Spotify paid podcast subscriptions: How they work and what they cost

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(Pocket-lint) - In April 2021, Spotify launched a paid podcast subscription product in the US. Initially, it allowed select US podcast creators on its platform to charge for content by offering subscriptions to their shows. Now, it's expanding paid podcast subscriptions to all US creators so they can monetize their content.

Here's everything you need to know about Spotify podcast subscriptions.

How to tell if a podcast is free or paywalled on Spotify

In Spotify, all paid content will have a lock icon to show it requires a subscription. You can find this lock where the play button typically appears.

Subscribers to paid podcasts can listen inside of Spotify or a third-party app through a private RSS feed. But, to unlock a show, you will have to go to the podcast's dedicated Anchor page, which podcast creators can put in their show notes, bio, and episode descriptions. That means you can't subscribe directly within the Spotify app, allowing Spotify to avoid having to pay Apple for any subscriptions sold under the App Store terms.

Note: Anchor is a podcast creation platform Spotify acquired in 2019. Anchor hosting is free for podcast creators to use. But if a podcaster already runs a subscription elsewhere and wants to offer their paid content on Spotify, they must use Anchor in addition to their other provider.

How much do paid podcasts cost on Spotify?

Podcast creators initially had three monthly pricing options to choose from: $2.99, $4.99, or $7.99.

However, based on feedback from its test period, Spotify is introducing 20 new pricing options. It's also allowing publishers to download a list of contact addresses for their subscribers so they can better engage with them and promote their content via email marketing and notifications.

How big of a cut does Spotify get from creators?

Podcast creators won't owe anything to Spotify for the first two years (aside from the cost of transaction fees through Spotify’s payment partner, Stripe). That said, in 2023, Spotify said it will begin taking a 5 per cent cut of podcast creators' total subscription revenue.

Keep in mind Apple's new podcast subscription service is taking a 15 per cent to 30 per cent cut from creators.

Which podcasts cost money on Spotify?

As part of the initial launch of paid podcast subscriptions on Spotify, 12 indie podcast shows - including Tiny Leaps and Mindful in Minutes - were allowed to offer bonus subscriber-only content. Since then, the premium option has been activated on 100 podcasts.

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Where are paid podcasts available?

On 15 September 2021, they'll be available to all Spotify's US listeners and podcast creators.

That same day, they will be made available to international listeners, but international podcast creators will have to wait longer to use Spotify's monetisation tools.

Want to launch a paid podcast on Spotify?

If you're a podcast creator, watch the video above. You can learn more about how to get started from Spotify's blog post. Also, see Anchor's blog for more details.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Spotify guide to learn all about how the service works.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 28 April 2021.

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