After some major issues and a delay, Apple Podcasts says it’s rolling out in-app subscriptions next week. The global launch of subscriptions and channels, which are groups of shows, will come on June 15, the company said today in an email to podcasters watching The Verge.
Apple first introduced in-app subscriptions in April, and the launch is planned for May. It then emailed creators to let them know that the feature’s rollout would be postponed until June to “make sure we are giving the creators and listeners the best experience,” likely due to issues the company is having with one recently implemented backend update. The feature allows listeners to subscribe to certain shows or networks for early access and ad-free content, among other things.
Aside from this rollout being delayed, podcasters have complained that Apple’s latest podcasts update, created in preparation for the subscription offerings, completely messed up the system. Podnews wrote two weeks ago that several YouTubers had a number of issues, including their episodes delaying, their analysis breaking, and artwork disappearing. Hopefully Apple got all of that sorted out before this rollout.
Meanwhile, Spotify announced and launched its subscription podcast plan in the time since Apple debuted its product and delayed its release. Spotify’s solution doesn’t allow users to subscribe to in-app, which allows the developers and the company to bypass Apple’s App Store fees. Instead, listeners have to navigate to an external anchor website. However, this also poses a major hurdle between YouTubers and potential subscribers.
Apple’s big idea is that including a subscribe button in the podcast app could attract more premium listeners to various services like Luminary and Wondery Plus. These groups had to overcome the hurdle of getting people to subscribe in an app separate from their usual listening platform. Starting this month, we’ll finally see just how powerful a subscribe button could be.