Apple delays paid podcast subscription launch to June

Apple’s podcast subscription service won’t be coming out this month like the tech giant originally intended. In an email to podcasts obtained by 9to5Mac, the company has announced that it’s pushing back subscriptions’ and channels’ release date to June to ensure it’s “delivering the best experience for creators and listeners.” It sounds like Apple is still ironing out the kinks behind the scenes, but it didn’t elaborate on what it still has to fix.

The tech giant announced that it’s adding paid subscriptions to its Podcasts app back in April during its “Spring Loaded” event to give creators a way to charge listeners for content. Podcasters will be able to set their own prices and decide on what perks paid subscribers get, such as ad-free listening and exclusive episodes. 

In addition, Apple is planning to release a “channels” feature that will recommend “groups of shows curated by creators with unique titles, descriptions, and artwork.” Together, subscriptions and channels can be a great way for podcasters to get their shows in front of potential subscribers. Apple will be taking a 30 percent cut of the first year for each subscription as always, though, with that percentage dropping to 15 percent per year after the first.

While the subscription service has been delayed, Apple been preparing for its launch over the past few weeks. It opened its affiliate program to include podcasts earlier this month, allowing participants to earn a 50 percent commission. Apple also rolled out iOS 14.6 to regular iPhone users a few days ago, which comes with support for paid podcast subscriptions.

Here’s the full email Apple sent out to podcasters:

“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.”

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