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Apple to launch Podcasts Plus subscription service at Spring Forward event?

Apple is planning to launch a podcast subscription service during its Spring Loaded event on Tuesday, according to new rumours.

According to Peter Kafka of Vox Media (via Gizmodo) Apple will launch a paid service for its Apple Podcasts app during the event, where new iPad Pro models are likely to take centre stage.

The rumour has been floating around previously, mainly through an article from The Information suggesting a ‘Podcasts Plus’ service could be on the way, earlier this year.

Apple has also dropped hints with its iOS 14.5 beta versions suggesting changes are coming to the way podcasts are handled. That update is due imminently and, given the company’s penchant for adding subscription services in recent years, we wouldn’t be surprised if the new podcast service arrived tomorrow.

Opinion: Spotify needs to ditch the podcast spam

Apple has offered podcasts for free since podcasts became a thing at the dawn of the iPod era. Hence the name. However, podcast makers have been able to earn cash by selling their own advertising.

It’s not clear what format a Podcast subscription service would take, whether Apple would look to get exclusive deals with podcasters to put behind a paywall, or whether listeners would get an ad-free experience with subscription fees enabling content providers supplement their revenue with a little more to make the lack of autonomy worthwhile.

Spotify has been aggressively expanding into podcasts in the last couple of years, signing many top podcasters to exclusive deals, meaning long-time fans have no choice listen to Spotify in order to tune in.

The prospect of Apple doing the same and fragmenting the availability of podcasts isn’t a particularly fun one for the public, but let’s hope that’s what Apple has in mind if it launches a subscription service. This was largely avoided when the big hitters started fighting it out over music streaming and we’d prefer not to go chasing around for our favourite pods.

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