Apple delays Podcasts subscriptions to June

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Apple is delaying the launch of its upcoming Podcasts subscriptions until June, the company announced in an email sent to creators Friday (via 9to5Mac). The service was previously set to launch this month.

Apple’s Podcasts subscriptions will allow people to subscribe to participating podcasts to get extra perks like ad-free listening or early access to episodes. In April, Apple said the subscriptions would launch in 170 countries, and that initial partners include Pushkin Industries and NPR.

The shifted launch comes as some creators using Apple Podcasts have recently run into some issues, such as being unable to log in to Apple’s Podcast Connect portal or seeing a delay in the availability of new episodes. In its email sent Friday, Apple said it has fixed the “disruptions” that presented problems.

You can read Apple’s full email to creators below, which the company shared with The Verge.

We’re writing to provide an update on the availability of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels. We’ve been delighted by the response to last month’s announcement and it’s exciting to see the hundreds of new subscriptions and channels submitted from creators across the globe every day.

To ensure we are delivering the best experience for creators and listeners, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels will now launch in June. We will communicate further updates on availability, and best practices to help you prepare your subscriptions and channels, through this newsletter.

Over the last few weeks, some creators have experienced delays in the availability of their content and access to Apple Podcasts Connect. We’ve addressed these disruptions and encourage creators experiencing any issues to contact us.

We’ve also heard from listeners and made adjustments based on their feedback with iOS 14.6, which was released on Monday. We will introduce additional enhancements to Library in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your understanding. We can’t wait to see your new subscriptions and channels and we are looking forward to launching them to listeners around the world soon.


This is horrible, not paying for podcasts.

Why not?

I’ve been listening to podcasts for free for 16 years. I honestly don’t know why paying for them is necessary. They seem to already have worked out a pretty solid ad-supported system. That’s why.

The reason why they were mostly free is the lack of monetization opportunities. If a creator wanted to monetize their work, they had a hard time, fiddling with private RSS feeds or building some kind of subscription on their own website. Personally, I think it’s exciting to see that podcasts get more and more professionally produced. See David S. Goyer (creator of several high-grossing movies such as Dark Knight) who will create several audio shows for Spotify such as "Batman Unburied". Also, podcasts get more and more features – like video, Spotify’s transcription feature, interactivity (Spotify is testing polls). We might head to a different level of audio entertainment.

I’m not a big consumer of podcasts but I would be happy to pay for some of the better ones I’ve listened to. They’re well researched or highly entertaining, and sometimes both. The ads haven’t been that annoying, buy ad free is even better.

That’s like saying there’s no reason to pay for Netflix because cable already worked out an ad-supported system. I mean, if some folks end up not being interested in any paid content that might come out, more power to them, it just seems odd to me that people are completely writing off the concept. I simply don’t understand why commenters seem to take such offense to paying for a good listening experience.

it just seems odd to me that people are completely writing off the concept

While I completely agree with your take, I think some are concerned it will then become the only way to get podcasts. That this thing we have really enjoyed for well over a decade will slide behind a paywall because who doesn’t want to increase their revenue. The fear is once it becomes an option, it will shortly thereafter become the only option.

I listen to music for free on the radio, but doesn’t mean I won’t pay to avoid ads and gain access to the exclusive content on the album. (I.e the songs not on the radio). I don’t see why podcasts are any different.

People pay to remove ads from their music and movies. What’s wrong with being able to pay to remove the ads from podcasts too if someone wants to?

I have not problem if it’s an option. But if it’s not an option, no thanks.

I know it’s not the route companies are taking these days, but it would be nice if Apple would consider letting creators sell (one time purchase) access to limited run shows. A lot of creators make really high quality, heavily researched, single focused shows that would make a lot more sense as a one time purchase than as a subscription.

Sounds like selling an audiobook version might make the most sense in those cases.

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