Apple said to be planning premium podcast service

The logo of Apple, Inc. (Image: Apple, Graphic: The Desk)

Apple is preparing to offer a premium podcast service that would allow producers to charge for their on-demand, Internet-delivered shows, according to a report.

On Friday, Silicon Valley tech publication The Information said Apple is holding internal discussions over a new podcast offering that would place certain on-demand shows behind a paywall.

Those discussions come after other big-name audio players — Spotify, SiriusXM Pandora and Amazon — have been making their own efforts in the podcast space.

Apple helped introduce the masses to podcasts when it allowed users to download on-demand audio to their iPods using iTunes in the early 2000s. But the shows really started to gain momentum over the last few years as barriers to entry — namely, software, equipment and storage costs — were eased, which allowed more independent producers to launch high-quality audio serials.

The Information’s report didn’t shed too much light on Apple’s internal discussions — only that they are taking place, according to unnamed sources who spoke with the publication’s reporters. But it wouldn’t be the first attempt: Independent studios have tinkered with offering premium podcasts for a nominal monthly fee, with mixed results.

An Apple-backed premium podcast offering has one interesting advantage: It could help independent podcast producers generate much-needed revenue to support their shows as they work to build an audience. This model is already in play at Substack and Patreon, which provides writing professionals and others in the creative space a way to earn money while also offering a mechanism for fans to support their favorite journalists, writers and artists.

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