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Apple today announced Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, allowing users to unlock additional podcast benefits such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series.

Apple-Podcast-Alternate.jpg

Apple says that users will be able to enjoy a range of premium subscriptions from NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Sony Music Entertainment, and more. Listeners will also be able to access channels, which are groups of shows that feature unique titles, descriptions, and artwork. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will be available in over 170 countries in May.

With iOS 14.5, the Podcasts app is gaining a major redesign with an enhanced Search tab and updated pages for shows and episodes. There's also a new Smart Play button that lets users automatically start the latest episode from episodic shows. Additionally, users can download individual episodes for offline playback, making podcast listening more accessible.

Apple-Podcasts-iOS-14-5.jpg

Apple also unveiled a new Apple Podcasts for Creators website that is designed to help creators learn more about podcasting. Creators can also now access an updated Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard that has new features to make it easier to manage shows on Apple Podcasts, and creators can use the site to enroll in the Apple Podcasters Program to access the tools needed to build and distribute premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts.

This story was part of our live coverage of Apple's ongoing "Spring Loaded" event today. Read our live blog for a recap of other announcements.



Article Link: Apple Announces Apple Podcasts Subscriptions
 
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RamGuy

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2011
1,355
1,918
Norway
Not enough information on this. And that update to the Podcast app locked really lacklustre. Still no real way of sorting or prioritising your podcasts? No smart speed or anything? How hard can it be to simply bring the most popular features of the third-party podcast apps to the Apple Podcast app?
 
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MacAddict1978

macrumors 68000
Jun 21, 2006
1,693
923
Time to get used to it, it’s going forward thanks to Spotify who started the pay for pod cast
*scratches head*. You mean the music subscription service that added pod-casts at no extra cost where i can skip ahead of commercials for free? A HUGE difference adding podcasts to your music service vs. creating a paywall in your podcast app.
 

MaxBurn

macrumors 65816
Nov 25, 2010
1,456
390
A better solution to supporting podcasts; https://podcastindex.org/

You can talk to them about it.
 
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kc9hzn

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
1,761
2,106
Ahhhh crap... so they will put an add engine into their podcast app, and you’ll need a subscription to disable it?
I really hate how everything is about making more and more money now.
I’m assuming ad-free listening means ad-free versions of podcasts that usually have, as the industry puts it, “content native ads” (ie sponsor breaks hard encoded in the podcast). The idea is something like Patreon or Twitch (or like Apple News+), where, by subscribing to the service and subscribing to a participating podcast, Apple pays the podcasters. Like with Patreon, a podcast could also set up special episodes for supporters or early access, as well.
 
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RamGuy

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2011
1,355
1,918
Norway
Podcast exclusivity is even worse. I hate the move to having ads everywhere. Both within the app itself and during the podcast itself. But I have no issue with supporting my podcast creators by listening to ads during the podcast as long as it doesn't get out of hand and the volume level of the ads aren't completely out of sync. On the other hand, exclusivity makes podcasting that has always been a free and open market being funnelled into specific apps is just terrible.

I don't want to use Spotify for listening to podcasts. Funnelling "premium" podcasts into Spotify and Spotify only creates fragmentation, and I won't be shuffling several apps to keep on top of my podcasts. And a lot of these apps have their strength and weakness. I love to have the freedom to choose whatever app provides me with the best experience and have all my podcasts playable within that app. If I cannot play a podcast using Castro, my current preferred podcast app, I will ignore those podcasts.

If Apple becomes more serious with this "premium" trend in the podcasting world, they need to put much more effort into the podcast app. It's just terrible for managing, sorting, and prioritising podcasts. It still lacks basic features like smart play / shorten silence and volume normalisation that you get from great third-party podcasting apps like Castro Pocket Cast and Overcast.

The worst part with using Apple's podcast app is how it doesn't stay in sync between my M1 Mac mini and my iPhone 12 Pro Max. I did my best to get some kind of prioritising going within the app. As the utilities to do so is so limited, I just had to move my podcast around, so my most prioritised ones are at the top. But as soon as I got this completed on my phone, it was still not sorted the same way in the podcast app on my Mac. And If I tried to make changes on my Mac, it would reset the sorting on my iPhone. Come on now, Apple, how hard could this be?
 

EmotionalSnow

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2019
368
1,348
Linz, Austria
Ahhhh crap... so they will put an add engine into their podcast app, and you’ll need a subscription to disable it?
I really hate how everything is about making more and more money now.
Many podcasts already have ads. At least now you have the option to pay for an ad-free version without having to use Patreon et al.
 

twinlight

macrumors 6502a
Sep 4, 2016
716
542
Looks like you will have to subscribe and pay to each one individually. Hardly any podcast I will pay for.. the really good ones are from public service radio.
 

GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2011
447
2,093
There's one podcast I watch every week that I would consider paying for even if it only has a single sponsor break in the middle. The problem is that it's available with video on YouTube so I only listen to it there.
 

zinman

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2012
46
27
Indy
Looks like you will have to subscribe and pay to each one individually. Hardly any podcast I will pay for.. the really good ones are from public service radio.
Yep, here's the press release. I thought this was going the Apple One route...
 

kc9hzn

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
1,761
2,106
In other words, Patreon, except with Apple billing.

Edit: Not a bad thing, one fewer account to manage. I forgot my wallet back home the other day and thought I might have been pickpocketed. So I replaced my card right away, just in case. It’s been a slog changing everywhere important that I used the old card at.
 

Mac_tech

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2020
240
194
Iowa, USA
Currently podcasts are free I believe.

After this subscription service launches, will it be paid only? If this is the case, it’s sad as everything seems to be moving towards a subscription model.
 

saytheenay

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2012
113
67
I will drop any podcast behind a paywall. I already pay by listening to their ads in the podcasts themselves.
 

kc9hzn

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
1,761
2,106
Currently podcasts are free I believe.

After this subscription service launches, will it be paid only? If this is the case, it’s sad as everything seems to be moving towards a subscription model.
No, not at all. You can still listen to any podcast that’s currently free* on the podcast directory. You can still even subscribe to podcasts that aren’t on Apple’s directory so long as they have a publicly available RSS feed. All this changes is that some podcast providers will pay a small annual fee to participate in this service, which enables them to provide features like early access to episodes, ad free versions of episodes (of shows that usually have a sponsor of some sort), and bonus content. It looks like Apple will get a cut from the subscription fees, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything you could do with this that you couldn’t do with Patreon already, but it’ll probably be easier to use (for users and possibly producers) than Patreon.

* Theoretically, some podcasts could decide to go paid without any ad-supported free version, but I expect that to be rare.
 

xDENTALPLANx

macrumors regular
May 22, 2018
106
289
New Zealand
I've been using Castro for a few years now and really love it, but I wish there was a Mac app for it.

They will need to make big changes to Apple Podcasts to make me switch back to it, so I'll be interested to see how much of an overhaul the podcasts app will have in 14.5. Hopefully its more than just a banner image and description, and they finally make changes to how you sort your queue of episodes
 
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