Apple, with a revived aim on its services and original content, is reportedly focusing on investing in podcasts.
This seems like a complete rethinking of the giant company and its place in the podcast ecosystem. The company has always played a neutral role in podcasting, one in which anyone could upload their podcast’s RSS feed into Apple’s app and distribute it through the platform.
The company curates the list and highlights noteworthy shows, but those picks were never funded by Apple. But if going with the reports, Apple would be in a place where it might be enticed to market and call out its shows over its partners’ programs, as it is already done with shows like Carpool Karaoke. Other platforms, like the start-up Luminary, have made exclusive shows their entire business model. Luminary launched this spring with multiple big-name shows from celebrities like The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, Girls creator Lena Dunham, and Queer Eye star Karamo Brown, which are only available on the app. The motive is to encourage and urge people to subscribe to Luminary for a monthly fee.Apple is moving, if not completely, towards exclusive shows and this could fundamentally change the industry. Apple is where most podcast listeners find their shows — more than 50 percent of people listen through Apple Podcasts, according to the Spotify-owned Anchor last year. But if Apple starts building allegiances to networks and specific shows, creators might be swayed to move towards exclusivity agreements themselves, as opposed to distributing their show across all apps. Notably, Apple hasn’t yet made money off podcasts. This might be a way for it to monetize that content like it plans to do with Apple TV Plus and Apple Arcade, and like it already does with Apple Music. As iPhone sales have dropped worldwide, Apple has started to move towards a service-oriented model, and it was likely only a matter of time before it set its sights on podcasts.