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Spotify Counters Apple, Will Launch Own Version of Paid Podcast Subscriptions

And most importantly for creators — Spotify doesn’t plan on taking a cut of subscription revenue

Spotify is set to roll out paid podcast subscriptions next week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday morning, three days after Apple, its chief rival, announced it’ll soon launch its own subscription podcasting feature.

The move will differ from Apple in a few key ways, according to the report. Most importantly: Spotify will not charge creators a fee or take a cut of their subscription revenue as part of its paid podcasting feature.

Apple, on the other hand, will take a 30% cut of subscription revenue from podcasters in their first year, and 15% of revenue in the years after. The tech giant will also charge creators $19.99 per year for its Apple Podcasters Program, which “includes all of the tools needed to offer premium subscriptions,” Apple said earlier this week.

Spotify did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The WSJ’s report comes just after Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday announced the company’s plan to launch paid podcast subscriptions at the company’s “Spring Loaded” event; Apple said it already has deals in place with a number of media outlets to offer paid podcasts, including The Athletic, NPR and The Los Angeles Times. The feature is expected to debut in May.

Spotify, like Apple, will let creators set their own subscription prices for customers. Users on Spotify’s iOS app who go to subscribe to podcasts will be routed to a website to pay, the WSJ reported — which means Apple won’t get a cut of its revenue each time a user goes to pay for a new podcast.

Spotify’s decision to not take a cut of subscriptions is the latest jab thrown in the Apple-Spotify audio fight.

CEO Daniel Ek has said he wants Spotify — which had 155 million paying users entering 2021 — to not only be the number one platform for music, but for everything-audio. To get there, Spotify has invested heavily in its podcasting efforts over the last few years, including going on a buying spree in 2020 and bringing in top podcasters like Bill Simmons and Joe Rogan. Now, by not taking a slice of subscription revenue, Spotify is looking to give podcast creators and fans another reason to choose its app over Apple’s.

There’s reason to believe Spotify’s podcasting push is already paying off. While the overall podcasting industry has grown in the last few years, Apple’s market share has dropped from 34% in 2018 to 24% in 2021, according to data provided by eMarketer to the WSJ.