
The shows will still be available for free, but the authors of the shows will be able to offer enhanced formats with benefits, such as listening without ads, accessing additional content, or even exclusive episodes or releases, a detailed company statement.
Apple thus follows the trend of sponsorship or donations, which provides many podcasts with the ability to ask their most loyal listeners to fund a portion of their production, in addition to ads.
The new feature will be available from May in more than 170 countries. Each podcast producer will be able to set their subscription price.
Music streaming giant Spotify already announced a similar initiative in February, thus breaking the dominant process, which relies mainly on ads and complete free access.
For Apple and Spotify, this new feature will highlight tech sponsorship sites like Patreon, the market leader, by offering creators to monetize their content, from their platform, through ads or optional paid subscriptions.
This initiative is also part of the current search for viable business models for audio content creators, whose popularity has taken a new dimension during the coronavirus pandemic, but who must face unprecedented competition.