Spotify explores podcast-only $7.99-per-month subscription prospect in new survey

Spotify appears to be considering launching a subscription service for podcasts only, according to a user survey sent out by the company.

Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein tweeted about the survey on Friday (November 6), which contained details of four potential premium podcast tiers with a monthly price ranging from $2.99 to $7.99.

According to the survey questions in Wallenstein’s tweet, the $2.99 tier would give users access to “exclusive interviews and episodes” but would feature ads (platform inserted and host reads), while the $4.99 service would feature “access to exclusive episodes only available on this service” and would not feature platform-inserted ads.

The $7.99 per month tier would additionally offer “early access to interviews and episodes for subscribers” with no ads.

The four premium podcast tiers would not offer access to Spotify’s music catalog.

As noted by the Verge, Spotify isn’t required to pay licensing fees and royalties for podcasts like it is for music, which means that a prospective premium-only podcast plan could make the company a large profit margin… if it successfully attracted subscribers.

The idea of paid-for podcast services isn’t anything new, of course. Last year the podcast subscriber streaming service Luminary launched to much fanfare, complete with a host of exclusive titles and having raised over $130 million. Yet one year on, Bloomberg reported in May, it has just 80,000 paying subscribers.

Spotify revealed on October 29 that as of Q3 2020, it had 1.9 million podcasts on the platform (up from more than 1.5m podcasts in Q2) and that 22% of its Total MAUs engaged with podcast content in Q3 (up from 21% of MAUs in Q2 2020).

The company’s total global Monthly Active Users, (MAUs) grew 29% year-on-year to 320m in Q3 2020, which was above the top end of the company’s guidance range of between 312m-317m MAUs.

This year has seen Spotify sign a number of exclusive podcast deals, with the likes Kim Kardashian West and separately  with Warner Bros. and its subsidiary DC Entertainment in June.

Hugely popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience also recently launched on Spotify via an exclusive multi-year licensing deal that reportedly cost Spotify over $100m.

“Q3 was a standout quarter for our podcasting efforts, beginning with the July launch of The Michelle Obama Podcast, an Original & Exclusive podcast that became the No.1 show globally on our platform in July and August, making it our top summer podcast,” the company told investors last month.

“In September, The Joe Rogan Experience arrived on platform with video capability and became the No.1 show in all of our English-speaking markets while outperforming our audience expectations. We look forward to the start of our exclusivity period for this podcast by the end of this year.”

“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of surveys in an effort to improve our user experience.”

Spotify Spokesperson

Speaking to the Verge, a Spotify spokesperson said: “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of surveys in an effort to improve our user experience.

“Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings.

“We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”Music Business Worldwide

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