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Spotify Challenges Apple With New Subcription Podcasting Platform

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Days after Apple announced plans to launch its first subscription podcasting platform, Spotify – after making a splash last year when it recruited Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian and a handful of other big name stars to its podcasting platform – is planning a similar paid platform that will charge creators a much smaller slice of revenues.

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Spotify unveiled “Anchor”, its paid podcast platform, in a post on Tuesday where it touted the “massive opportunity” for content creators to monetize their work. “Today, we’re rolling out a paid subscription platform for podcasters that gives them maximized revenue, wide reach, and discoverability. The program begins rolling out in the U.S. today and will expand internationally in the coming months,” the company said in a statement.

In comments to the Verge, Mike Mignano, head of podcaster mission at Spotify, said that the model will “explore ways for creators to connect deeper with their subscribers, so you can anticipate us to be sharing more in the space soon.”

NPR is already planning to use Spotify as its partner for its ad-free subscription podcasts (the network produces some of the most popular podcasts in the US market).

spotify subscriptions land with some real caveats: podcasters have to host through anchor and listeners have to navigate to their anchor landing webpage to actually subscribe https://t.co/OvpkIgbXy9

— Ashley Carman (@ashleyrcarman) April 27, 2021

The platform will compete with content monetization tools like Patreon, which is currently a favorite among podcasters, including the creators of “Chapo Trap House”, the popular political comedy show with a left-wing slant, which is the most lucrative account on Patreon.

Mignano argued that creators will be better off with Spotify, which will take no cut of revenue at first and only a small cut starting in 2023 and that having paid content built into Spotify could help creators grow their paid audience more quickly thanks to the apps powerful recommendation algorithm. If people search for a type of specific show, a subscription podcast could show up and gain a paid follower. Mignano also suggested that Spotify could curate suggestions of shows that people might want to pay to hear. He also says, because this can all go through Anchor, the subscriptions shouldn’t require extra work. “I view this as additive and in no way as an additional, or burdensome, step on behalf of the creator,” he says.

While this is all well and good, we recently explored whether artists who signed exclusivity deals with Spotify (like Joe Rogan) are seeing their relevance fade by depriving users of other platforms of their content. What’s more, despite promises that Spotify wouldn’t act as an editor, the company has been caught removing dozens of episodes of the “Joe Rogan Experience”. Almost all of these removed episodes featured “controversial” conservatives like Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes.

It begs the question: is ceding even more power and control over one of the fastest-growing mediums (podcasting) to a company which has already betrayed some of its biggest creators really a good idea?

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