Apple Launches Podcast Subscriptions Service, No Sign Of Major Move Into Original Audio Programming

Apple has launched a podcast subscriptions service that will allow listeners to sign up to premium versions of audio series.

The move for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions was announced at Apple’s Tim Cook-hosted event.

However, the tech giant didn’t, as some expected, unveil any major move into original podcast programming as some of its rivals such as Spotify have done over the past year.

The service, which launches in May and will be available in 170 countries, will allow podcast fans to sign up for premium subscriptions to their favorite shows, giving them access to additional content or early and exclusive access to new series.

Launch partners include Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE as well as media brands such as PR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic and Sony Music Entertainment.

“Fifteen years ago, Apple took podcasts mainstream, offering creators a premier, open platform to inform, entertain, and inspire hundreds of millions of listeners around the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Today, Apple Podcasts is the best place for listeners to discover and enjoy millions of great shows, and we are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. We’re excited to introduce this powerful new platform to creators around the world, and we can’t wait to hear what they make with it.”

The company has also redesigned its podcast app to feature an “enhanced” search tab that provides quick access to top charts and categories.

Donald Albright, president and co-founder of Tenderfoot TV, said, “With TenderfootPlus+, we’re able to provide our listening community with even more of what they want — exclusive, early-access, and ad-free listening for our tentpole titles and new shows. Launching this subscription on Apple Podcasts, where the large majority of our listeners engages with us each week, makes it easy for the Tenderfoot audience to seamlessly upgrade to the best experience.”

“Our team loves bringing deeply immersive storytelling to maniacal sports fans around the world, and our listeners tune in to over a million hours of sports news, analysis, and storytelling each week,” added Alex Mather, founder and CEO of The Athletic. “We know true sports fans are always looking for stories about their clubs and teams told through a new lens, and with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, we can deliver even more great stories in an all-new way, ad free, directly through Apple Podcasts.”

“Podcasting totally changed my approach to storytelling, and Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is a mind shift,” said Malcolm Gladwell, cofounder of Pushkin Industries and host of Revisionist History. “Our producers and I have so many ideas that don’t fit into existing models but will now have an outlet. This is a big step forward in the evolution of the audio content business, and we are excited about it.”

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