After a delay to fix widely reported bugs, Apple announces today a firm launch of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a platform for creators and networks to offer paid listening plans. In most cases, those plans will offer listeners and ad-free experience, and/or unique content not given to non-paying followers.
In the announcement, Apple highlights dozens of subscription plans established by a wide range of networks. The sheer number of promoted networks and shows seems to represent an effort by Apple to reassure everyone that the platform is solidly in place following earlier troubles.
As a side note, we wonder what this venture does to the longstanding confusion of the word “Subscribe” which has been poorly applied to free listening for 15 years. Will Apple and other podcatchers substitute “Follow” to non-subscription listening? If not, will the program be plagued by complaints from people who, habituated by years of “subscribing” to podcasts, inadvertently subscribe to paid listening?
Anyway, the new program is available in 170 countries. Newer versions of Apple operatings systems for computers, tablets, phones, and wearables are necessary. That’s not a trivial point; to one extent or another, the Subscriptions launch promotes OS upgrades, which in turn foster device upgrades. Not to forget — Apple is mainly a consumer electronics company.
Subscription prices are set by the providers, with a bottom level of $0.49 per month. Each subscription can be shared by six family members.