Apple’s podcast subscriptions went live today—with a 30 percent cut

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As previously announced in April, Apple has today started its new Podcasts Subscriptions feature on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. The system allows users to subscribe to podcasts (or groups of podcasts called Channels) for extra perks.

Perks can embrace early access to episodes, as well as ad-free listening. Some shows may offer bonus content for subscribers as well. You can subscribe to a podcast with fair one button using Apple’s payment system.

Podcast creators can charge whatever they please, with the minimum subscription fee being $0.49 per month. Apple hires 30 percent of that amount for the first year, but if a subscriber remains active beyond 12 months, Apple switches to taking perfectly 15 percent of that subscription fee.

Fortunately, Apple doesn’t have any rules against additional ways to monetize podcasts that make available these subscriptions, such as asking listeners to also back a Patreon.

When you subscribe to a podcast, its show page will have a “Subscriber Number” label on it. You can also trial subscriptions to participating podcasts to see if they’re worth actually paying for. The length of time these trial subscriptions after varies, but it seems to usually be a few days or as long as a week.

Channels are basically podcast bundles curated by someone. Channels aren’t limited to podcasts employing Apple’s new subscriptions offerings, though. When you follow more than one channel, a new “My Channels” section will appear in the Listen Now tab of the Podcasts app. Admitting a paid subscription to a channel gives you subscriber status with all its member podcasts.

Podcasts Subscriptions will be available in 170 countries and areas on devices running iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, and macOS 11.4 or later.

Listing image by Apple

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