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Apple Pushes Podcasters to Join Subscription Program for Top Feed Placement

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Apple is nothing if not consistent in its policy of taking huge revenue cuts from developers, publishers, and others using the giant’s platforms – and now it could be podcasters’ turn.

In exchange for better (top banner in the app) placement of their feed – in the crowded podcasting market where Apple’s Podcasts is a leading app (and its index used by many others) – Apple allows creators to part ways with a significant chunk of the money they earn.

That’s 30% of subscriber revenue in the first, and 15% in each subsequent year – and that is notably more than what some competitors charge for the same service – with Patreon, it’s 5 to 12%, while Substack takes 10%. And Spotify and YouTube, the biggest competitors, prefer the “ad-overkill monetizing model” to subscriptions, anyway.

For now, the proceedings are in the “amicable,” persuasion and enticement, voluntary phase over at Apple. Podcasts will still be available on the app – and some even promoted – whether or not they join Apple Podcasts Subscriptions’ promotions feature.

But there’s a big difference to podcasters between being available prominently seen – good placement in the app (and therefore, high subscriber numbers that can then be monetized in many ways outside the Apple ecosystem) is described by some as far more important than the money they can earn directly through Apple Podcasts Subscriptions.

Podcasts Subscriptions was rolled out three years ago with the primary goal of helping monetize various forms of bonus content and has been used by Apple to lure creators in with the highly coveted top banner spot.

The podcasting subscriptions market is very tricky to “lockdown” and control like, say, an app store, so whether things remain as they are, or if the Apple “offer” becomes mandatory, may largely depend on Apple’s ability to make this lucrative for itself, Semafor reported.

In the US, Apple has been sued by the government for the way it runs its App Store business, but some observers note that the nature of podcast distribution means it’s hard for any one platform, including Apple, to dominate it to monopolistic levels.

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