After some major hiccups and a delay, Apple Podcasts says it’s launching in-app subscriptions next week. The global launch of subscriptions and channels, which are groups of shows, will happen on June 15th, the company said today in an email to podcasters, which The Verge has viewed.
Apple first debuted in-app subscriptions in April with a launch planned for May. It then emailed creators to tell them the feature launch would be pushed to June to “ensure we are delivering the best experience for creators and listeners,” likely because of issues the company introduced with a recent backend update. Through the feature, listeners can subscribe to certain shows or networks for early access and ad-free content, among other perks.
Beyond this rollout being delayed, podcasters have complained that Apple’s latest Podcasts update, made in preparation for the subscription offerings, completely bonked the system. Podnews wrote two weeks ago that multiple creators experienced a range of issues, including their episodes being delayed, their analytics breaking, and artwork going missing. Hopefully Apple will have all that sorted prior to this rollout.
Meanwhile, Spotify announced and launched its plan for subscription podcasts in the time since Apple debuted its product and delayed the release. Spotify’s solution doesn’t allow people to subscribe in-app, thereby allowing the creators and the company to skirt around Apple’s App Store fees. Instead, listeners have to navigate to an external Anchor webpage. Though that also puts a big hurdle between creators and potential subscribers.
Apple’s big idea is that putting a subscribe button in the podcast app could draw more premium listeners to various services, like Luminary and Wondery Plus. Those groups have had to get over the hurdle of making people subscribe in an app separate from their usual listening platform. Starting this month, we’ll finally see how powerful a subscribe button might be.