You’ll Have to Wait Until June for Apple’s Paid Podcast Subscription Service

You’ll Have to Wait Until June for Apple’s Paid Podcast Subscription Service
Image: Apple

Apple’s pushing back the launch of its podcast subscription marketplace until June to ensure it’s “delivering the best experience for creator and listeners,” according to a company email to podcasters obtained by 9to5Mac. Apparently, its new service still needs a few tweaks before it’s ready to see the light of day.

Unveiled in April, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions essentially functions as a Patreon for podcast creators within the existing Apple Podcasts app. Listeners pay a monthly fee to subscribe to their favourite creators for the opportunity to unlock unique perks. Apple recently opened its affiliate program to podcasters ahead of the service’s wider release, which was initially set for this month.

In an email to podcast creators obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple acknowledges several issues creators have reportedly run into using Apple Podcasts Connect, a portal for submitting shows and monitoring their performance:

“Over the last few weeks, some creators have experienced delays in the availability of their content and access to Apple Podcasts Connect. We’ve addressed these disruptions and encourage creators experiencing any issues to contact us.”

Apple also said it addressed some concerns users expressed with the Apple Podcasts application design that came with iOS 14.5. Its latest update tackles some of these issues, and “additional enhancements” are planned for the Library interface “in the coming weeks,” the email reads. Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, but we’ll be sure to update this blog when we hear back.

With this new service, podcasters get to set their own prices and subscriber perks, such as ad-free listening, bonus content, or early access to new releases. However, just as with its App Store, Apple keeps 30% of the subscription fees in the first year and 15% in subsequent years. A new “channels” feature planned to debut alongside the service will add the option to browse lists of recommended shows (including both free and paid versions) curated by creators.

It’s not clear exactly how many creators have signed on at this point, but Apple claimed it’s fielded “hundreds of new subscriptions and channels submitted from creators across the globe every day” since its announcement in April, according to the email shared by 9to5Mac. Among the partners Apple has already confirmed include Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, QCode, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the Athletic, and Sony Music Entertainment.