Spotify is broadening the number of people who can offer subscription podcasts and have their shows play on its service. Today, the company announced that all US-based podcasters can use Anchor, its podcast creation and distribution platform, to sell subscriptions for exclusive episodes that’ll be available both through a private RSS feed and within the Spotify app, which doesn’t otherwise support private shows over RSS.
Along with the expanded rollout, Spotify says it’s also adding more pricing options — 20 up from three — and is giving podcasters the ability to download their paying subscribers’ email addresses. This means they can stay in better touch with the group and also take that list elsewhere if they ever leave Anchor. (Listeners have to opt in to this.)
International users will be able to sell subscriptions in the future, Spotify says, and they’ll be able to access paywalled content starting on September 15th.
As it has been since the subscription product first launched in April, Spotify won’t take a cut of revenue until 2023, at which point it’ll take 5 percent. There’s still no button to subscribe to shows directly inside Spotify, though, meaning that if a listener wants to subscribe to an Anchor podcast, they’ll have to navigate to an external website, likely through a link in a show’s notes, to do so. This means podcasters have to continue to shout out where listeners can find the link to subscribe, which adds friction to the process.
In contrast, Apple Podcasts’ subscription product, which it launched in June and from which takes a much higher cut of revenue, comes with an in-app button. Apple won’t, however, provide podcasters with any specific contact information for their subscribers. All of these solutions are leading up to a world in which podcasters might operate multiple backends, if only to be present on every platform. Apple Podcasts requires podcasters to use its backend and manually upload episodes to it if they want to take advantage of the in-app button, while Spotify requires people host on Anchor to make listening on Spotify possible.
Spotify is also working on technology called Open Access, which works with third parties to bring paywalled content into the app, but those partnerships are currently preliminary, with most partners still developing the technology and integrating it.