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Spotify Expands Its Podcast Subscriptions to All U.S. Creators

Spotify is ready to bring podcast subscription options to all U.S.-based creators using its Anchor platform. Starting today, stateside podcasters will be able to mark episodes of their pods as subscriber-only before publishing to Spotify and other platforms.

The streaming leader announced the program in late April with a testing group of 12 creators that has since grown to over 100 podcasts. When launched, Spotify boasted three price tiers that creators could offer to listeners, but that has since been expanded to 20 options. Unchanged since the beta launch is Spotify’s plan to let creators keep all of their subscriber revenues (minus transaction fees) until 2023, before a 5% fee kicks in.

Going forward, Spotify also says it will provide creators the ability to download a list of their paid listeners’ email addresses — “so they can further engage with their subscriber bases” with podcast updates, extra content, news or whatever else they deem fit to share. The feature would enable creators to keep a line of communication with fans, even if they leave Spotify/Anchor as their distributor. Subscribers must opt in to receive the extra emails.

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Though the focus is on building exclusive content within Spotify, which has 165 million paid users and 365 million monthly users, Anchor will also provide creators with private RSS feeds that are compatible with other podcast distribution platforms.

“Our model is built to maximize creator revenue and offer the widest possible reach so creators can grow their audiences and develop deep connections with listeners,” the company said.

Spotify’s top competitor in the podcasting space, Apple, went global with its own podcast subscription options in June. Like Spotify/Anchor, Apple subscriptions provide support for ad-free listening for exclusive content, however, there are more fees involved. In line with other App Store purchases, Apple will keep 30% of sub fees for the first year and 15% annually after that.

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Apple’s podcast division helped popularize the format, but in recent years has given up its lead to Spotify, which has grown rapidly. Spotify’s acquisition of Anchor in February 2019 marked its third podcasting company acquisition that year — after Gimlet Media and Parcast — spending upwards of $400 million total on the trio. In November, Spotify added podcast advertising and publishing company Megaphone to its arsenal, too.

Beginning Sept 15, international listeners will be able to subscribe to a U.S.-based podcast’s exclusive tier, however, an expansion of the platform to creators outside the U.S. is still being worked on. “Stay tuned,” the company said.