Tuesday 27 April 2021 4:59 pm

Spotify launches podcast subscriptions as Apple rivalry heats up

Spotify today revealed plans to launch a paid subscription platform for podcasters as the streaming service’s rivalry with Apple continues to heat up.

The feature, which will initially launch in the US, means podcast creators can mark certain episodes as subscriber-only and publish them on Spotify, as well as on other podcast services.

It comes a week after Apple announced it would launch its own premium subscription service for podcasts, allowing listeners to access additional content and ad-free listening. Creators will be charged $19.99 per year for using the service.

In a clear salvo at its tech rival, Spotify today said it would not take a cut of subscriber revenues, though added it would begin charging a five per cent access fee from 2023.

The two companies have previously clashed over the commission Apple charges through its App Store and on some in-app purchases.

Spotify filed an EU antitrust complaint against the iPhone maker over the matter two years ago, and the Commission is reportedly set to outline formal charges this week.

Spotify has forked out more than half a billion dollars on podcast companies such as Anchor and Gimlet as it looks to beef up its offering in the on-demand audio market.

The company has selected 12 independent podcast creators to launch its subscription service, with further publishers to be added in the coming months.

It has also inked a partnership with US radio group NPR, which will publish five ad-free shows for paid subscribers, including “How I Built This with Guy Raz” and “Planet Money”.

The announcement comes a day ahead of Spotify’s earnings announcement for the first quarter. The company has previously warned of a slowdown in subscriber growth following a bumper pandemic year.