Apple podcasting changes (at Spring Forward event)

Summary of changes:

Apple is providing an additional (not exclusive) way to get premium content i.e. a podcaster can put premium content on the Apple app and Patreon etc.

To get premium content:

  • Those using other podcast apps can continue to do as they do now - sign up using Patreon etc. and put the feed URL in their app.
  • Those using Apple podcast app will be able to either put in a patreon feed URL or sign up in the app

So implications are:

For podcasters: There will be additional subscribers as there are additional ways to sign up for premium content. In particular, those who never signed up previously as it was too complicated via Patreon etc. may now be more likely to take out a subscription if they are already in the Apple app - there will be ‘less friction’.

For producers of other apps: some users are more likely to move away from them to Apple app as there may be ‘Apple app only’ premium content, and also they may move to the Apple app as they may feel that it permits subscribing to premium content more easily.

Have I got this right?

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I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Apple to get a piece of the podcast pie.

I think Spotify recently entered this market, so this might be Apple’s response.

AFAIK new listeners signing up through Apple will be anonymous. Podcasters will not know their identify so they will not be able to give them access to any content, etc. not hosted by Apple.

And, of course, Apple will take 30% of the subscription revenue for the first 12 months and 15% thereafter.

That’s all accurate. It would make things like email lists and automatic Discord invites impossible — both of which are part of Relay’s membership.

The 30% is just … sigh.


There’s no way I’m getting back to the Apple podcasts app for as long as there’s not a trim silence feature. Apple sometimes exhibits some hubris in its announcements and this one surely feels like one of them. With such a mature market and many podcasters already having systems in place, they think they can just waltz in years later and listeners, as well as podcasters, will just switch to their system (along with giving them 30%).

Not gonna happen unless the official podcasts app really ups its game.

I predict the same success to this as to the half-baked compatibility of WebExtensions on Safari: Apple looking bewildered as to why nobody wants to use it, then scrambling to make it actually enticing.

My disappointment in this is that it isn’t part of Apple One Premium. But then that would be shifting the commercial risk onto Apple.

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I would be happy if the Mac app synced with the mobile one.

Now that Spotify has announced they will be offering the same podcast service for free I just hope the RSS world doesn’t get crushed while the giants fight.

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Wait - it doesn’t?!?
That’s utterly ridiculous.

Thanks Stephen. We are really living through the golden age of podcasts, and I hope it keeps going!

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I am a little optimistic about it–not because I expect existing private feeds to move to that system–but because there are a bunch of good shows that can’t figure out money, that this could help. And maybe some new shows that haven’t been made yet that now will be.

I love Castro but I would listen to a few premium podcasts in Apple Podcasts or Spotify if that’s the only place I could get them.

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