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Spotify could be working on a podcasts-only plan, but would you pay for it?

It's been very difficult for podcast services to work on a subscription plan. Could Spotify buck the trend?

Published onNovember 6, 2020

OnePlus 7T music playback spotify
  • There’s an official survey making the rounds which describes a Spotify podcasts-only plan.
  • The survey heavily suggests that Spotify is mulling over a way to make money specifically from podcasts.
  • Spotify has invested heavily in podcasts recently, so it’s going to need to get that money back somehow.

Over on Twitter, Andrew Wallenstein — the president of Variety’s intelligence program — tweeted out an interesting set of screenshots (via The Verge). The screenshots show an official survey distributed by Spotify to some of its subscribers. The survey centers on whether or not users would subscribe to a hypothetical subscription service centered only on podcasts.

Theoretically, this additional subscription service would not include access to Spotify’s collection of music. It is unclear if this would be an additional subscription independent of the music service, an add-on for current subscribers, or something different altogether.

Would you pay for a podcast service through Spotify?

217 votes

Granted, this is just a survey. There’s no evidence that a Spotify podcasts-only service is in the works. In fact, the company told The Verge:

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.

Spotify podcasts: Gotta make money somehow

Whether or not Spotify is actually working on a subscription service centered around podcasts, it’s inevitable that a money-making system is on the way. Over the past few years, the company has invested millions in exclusive podcasts — most notably The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the world’s most popular shows. It needs to recoup all that money somehow.

Related: The best podcasts you can listen to right now

The question then becomes whether or not users will pay for access to podcasts. The survey suggests there could be multiple tiers with perks such as access to exclusive episodes/content, ad-free listening, and a few other premium features. These are enticing, for sure, but people are already pretty used to podcasts being free and ad-supported. Other platforms that have tried to charge for access to podcasts have either failed outright or struggled to gain paying users.

Of course, all those other platforms aren’t Spotify, the world’s largest and most successful audio-only streaming platform. We’ll need to take a wait-and-see approach to this, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a Spotify podcasts-only service drop soon.

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