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Apple threatens to upend podcasting’s free, open architecture

What's New in Publishing 14 May 2021 05:13

Creators will now have the option to require a payment for audiences to access their content on Apple’s platform

Back in 2005, an ebullient Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs announced the integration of podcasting into Version 4.9 of its desktop iTunes software, calling podcasting “TiVo for radio.”

Sixteen years later, during its April 20, 2021, “Spring Loaded” event, Apple has once again signaled a long-term corporate commitment to podcasting. But this time, instead of introducing listeners to the medium, Apple is creating the technical infrastructure for paid subscriptions through its Apple Podcasts service.

Creators will now have the option to require a payment for audiences to access their content on Apple’s platform, with Apple taking a 30% cut of the revenue.

Paid subscriptions aren’t new. But as scholars who study the podcasting industry, we believe the integration of paid subscriptions into podcasting’s most powerful platforms could reshape the medium in significant ways.

Millions introduced to podcasting

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