Spotify adds paid subscriber-only podcasts feature for creators

As it continues its push to become the platform for podcast streaming, Spotify has launched a new feature we suspect many creators will be eager to capitalise on.

That feature is the ability to charge listeners for access to a podcast episode.

“This feature will be available to creators through Anchor, allowing podcasters to mark episodes as subscriber-only and publish them to Spotify and other podcast-listening platforms. For the next two years, this program will come at no cost to the creator, meaning that participating creators receive 100% of their subscriber revenues (excluding payment transaction fees),” wrote Spotify in a press release.

This feature is limited to the US for now but the platform intends to make it available internationally as well.

So what happens once the two year period of free access to this feature ends? Spotify says that it will introduce a five percent fee for access to the feature which is far below the 15 – 30 percent Apple charges for access to a similar feature.

What may throw a spanner in the work however is how users actually subscribe to podcasts. Rather than having a big “Subscribe” button on every podcast page, users will have to subscribe through Anchor which means going off-platform to make a payment.

Spotify is testing this feature with 12 creators who will publish subscription only episodes to their feeds for users to discover. NPR will also publish sponsor-free versions of its podcasts for paid subscribers.

This is great news for podcasters but it does raise the question – why can’t Spotify do this same thing for independent musicians? It’s an open secret that the royalty payments from Spotify are low, so low that according to Business Insider you’d need 250 streams of a song to make one dollar.

Adding a way for users to directly support artists they love through a monthly contribution or payment would be a fantastic feature that would make Spotify as great for artists as it is for users.

And Spotify has shown it doesn’t mind partnering with other organisations to facilitate payments, so perhaps Spotify can work with platforms like Bandcamp in the future.

Payments for podcast creators is great but don’t forget about the music Spotify.

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