During its live-stream event today, Spotify officially confirmed its plans to launch paid podcast subscriptions on its platform. As a first step, the company will begin testing this spring a new feature in its anchor podcast creation tool that will allow American creators to publish paid podcast content aimed at their “most dedicated fans”. It also opened up signups for more new features, starting today.
Spotify hinted at its plan for paid podcast content during its fourth quarter earnings call earlier this month when it said it was exploring ideas such as paid podcast subscriptions and a la carte payments. But it was not detailed when these new options would go live or how they would work.
At its online event today, Spotify formally announced its plans to enter the market for paid podcasts, initially with a new service that provides anchor creators with the ability to offer their listeners-supported paid podcast subscriptions Will do.
To be clear such an idea is not new. Already, some podcasters offer paid access to bonus content – for example, through a service like Stecher Premium, which promises both an ad-free experience and bonus episodes. Some manufacturers may also offer independently paid feeds through their own platforms.
But until now, a similar option was not available to Spotify makers.
Anchor co-founder Michael Mignano said that the company believes that paid bonus content can work well as a means of podcast demonetization in addition to advertisements.
“We have found through our research that it works particularly well for creators who have worked for a truly engaged and dedicated audience, regardless of audience size”, he told Spotify Told ClearTips in an interview after the incident. “We’ve also found that podcast listeners financially support the shows they love,” he said.
The company was hesitant to elaborate on some of the specifics of how the subscription would work at launch, but said the model would include a revenue share between the creators and the anchor, where producers hold the majority of the earnings. Anchors will also allow creators to determine what price they pay their listeners for the paid experience and what that experience will include – such as bonus episodes or interviews, or even ad-free content. , If they wish.
It will then use its understanding of what manufacturers actually do with paid subscriptions to inform their product product launches and recommendations of future “best practices”.
We also understand that this offering will be limited to those who use anchors to record and publish in podcast platforms. However, it would immediately benefit creators more with a strong Spotify presence and a loyal listener.
But Mignano points out that makers of Spotify’s tools for podcast search may be able to grow their paid customer base.
“The problem is that the system of doing this type of paid subscription so far in podcasts is really disappointing,” he explained. “It has not been a truly comfortable experience for the listener, and it has not really been a great experience for the producer. It seems to us that this model has actually been held back and hindered the accessibility of creators and the ability to acquire paid customers, ”he said.
In other words, users may be open to the idea of paid bonus content, but they do not necessarily want to switch between apps to gain access, nor to find out that paid ones How to bring RSS feeds into third-party podcasts. The app is listening.
Spotify, meanwhile, will try to make search easier. This will, for example, highlight paid content with free content on the podcast’s main page. Also, as Spotify helps users discover new podcasts they want to try today, it will also point to future paid-subscription based podcasts as the new model rolls out even further.
Anchor says it will initially open beta testing in the US to a smaller number of creators, but aims to expand access to more creators. Testing will, for the moment, only focus on paid subscriptions, but Mignano told us that the company may explore the a la carte model in the future.
The Spot Podcast was one of several new features that Anchor announced today at the Spotify event.
The company also announced the launch of a WordPress partnership, making it easy for bloggers to convert their posts into posts, either by reading the blog post themselves or providing a third-party text-to-speech technology anchor.
Anchor will also expand beta testing of the video podcast, which has so far only been tested by a few creators, including Higher Learning from The Ringer.
And it will begin beta testing new, interactive features like Election and Q&A with a smaller number of creators in the coming months.
These features can potentially overlap with paid subscriptions. For example, some podcast creators may choose to make their videos a paid feature or perhaps other interactive features. It should be seen how they are put to use.
But more broadly, features like Poll and Q & As can help improve interactive podcasts from live audio programs, such as Buzzy’s new app popularized by Clubhouse. The latter has the advantage that it allows viewers to participate in “shows”, rather than one-way street where the host controls the experience. But on the flip side, there may also be people in the clubhouse room who drones on and on, or they can be boring when not carefully managed.
Anchor says it has no intention of charging creators for access to its tools, beyond taking a shared stake on membership.
“I think our vision with Anchor and Spotify has always been to really empower creators. Mignano said that in the Anchor Suite of Tools, we’ve never charged creators for any feature because we believe Is that charging creators can often represent the friction that attempts to create them. He said, “We want to enable creators to express themselves through these new tools.”