Business News Digital Media

Spotify unveils its podcast monetisation tools

By | Published on Wednesday 28 April 2021


Following last week’s announcement from Apple that it will start allowing podcasters to sell subscriptions through its Podcasts app from next month, Spotify has unveiled similar monetisation tools for podcast makers.

Both companies hope that one way to dominate the ever-competitive podcasts market is to make it easier for podcasters to generate income around their content. To date, those podcasters that have sought to make money by charging for access to extra premium content have usually had to use separate platforms for their monetisation activity, such as Patreon.

Apple’s big revamp means that podcasters will be able to charge a subscription fee and make available paywalled content all within the Apple Podcasts app. Each podcast maker will be able to set the price and decide what extras subscribers get access to, or – if they wish – they could put the whole podcast behind the paywall.

Spotify’s new podcast monetisation tools, first teased at its recent Stream On event, are similar. Podcasters using Spotify’s podcast creation and distribution platform Anchor will be able to set up subscription options for their listeners, and the premium content generated for those subscribers will then become available via the main Spotify app.

That said, in terms of making it easier for listeners to sign up to a premium subscription, Spotify’s solution won’t be quite as slick as that being launched by Apple. Whereas with the latter a payment button will sit right inside the Apple Podcasts app alongside the main programme, with Spotify podcasters will have to direct listeners to a subscriptions page on the Anchor platform. Once signed up there, relevant premium content will become unlocked in the Spotify app.

That difference is presumably because if Spotify allowed podcasters to take subscriptions via its iOS app it would have to use Apple’s payment platform. That would mean Apple taking a 15-30% cut of any subscriptions sold via Spotify. Apple’s rules on iOS payments are already a big bugbear of Spotify, of course, in relation to its own subscription sales, and those rules are now also arguably allowing Apple to make its podcast monetisation tools more user-friendly.

Spotify will be hoping, though, that it can still attract podcasters to its monetisation set-up with some other USPs, including allowing and helping podcasters to also push premium content to other apps. And by competing on price. Whereas Apple is charging its standard 15-30% fees to podcasters selling subscriptions via Apple Podcasts, Spotify will only initially pass on the credit card transaction fees to the podcast makers. It will ultimately seek to take a commission down the line as well, but that it is likely to be only 5%.

Unveiling its new podcast tools yesterday, Spotify said: “More and more creators are bringing their podcasts and shows to Spotify. With 345 million monthly listeners on Spotify, there’s a massive opportunity for all of these creators to monetise their work – and we believe there needs to be a variety of options for them to choose from to do so”.

It went on: “This feature will be available to creators through Anchor, allowing podcasters to mark episodes as subscriber-only and publish them to Spotify and other podcast-listening platforms. By enabling wide distribution of subscriber-only content, our aim is to help podcasters maximise their subscription audiences and grow them from their existing listener bases. Within Spotify, this content will be searchable and discoverable like any other podcast episode”.

The new monetisation tools are currently available to podcasters in the US on an invite-only basis, but Spotify says it will roll out the new functionality to more podcasters and more countries in the coming months.