As reports last week predicted, Spotify today launched podcast subscriptions, plus unveiled new distribution and advertising tools for creators and marketers.
Spotify’s subscription feature will be available through Anchor, the podcast distribution platform it acquired for a reported $150 million in 2019. Creators can use Anchor to mark specific episodes or entire series as subscriber-only, and can individually set their own paywall prices.
For the first two years of the program, Spotify will not take a cut of subscription revenue, but creators will have to cover payment transaction fees. Starting in 2023, Spotify will take a 5% cut of fees.
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Subscriptions begin rolling out today with a group of 12 creators Spotify says are all “uniquely well positioned to succeed in gaining meaningful revenue from their audiences.” It did not offer their names.
Also today, Spotify will begin opening the subscription tool to U.S. creators on its waitlist. Creators in other countries will gain access “over the coming months,” the company says.
Spotify additionally unveiled a subscription-based partnership with NPR. The audio org’s shows are normally supported by sponsors (and thus have sponsor ads strewn throughout) but with the deal, it will distribute a selection of sponsor-free shows for subscribers.
Five of these shows will be available May 4: How I Built This with Guy Raz, Short Wave, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, Code Switch, and Planet Money. More will arrive in the coming weeks, Spotify says.
New tools for creators and advertisers
Another part of Spotify’s subscription launch is its Open Access Platform, which is still in development. Once launched, the platform will allow podcasters who already have established subscriber audiences on other platforms to let those subscribers log in and listen to paywalled content on Spotify, without having to pay a separate fee.
Last up, Spotify said that beginning May 1, it will begin admitting creators to the Spotify Audience Network, an audio ad marketplace that allows advertisers to place ads on specific podcasters’ shows, and/or distribute ads across multiple podcasts using targeting data.
“We believe this technology will enable more creators to make meaningful revenue from their podcasts by providing much better value to advertisers than existing podcast advertising solutions,” Spotify said.
The Spotify Audience Network will launch with inventory from Megaphone, the podcast advertising and publishing company Spotify acquired last year for $235 million.